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Yom Chamishi, 26 Tammuz 5777
Debbie Chessen closeup
Debbie Chessin
Director of Education

June/July, 2017

Throughout this past school year, our high school students and families have focused on the theme of "Making Choices.” One of the central texts that was used to illuminate this theme is the Hillel text taken from Pirkei Avot Ch 1:14 -- If I am not for myself who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?

The students learned that they not only have a responsibility to care for themselves, but they need to think about how the choices and decisions they make affect others. They also recognized that they have an obligation as Jews to help other people in this world.

During the year, the teens participated in a number of social action programs in the congregation, and community. Two of our high school students, Hannah Cutrona and Carly Chessin, were part of the Saltzman Youth Panel through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Saltzman is a program that was established to help educate younger members of the Cleveland Jewish community about the importance of Jewish communal decision-making, the philanthropic process and responding to the Jewish and community needs. During the year, the girls and 38 other panel members created requests for proposals, reviewed grant applications, and learned about consensus decision-making. In the end of the process, the panelists helped grant nearly $42,500 to 10 different organizations in the community.

In March, seven of our high school students, Hannah Ross, Joey Josselson, Danny Josselson, Alex Weissberg, Evie Krislov, Carly Chessin and Hannah Cutrona, participated in the L’Taken Social Action seminar in Washington DC which is run by the Religious Action Center through the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). The four-day seminar was a unique opportunity for the teens to learn about public policy issues. They were able to lobby their congressmen and women on a number of important issues including gun violence, disability rights, the environment, and the Family Leave Act.

The high school class also participated in a number of local service projects. They joined forces with members of US Together, a non-profit organization that helps to relocate refugee families to the Cleveland area. The projects included setting up and organizing an apartment, creating welcome bags, and collecting clothing and food for the new refugee families./p>

The teens, along with their friends from the Turkish Cultural Center of Cleveland, went to St. Herman’s Homeless Shelter, and assisted with cleanup projects and serving lunches. They also worked on collecting food, toiletries and household items to make over 20 backpacks that will be donated to individuals who are in the process of transitioning to their new homes.

“Kol HaKavod!” to our teens and their amazing teachers, David Rosen, Barbara Schwartz and Harry Lader.

Finally, we have four students who will be graduating this year from high school. Please join us on Sunday, June 4 at 10:30am as we recognize Hannah Cutrona, Eli Atzenhoffer, Shane Strongosky and Sarah Greenberg. We wish you B’Hatzlacha as you begin this new journey in your lives.

June & July Schedule

I hope that everyone has a wonderful and relaxing summer and we hope to see you at Shabbat Services.

Sunday, July 16 there will be a Congregational Picnic at the Schwartz Park Pavilion.

Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4 -- Camp Kee Tov. The camp is open to all BI-TWT families with children in PK-Grade 4. See the flier and registration form.

Saturday, August 19 - Sunday, August 20th Mark your calendars! There will be an Overnight Camp Program for our 9-12th grade students at Camp Asbury in Hiram, Ohio. More information to come.

Religious School will resume again on Sunday, September 10.

Debbie Chessin, Director Of Education*

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*This position is partially funded through the Fund for the Jewish Future of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.