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

Federation offering JTEN grants for 2017-18


The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is pleased to announce the fourth year of the Jewish Teen Education grant program and is now accepting grant requests for 2017-18 academic year.

Federation’s JTEN (Jewish Teen Education Network) offers grants to synagogues and community agencies that provide Jewish educational opportunities for teenagers in Central Florida. JTEN also sponsors community-wide Teen Education Days and provides resources and networking opportunities for Jewish educators.

The third year of JTEN grants yielded five successful programs from Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Congregation Beth Am, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Congregation of Reform Judaism and a collaborative grant partnership between Temple Israel and Temple Shir Shalom.

The engine that keeps JTEN running is the JTEN Educators Committee. In March, the committee celebrated 12 consecutive months of convening to plan community-wide educational programming. In April, The JTEN educators—Gabe Grossman, Amy Geboff, Rabbi Joshua Neely, Cantor Kim Singer, Rabbi Hillel Skolnik, Dr. Sheryl Sacharoff and Elana Moss—were honored as Federation Menschen of the Month for all they have done to make the past year a success.

The educators represent six synagogues; Congregation Ohev Shalom, Temple Israel, Temple Shir Shalom, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Congregation of Reform Judaism and Congregation Beth Am. All received 2016-17 Federation JTEN grants for formal Jewish teen educational programming.

Last fall, JTEN and the JTEN educators organized a Community-wide Teen Education Evening for more than 50 students. “Decision 2016: Your Voice, Your Vote, Making a Difference,” held on Election Eve, helped students to examine the presidential election through a Jewish lens.

After the November program, the JTEN educators began planning a Religious School Teachers Workshop, scheduled for Aug. 13, which will kick off the 2017-18 religious school year for these synagogues. This workshop will bring together more than 50 teachers for professional development, training and networking. Plans are also in the works for the 2017-18 Community-wide Teen Education Day.

Another JTEN program is the Jewish Federation’s Colman Israel Travel Scholarship. In April, the Jewish Federation awarded $3,000 in Colman scholarships to three local high school students traveling to Israel this summer, said Jennifer Cohen, Federation’s director of Outreach and Engagement. From January through March, teens had the opportunity to complete an Israel travel scholarship application, including a personal essay outlining their goals for the trip and what they hope to bring back to the community.

“We’re definitely making an impact on Jewish teen education here in Central Florida, thanks to the dedication of our JTEN educators,” Cohen said. “We look forward to continued growth and success of the program as JTEN moves into its fourth year.”

The guidelines and grant application are available online at http://www.jfgo.org/jtengrants. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. July 5. If you have questions about the JTEN grant process, Colman Israel Travel Scholarships or the JTEN program, email jten@jfgo.org.


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