NCSY Dallas Region Introduces “Torah High” Sunday Program For Jewish Teens

May 5, 2006

The Dallas-based Southwest Region of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth will offer a new and exciting initiative in Jewish education for teenagers when it presents Torah High, a Sunday morning program for Jewish teens from ages 13-17, which will run from Sunday morning, August 27-Sunday morning, December 17. The program — with classes in Contemporary Issues, Hebrew Language, Jewish History, and Jewish Philosophy — is intended for Jewish teens of all backgrounds not already attending Sunday school. No synagogue or temple affiliation is required.

Registration is now underway.

Classes, which will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon (leaving plenty of time to watch Cowboys’ games on television), will be held at the new NCSY Center in Hillcrest Village, at 6757 Arapaho Road. The goal is to have a class of 25 students; several have already signed up. Tuition is $295 for the term, with a $75 deposit at registration.

According to Rabbi Israel Lashak, Director of the Southwest Region, Torah High is designed to complement other educational programs in the Metroplex by providing an in-depth curriculum for high-school students seeking supplemental Jewish education.

“This is wonderful program” said Rabbi Lashak. “It gives teens an opportunity to learn about Judaism in a safe setting, their own setting, in our brand new teen center. Teens will be able to speak out and share their thoughts and ideas. Our teachers are top notch and we look forward to giving the teens a rich and meaningful experience.”

“Torah High is an exciting initiative for students attending secular high schools who are interested in exploring Jewish language, history, and philosophy,” Rabbi Lashak added. “By balancing study of traditional texts with exploration of contemporary topics, Torah High seeks to illuminate the relevancy of the Jewish tradition. The program and its teachers are dedicated to Torah study and observance, unity of the Jewish people, and Zionism. The goal of Torah High is to facilitate lifelong commitment to Jewish education and practice, by providing a meaningful and in-depth approach to Judaic studies and cultivating a love for learning “

The fall curriculum is as follows:

Contemporary Issues:
Using cultural icons such as The Family Guy, Bart Simpson, Twilight Zone and MTV as a springboard for discussion, this class will examine contemporary issues through the perspective of classical Jewish thought.
Rabbi Israel Lashak

Hebrew Language:
Learn to read and write Hebrew. This course will be designed with the objective of achieving proficiency in four basic language skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension.
Mrs. Yael Heth

Jewish History—Journey of a Nation:
Jewish History is the history of the world. Embark on a train ride through time. This crash course will focus on the practical lessons gleaned from Jewish history that shed light on the direction we pursue today as Jews.
Mr. Janos Nanasi

Jewish Philosophy:
What is the reason for life? What is the mission of the Jews? How do we make sense of suffering? This class will engage the philosophical structure that has made Judaism the foundation of Western World thought.
Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt

The fall faculty is as follows:

Rabbi Israel Lashak is a popular Judaic studies teacher at Yavneh Academy. He has taught Jewish teens for over 15 years and has led NCSY’s Southwest Region since 1992. He received a M.A. in Finance from Johns Hopkins University and his rabbinic ordination from the Talmudic University of Florida. Rabbi Lashak is a fun and engaging person. His classes on current events will offer ways to see the moral underpinnings of events occurring in our turbulent times. He and his wife, Baila, have three children.

Mrs. Yael Heth graduated from the University of Tel Aviv with a degree in Hebrew, Semitic Languages and Education. She is a popular teacher at Yavneh Academy and has taught Hebrew language at the Jewish Community Center.

Mr. Janos Nanasi has taught teen and pre-teen Sunday school for over 15 years, including at Temple Shalom where he created a successful curriculum on Holocaust and Modern Israel studies. He has served as Assistant Director of the Holocaust Center of Dallas. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Nanasi and his family live in Dallas.

Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt has taught philosophy to Jewish teens and adults since 2000. He is the author of two books including Maharal: Emerging Patterns (Feldheim Publishers, 2001). The father of three children, his classes challenge teens to figure out what they believe about core issues and values and why they believe them.

For more information or to register, contact the Region at 972-955-9512, or ilashak@hotmail.com.