Lisa Friedman, co-director of education at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, New Jersey, writes in the Torah Aura blog about their school's efforts to engage their post Bar/Bat Mitzvah age students, bringing them to continue their enrollment, continuing to grow as literate, compassionate, and committed Jews.
Temple Beth-El staff involved the students and parents in an educational restructuring of the school. They made substantial changes to both the structure and curriculum of the existing program, and developed dynamic, experiential programs that engage students in active learning each time they come to school. Over two years they created the Confirmation Academy, meeting with resounding success.
Some of what they learned from the process:
- Socialization is critical.
- Curricular content is significant.
- Get the Parents involved.
Together with four other Reform synagogues, they have now launched a community post-Confirmation program, called PaRDeS; a Reform Jewish Experience for 11th and 12th graders.