Jay Levine’s Sweet Escape

[by Jessica Hymes]

Jay Levine BBG held a “Sweet Escape” themed chapter Six-Folds Sleepover on October 4, where the members came tovgether to incorporate the six most important components of programming: sisterhood, Jewish heritage, recreation, community service, social action, and creativity.

For sisterhood, the girls all stood in a circle and one started with a ball of string. Each girl would throw it to someone else, and give her a compliment. Then that girl would throw it, and so on until the entire chapter held a piece of string and a web had been created.

Next, for Jewish heritage they viewed a video called “The Tribe.” This brief but entertaining film discussed the stereotypes of Jewish religion, as well as the roots of a Barbie Doll and how it has been given a very different connotation from where it originated. The video was followed by a short discussion, so that everyone could come to the same understanding about stereotypes and their negative effects.

The recreation fold was planned by a steering committee instead of board members, and the chapter loved seeing some of their friends who don’t usually lead step out of their comfort zones. The chapter was divided into teams for competitions related to the Sweet Escape theme of the evening.

Community service also was planned by the steering committee, and it, too, went really well. The chapter decorated tote bags filled with food and other items to be donated to underprivileged children.

For the social action fold girls were mysteriously given plates of junk food and told by chapter board not to eat it. They sat in silence for five minutes, and as one girl started to eat her forbidden food a few others started to follow. The activity continued with a short discussion about giving into temptations and following the status quo.

To take a little part of the sleepover home with them, Jay Levine members used their creativity fold to make stress balls, so they could take a bit of the “sweet escape” home to comfort them in their daily lives.

The hard work of the six board members and steering members surely paid off; everyone had an amazing time and enjoyed their sweet escape with their BBG sisters!

NFTY’s All-Inclusive Evening

NFTY is opening up its doors to all youth groups! On November 22-24, The Temple and Temple Shalom will host a regional event for all NFTY teens from the Ohio Valley Region.

Not only will this event be an amazing experience for all NFTY teens, but also for other Jewish teens in Louisville! They are inviting BBYO, USY and other youth groups to join in a memorable Shabbat celebration. All local Jewish teens are welcome to attend this night of fun, music, and prayer. This celebration is from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, November 22. Services will start at 7 and will be followed by Oneg Shabbat.

Afterward, there will be a community-

wide concert, sponsored by The Meyer Youth Cultural Programming fund. Both the service and concert will feature Danny Nichols, a well-known Jewish singer and song leader.

Hundreds of teens from different denominations, youth organizations and even cities will come together to enjoy the music and to spend time with each other. Louisville teens will be contacted by their youth group presidents or advisors.

Don’t miss this momentous event!

Cotillion 2013-2014

[by Rachel Lipkin]

This year’s Cotillion program nearly doubled from previous years. Thirty 6th graders from around the community signed up for the program this year.

Cotillion is a great way for 6th graders from all congregations to meet each other. It allows for social interaction while they learn to dance and about proper manners. The classes will meet once a month, October-April, on Sundays, and the location will rotate among local synagogues and agencies.

Cotillion provides etiquette training for bar/bat mitzvah-age students. It provides instruction in skills that may be needed for introductions, proper manners and certain ballroom dances that often come in to play for 6th graders during the bar/bat mitzvah events. Cotillion also provides an opportunity for all 6th graders, regardless of synagogue membership, to interact with one another and build friendships for years to come.

This year’s Cotillion program has been improved, offering additional content, including protocol for thanking the parents of the bar/bat mitzvah before leaving the event and congratulating the bar/bat mitzvah, learning cell phone etiquette, remembering RSVP rules, learning temple/synagogue etiquette, dressing appropriately, learning how Jewish values fit within universal values, being inclusive and looking out for each other.

Through Cotillion, each individual will learn the basic etiquette lessons needed for his/her big day, as well as learn appropriate behavior while attending someone else’s bar/bat mitzvah.

Limo Scavenger Hunt

[by Rachel Lipkin]

The annual Teen Connection “Limos Around Louisville” event was a major success. With over 40 participants, one excursion limo, one Hummer limo and one party bus, the program was a ton of fun.

Each limo group had a list of items to locate around the city of Louisville, and every item found had to be documented with a photo. Participants were given a set of clues, and once they figured out the clues, they directed the driver to that location. Upon arrival they took a picture to prove they had found the correct location, and if so directed, completed the given task.

The locations included 21c Museum Hotel, the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Belle of Louisville, Fourth Street Live, Hard Rock Café, Papa John’s Stadium, the Louisville Zoo, Bellarmine University, Comfy Cow, Starbucks and Bowman Field.

The scavenger hunt ended at the JCC, where an ice cream truck met the participants for a delicious treat! The participants all had a great time; they enjoyed riding around Louisville and meeting new friends.

Teaching teens: Mike Steklof

[by Natania Lipp, Teen Topics Editor]

Mike Steklof has been popular among teenagers since he moved to Louisville from Albany, NY, last year. He is the Louisville city director and advisor of the BBYO chapters, and plays an integral part in the goings on of the JCC that involve teen life.

Upon hearing that Mike was also hired as a teacher for the High School of Jewish Studies this year, I was curious to see what he had in store for these 9th and 10th graders. I interviewed Mike about his two classes, “Jewish Relationships” and “Sex in the Text,” to get an idea of how these Sunday morning sessions are going.

Natania: How has Hebrew High School been going?

Mike: It’s been going really well. I enjoy being back teaching religious school after a year off. I taught religious school for five years when I lived in Albany, NY, and I enjoy teaching again.

Natania: Can you say a few words about what you’re teaching, and what you hope for students to get out of the class?

Mike: I am teaching a class about Jewish relationships for 9th graders. I hope they learn how to have positive, healthy relationships and how to live their lives within a Jewish framework. I am also teaching a class called “Sex in the Text,” which is an elective for 9th and 10th graders. It is really exciting for me to see teens dig into Jewish texts and learn about what Judaism says about issues that are really relevant to their lives.

Natania: What seems to be their favorite part so far?

Mike: I think it is fun for students to read stories or learn more about stories that are either not covered or sanitized in Religious School.

Natania: Is it uncomfortable talking about such touchy subjects?

Mike: No, not really. When I was in graduate school, I taught a class for undergraduate students called “Introduction to Feminism,” which really helped me get over feeling uncomfortable about talking about subjects having to do with gender or sexuality.

Natania: What are you most excited for in this year of teaching?

Mike: I really enjoy building community and forming relationships with teens. Teaching at the High School of Jewish Studies helps me form communities in my classroom, the school and the greater Louisville Jewish Community. In addition, it allows me to meet more Jewish teens and form relationships with them.

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