The Reform Teen Initiative took teens on an Alternative Spring Break trip in March 2019 to New Orleans, LA. Teens had the opportunity to volunteer with Youth Rebuild New Orleans, building homes in the Bayou St. John neighborhood, and with Second Harvest Food Bank. Teens also visited the Whitney Plantation and Lower Ninth Ward. In addition to these educational experiences, teens enjoyed their time eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde, touring Tulane University, and exploring the French Quarter.
Immersive experiences like this which combines direct service and Jewish learning are proven to have a significant impact on the Jewish identity development of teens. A Repair the World study of Alternative Break participants found that 92% of participants reported positive change related to Jewish identity as a result of their experience. St. Louis’s Reform congregations have partnered to create more of these experiences for teens as part of the Reform Teen Initiative. The Initiative works to develop new entry points and strengthen existing opportunities by leveraging the collective resources of the community’s Reform congregations to galvanize the entire Jewish community to more actively engage teens in Jewish life. Central Reform Congregation, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Congregation Temple Israel, Temple Emanuel, and United Hebrew Congregation are all members of the Initiative which is funded in part by a grant from the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.
The Reform Teen Initiative has a multitude of immersive experiences underway for the 2019-2020 school year open to 9th-12th grade teens in Saint Louis. Find a save the date below, as well as a form to fill out to receive more information.
Questions? Contact Stacy Bernstein