If your child is returning home from overnight camp, expect that your laundry room will be filled with the dirtiest, grimiest piles of clothing you’ve ever seen since—well, never. Is it a surprise that you’re contemplating just chucking the whole lot and starting over for the coming school year? After all, do you really want to put the items with stained evidence of sleep-outs, mud slides, s’mores and who-knows-what else into your nice, shiny, clean washing machine? Though it
Dorm stuff? Check. Water? Check. Values? For those teens who have hopefully garnered enough college acceptance letters to make some choices, parents will need to make some choices too. In a short time, your son or daughter will be packing bags to embark on a most amazing journey of self discovery at a college. How does this new change redefine your role? In what ways will you need to re-adjust your definition of parenting? What would you say would be the best outcomes for you
Free these sons from the bondage of labels. The apocryphal story of the “Four Sons” has been a part of every Passover Seder I’ve ever attended or hosted. The seder has a unique and beautiful educational premise: how best to involve the younger audience in the story. One way it does so is by encouraging the questioning process about the meaning of Passover. (For ideas on how to involve teens click here). The picture above is from one of the Haggadahs I inherited from way back
Summer: a time for choices Jewish summer camp. Arts classes. Internships. Specialty Sports Camps. College Prep Programs. Travel programs. SAT summer prep classes. Employment. Volunteer work. The list of options for what teens can do in the summer can go on and on. As the list gets longer, the frustration grows proportionately. How is a family to choose? In addition, there are a multitude of factors that also need to weigh in: the family’s work/life balance as parents juggle
How ethical are today’s teens? When given the chance to cheat, what would the teenagers you know do? A recent New York Times article on the subject of Ethics in Life and Business explored the difficulty adults have in making the right choice. The author says: “The problem, research shows, is that how we think we’re going to act when faced with a moral decision and how we really do act are often vastly different.” How much more challenging is this for teens growing up in a con
Is this what it means to be Jewish? A portion of this post can be a lesson plan for Jewish teens, with the image above as the trigger. It would be an interesting exercise and not entirely out of context as a beginning to a discussion about Jewish values (that is, if Google defines our context). The photo came up in a Google Image Advanced Search (free to use or share) for “Why be Jewish?” and struck me immediately as a conversation starter for this topic. So, if showing this
Ethical clarity? Clueless The year is newly born, yet through the lens of ethics things feel quite stale. The clarity that should come easily when as a country, we are faced with ethical challenges, eludes us and sadly, our teenagers. This evening, the news reported that yes, in fact, the White House made a mistake by not sending a noted and visible government official to the protests in France. This admission by our leadership, came a full day after everyone was shaking thei
Finding your Jewish path in college For my family, when selecting college options, it was never solely about the numbers of Jewish students on campus. It was more nuanced than that, because in today’s environment, there are so many more factors to consider other than statistics. For example, a school may have a large Jewish population, but precisely due to that size, students might not opt for specifically “Jewish” activities when given the many choices there are in a large s
Thank you for visiting Jewish Teens this year and reading my blog! Below are interesting stats from the 2014 annual report prepared by the WordPress staff. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2014, with visitors staying to read an average of 2-3 additional blog posts!
The next time you sit down for a cup of tea, I’d like to keep you company! Check out some of my older blogs that are still relevant today, like this one: “Today I am a Brand” #BarandBatMitzvah #JewishTeen
Take five, relax, let yourself think about who you want to be….. Before you read further, you need to know this. I am not a college advisor, consultant, or guru. But I am a mother of two who gave her kids and their friends some advice in how to best present themselves on a college application. My experience as a career consultant, evaluating and helping others write thousands of resumes helped prepare me for the task. Whether due to my editorial help or not, thankfully, my ki
What happens after dessert? Synagogue newsletters: not everyone’s optimal reading material when finding a treasured bit of rare, spare time.
It doesn’t help that many feel like a throw-back to a different era with some of the most musty names like Beacon, Herald or Courier.
The part that I do enjoy reading, when available, is the pithy, brief biographies that young teens write (or have ghost-written by phenomenally proud parents) prior to their B’nai Mitzvahs.
Some are unb
How Much Time Is There to Spend on Jewish Education? People are setting into new routines and school is still in its start-up phase. Schedules are being rewritten, dates are being calendared, and carpools being arranged. From the myriad of after school activities that teens get to choose from, the options become dizzying. How can parents prioritize? There are those activities that just might nail a college scholarship. Then there are those that show the ability to be part of
We lost three teenagers today, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel…Baruch Dayan HaEmet…Blessed is the Righteous Judge… In the tremendous tragedy of the loss of such young teenage lives, I am left wondering if many of our Jewish teenagers in America are truly aware of what happened. Or care. This is truly a painful question to ask. Yehi zichronam baruch—May their memories be for a blessing…our hearts go out to their families and friends for the pain that must feel l
I recently had the privilege of meeting with parents who attended informal meetings designed especially for them in locations across Philadelphia. All the parents I met with are parents of teens who attend a weekly post Bar/Bat Mitzvah supplementary high school program, and the discussions were held over a period of several months–on Sunday mornings or evenings, or weeknights. A few months ago, we asked parents to complete an anonymous online survey (survey monkey), and the r
How much time is too much? How many hours does it take to become knowledgeable about something? I know, it’s a very broad question….but try to humor me. Your task is to become more learned about Judaism…..to become literate. How many hours would you need to spend? Okay, got it? For comparison’s sake, students spend on average, 181 days per year in a K – 12 school environment, which translates into approximately 900 or so hours per year. Many people don’t even think this is en
Lesson Plan your Seder! The Passover Seder is considered by many to be the consummate family education event. This inter-generational experience can create indelible memories, savored for years, long past the momentary taste of yummy matzo balls floating assertively on top of your soup bowl. So, why are so many seders…um….boring? No shortage of readers here. (An historic seder with new immigrants at an Israeli Kibbutz, might have been the opposite of boring!) Don’t settle for
Hillel has built some stunning buildings. Will your teen walk in the door? What is the college campus like today? How does it differ from when you attended and what new challenges will your Jewish teen face once there? We know from several research studies that affiliation rates are on the decline, particularly among young Jewish adults. In addition, Jewish teens and young adults are feeling less of a need in college to differentiate themselves from their peers. For sure, som
Ever have bad sushi? Don’t compromise with sushi or Jewish education A Hat Tip to Seth Godin, marketing guru, for this post’s idea–my take on his “Never eat sushi at the airport”. Seth tends to cut through the chaff to get to the kernel, which is why he writes: “Don’t ask a cab driver for theater tips, Never buy bread from the supermarket bakery…Proximity is not a stand in for expertise.” So, with a nod to Seth, here are things never to do: 1. Never accept an inferior produc
Enlightened teen education What I’m about to write is counter-intuitive, fair warning given. The phenomenon I’m about to describe has interested me for over a decade. It’s the one big thing that I’ve seen make a difference in teens’ lives, often enabling them to cope with the stress of being at public or private schools during the day. It’s attending more school –though of a different kind entirely. They attend this school in the evening, or on Sunday mornings. Surprising, no
Where’s the good news? When it comes to teens, it seems that “Headlines” are usually “Dead Lines”….yes….news about deaths, teenage thugs, bullying, and more. I’m tired of reading all this bad news about teens. You might ask: “So, just look for the good news, what are you complaining about?” It’s not that easy. I get news alerts from Google and Yahoo sent to my Inbox, and generally what comes up, almost on a daily basis, is what you see below. News Tired teenagers may need a n