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.
What is KYG?
The K'tanim Youth Group (KYG) is an active Jewish community open to all of our fifth and sixth grade students. KYG empowers its members to become leaders both within the synagogue and out in their communities. In addition to our unique to BJBE events, KYG often teams up with other groups in the Chicagoland area to provide our kids the opportunity to engage with as many young Jewish friends as possible.
For more information, contact KYG Advisor Lauren Sandoval: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is JYG?
BJBE is committed to meeting the needs of our children of all ages. To keep our tweens engaged with Judaism throughout their middle school years, we offer opportunities for sacred friendship, connection, learning, social action, leadership, and fun through our Junior Youth Group (JYG). While our young adults enjoy these activities with their friends, they strengthen the Jewish identities that will carry them to college and beyond.
For more information, contact JYG Advisor Eddie Simon: email@example.com
BJBE provides its youth with a variety of youth trip options. Each reflect experiential education at its finest, giving teens a unique new perspective of their Judaism and strengthening their identity as Jews.
ETGAR 36 Teen Civil Rights Journey
Thursday, February 2 – Sunday, February 5, 2017
Join Cantor Rayna Green on a powerful journey through the South this winter. ETGAR 36 is a trip open for 9th, 10th, and 11thgraders. With Judaism as our lens and social justice as our passion, students will learn how African Americans in the 1950s and 60s stood up to gain equality, and they will discover the role that Jews played in the Civil Rights Movement.
During this 4-day learning trip, students will strengthen their Jewish identity as they reflect on the many connections the Jewish people have with the African American community. They will walk away understanding why social justice is such an important value in Reform Judaism, and feeling empowered to make a difference in their home communities. They will also form lasting relationships within the BJBE community, as well as with three other north shore congregations; NSCI (Highland Park), Temple Beth-EL (Northbrook), and Congregation Sukkat Shalom (Wilmette).
On this trip, teens will stand where the civil rights movement all began in Montgomery, Alabama and learn about the Montgomery Bus boycott. They will celebrate Shabbat together at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of the Selma-Montgomery March beatings. They will tour Selma and learn about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s involvement in the civil rights movement. They will go on a walking tour of Birmingham with a Reverend who was a civil rights worker in the 50s and 60s and was arrested, and so much more!
Contact: Cantor Rayna Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
Information Session: Sunday, September 25, 2016, 1:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline: Monday, October 17, 2016
Jewish Life and G’milut Chasadim Trip to New Orleans
Thursday, March 23 – Sunday, March 26, 2017
Join fellow BJBE congregants in our ninth annual social action mission to New Orleans. We will continue to strengthen interfaith relationships with Christian and Jewish groups in the Crescent City, form new friendships within our BJBE community, and help rebuild communities in need. Together, we will also explore and enjoy the unique city of New Orleans.
Contact: Mike Goldberg, email@example.com
All Youth Groups Chocolate Seder
Sunday, April 9, 2017
2:00-3:30 p.m. at BJBE
SYG Board Meeting
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
6:30-7:30 p.m. at BJBE
SYG/JYG PADS Volunteering (Grades 8-12)
Sunday, April 23, 2017
5:00-9:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church
824 Waukegan Road, Deerfield
RSVP ASAP – spots are limited!
SYG Lounge Night
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
6:30-8:30 p.m. at BJBE
Free Dinner Included!
SYG Comedy Sportz
Saturday, May 6, 2017
5:00-10:30 p.m. in Chicago
SYG Shul-In and Elections/Senior Graduation Party
May 12-13, 2017 at BJBE
7:30 p.m. Friday – 9:00 a.m. Saturday
SYG Board Meeting
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
6:30-7:30 p.m. at BJBE
KYG Matzah Ball Shabbat & Undernighter
Friday, May 19, 2017
5:15-10:00 p.m. at BJBE
What is SYG?
BJBE's Senior Youth Group (SYG) is an active Jewish community open to all of our high school students. SYG empowers its members to become leaders both within the synagogue and out in their communities. Our Senior Youth Group is run almost entirely by an elected board of teenagers. This group of motivated leaders plans, publicizes and executes each event with guidance from our advisor and clergy.
SYG meets for bi-weekly Lounge Nights (Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30PM), monthly events, and an annual weekend retreat at OSRUI where we learn, grow and have fun together as a chevra. We are also members of NFTY-CAR region where we are working on increasing our presence. Senior Youth Group is a great opportunity for the teenagers of BJBE to continue to explore their Jewish identities in a fun and supportive environment.
2017-2018 SYG Board
President: Benjamin Bluman & Emma Rosenberg-Rappin
Programing Vice President: Melanie Silver
Social Action Vice President: Abby Tzinberg
Religious and Cultural Vice President: Jeremy Stein
Membership Vice President: Madison Kaiz & Matthew Koss
Treasurer: Grant Fisher
Communications Vice President: Jon Olbur
Sophomore Representatives: Liza Bluman, Hailey Cooper, & Lisa Silverstein
Freshman Representative: Josh Ostach
Find us on Facebook!
You can always get more information and talk with your Youth Group friends on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BJBESYG/.
Besides having fun leading their friends in SYG and NFTY elected positions or in social action leadership roles, kids who participate in BJBE activities gain a valuable addition to college application forms. Additionally, impressive and meaningful opportunities are available for our teens to develop their leadership skills as teacher assistants (Machonikim) or as mentors.