Eight Ways to Celebrate Hanukkah with Teens
BY: RABBI ELIZABETH ZELLER for ReformJudaism.org
With eight nights to celebrate, Hanukkah is a wonderful holiday for families to enjoy together – especially if there are teens in the house or in your extended family. Teens are old enough to understand the lessons of the Hanukkah story, so it is an opportunity to talk about the value of driving out darkness with light, of standing up for your beliefs, even when others might not agree with you, and of coming together and celebrating our religious freedom through compassion, thankfulness, and community. It’s also a great time to have some fun. Here are eight ways to involve the teens in your life in the celebration of Hanukkah.
Why Israel has world’s highest percentage of teenage EMTs
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Sixty percent of the volunteer staff of Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency-response network, are teenagers.
When the dispatcher alerted them about a two-week-old baby who’d stopped breathing, 16-year-old Ori Cohen and his Magen David Adom crewmates were right nearby with their ambulance. Working quickly under the guidance of the crew’s senior emergency medical technician, Cohen and his fellow volunteers restored the infant’s breathing and whisked her off to the hospital. The doctors said she’ll be fine.
Cohen is one of 11,000 Israeli teenagers working voluntary shifts on MDA ambulances throughout Israel – making up a remarkable 60 percent of the volunteer staff.
Confessions from the Edge of a Cliff: My Teen Mental Health Journey
By Dani, an 11th grader on eJewishPhilanthropy
Talk loudly and talk a lot, because communication is first step on the path to healing.
Hope is a powerful thing. Hope inspires change. Hope – hatikva – is the reason our Jewish people have survived and thrived in this hostile world for so long. Hope is the ability to look past the darkness of the present and see a brighter future. But when a person loses hope, loses that ability to imagine an eventuality in which anything could ever be alright, it becomes difficult to go on.
I know this because I barely survived four years living without hope. For those four years, I was stuck alone in a dark, empty room, seriously contemplating just getting up and checking out before I realized that those who loved me – my friends, my parents, my rabbis – were only a phone call away. It is an experience I would not wish on anyone, and one I wish never to repeat.
My Nickname Was Retard: How I Survived Bullying
by JerusalemU.org for aish.com
With no friends and no future in sight, Ben cried himself to sleep at night, even contemplating suicide. But then he had a revelation that changed everything.
“When everyone else has given up on you, it’s hard not to give up on yourself.” Ben is a fighter. And there are others out there. People who seem so ordinary - yet contain a hidden greatness. Watch the rest of Jerusalem U’s Hear Me Roar series, and meet young Jewish heroes who have overcome staggering obstacles to reveal their inner strength. Support Bullying Prevention Month, World Day of Bullying Prevention, National Stop Bullying Day, and Anti-Bullying Day - let’s put an end to bullying!
The prize of postponing your lives for one year
By Inbal Arieli for Israel21c
On top of military service, many Israeli teens do a year of volunteering or preparatory studies. It’s a valuable transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Educators in countries without compulsory military service often ask me, “How can we create a stronger connection between youth and community? How can we teach them responsibility and accountability?”
They assume that compulsory military service in Israel inspires these characteristics. I don’t adhere to this assumption. I believe other Israeli frameworks that target positive causes enable these characteristics and can serve as models to replicate. They do, however, come with a price: postponing life for a year. But is it a price, or is it actually a prize?