Published on January 4, 2012 by Barry Glass
The recent Limmud Boston Jewish learning extravaganza on Sunday December 4 had a bit of something for everyone. And the Jewish Community Relations Council’s TELEM program was right in the thick of the activity with a panel of teens who shared their meaningful TELEM experiences with an audience of parents, educators and TELEM staff.
Two TELEM teens from Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton spoke about the many different direct-service experiences they have had through their temple’s popular and successful TELEM programs. Jared Segal, now a ninth grader, relayed his experience in B’nai TELEM, the TELEM program for 6th and 7th grade B’nai Mitzvah students. Jared’s superb experiences in B’nai TELEM were instrumental in his decision to continue in the TELEMyouth program as he entered high school. Dani Fine, an 11th grader at TBE has had an amazing experience with TELEM, and has participated in three different TELEM tracks: Special Needs, Hunger and Homelessness, and Connecting Generations. In her remarks, Dani reflected on her variety of experiences, emphasizing that there’s something important to be learned from and shared with the people at each of the service sites.
The third TELEM panelist, Tova Weinronk, has been a literacy tutor with the TELEM//JCC’s Literacy Corps partnership for 4 years. Through her leadership and recruiting efforts, she has developed a solid team of eager and energetic tutors from Lexington High School who continue working at the Gene Mack Boys and Girls Club in Medford week after week. The students at the Boys and Girls Club look forward to seeing their tutors each week and run to greet and hug them before sitting together to read.
Rounding out the panel was Jesse Weiss, a graduate of Arlington High School, who participated in TELEM Organizing through Beth El Temple Center in Belmont. Jesse was a key student organizer and leader in last spring’s efforts that helped persuade the Massachusetts Legislature to restore $3 million to the state budget for youth jobs. Jesse has returned to Beth El this year to co- lead a class in community organizing in the high school program. Jesse’s experience with community organizing had a hand in his decision to spend a full year in service with City Year in Boston before he attends college next year.
This was a terrific opportunity to hear from TELEM participants how the program has motivated them to volunteer, how they’ve grown as individuals through their volunteer work and how their experiences have shaped their thinking about staying involved in service to help others.
Barry Glass is the Director of TELEM: Jewish Youth Making a Difference Together. To find out more about this amazing group of TELEM participants, check out our live Twitter feed from the event at https://twitter.com/TELEMyouth.