Bnai Mitzvah & What's UP
The Bnei Mitzvah Program at Kolot Chayeinu is a 3 year commitment.
A bar mitzvah student
working on his
handmade talit project
Years 1 & 2
Bnei Mitzvah Weekly Afternoon School
Year 3- What'sUp?!#jewishyouthartjustice
Tuesdays twice a month 6:30-8:30pm
Two year Afternoon School program:
Unit 1: God Talk: Images, Ideas, Doubt, & Faith
Unit 2: Gender & Judaism: Text, Ritual, & Community
Unit 3: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land: History of Israel/Palestine
Unit 1: Wrap Yourself In Light: Making Our Own Talitot
Unit 2: Jews Around the World...OR...Tale of Four (Jewish) Cities
Unit 3: Putting the Tzedek Back In Tzedakah: Judaism and Economic Justice
Bnei Mitzvah Family Class
The required Bnei Mitzvah Family Class during Years 1 & 2 of the Bnei Mitzvah Program is a time for parents and children to learn and talk together about being Jewish, becoming bar/bat mitzvah, prayer, God, community, and more. The curriculum includes the Jewish calendar and holidays, Torah and how to interpret it, the prayers of the Shabbat service, and the Torah service specifically. We meet for one hour once a month. The Family Class is facilitated by Rabbi Lippmann and may sometimes also be taught by Cantor Lisa B. Segal or others. It is held in the same location as the regular school program usually on the first Tuesday of every month, 6:30-7:30pm. Pizza is provided at 6 pm for students and parents.
3rd Year: WhatsUp?!#jewishyouthartjustice
(1) EVERY YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT BASED ON THE INTERESTS AND EXPERIENCES OF THE PARTICIPANTS. We can't wait to see what political commentary, ethical exploring, and creative expression this group is about to develop and share.
(2) This year, we are moving towards increasing concrete, hands-on action with community organizations. We will be building in more opportunities for students (and sometimes other family members) to do actual work with local organizations such as the Ali Forney Center (a beneficiary of last year's tzedakah), Brooklyn Food Coalition, Groundswell, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and more.
What’s Up?!#jewishyouthartjustice is a year-long, twice a month, experiential program in which students explore ideas and action of tzedek (justice) from the personal, to the local, to the global, drawing wisdom from progressive Jewish texts and traditions. After exploring our own relationship to community and justice, we spend each session focused on a different aspect of social justice beginning with issues related to the SELF and moving outward to HOME, LAND, MOVEMENT and finally EARTH. Each category is framed by a specific Jewish text and will be explored using theatre, creative writing, photography, film, blogging, twitter, and other forms of media. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to learn with guest artists and community activists from different parts of New York City. Students are supported in processing this learning by generating creative projects that will culminate in an original multimedia performance piece to be shared with the whole Kolot community. As students sell tickets for their production, they will be going through a consensus process to decide which organizations the proceeds will be donated to.
Why is this a required part of the B’nei Mitzvah process?
Kolot Chayeinu has always held that doing social justice is a crucial element of being a Jew and of being a Jewish community. Several years ago, through an evaluation of the values and needs of our congregation and families of b’nei mitzvah students, we decided that doing tzedakah (social justice work) is also a crucial element of the process of becoming bar or bat mitzvah: a responsible Jew. The committee that created our b’nei mitzvah program urged that social justice be the theme of a post-b’nei mitzvah year, to allow the students some room to explore without the pressures of learning to chant Torah while attending afternoon school AND to give them an engaging experience that might counter the let-down and disengagement many students were feeling after the bar/bat mitzvah celebration.
How it’s going to work in 2012-2013/5773?
Students will be expected to be present and participate in.....
* Twice a month two-hour art & education sessions. There will be thirty minutes for dinner and shmoozing and then a one hour and thirty minutes session including the following components:
- Jewish text study
- Multimedia learning activities (primarily creative writing, theater, photography, film)
- Community organization workshops and materials
- Several Sunday organization visits and action days throughout the year
- Rehearsal and set building days
- Student-produced multimedia performance for the congregation and friends on June 4, 2013
- Students will sell tickets to this performance as a way to organize the event as a fundraiser
- As a beginning experience of collective tzedakah, students will decide as a group how to give the money they have raised to one or more of the community organizations they have learned from
If you have any questions, contact Education Director Ora Wise: firstname.lastname@example.org
Principles of the program:
- Tzedakah should be understood as action towards social justice, which has as an ideal a re-ordering of power and resources
- The definition and practice of tzedakah as "charity" or the often unconnected acts of volunteerism we see in some Jewish congregations is not the most effective way to address the real problems in our society
- With guidance, b’nei mitzvah can develop a systemic analysis of local and global injustices, including but not limited to poverty. They will be able to use this knowledge as they continue to grow and become more capable of participating in social justice work.
- B’nei mitzvah can be engaged in effective community change work that is based on the stated needs of impacted communities
- Making art and media can be a transformative process for individuals and community, including a community of students
- Using arts and media is a dynamic way to teach about issues and concepts that can feel abstract and distant -- they are good tools to help make the issues more personal and real
- B’nei Mitzvah can think deeply about giving as one form of tzedakah and how money can impact an organization, and how to weigh important priorities
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