Teen Programs




Zayin (7th grade) Monday & Wednesdays 4pm-6:15pm

This year, the Zayin class curriculum includes two new programs that meet two days a week. The goals is to support our students as they prepare for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah while continuing their Jewish education. Monday students will focus on tefilah skill building, Hebrew reading fluency and preparation for their B’nai Mitzvah with Rabbi Adam and Cantor Cohen. Families can opt to have individual B’nai Mitzvah tutoring on Mondays during school.  Zayin will also be studying Modern Hebrew and  Modern Jewish History including the Holocaust and Israel. On Wednesdays, students will participate in our Teen Engage program. See below for more details.

Teen Engage (7th-up) Wednesdays 4 pm-6:15 pm

Shaarei Tikvah Teen Engage is a post-Religious School program for students in grades 7th-9th.
Teen Engage is an elective-based curriculum combining Rabbi Adam’s Jewish Debate Club (JDC) with experiential Jewish educational opportunities. JDC is based on traditional and historical text study. Topics include, but are not limited to: technology and innovation, religion in the public square, death and the afterlife, dietary ethics, and prayer and ritual.

The school year is broken up into four modules, offering students a choice between two electives for each module. Track A is the Jewish Debate Club and Track B is an experiential track. Over the course of the year, students will select a total of four tracks, one from each module, either JDC or experiential. Students are required to participate in the JDC at least twice and so JDC must be two of the four tracks that they choose during the year.

Students will spend the first hour of Teen Engage in their chosen track and the second hour with our resident shinshin. A “shinshin” is an 18-year-old Israeli emissary sent by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for a gap year before mandatory Military National Service. The shinshin brings ruach Yisraeli [Israeli spirit] to the students with whom they work. The shinshins will supplement and reinforce students’ class studies as well as provide informal programming to build Jewish identity and educate students about Israel.


Module 1 (9/13 -11/15)

Track 1a: Jewish Debate Club

At JDC, Jewish debate club, teens will debate topics of importance to the Jewish people. These topics will range from current political debates based on core Jewish values and issues related to identity to historical and textual debates echoing the voices of our ancient scholars spanning temporal and geographical settings. While Rabbi Adam will introduce Jewish texts and the voices of thought leaders to add depth to the discussion, the primary goal is to cultivate the voices of the students as leaders of the Jewish community


Track 1b: Israel Defense Forces/Krav Maga

Students will explore the Israeli Army’s National service from the perspective of an 18 year old. Away from their homes, families and friends, these young individuals undergo a demanding, yet  inspiring journey, that reveals the core of who they are and who they want to be. We will learn how these young men and women are defending not only their homes, but also the values of peace, equality, opportunity, democracy, religious tolerance and women’s rights. Students will also participate in several introductory training session of the Israeli hand-to-hand combat and self defense method of Krav Maga. This program includes the background history and origins of Krav Maga as well as an overview of the various branches of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Module 2 (11/29 -1/17)

Track 2a:  Jewish Debate Club

See above description.


Track 2b: Serving our Community (volunteering throughout Westchester/Bronx)

An opportunity to connect to the community through acts of chesed. Participants will create mitzvah projects inspired by the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) by volunteering at soup kitchens, senior homes and local shelters.Students will sort clothing at Kids Kloset in White Plains, vistit Blythdale Children’s Hospital and served dinner at the Bronx Jewish Community Council Hannukah Party. Teens may earn community service hours for the time that they volunteer.

Module 3 (1/24-3/21)

Track 3a: Jewish Debate Club  

See above description.


Track 3b: Jewish Cooking and Cultures Around the World

A hands-on experience of Jewish food culture around the globe. This course will give students the opportunity to explore, cook, and taste foods from a variety of backgrounds from Ashkenazi (European) to Sephardi and Mizrachi (Middle Eastern) as they delve into the history of the Jewish communities from these cultures.

Module 4 (3/28-5/9)

Track 4a: Jewish Debate Club

See above description.


Track 4b: Jewish Food, Farming, & Environment

Students will learn about sustainable agriculture rooted in Jewish traditions.  Contemporary food and environmental issues are explored through innovative training and skill-based Jewish agricultural education. We will address the injustices embedded in today’s mainstream food systems and work to create greater access to sustainably grown foods, produced from a consciousness of both ecological and social well being. Student will plant their own garden.

Moving Traditions: Rosh Hodesh group for girls

Rosh Hodesh is an experiential education program currently touching the lives of 3,500 girls across North America. Shaarei Tikvah’s Rosh Hodesh group meets one Sunday per month.

The program uses Jewish teachings and practices — in a five-year cycle of curricular materials — to give girls a place to feel safe, articulate their deepest concerns, consider the impact of gender on their daily lives, have fun, and be ‘real’ with their peers.

Through discussion, arts & crafts, creative ritual, games, and drama, the girls and their leader draw on Jewish values and a gender lens to explore the issues the girls care about most, such as body image, friendship, relationships, family, competition, and stress.

Rosh Hodesh was launched in 2002 as a response to two challenges that still face girls a decade later:

  • A majority of girls drop out of Jewish communal life after bat mitzvah.
  • Girls’ self-concept plummets as they enter adolescence.

Rosh Hodesh was developed by educators, rabbis, social workers, and psychologists to address the real needs of teen girls within a rich Jewish context. It was the first program to draw on Jewish teachings and traditions to keep girls healthy and whole, instilling in them the ability to counter narrow views of gender in popular culture.