In helfman, Third

By Rabbi Jordan Helfman.

Long Live the Jewish Teen Experience Midtown!

SchoolSince the 1800s, Holy Blossom Temple has been running amazing, high quality educational programming for teens.  And we are going to continue to provide transformative opportunities for our teens – in some of the most formative years of their lives, Jewishly – to engage with Jewish text.

However, we are no longer going to do it alone, and we are no longer going to call it ‘Senior School.’

Holy Blossom has always been ‘the destination’ for many of our teens.  We have stories of kids in the 1960s and 70s sneaking back into the building after it was officially closed to continue spending time with each other.  The yearbooks published by the Grade 10 classes in previous years tells about all of the antics, fun and learning which happened when our teens would gather.

There used to be hundreds of teens in our building on a regular basis and your youth groups have produced Jewish leaders around North America.

school 3The core of all of these experiences is a community of people who share common interests getting together to have fun in a Jewish setting, with challenging and life-changing learning as the bonus.

HABSTY – our teen senior youth group – still exists, and HBTeens events which invite in all of our teens, including many Leo Baeck graduates and CHAT students are still going strong.   Our Grade 6 and 7 programs are still going strong with constant tweeks.

And now, for our children Grades 8-12, we are introducing JTEM – Jewish Teen Experience Midtown.

JTEM is a collaboration of Holy Blossom Temple, Beth Tzedec and Beth Sholom – our neighborhood partners.  It will run on Monday nights with a 6pm optional dinner, and then 6:30-8:30 two hour long fun structured experiential learning with integrated Jewish teaching.

school 5The classes aim to be project based, and we have a line-up for next year which already includes a course on 3-D computer modeling (which will end in the production of Jewish ritual objects), Sex in the Texts, a course on the relationship between Canadian Law and Jewish Law, and a Drama course.

Sign-up materials will be out soon, and courses will be open to any teens in the neighborhood, so please feel free to share this news.

Confirmation (Grade 10) will continue to be taught as a Holy Blossom class.

As excited as we are, we also mark the end of a long era of our Senior School as a separate entity.  If you have any stories you want to share, please feel free to include them below in the comment section.

If you would like to celebrate with this year’s confirmation class, please join us on Saturday, June 11th at 10:30am as they are all called to the Torah.

And if you love Jewish learning, please consider joining us as well that night as we do some learning at HBT, and then transfer and keep on learning until at least 6am at the Miles Nadal JCC – Shavuot details below.


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  • Peter VanKoughnett

    Very excited for the launch of JTEM!

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