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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776

Resources for Lay Leaders

As your congregation considers implementing Sacred Choices, it may be helpful for the lay and professional leaders to work in partnership to build support and awareness of the curriculum. Here are some ideas for how to do this.

  • Ask an educator, rabbi or cantor to write an article addressing the issue of adolescent sexual activity in the synagogue bulletin. Post the article on the congregational Web site.
  • Ask the rabbi or cantor to preach a sermon on the issue of adolescent sexual activity and the significant role the congregation can play in guiding youth to make healthy, ethical decisions about their bodies and their behavior.

  • Send a letter to parents explaining the curriculum. Download Available: Sample Parent Letter (PDF).

  • Hold a parent meeting prior to and/or during the implementation of the curriculum. Download Available: Parent Meeting Outline (PDF).

  • Make sure your congregation has a policy for reporting suspected cases of child neglect and abuse. Many religious schools already have such policies in place. Under certain circumstances, all states require professionals to report suspected abuse or neglect to the proper governmental agency.

  • Consider choosing a few congregants and staff people to oversee the program. The facilitator will set up and run the program, but this group will provide buy-in and oversight of a sensitive topic, and can be the foundation to help implement a program regarding adolescent sexual activity on a broader scale in the future.

  • Locate local emergency hotline numbers and, if necessary, share them with workshop participants.

  • Read the Inside Leadership, January 2007 article: Jewish Education Initiatives to Consider for Your Congregation
  • Do you have questions about Sacred Choices ? Need help addressing a specific issue with your teens? Having trouble talking with your parents about your relationships? Post a question to Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, RJE , Project Coordinator for Sacred Choices. She will help point you in the right direction.

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