The story we don’t tell about Jewish teens

An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel.

An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was our commencement ceremony. I looked out in the packed auditorium at over 100 happy, smiling faces waiting to get their credentials certifying that they had spent the last 2 – 5 years in a voluntary educational program that connected them to their heritage and traditions.

Their parents and family members were beaming with pride.

Student received certificates in Hebrew Language, Jewish Studies, Youth Leadership, Teaching  (for Reform and Community supplementary schools), and some were even inducted into the Shalem Honor Society.

Awards were given for Leadership, Acts of Kindness, Service to the school, and more. This kind of commitment doesn’t get mentioned often enough in the many studies about Jewish teens.

We tend to focus on what we’re doing wrong.

Yet, yesterday, over 100 bright, young, committed and dedicated Jewish youth received their “official’ notice that they are ready to make an impact on their college and home communities.

We can ‘kevtch’ all we want about what doesn’t work, because we are always trying to do better…and better usually gets us best.

In this case though, it just makes us blind to the successes we see right in front of us.

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About Ruth Schapira

As a Jewish educator and consultant, I hope to spur new ideas through this blog to hopefully inspire conversation and motivate change within the Jewish community. I'm interested in making a difference through training, leadership development, and outreach. View all posts by Ruth Schapira

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