Emanuel Synagogue

  Youth Groups
Emanuel Synagogue and our sister Reform congregation in Oklahoma City, Temple B'nai Israel, have pooled our resources to educate and involve the young people of both our congregations. The result is twofold: a joint program of Jewish religious instruction (the Intercongregational Sunday School) and a series of jointly sponsored youth programs that reach beyond to the wider world.

Our youth programs are governed by a Youth Commission made up of representatives from both congregations. The Commission sets policies and oversees and works with our paid Youth Director, Gary Opper, as well as other paid and volunteer Youth Advisiors. Together they plan and implement a variety of educational and fun activities for our four youth groups:

  (bullet)   Super Jewish Kids (SJK) – 2nd through 4th grade. Typical activities: latke lunch, visits to elderly shut-ins. Sometimes activities are combined with those of the JJ group.

  (bullet)   Junior Jews (JJ) – 5th and 6th grade. Typical activities: latke lunch, trips to movies, ice skating, children's theater.

  (bullet)   Synagogue/Temple Youth (STY) – 7th and 8th grade. Typical activities: a Havdallah Sukkot party, mitzvah day, dinners, regional conventions.
This is the first time the kids get to attend regional events with other groups from different states. They can participate in the Kadima program of the USY (United Synagogue Youth of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) or the Junior NFTY program of the URJ (the North American Federation of Temple Youth of the Union of Reform Judaism).

  (bullet)   Jewish Oklahoma Youth (JOY) – 9th through 12th grade. JOY members become members of USY and NFTY and can attend both kinds of events. (Emanuel Synagogue's "Sooner" chapter of USY has a USY Yellowpage and its own mini-website, Sooner. There's more on the NFTY chapter on the Temple website page.)
The JOY group is extremely active in both Jewish and community events. Typical activities: lead religious services at special Shabbats, Sukkot Havdallah service, collect food for the needy, Israeli Pilgrimage fund-raiser, Purim carnival for young ICSS students, chocolate seder, attend regional, national, and international USY and/or NFTY conventions. For members of Emanuel Synagogue, attendance at these conventions is paid for by the Bloom Fund.

The joint sponsorship arrangement between Emanuel Synagogue and Temple B'nai Israel has proved to be a real benefit for our kids, who can meet a wider variety of young Jews like themselves, as well as take advantage of the resources of both the Conservative and Reform parent organizations. Even combined, our congregations aren't large, but our youth programs make up for their small size with enthusiasm and heart. We're told that our young people often make a strong impression at regional and national conventions with their leadership skills and Judaic knowledge. We're very proud of them.


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