I cannot believe that we are wrapping up another academic year! It is an enormous privilege to work with different youth at Beth Emet, from teaching first-grade Beit Sefer at the beginning of students’ Jewish journeys, to teaching Chavayah and supporting BESSY as high school kids transition into young Jewish adulthood. This Friday night, BESSY (Beth Emet Senior Synagogue Youth) members will lead us in Kabbalat Shabbat service. The students will also share what they have learned and gained through their involvement with BESSY. I might be biased, but this is one of the best Shabbatot of the year! It's not to be missed!
We are not only transitioning into summer, but also moving back (we know it's really forward) into a pre-Covid world. It is important that we don’t go back to our old habits. All of us have experienced a unique, unprecedented period of stress, in which we learned a lot about ourselves, our values, and our boundaries. This likely informs how we engage in community as well.
I’m hearing from teens that they miss the pre-Covid casual events, and they are also looking for ways to pull in their peers who may have drifted away from Beth Emet. I see them grappling with what they want and need from a youth group. We envision a space where teens are able to express their individuality and learn about themselves through each other. We are planning more collaboration with other youth groups. We see direct lines connecting our values to our actions and grounding ourselves in our communities. This transition has created opportunities for us to evolve our programming to meet the needs and wishes of our youth today. For me, one of the best things to come out of Covid has been people re-centering compassion and kindness, and rethinking what is most important.
Wishing you an engaging, community-filled Shabbat.
Director of Youth Engagement