With the gradual decrease in Jewish youth involvement in synagogues across the country, many parents have come to believe that, with each generation, more children are “losing their Jewish identity.” Temple Bat Yahm’s new Youth Engagement Coordinator, Melinda Weiss, hopes to restore the passion to learn about Jewish culture in today’s youth through the integration of three new youth group programs.
Temple Bat Yahm has made it a priority to focus on youth engagement. The enthusiastic Weiss was hired for her creative ideas to keep children involved with their synagogue and her natural ability to connect with children and teens.
Weiss hopes to be an inspiration for Temple Bat Yahm’s Jewish youth. “I want to be their mentor and help them build their Jewish Identity so that when they’re older, they are confident in their beliefs,” says Weiss.
In her short time working at Temple Bat Yahm, Weiss has already created three different youth groups for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 to help kids of varying ages and interests connect.
In the next few months, Weiss has events planned, such as Broomball at the rollerskating rink, a Pump It Up party, and a Hanukkah celebration. She also plans for the teens to participate in NFTY activities and a community walk to end genocide later this year.
“TBY is craving the connection for youth engagement, and I hope that with tons of effort and an open mind, I can make these kids and teens feel connected to each other and their community,” says Weiss.
Some Jewish children may be losing touch with their religion, but the children of Temple Bat Yahm will not be among them, thanks to new Youth Engagement Coordinator Melinda Weiss. ✿
Hannah Schoenbaum is a sophomore at Corona del Mar High School and Co-Editor of her school magazine, Trident. She is an involved member of the Temple Bat Yahm congregation and youth group. She enjoys writing, photography, filmmaking, and world traveling.