Youth directors from Florida recently gathered in Boca Raton to participate in a networking lunch for synagogue youth and teen directors. The program, “Creating and Developing an Effective Youth Department in Your Synagogue” was moderated by Todd Cohn, Executive Director of Southern NCSY; and Naftali Herrmann, Southeast Regional Director of the OU. The networking event was presented by the Orthodox Union Department of Synagogue and Community Services of the Southeast Region and Southern NCSY.
The themes of the conference included:
- Proper infrastructure for successful youth programming
- Youth programming is not a babysitting service
- Getting buy-in from the teens, board and rabbi
- Philosophy of youth budget and fundraising
A roundtable discussion on middle school was led by Jason Segelbaum, Director of Emtza NCSY, a division of Southern NCSY for teens in junior high school (“Emtza” is the Hebrew word for “middle.”) Amy Jacobson, Programming/Marketing Associate at Southern NCSY, gave a presentation on “Raising the Bar on Youth Programming.” Young Israel of Hollywood Youth Director Avi Frier shared with the audience “20 Programming Ideas in 10 Minutes.” Naftali Herrmann announced the launch of the OU’s Youth Directors Network; the event was culminated with Todd Cohn’s “Steal My Ideas.”
Youth directors from the following synagogues participated:
- Cheli Mizrahi, B’nai Sephardim Shaare Shalom of Hollywood
- Itai Bar, Palm Beach Synagogue
- Tehila Bar, Palm Beach Synagogue
- Shalev Peleg, Skylake Synagogue, North Miami Beach
- Sasha Dominguez, Temple Menorah, Miami
- Avi Fried, Young Israel of Bal Harbour
- Avi Frier, Young Israel of Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale
- Daniel Nabatian, Young Israel of Kendall
Todd Cohn and Naftali Herrmann declared in a joint statement, “This is an invaluable and unprecedented collaboration between Synagogue Services, NCSY, and local synagogues. Our goal is to raise the bar across the board in terms of the quality and quantity of programs being offered by networking and training the top talent of experienced and new youth professionals.”
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