Gifts and Growing Up Jewish

The following piece originally appeared in the Federation's e-newsletter December 1, 2017, written by Lisa Karasic, Chief Marketing Officer.   

This week, a Federation teen planning group in partnership with BYYO and NCSY met over pizza to map out an innovative approach to the next JSERVE International Day of Jewish Youth Service, April 22, 2018 (those of you with kids or grandkids, tell them to save the date). As we head into winter holiday season and so much of the national conversation revolves around gift giving, it struck me what a gift this meeting represented.

For context, the Federation supports youth programs for every stage of development; these programs not only inspire young people to embrace their Jewish identity - a sound investment in a strong Jewish community, but youth programs enable kids to develop life skills that distinguish them in school, social settings, and beyond. 

I realized this week's meeting was a gift to these kids learning leadership, learning about themselves, and honing skills from planning and negotiation to problem-solving; it was a gift to the hundreds of JSERVE participants - who will benefit from the opportunities planned by their peers; and it was a gift to our entire community - which will benefit from a more caring, informed, and active population of young people performing mitzvot on April 22 and far beyond. 

So, if you're thinking about gifts this Hanukkah, think of youth programming supported and brought to you by the Jewish Federation. Get your kids or your grandkids involved in one of these programs - it's our gift to you, to young people, and the entire community:

* Free PJ Library books and music for kids 6 months to 8 years and the new PJ Our Way for nine to 11 year olds LEARN MORE
* Summer camp scholarships that make this joyful Jewish experience more affordable to more families LEARN MORE
* Teen enrichment, from JTeam Teen Philanthropy to Fresh Ink for Teens communication program and Write On for Israel advocacy training program LEARN MORE
* Teen Israel travel grants connecting teens with their Jewish heritage and values through shared experience in Israel LEARN MORE
Gifts like these need no special wrapping, they always fit, and create a lot of joy far behind the holidays. All my best for a belated happy Thanksgiving and early happy Hanukkah. 
Read the entire December E-news here.


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