Teen learning is a crucial piece of the Temple Isaiah lifelong learning program. During their year of B’nai Mitzvah year and after, we seek to intensify our students’ knowledge about important Jewish topics, give them social opportunities to be together as a group, and to allow them to explore Judaism in a way that is meaningful to them personally.
We have two programs for our teens: Gesher for 7th Grade, and Next Dor for 8th–12th Grade, which is entirely new for the 2019–20 Academic year.
Gesher means bridge in Hebrew, and our Gesher program is a bridge from our Religious School Sunday morning programs to our teen programs. Students in the Gesher program have an opportunity for intensive learning about the Holocaust and the modern State of Israel (from its formation through its current issues). As part of the learning process, the class takes a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum each spring. While the topics are serious, the teachers in the Gesher program teach through creative and interactive means.
In addition education, throughout the course of the year the Gesher program holds Gesher Community Days in which students participate in activities that are off-curriculum and can be social, social action, or informal learning opportunities. This allows the students to spend time together in a more relaxed setting and build on friendships formed in the earlier years, while also welcoming in new students.
The name of our Next Dor program is a play on the Hebrew word “dor” which means generation. In this program we help students understand that Judaism is theirs to carry forward with them. Beginning in 8th Grade and continuing through High School we present students with information that engages and challenges them, helping them understand Judaism on an adult level, and where they fit into the Jewish community as Reform Jews.
Participants in the Next Dor Program choose how they want to continue learning and be involved in the Jewish community as they move forward from Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Students looking to work toward confirmation and be full participants in the program choose from the following four areas:
Students who are fully a part of the Next Dor Program may also receive one-on-one mentoring from our Rabbis and Educators. The one annual tuition fee covers the costs of the Madrichim Program, the Sunday evening classes, the Ben Topus and Next Dor Shabbatons, a significant supplement for L’Taken and NFTY Dues (for those choosing to participate in regional events). Additional costs may apply for NFTY Regional Events and programs offered outside of Temple Isaiah.
Students in 8th–12th Grades who do not want to take on the full program, are welcome to participate in any aspect of the program (except serving as a Madrich/a) on an as interested basis (à la carte fees apply).