Nearly 1000 Jewish high school students across 70 cities and 5 continents will have completed JLI Teens courses this academic school year, making Jewish learning a priority in their busy lives.
Adolescence is often characterized by the search to define oneself and create a sense of belonging in this large, looming and confusing world. Too young to attend adult courses, and too advanced to attend Bar and Bat Mitzvah classes, teen education in Jewish communities often falls to the way side.
JLI Teens, a division of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, is proudly filling in the gap as the most effective academic program to provide Torah based curricula for Jewish high school students.
What distinguishes a JLI Teens curriculum from other Torah classes is that it centers around relevant subjects to teens, presenting Torah topics that have tangible impact on their lives. With over 70 current affiliates, JLI Teens has doubled since May 2012.
Taught in public schools, private schools, Chabad houses, coffee shops and private homes; JLI Teens works to reach the teen demographic at their level. Winter's 2013 course "Jewish Revolutions" addressed topics such as social justice, environmentalism, modern day anti-Semitism and money.
Jessica Memun, a high school freshman at a Jewish day school in San Diego, attends JLI Teens courses as a supplement to her Jewish education. "We discussed different topics I already had opinions on, though once I understood what the Jewish standpoint was, my opinions began to change," she says.
S. Diego Jewish Academy offers their students high school honors credits for participating in the course and along with many of her close friends, Memun will be continuing with JLI Teens this coming year.
The class was eye-opening socially as well, Jessica said, finding out what her friends believed in and exploring their beliefs and Judaism's perspective together was a deeply bonding experience. "We never talked about those kinds of things before; we had a real chance to learn what your friends think about other things."
JLI Teens is proud to introduce a brand-new course for the year of 2013-2014 entitled ‘Is It Legit’, dealing with issues of everyday ethical dilemmas teens face. Is It Legit, will delve into struggles revolving around, Privacy, Bullying, Honesty, Obligations to parents and other ethical scenarios.
Each course was tailored with videos, power-point lessons. classroom exercises and supplementary information.
The JLI Teens experience has been different than any other the teens have experienced. "We went to a friend’s house, and learning didn't feel like school, there is no pressure, your answer doesn't have to be right or wrong, and you can really express your thoughts."
Collectively and individually, these teens have worked diligently to incorporate the Torah perspectives into their personal lives.
Rochel Flikshtein, shlucha in Wilmington, Delaware, reports that JLI Teens has played a major role in their work in the community and work engage the teens intellectually and practically.
"JLI Teens has certainly helped to fill the void of teen Jewish education within our community. JLI Teens curriculums not only pique the interest of teens academically, but we have seen multiple instances of it truly affecting the lives and day to day decisions of our teens," Flikshtein explained.
The result of JLI, Flikshtein said, has not only been felt by the teens, "Parents have thanked us for the effects they see in the community by teens being more connected to the fact that they are Jewish and caring about the community more."
JLI Teens provides an infrastructure that is academic, educational, stimulating, interactive and social, in an open, non-judgmental environment. Students are encouraged to pursue personal growth at their own pace, with non-obtrusive mentorship. Without the pressure students are encourage to learn for the sake of learning, personal growth and character refinement.