One who finds a faithful friend finds a treasure. – Proverbs
One who welcomes a friend with a smile is as one who is giving the finest gifts in the world. – Avot drabbi Natan
Select for yourself a teacher, acquire a friend, when you assess people, tip the balance to their favor. – Pirke Avot
Jewish tradition places a strong emphasis on the value of friendship. Strong friendships enhance our lives and help us to connect to the world around us. Lasting friendships within a community build a stronger community and help the community members remain close to one another.
Helping our youth to build lasting Jewish friendships is part of the design of Limmud: Temple Beth El’s Youth Education Program. Built into the program are several key elements that work toward that goal. Each grade-based group has adult Madrhichim who plan community building activities during their daily group time. The Madrichim also work throughout their time with the children to help them connect with their peers and encourage friendships that extend beyond the TBE walls. We also work to build community and friendships across the grades. To this goal, we have a monthly Limmud lunch that brings together the whole program. We also have special days like the Yom Sport day that was organized by our Ramah Service Corps Fellows and allowed for an opportunity for children to get to know one another in a different kind of atmosphere. Additionally, we have multi-grade chuggim (electives) that allow children to connect with one another based on an area of interest.
In addition to Limmud, we offer many other opportunities for our children, both those who attend Limmud and Koolanu (our teen program), and those who do not, to form friendships and be together as a community. Our youth and family Shabbat services give the opportunity to come together in prayer. TBE’s three youth groups – Halutzim for 3rd-5th graders, Kadima for 6th-8th graders and USY for 9th-12th graders – provide regular opportunities for our children to connect through fun, social, community service and educational activities.
Developing strong friendships within our TBE community is not just for our youth! I encourage everyone to nurture their TBE relationships, building not only an enriched life, but also a stronger community.