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  • Writer's pictureRuth Schapira

Changing some paradigms for Jewish teens

let’s change some paradigms for the sake of JTeens

What would it take for the Jewish community to join in efforts to motivate Jewish teens to (word alert: overused expression coming up…) engage?

Is there a program that could reach teens in all movements, across denominations, and increase their involvement in their community of choice (synagogue, youth group, camp, Israel trip) at the same time?

I think there is.

A recent article in Education week may shed some light on my thinking regarding this.

Plus, you know that precedents have already been set by seeing a great concept in the secular world and tweaking it a bit to meet the needs of a Jewish population.

The author explored the concept of digital badges  that students could earn, indicating success and accomplishment in certain skill areas:

…”electronic images could be earned for a wide variety of reasons in multiple learning spaces, including after-school programs, summer workshops, K-12 classrooms, and universities. And once earned, the badges could follow students throughout their lifetimes, being displayed on websites or blogs and included in college applications and résumés.”

You can see the potential for the Jewish community, all youth delivery organizations offering the programs they offer, though in concert with the other.  Professionals would need to work together to offer their teens a way to build a Jewish skill resume, sourcing other partners.

Far fetched? Not really.

We’ve started working in this way with our partner organizations, encouraging them to think about communal instead of specific goals.  If we want our teens to develop into leaders for the communal good, if we talk the language of Klal Yisrael, then we might want to make sure our programmatic pieces produce those goals.


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