The high holidays are fast approaching, and it’s a great time to reflect on the past, what has worked, and what changes we’d like to make for the coming year. At BJTI, we’ve moved offices (still within the J), which has forced us to clean out and reflect. What worked? Well, it was our most successful year to date. We met with over 300 new teens across Boulder county, held over 80 individual club meetings, and launched a 9th grade follow-up program after an incredibly rewarding year of NaviG8. We made strong connections with our teen leaders, and we were grateful to get to develop such close relationships with the members of our Teen Advisory Board. What were our challenges? We found that pushing clubs in schools were there wasn’t much interest wouldn’t work (no matter how many times we marched donuts and pizza through the hallways), that forcing teens to do anything they aren’t 100% bought into won’t work (no matter how dedicated their parents are), and that we might find progress in unexpected places. While our mission is to give Jewish teens a space to celebrate their culture, we found that non-Jewish teens were also looking for a safe space to be themselves; our greatest byproduct has been the engagement of our non-Jewish teens, who have learned about our culture and can use that knowledge to combat anti-Semitism when they encounter it. The uptick in anti-Semitism in the past few years has not gone unnoticed and Boulder County has been no exception; our teens have learned how to address micro-aggressions before they turn into larger acts of hate, and working together in a larger community has given them a louder voice to speak up against hatred. We are so proud of our participants and the work they’ve done this year, and we are really looking forward to the coming year.
If you are looking to become more involved in the Jewish community as the New Year approaches, please feel free to get in touch with us.