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JCC Blog

JCC Blog

Tag: Youth

Apr19
4Front teens participating in Muffin Day
Meet Or Caduri: 4Front's Relational Engagement Senior Associate

Join us as we give a warm welcome to Or Caduri, 4Front’s new Relational Engagement Senior Associate. As the Baltimore Jewish community’s comprehensive teen initiative, 4Front serves as a hub for Jewish teens to explore their Jewish identity guided by the program’s four pillars–advocate, innovate, educate, and collaborate. Or will be running four teen programs: Peer Leadership Fellows, Social Innovation Fellowship, Teen Board Observers and J Camps CIT. Originally from Israel, his interests have enabled him to visit and live in various countries before moving to the U.S. in 2018. When he was in North Carolina Or led youth programs and sites in public schools. Currently, he resides...

Apr02
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Exploring Judaism Together

My Tribe Families Make Connections to Each Other and Their Faith

When Beth and Dave Markowitz’s oldest son finished preschool, they realized that they wanted a new way to explore Jewish culture and traditions as a family. After doing some networking and searching, they landed on My Tribe. My Tribe is a nine month-long experiential, opportunity for families and communities to come together with others who want to explore fun, meaningful ways to tap into the rhythm of the Jewish calendar and experiences.

My Tribe operates on a “Come as you are” approach, welcoming families of all kinds, and all levels of Jewish observance, interest, and understanding. “My Tribe has been a strategic attempt to build something co-collaborative that resonates with the “New Jewish Family” explains My Tribe founder Rabbi Jessy Dressin, Senior Director of Jewish Life at...

Jun20
Celebrating Jewish Holidays with Our ECEC Children

How do you begin to teach preschool children about the Jewish holidays?

In the Fall of 2017, members of the JCC’s Early Childhood Education Center team assembled a beautiful document providing answers to that question.  Over the course of six months, they developed a resource guide for fellow JCC teachers entitled: Chageinu: Our Celebrations!: An Early Childhood Education Curricular Resource for Teaching Holidays.

The principal authors behind Chageinu were Judy Bickford, Assistant Director of the Meyerhoff ECEC, Staci Katz, Early Childhood Educator (who conceived the idea), and Rabbi Jessy Dressin.

According to Judy, “In creating this text, we wanted to develop a dynamic, growing document. We published it in the form a notebook, so everything is removable. We can add to it as the need arises, or we can subtract...

Apr26
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A New, Unusual, and Miraculous Israel Experience

By Carly Schwartz, Senior Director of Early Childhood Education Center 

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam she’he’eyanu v’qi’y’manu v’higiyanu lazman ha’zeh.  Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion. 

The Schecheyanu blessing is recited to celebrate special occasions, it is said to be thankful for new and unusual experiences.  This seems like the perfect way to start the story of my trip to Israel – a new and unusual experience!

My trip to Israel, while not a first-time experience -- this was my fifth trip to Israel...

Jan19
Shlichim Counselors at Camp
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Continuing a J Camps Connection in Israel

This June, Robin and Jason Katcoff jet to Israel with daughters Wriley, 12, and Ariella, 9, for Wriley’s Bat Mitzvah.  They’re so excited, not only because Wriley will have her Bat Mitzvah in Israel as part of a tour with Beth Am Synagogue, but for four days beforehand, the family will embark on a great “Shlichim tour,” visiting several of the shlichim they have hosted for J Camps and Noah’s Ark Camp and the Macks Center for Jewish Education, here in their Owings Mills home over the last five years.

Shlichim is the plural form of the Hebrew word “shaliach,” which means “emissary” or “messenger.” Each summer, J Camps plays host to several shlichim, to increase Jewish awareness and knowledge and to promote an understanding of Israeli ideals among J Camp campers and the camp...

Jun29
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Early Education “Rock Star”

Stoler Early Childhood Education Leader Ilene Meister Prepares for Her Next Act  

Ilene MeisterOn the heels of an incredible 30 years as an educator and then Director of the JCC’s Stoler Early Childhood Education Center, Ilene Meister is set to reignite her career as a top educator in the region.  To those who know her well, that is hardly a surprise.

“Ilene Meister is a rock star,” says Dale Busch, the JCC’s former Executive Vice President from 1994-2011.

“Ilene’s mind is so vibrant and creative,” says Dale. “You give her the seed of a concept and she runs with it...

May12
Mother's Day
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Like Mother, Like Daughter

Nurturing the Community’s Children at the J

At the JCC’s Meyerhoff and Stoler Early Childhood Education Centers (ECE), we are fortunate to have in our classrooms, five Mother/Daughter teaching pairs. Their love for each other and their love and nurturing kindness toward the children they teach lay at the heart and soul of what our ECE is really all about. Indeed, we are very blessed to have these 10 outstanding women on board as educators. 

Sonia and Arielle Bodner

Sonia and Arielle BodnerFor Sonia Bodner, the best part about teaching at the Meyerhoff ECE is its “homey” atmosphere. The J’s child care...

Mar29
Mr. Sol teaching
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The man, the myth, the legend …

Mr Sol and his classMr. Sol 

Born at Sinai Hospital in 1965, the youngest of six siblings, Sol began working at the J in 1982, 35 years ago.

As a student at Franklin High School, he began volunteering his time doing what he’s always done best: helping out others, distributing lunches to seniors on Tuesdays and Fridays.

In 1986, on a break from the J, Sol began a six-month training program at Sinai Hospital’s pediatric department, working with two year-olds and teenagers. There, he helped two year-olds who could not sit up; he also worked with teenagers who had tried to commit suicide - he shared with them lessons in life.   

A young Sol had already experienced some lessons in his own...

Feb27
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Rocking and Singing with Ms. Vanessa

Ms. Vanessa Culp has been teaching infants and toddlers – and their parents – at the Meyerhoff Early Education Center at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC for over twelve years.

A blessing for so many young parents passing through the Meyerhoff, Ms. Vanessa’s kindness and support, her calm demeanor, and her nurturing soul are gifts that don’t go unnoticed.

There are so many terrific teachers at both of the J’s Early Childhood Education Centers. Vanessa is one of those teachers you want at the head of the classroom, or, in Vanessa’s case, down on the ground with your child, observing, smiling, laughing...

Jan16
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Protecting the JCC Village

Child Abuse Prevention Training at J Camps and the J

By Drew Fidler, LCSW-C
Policy & Program Development Manager
Baltimore Child Abuse Center

For the last four years, the JCC of Greater Baltimore and its J Camps team have been working with Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) to bring comprehensive, practical training about child abuse, neglect, and responding to children in crisis to JCC staff. The goal of training is three-fold: protect children, protect staff, and protect the JCC. This partnership provides all staff with a comprehensive understanding on what is...