Published on December 13, 2012 by Shoshana Czik
This fall marked the start of a new and innovative regional model for Jewish teens who want to participate in TELEM programming in the South Area. While the regional model includes many towns throughout the area, the congregational partners in this initiative include Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton, Temples Beth Abraham and Beth David in Canton, Temple Chayai Shalom in Easton, Temples Israel and Sinai in Sharon, Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, and Congregation Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham. In a collaborative effort with JCRC/TELEM and CJP, these congregations worked together to set the foundation for this South Area TELEMyouth initiative.
The innovation of this new regional model is that teens can sign up for any of the TELEMyouth programs at different congregations, regardless of what congregation the student is from. Through this model, teens are able to participate in a TELEM program that fits their schedule and their interests. For example, teens who prefer to participate in the Hunger and Homelessness track can participate with Temple Beth Emunah, while those with interests in the Literacy track can participate in the Temple Sinai group. The model centers on five different “hubs” or congregations that host a TELEMyouth program. Each of the hub programs meets on a different day and time, giving the teens a range of programs to choose from throughout the week. Since many TELEM teens participate in other various extra-curricular activities, this model gives teens a few options to participate in a service learning program that keeps them connected to their Jewish peers.
To create a greater diversity of programming and help build a stronger south area Jewish teen community, the partner congregations are each hosting one regional event. These regional events include a Mishloach Manot (making Purim themed food bags to be donated) event at Temple Beth Emunah on February 10 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., a Hunger Seder at Temple Israel on March 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and a Mitzvah Day at Temple Sinai on April 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Each of these events are designed to bring all of the South Area TELEMyouth teens together for learning and tikkun olam around various topics.
With a strong start to the new South Area TELEMyouth program, the regional program looks to be a fantastic new model and making an impact in the South Area. Just over two dozen students have "cross registered" this year, meaning they are participating in TELEM programs that are not at their home congregation. And overall, there are 60 more south area teens participating in TELEM programming this year compared to last year! While the service sites and tracks may be different, the feedback is similar across the board: the students are impressive and they are inspired by volunteering together with their Jewish friends.Shoshana Czik, the TELEM Program Coordinator, grew up in Sharon, MA and has a close connection with the South Area community. Shoshana has been overseeing the South Area TELEMyouth region, as well as helping to coordinate the various regional programs for the TELEMyouth students.