New Innovations: South Area TELEMyouth

Published on October 29, 2012 by Shoshana Czik


This fall, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston’s TELEM program is piloting a new model of our TELEMyouth program in the South Area. In partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Learning Connections (JLC), students in the 8th -12th grades in congregations in the South Area are invited to participate in the first regional TELEMyouth program: South Area TELEMyouth. With launch of this new endeavor, we are hoping to engage more teens in our programs by offering a variety of both program and time options for the students to choose from.

The idea for this regional model evolved from discussions between South Area congregations, CJP and JLC to re-imagine Hebrew High School programs. TELEM was brought in to the conversation as a highly regarded program that already had a history of successful programs in the South Area. In addition, one of our programs, Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton, had organically become a regional program, as they were already accepting students regardless of their congregational affiliation.

As a result of the conversations, a new model with congregational “hubs” was launched. Jewish teens throughout the South Area are welcome to participate in any of the TELEMyouth programs held at the five participating synagogue hubs. These hubs each have their own day and time that does not conflict with the other programs. There is also a variety of TELEM tracks available to the students, including Connecting Generations, Hunger and Homelessness, Literacy, and Special Needs. Students are allowed to join any of the hub programs based on their schedule and interest in the TELEM track.

In addition to participating in the TELEMyouth service-learning classes and volunteering, there will also be six regional events during the year. Each of the hubs will be hosting one of these regional events, and will open the event to the South Area TELEMyouth community. These events will be designed to further promote the South Area TELEMyouth community as a whole, as well as providing innovative and interesting supplemental programming to each hub. The program options will vary from our September kick-start event, to guest speakers, to a Hunger Seder. One of our goals is to strengthen the South Area Jewish teen community through this new program model. Students will no longer only be in classes with other students from their synagogues, but with others from throughout the area. We hope that with a wide variety of times and topics available for the students to choose from, more teens will stay connected to Jewish life and deepen their Jewish identity through TELEM and tikkun olam.