Kelly Goldberg, Director of Youth & Family Engagement
Soccer. Destination Imagination. Dance. Gymnastics. Baseball. Music. Hockey. Theater. Karate. Art. Chorus. Nature. Volleyball. Ice Skating. Photography. Wrestling. Debate. Game coding....We prioritize these activities for our children. And for good reason.
We want our kids to find their passion and experience recreational joy. These are the arenas where valuable lessons and character building take place, and where the principles we’ve taught them and the learning they’ve acquired in school take hold. We commit five days a week and considerable funds to travel baseball for our eight year-olds because, among other things, it will encourage good health, it will foster a team player mentality and it will be fun. Amen.
But, as you already know, it’s not enough. This is why each of us is committed to providing our children with a Jewish upbringing. No need to make a case for it: You’re here. Either your kids are studying to be a bar or bat mitzvah, will do so someday, or that accomplishment is in the rear view mirror.
Yet, we could argue that a robust extracurricular resume, without a dose of Judaism, is missing the mark; it fails to provide your kids the chance to explore their Jewish selves more deeply, to develop their Jewish identities more fully.
Ideally, you choose both. As you look at your family’s dense schedule this year, I encourage you to consider the wide range of offerings BJBE provides your children and embrace the idea that it is elu v’elu, these and these – friendships, new experiences, joyful times, and leadership opportunities in the greater community AND in the Jewish community – that sustain and grow our kids of all ages.
Check out the Youth section of Portals or the Youth tab on the BJBE website for this year’s youth group schedules (KYG – 3rd-5th grade; JYG – 6th-8th grade; SYG 9th-12th grade).
Be on the lookout for the Young Families Social Action events planned by Melanie Berkowitz and Carrie Cohan throughout the year.
Educate your 7th graders about the Machonik-in-Training class the 3rd trimester of the Ma’avar Program (7th grade Religious School), so that they can become paid teacher assistants (machoniks) from 8th-12 grade in Hebrew and/or Religious School.
Enroll your 8th-12th graders in Chai School, where we take their Jewish education to the next level and enjoy Lou Malnati’spizza each week! (The first day of Chai School is October 4th!)
Encourage your 9th-12th graders to join Cantor Frost and Youth Group Advisor Eddie Simon on the December 4th-7th trip to the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC , to learn how to articulate and argue positions on Capitol Hill.
AND, save the date for June of 2018 when the next group of 9th-12th graders will journey to Kolin, Czech Republic and Israel.
Let me know if you have questions about any of this. I’d love to meet with you and/or your child, to help you make the smorgasbord of BJBE offerings the AND in your student’s extracurricular life.