I’ll paint the picture. Last night I chatted with a group of three 9th grade teenage boys, hanging out in the synagogue lobby, waiting for a ride home after attending a community pluralistic supplementary Jewish high school program in suburbia.
What I didn’t know, is that right in front of me, was such a rich representation of Jewish teen life.
Typical teens. Phones in hand, either texting or waiting for one. Yet they were so willing to answer my questions after I introduced myself.
“So, how are you guys doing?”
“How’s your time here been?”
“Cool, we like it.”
“Glad to hear it! So, do you “do” anything else ‘Jewish’?”
The three of them proceeded to tell me what they do.
They’re active (hold positions on committees) in the synagogue’s youth group, USY. There’s more.
They also attend a Jewish summer camp sponsored by HaBonim Dror (not affiliated with the synagogue/youth group). There’s more.
They also participate in a once a month boys-only group sponsored by Moving Traditions.
They also just started high school.
How do these boys have the time?
Do they get more hours in a day than the average teen? Are they more organized? Less social? Less academic?
No. No. No. and No.
You can figure it out. It ‘s what sets some families apart from others. We know who they are.
They’re the ones who know that for teens, multiple connection points to the Jewish community is proven to be a good thing—for character, and all those other intangibles I’ve written about previously.
That’s what the studies haven’t been able to quantify.
Who are those parents? What drives them to make the decisions they do? How can we support them? Find more of them?
- Jewish Teens: Do you want to be the same or different? (ruthschapira.wordpress.com)
- When You Say “Jewish Community,” Who are You Talking About? (ruthschapira.wordpress.com)