Journal of Youth Engagement

Journal of Youth Engagement

Balancing Values in Post-B’nai Mitzvah Engagement

An enduring dilemma is one that is simultaneously old and new, can only be managed – not solved, and is very much a part of our day-to-day reality. There is no right answer, just two truths that cannot be ignored, and somewhere in the middle is the solution “for now.” How can we apply this idea to post-B’nai Mitzvah engagement?

Michelle Shapiro Abraham, Lisa Langer, Rachel Margolis
holistic youth engagement

When I started my job, I spent time getting to know families and what they wanted from educational experiences for their children and for themselves. It was clear there we needed a cohesive vision for lifelong learning, and unclear how learning and engagement were connected, if at all. Now, 3 ½ years later, we’re taking a holistic approach to Jewish lifelong learning.

Marisa Kaiser

We’re happy you asked! We are excited to introduce an executive summary highlighting the innovations in our field and offering questions for a guided reflection. Here’s how to use it:

Michelle Shapiro Abraham

Two years ago, Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL made a dramatic shift in our K-6 religious education program. We were running a very good religious school, but we were not seeing the results we wanted in the areas of community building, positivity, or skill development. 

Beth Ellen Young

My high school friends called it “the black hole of death.” This was the (loving) name for “the Jewish events Julie goes to all the time that keeps her from hanging out with us on weeknights and weekends.” They were right to make note of the timing – in high school, I spent most of my time outside of school attending youth group events, leading board meetings, working at the synagogue, and serving as a madricha, a counselor.

Julie Bressler
Young teens gathered around the bimah as they look at an open Torah scroll

Social scientists and business leaders alike encourage us to fight the focus on scarcity and instead begin with an “abundance mindset.” Here are three areas where abundance hides in Jewish engagement and education work

By Miriam Chilton and Michelle Shapiro Abraham
NFTY Teenagers

I thought Thursday, September 8th was going to be a typical Thursday evening on a call with teens - an hour-long call in which we'd likely encounter some tech problems, side conversations, and background distractions before everyone rushed off to their next commitment.

Beth Lipschutz
Beth Emet Fronteras Trip Photos

This spring, Abby Backer brought a group of teens to the US-Mexico border for an immersive learning experience about immigration. How did this experience become part of a Jewish teen program in Chicago?

Abby Backer
Teens Gesher Program

Imagine a congregational school in which the Sunday before a child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah is their last day of classes, forever. A school where classes for students in grades 8-12 are not even offered, and where previous attempts at establishing a youth group have all failed, leaving no teen-specific programs. What would happen to the congregation’s teens once they become Jewish adults? And, perhaps more immediately, what would happen to their families’ involvement?

Stefani Carlson

A week before school started, one congregation found itself in need of a third teacher for its 8th and 9th grade program. Here are five factors that contributed to the surge in enrollment. 

Stephanie Fields