Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Election Eve JTEN event will help teens flex political muscle


They might be too young to vote on Nov. 8, but Greater Orlando students in grades 8 to 12 will have an opportunity to share their views, get involved and learn more about politics as part of a Jewish Teen Education Network (JTEN) initiative on Election Eve.

JTEN, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, is sponsoring “Decision 2016: Your Voice, Your Vote, Making a Difference,” its fall Communitywide Teen Education Day, from 5:45 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Congregation of Reform Judaism, 928 Malone Drive, Orlando.

This unique event, which is offered free of charge, will help teens become civically engaged, learn about issues through a Jewish lens, discover the important roles that Jews play in the political system and discuss all sides of the issues most important to them. Local rabbis, synagogue educators, youth directors and Jewish community leaders will be on hand to lead and moderate the discussions.

The evening will begin with a presidential-preference straw poll, followed by a pizza dinner and discussions on a range of political issues with community Jewish leaders. A group activity, “Beneath the Slogan,” is billed as an “issue scavenger hunt,” with teens creating political slogans and discussing the issues and meaning behind them. The evening will conclude with a second vote, the results of which will be compared with the earlier straw poll.

One of the primary goals of the JTEN event is to show Greater Orlando students how they can become engaged in the political process and make an immediate impact as individuals and as a community.

“We want students to be equipped with the tools that will help them play a role right away in shaping the political landscape,” said Jennifer Cohen, the Federation’s JTEN coordinator. “Whether it’s talking with their families about the issues, engaging with local Jewish leaders or writing to their elected officials, our teens have a voice, and our aim is to show them how to make sure that voice is heard.”

For teens in Southwest Orlando, free transportation will be available from Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, 11200 S. Apopka Vineland Road, to Congregation of Reform Judaism. The bus will depart SOJC at 4:30 p.m. and leave CRJ following the program at 8:15 p.m. to return to SOJC.

Students can register now at http://www.jfgo.org/jten.


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