Created to support teens and their parents as together they navigate their way through the stages of adolescence, Sacred Choices provides congregations and camps with a much needed program to teach sexual ethics to teens. Using a modular format, the materials present student lessons in a developmentally appropriate yet forthright manner and, in parent and family lessons, prepare parents for the changes their children will face. Throughout, the curriculum encourages middle school and high school teens to recognize that Jewish values are central when dealing with relationships.
Sacred Choices Curriculum Design The Sacred Choices lessons and resources are based on the "Understanding by Design" curriculum development model, which is widely used in the field of general education. Read more...
Sermons on Sacred Choices and Adolescent Sexual Activity
"That our kids need our guidance and support is indisputable. Judaism has something to say to them. It tells them that they are created in the image of God, and each and every one of them is unique, of infinite worth, and entitled to respect. It tells them that the guiding principle of sexuality in the Jewish tradition is Kdoshim tihyuYou shall be holy, which means that sexuality is linked to blessing, commandment, and God."
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie President, Union for Reform Judaism Houston, TX November 19, 2005/ 17 Cheshvan 5766
If you would like to learn more about the rationale for the Sacred Choices project, please read Rabbi Yoffies sermons:
We have been using material from the Sacred Choices curriculum with our 7th graders for the past few years. We have gotten much positive feedback from parents and students alike. Our community is grateful that the temple is using Jewish values to enable our students to navigate and confront the issues that they are facing as teenagers in the world today. Thank you, URJ, for supporting our efforts in this critical work. Rabbi Jeff Brown, Cardiff, CA
I have received letters and comments of thanks from several parents who participated in the discussions about their young teens' sacred choices. It is rare that parents have a chance to talk to each other about the joys and varieties of ways to rear teens with a positive view of peer relationships. The lessons inspire parents to share and compare, without judging who is the good or bad parent. Christopher Kraus, Cincinnati, OH
I spoke with two different parents who were at last night's Sacred Choices meeting and they loved it. Here's the best part - one of the parents said that during the car ride home they were able to talk to their child about important issues: sex, Jewish commitment, ethics, personal choice, etc. and that they had never been able to do that before. Katherine Schwartz, Boulder, CO
High School Module Testimonials
I have co-taught Sacred Choices to high school students for the past three years. One teacher is a female rabbi and the other is a male layman (non-clergy). The course quickly became very popular with the students, many of whom have taken it 2 or three times. Each time is different because of the different group dynamics. Student evaluations give the course high marks. Students enjoy the opportunity to speak about sex freely and publicly with adults who aren't their parents. Students want to know what their Torah teaches about sexual relationships. Students easily apply the lessons to their own lives. They are surprised to hear religious leaders teach that sex can be sacred. Christopher Kraus, Cincinnati, OH
This is our first year to teach the Sacred Choices curriculum in our Confirmation Academy. As one of the instructors, I am finding it simple to teach and seemingly well received. If we can impact, for the better, even ONE life the effort will be worthwhile. Thank you, URJ, for being so progressive.