Youth Programs/Experiential Education
The Youth Programs at Shaaray Tefila can be summed up with one word, experiential. At Shaaray Tefila our youth connect to Judaism in meaningful ways through creative and innovative programming. Youth programming bridges everyday life and Judaism to create lasting and significant impacts. At Shaaray Tefila we don’t just teach Jewish values we live them. For example, to learn about and truly experience the Jewish value of Human Dignity - kehvod habreeyote כבוד הבריות, youth volunteer with Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and participate in cultural events alongside their residents. Youth programing foster stronger Jewish identity and knowledge all while strengthening community.
ToaSTY (Temple Shaaray Tefila Youth) host a variety of programs and events for youth that foster Jewish community and identity. Beginning in fourth grade, community members can join ToaSTY for events varying from community service projects, to social gatherings, to holiday celebrations, and everything in between. ToaSTY connects everyday life with Judaism in a fun, stimulating, and authentic way. For example through participation in the Midnight Run, ToaSTY members are living out the Jewish value of yehkahroot yahkheed (יקרות היחיד), the preciousness of each person. ToaSTY is a community where Judaism comes alive, youth can be their authentic selves, and life long friendships are made.Temple Shaaray Tefila is also a member of NFTY-NAR (North American Federation of Temple Youth — New York Area Region), the regional body of the Reform movement’s national youth organization. NFTY focuses on pursuing tikkun olam, personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism. NFTY-NAR events bring the entire region together creating connections and friendships amongst the larger Jewish community.
Mazel Tov to ToaSTY member, Noah Goldstein, who is serving as the 2019-2020 NFTY-NAR Programming Vice President!
The ToaSTY Executive Board is responsible for planning, leading, and executing events and programs for the ToaSTY community. High School teens who represent the very best of Shaaray Tefila sit on the board and serve as strong Jewish role models. The Board takes on an important leadership role for the teen and larger temple community alike. ToaSTY board meets monthly for the executive meeting, hosts 1-2 events per month, and volunteers with various social action projects.
The 2019-2020 ToaSTY Board:
- Presidents: Alanna Proskin and Ethan Goldberg
- Executive VP: Julia Rudin
- Programming VPs
- Sr: Brendan Schildkraut
- Jr: Zoe Gellert
- Communications VPs: Daniel Phillips and Marty Brandwein
- Membership VPs
- Sr: Justin Eimer
- Jr: Avery Schwartz
- Religious/Cultural VPs
- Sr: Phoebe Shaw
- Jr: Jack Shapiro
- Administrative VP: Hudson Schantz
- Social Action Co-Chairs: Rosie Swidler, Emma Richman, and Amanda Silverman
- Grade Ambassador Team
- 9th - Ava Swidler and Jacob Weisberg
- 10th - Layla Goldstein
- 11th - Hayden Klein
Please contact Stephanie Ben Simon, Director of Education, for more information or questions.
B’nai Mitzvah Projects
A mitzvah is not only a good deed, but the obligation of every Jew.
An important part of becoming a b'nai mitzvah is understanding Judaism's commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world, through first hand experience. Mordecia Kaplan said it best, “a theology which is not a plan of social action is merely a way of preaching and praying. It is a menu without the dinner.” During b'nai mitzvah training students will work on both an individual and group mitzvah projects. The b’nai mitzvah class will come together and volunteer as a group about once a month. The b'nai mitzvah students build community, bond with each other, and experience first hand Judaism's commitment to social action.
B’nai Mitzvah Individual Projects
Students will pick an individual mitzvah project that reflects their passions, connects to their b’nai mitzvah parsha, and/or they find meaningful. Students can look at the project suggestion list for ideas (an updated list is coming soon!). Students will provide their b'nai mitzvah tutor with updates as they work on their project, and the tutor will keep track of the project's process. Stephanie Ben Simon, the Director of Education, is available as a resource during all the steps of the project. She can help with brainstorming ideas, troubleshooting during projects, and answering any questions. Stephanie can be reached at email@example.com or 914-307-0466.
List of Independent Project Options
Torah Portion Service Themes