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Jewish Teen Groups

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Local activities for Jewish teen

Sept 2009

Since my younger son's Bar Mitzvah, I've been concerned about his connection to other Jewish teens. He goes to a small school, so the social connections are limited. Any suggestions for weekend/early evening programs I might be able to interest him in? We're located in Berkeley Concerned parent


Berkeley Midrasha. The moderator put a link under your post, but I just want to add on to that. My now in college son went to Midrasha after his Bar MItzvah, at 13 and LOVED it. He graduated from Midrasha this past spring, just before his HS graduation, at 18. He bonded with a great group of kids and stayed connected to his Jewish roots in a way that I never expected. Now, his first year of college, his desire to be connected to Judaism comes from his own learning and choosing and not from his parents pushing him. They have some great classes and Diane Bernbaum, the director, is FABULOUS. She has the energy of 3 Everready bunnies, and 100% committment to making Midrasha work for the kids. Lots of my friends kids are in Midrasha now and all seem happy. It is great for some and not great for some, but I hope your son will try it and see. It just started in the past week or so, but I thnk you can join any time. HOpe this helps. june
You may want to consider Jewish Youth For Community Action:(510) 547- 2424 x110 Email info@jyca-justice.org Web: http://www.jyca- justice.org My daughter, now in college, enjoyed this evening and weekend group. There is a focus on learning and understanding social action possibilities, but it is also just a social experience and a youth group that does meetings and outings. It is run out of Kehilla Synagogue in Oakland, but was meeting in Berkeley, when my daughter attended. Laurie
Jewish teen programs:

You've probably already seen the BPN archives on Midrasha, which offers all sorts of classes in Oakland, Berkeley and Contra Costa. In addition to their many varied subjects is Abraham's Vision(you sign up for this through Berkeley Midrasha, but it's is a program in itself) in which Muslim and Jewish teens learn about their own religion and the others, then meet for dialogues and field trips.abrahamsvision.org/home/ Another program is JYCA (Jewish Youth for Community Action) which focuses on leadership, conflict resolution and social issues.jyca-justice.org

Many synagogues and camps hire teens as teacher assistants or counselors, a great way to be connected. Consider enrolling at summer camps such as Habonim, Ramah, Young Judea, Swig, etc.

And since a lot of instilling identity, values, etc is a very long-term investment :) , continuing to make Jewish holidays or Shabbat things you celebrate in your home in whatever way works for you is another piece. Sometimes parents lose sight of that role-modeling, especially once the bnei mitzvah is over. Shana tovah! Susan


My 14 year old son attends Berkeley Midrasha and really likes it. He has developed a large circle of friends there. He is not a particularly studious or religious kid, but is willing to go even on Sunday morning. The classes are fun and taught by energetic and entertaining teachers. Kids go for the social life, but get Jewish content too. Camp Kee Tov and Tawonga in the summer have been great sources of friendships too. His choice of high schools was based in large part on where the kids from his Jewish activities were going. Happy Midrasha parent
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