Post B’nai Mitzvah Education:
Teen Community and Confirmation
Emeth Teen Community (8th-12th grades)
More than just an academic high school program, the new Teen Program at Temple Emeth is an exciting mix of seminar-style classes, mitzvah projects, social events, and cultural opportunities. It is a comprehensive program integrating the many ways our teens are involved in Temple life to build and sustain a true community among our 8th- 12th graders. It features:
- Formal Classroom Education
- Informal Hands-On Education
- Exploration of Jewish Identity
- Exploration of God and Spirituality
- Jewish Values and Text Presented with Practical Applications
- Building Teen Community within our Congregation
- Building Teen Community with other Reform Jewish teens
- Experiential Learning through Hands-On Projects and Travel
Each Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00, our teens come together for brunch and to participate in a variety of activities that will immerse them in the many facets of Judaism.
We plan to use our location to our advantage, traveling to teach our teens that there is much to learn about the Jewish world outside the walls of the synagogue. In addition to a day trip to New York City, possible trips include an overnight to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia (with accommodations provided by a shul-in at a local congregation), and a weekend Spring Retreat to one of the URJ camps. We also expect to continue the popular L’Taken Seminars for our 10th graders (and up) at the Washington, D.C. Religious Action Center of the URJ. This year’s RAC trip is scheduled for January 20-23, 2012.
For formal education, students will meet with teachers in small groups to explore topics such as Jewish Identity, God and Spirituality, and Jewish Values, all discussed with an eye towards practical application in the real world. Offerings are expected to include Current Events, Sacred Choices (the URJ curriculum on sexuality and ethics), Israel, and for the older teens, the URJ course on Packing for College, which reinforces Jewish values and explores issues students may face on the college campus.
Many of our teens hold leadership positions, whether in Temple organizations, at school clubs, or as camp counselors. The Leadership Development curriculum will be aimed at giving our teens the tools to be effective leaders, addressing topics such as:
- Theology of Welcoming
- Creating Effective Publicity
- Leading interesting, inclusive meetings and discussions
- Setting goals and action steps
- Lesson Plans
- Dealing with Bullies
Our teens appreciate the opportunity to help others and have fun at the same time. Some also seek to fulfill school-mandated community service requirements within an established framework. Approximately one Sunday per month will be dedicated to mitzvah projects. Some of the more modest programs may be within the Temple, such as helping at Bazaar, running the Purim Carnival, and beautifying the building. Other, more ambitious, programs include participation in the Family Promise Homeless Shelter, and Bikkur Cholim training followed by visits to local hospitals. Mitzvah projects which continue into Sunday afternoon will also be open to all Jewish teens.
Arts and Culture
Approximately one morning a month, we will put aside our core curriculum and celebrate our rich tradition of Jewish arts and culture. Possibilities include movie screenings and discussions, cooking classes, visual art, photography, and music.
NFTY - GER and EMTY
Students in grades 9-12 will automatically become members of the North American Federation of Temple Youth-Garden Empire Region (NFTY-GER) and of the Temple Emeth Youth Group (EMTY). Participation in NFTY-GER activities will be encouraged as another means of meeting other Reform teens in a social setting.
Approximately one Sunday a month, ETC will include a social activity from 1:00 to 2:30. These social activities will be planned by the EMTY Board during the Leadership Development Practice periods. Extended social activities will be open to all Jewish teens.
Program Coordinator: Dora Geld Friendman. Program Administrator: Barbara Sabella. Committee chairs: Arlene Straub, Rachel Eastman. For more information, contact us at (201) 833-1322 or use our contact form.
Confirmation has long been envisioned by Reform congregations as the opportunity for teens to better appreciate their tradition’s views about God and faith. In-depth study and discussion of theology will be the hallmark of our tenth grade Confirmation process. In addition to studying pertinent excerpts from major Jewish writers, our teens will be able to ask and discuss questions like:
- How do I see God’s role in the world?
- How are my Jewish choices affected by my belief in God?
- Can I doubt and still be Jewish? Can I rebel and still be Jewish?
- How can disagreement about God be a force for good?
Created by the Reform Movement, Confirmation signifies the acceptance of the Confirmands as adult members of the Jewish community. Confirmation at Temple Emeth is held during the evening service of the spring holiday of Shavuot. To be eligible, students must have been enrolled in the Temple Emeth Religious School from at least grade 7 and continue their formal Jewish education through grades 8, 9 and 10.
In addition to attending classes, confirmands write an essay which asks them to reflect on a topic of Jewish importance and how it impacts their Jewish identity. The essay selected as best by a panel of judges is awarded the Wilford Weill Memorial Essay Award. The rabbi also meets with the confirmands periodically in order to help them develop a more mature appreciation of Judaism.
For more information, contact us at (201) 833-1322 or use our contact form.