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Youth Programs

Camp JRF

This top-rated summer camp provides a joyful, creative and inclusive Reconstructionist community for young people aged eight to 17. Campers explore music and the arts and learn from visiting faculty members who emphasize experiential learning and creative prayer. They swim, navigate an exciting challenge course and play sports such as soccer, basketball, and ultimate frisbee. The staff includes talented specialists and counselors, including many RRC student rabbis and graduates.

Campers come from communities across North America, Israel and the world, forming a unique Jewish community. On a campus of 120 wooded acres in South Sterling, PA, they experience a safe and fun summer, make lasting friendships, forge their own Jewish identities, and participate in creating a values-driven Jewish culture. Learn more about Camp JRF.

No’ar Hadash

No'ar Hadash (“new youth”) promotes innovative and fun Jewish youth programming from a uniquely Reconstructionist perspective. Teens from across North America take part in creative activities designed to meet their religious, intellectual, spiritual and social needs. Through No’ar Hadash, Reconstructionist teens generate and participate in programs that are important to them and that speak to who they are as teens and as Jews. In addition to the summer Israel Experience, an annual teen kallah (retreat) offers a wonderful weekend experience in locations such as New York City, Boston and Chicago. Visit the No’ar Hadash website.

TEL Post B’nai Mitzvah Program

The TEL (Teens: Experience and Learning) program is designed to enable teens to build upon past learning in their own Jewish communities and frame it within a larger Reconstructionist context. In archeology, a tel is a hill created when different civilizations live and rebuild in the same spot, creating layers of experience.

The TEL calendar has two kallot (retreats) as bookends—one in the fall and one in the spring. Fashioned after the successful No’ar Hadash kallot, these weekends serve to connect participants across North America. Between the kallot, TEL groups meet at least eight times in their communities for two-hour havayot (experiential learning opportunities). Some congregations and havurot supplement the havayot with more frequent programming, such as bi-weekly or weekly gatherings. Each community hires a madrikh (educator/counselor) to help staff the retreats and implement the local events.

Every year, the TEL program focuses on one of the values of spiritual peoplehood that are cornerstones of Reconstructionist Jewish education. Past themes have included tikkun olam (social justice), hiddur mitzvah (creativity) and derekh eretz (character); the theme for 2012-2013 is am Yisrael (Jewish peoplehood).

Congregations interested in learning more about the TEL program should contact Jackie Land.

The TEL program was created with support from the Schocken Foundation.

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