These are especially critical years for any Jewish student. They are forced to confront the question: What does it mean to be a Jewish adult? Our 7th and 8th grade program offerings allow students to put all of their previous Jewish learning to use in the real world, thus giving them their first view of what it means to live Jewishly as a full participant in the community.
WBTYhelps is our revolutionary 7th and 8th grade religious school program, designed to engage students in service learning in order to form deep connections between volunteer work and the Jewish tradition.
There are two primary components to the WBTYhelps experience:
- The on-campus (either Irmas or Glazer) learning sessions on the first Sunday of each month from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Oct. 7, Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, May 5). Please note that learning for all students will take place at the Karsh Center at Wilshire Boulevard Temple on Nov. 4, 2018.
- The off-site experience with the track of their choosing (details below). Students are required to finish out the year, regardless of their B’nei Mitzvah date, because the organizations with which we partner are relying on them as committed participants.
Participation in WBTYhelps fulfills the requirement for the B'nei Mitzvah Tikkun Olam Project.
- Track Two: Kids Helping Kids
- Track Three: Kids Helping Kids Basketball (boys only/weekly)
- Track One: Social Justice Day Tripping
- Track Four: The Holocaust
- Track Five: Literacy
Participants will partner with The Friendship Circle, an organization that provides Jewish children with special needs a full range of social, recreational, educational, and Judaic experiences.
The experience will begin with the Mitzvah Volunteer Program, a four week orientation program for boys and girls that teaches our volunteers how to interact with children who have special needs. Volunteers will learn about various disabilities, appropriate conduct when volunteering, the importance of giving back to the community and the huge impact they can make on others.
Mitzvah Volunteer Program Training Dates (all sessions take place on Thursdays from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Friendship Circle, 1952 S. Robertson Blvd.
- Oct. 25*
- Nov. 1
- Nov. 8
- Nov. 15
*A parent must attend the first meeting only, for orientation purposes
Using their knowledge and training, students will volunteer with Friendship Circle children three to four additional times throughout the year. Students will experience for themselves the incredible impact that they can have through volunteerism and inclusion.
Volunteer Experience dates*:
- Sunday, November 18th, 9:15 AM – 11:00 AM (Hebrew School Fair)
- Saturday, December 15th, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Saturday Night Fun)
- Sunday, January 20th, 1 PM – 3 PM (Tu B’Shevat Party)
- Sunday, February 24th, 10:30 AM - 1 PM (Sunday Circle)
- Sunday, March 17th, 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM (Birthday Bash)
Students will partner with The Friendship Circle, an organization that provides Jewish boys with special needs a full range of social, and recreational, experiences on the basketball court. Participants will have one training session with a coach prior to their first volunteer experience and then be matched with a client. This track offers the unique opportunity to establish and develop a meaningful relationship that is rooted in appreciation, acceptance, laughter and fun. This track is the only one that meets weekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Pressman Academy.
The program begins in October, after the High Holidays.
In partnership with Tzedek America, students will take half day trips, specifically curated to give the participants profound insight into many issues of social justice in our city. Each trip is a stand alone experience, but the common threads are woven together to form a tapestry of experiences and perspectives. The students will also be able to interact with community organizers who are passionately committed to their causes. All trips begin at 9:30 AM and end at 2:30 PM. Trips will depart from and end at the Glazer Campus in Koreatown, 3663 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
Thrift Shopping With a Purpose (9/30/18): Thrift shops are as social enterprises, which support a specific non-profit. During our “thrift shopping with a purpose” adventure we will visit up to four thrift shops and hear from the people who run these operations and often the clients that the thrift shop supports. On this tour, we will discover hidden gems through a fun and educational scavenger hunt.
Where The Green Grass Grows - Environmental Justice in Los Angeles (1/27/19): Learn the basic principles of environmental justice and discover how it attributes to overall economic, racial and social justice worldwide. This interactive bus tour will examine past victories and current campaigns for environmental equity in Los Angeles. We will learn from the leaders of organizations fighting on behalf of communities most affected by environmental hazards.
Breaking Bread: Food Justice in Los Angeles (2/24/19): Learn about food insecurity in Los Angeles by growing, eating and preparing food. To understand food deserts, we will visit a restaurant whose mission is to provide healthy foods at reduced costs in low-income neighborhoods. We will contribute to planting in a community garden, and experience sustainable living by making our own jars of pickles.
Racial Justice (3/17/19): We begin our journey at the California African American Museum for a customized visit led by an expert historian. We will meet with local leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement and learn about their fight against racially-motivated police brutality in the United States. We will also hear from individuals at Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, an organization that works to improve economic equality for racial minorities in Southern California.
Immigration and Refugees - A Deeper Look (3/31/19): On this program, we will try to understand the various perspectives on immigration and refugees in the United States. This program offers the unique opportunity to participate in a Q&A with an ICE agent, enjoy delicious lunch at a refugee or immigrant owned restaurant and hear from recipients of the DACA grant. In addition, we might meet with activists, artists and attorneys advocating for the rights of immigrants and refugees in Los Angeles.
Understanding Homelessness - Poverty, Addiction and Mental Illness (4/28/19): Learn about how gentrification and homelessness relate by taking a tour of Downtown Los Angeles. Walk through the neighborhood of Skid Row and listen to the stories of individuals who are currently facing homelessness. Visit a mobile school that serves homeless youth. Hear from the leaders of several non-profit organizations that are working to protect the civil rights of homeless people, ensure their immediate needs and advocate for lasting solutions to end this national problem.
Gangs and the Prison System (6/1/19): Learn about organizations devoted to prison reform, juvenile and justice and healing those who’ve been involved in gangs. To truly understand what motivates a person to join a gang, we will hear the life stories of former gang members from Los Angeles. We will also meet with formerly incarcerated individuals and learn about organizations advancing the rights of prisoners in California.
In partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, students participate in intergenerational conversations with Holocaust Survivors, providing them an opportunity to both learn about the past and think about their roles in shaping the future. Participants will be provided the necessary tools to comprehend themes of the Holocaust (e.g. dehumanization, propaganda, humanity, Jewish history, Tikkun Olam, and more), and will learn how to find their voice in order to speak out against social injustices and intolerance in their own community.
Meetings will take place at the Irmas Campus on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Oct. 16, Nov. 13, Dec 11, Jan. 22, Feb. 19, April 9 and May 21.). In addition to the on campus meetings, students and parents will tour the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust on Sunday, March 17th from 10 AM - 1 PM.
Students develop a relationship with The Book Foundation and its partner organizations, including the iFoster Showroom, Peace4Kids, Children’s Bureau, Hope in a Suitcase, Foster Care Counts, and the Book Truck. Participants learn the importance of literacy and education in a child’s life, and and how it promotes academic success. Students also gain an understanding of the needs of underprivileged children in the Greater Los Angeles area and learn about the value of placing new books into the hands and homes of low-income and under-served children.
Each month participants learn about one of The Book Foundation’s partner organizations and engage in a hands-on activity (e.g refurbishing libraries, preparing suitcases for foster children, reading to children, and more). Participants help prepare games, crafts, and activities that help welcome children into a makeshift bookstore at the Peace4Kids Holiday Party and Foster Care Counts Mother’s Day Event.
Please save the following dates*:
- Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 (Library Installation at Alta Loma Elementary)
- Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 (Raising Baby Event with Children's Institute and Alliance of Moms)
- Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 (Peace4Kids - Watts Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club Holiday Extravaganza)
- Saturday, May 11 & Sunday, May 12, 2019 (Foster Care Counts Foster Mother's Day Event)
*Stay tuned for more dates!
Hosted in welcoming participants’ homes, this program is exclusively for girls. For some groups, this may be their second year together, or it may be their first. Regardless, the world girls are trying to navigate includes a barrage of cultural mixed messages, images that impact their self-image, social cues that may conflict with their values, and myriad other dilemmas and questions, as well. The Rosh Hodesh program nurtures deep connection among the participants in each group, fosters a safe learning environment, and discusses all of the issues that affect girls most, all through a Jewish lens. Groups may continue together throughout their high school years.
WNP: Wednesday Night ProgramWeekly at the Irmas Campus from 6-8 p.m.
Wednesday Night Program is a unique, creative way for 8-12 grade students to engage in Jewish content that speaks directly to issues impacting their lives. Teens will have the opportunity to explore contemporary issues through a Jewish lens, in an open, accepting and inclusive environment.
Teens will spend the first half hour of the evening hanging out with friends. They can bring their own dinner or opt-in to a paid dinner program. Whether it’s playing ping pong, shooting hoops in the gym, or just decompressing from a difficult day at school, this chance to unwind helps transition participants from the stress of the day to an evening of fun and challenging activities.
Every week focuses on a different topic, selected in response to surveys and conversations with participating teens. The topics are active, fun, challenging and will feel relevant and engaging-without feeling like you’re in school!
This year, our sessions are broken down as follows (sessions are subject to change):
October 3: WORDS
“To speak much is one thing; to speak to the point, another.” How we carefully choose our words from talk to text to Torah
October 10: DECEPTION
Truth and our health
October 17: JEW…ISH?
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Oh, me? I’m ‘Jew-ish?’ Let’s talk.
October 24: BALLOT
Before the ballot box: a non-partisan exploration of everything we need to know before casting our vote!
November 7: STRESS! A WBTY Youth Group Board run-program on stress and mindfulness.
November 14: FUNNY
Jews and Comedy: the sustainable commodity that has seen our people through generations of strife
November 28: JUSTICE
Rabbi Susan Goldberg joins us to discuss Judaism and Social Justice
December 5: LATKES
Cooking is all about people. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat. Happy Chanukah!
December 12: HATRED
Exploring the history of anti-semitism
January 9: GOOD TROUBLE
Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
January 16: JINGLES
Ads, ice cream trucks, video games, radio: Music is the universal language
January 23: MOVEMENT
Breaking Boundaries: Creating a sacred space
January 30: ATHLETES
Exploring the power of athletes who refused to “just shut up and play.”
February 6: BARS
When the punishment doesn’t fit the crime
February 13: ST. VALENTINE
Left Swipe, Right Swipe, Don’t Swipe, J Swipe: Love in the 21st Century
February 20: TO BE ANNOUNCED
February 27: LETHAL
Eye for an Eye: a Jewish perspective on the purpose and impact of the death penalty
March 6: ERASED
Nachson: Forgotten heroes who took the first step
March 13: LYRICS
Childish Gambino; and Other Modern Poets
March 20: MASKS
What are the masks we wear? What do we show the world?
March 27: P.E.
Bring your sneakers… it’s a Wilshire Boulevard Temple WNP Celebration of March Madness
April 3: TO BE ANNOUNCED
April 10: SMOKE
A Jewish response to drug use
May 1: HOME
These Four Walls: Home and homelessness in Los Angeles
May 8: CONFLICT
Joined by speakers from organizations across the spectrum, and our Israeli Shinshinim, Noam and Tai, we’ll begin a conversation about Israel and the issues with which it struggles.
May 15: Parent and 7th Grade Program
May 22: WBTY BOARD-RUN PROGRAM
May 29: ENDINGS
Tying up loose ends