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

'New beginnings'-Jewish teen retreat set for August


While there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy summer vacation, Central Florida teens will soon be gearing up for a new school year—and a new Jewish year. It’s the perfect time to celebrate “New Beginnings,” the theme of the 2018 JTEN Community-wide Jewish Teen Retreat.

The retreat, set for Aug. 6-7 at Camp Challenge in Sorrento, is open to all rising 8th- to 12th-graders in the Orlando area, regardless of synagogue or youth group affiliation.

Teens will participate in a 24-hour immersive experience, including services, learning sessions (Torah study, texts, traditions and other topics through a Jewish lens) and social experiences with the shared goal of building deeper relationships and connections with other Jewish teens outside the confines of a traditional classroom or building.

Jewish Teen Education Network is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando that provides shared learning and educational experiences for local Jewish students. The retreat is a collaborative gathering by the JTEN Educators, representing Congregation Beth Am, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Congregation of Reform Judaism, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Temple Israel, Temple Shir Shalom and the North Florida Region of BBYO.

“We have several goals for this year’s community-wide teen education event,” said Jennifer Cohen, the Federation’s JTEN coordinator. “Of course, we want teens to create Jewish connections that will stay with them beyond the retreat. But we also want them to develop a strong Jewish identity and self-confidence while experiencing the joys of community. We think this retreat is the ideal setting to inspire Jewish students as they prepare for a new school year with new opportunities.”

JTEN has offered community-wide teen education days since 2014. Last year’s event, a peer-led program called “Empower the Jew in You,” attracted more than 50 student participants. This is the first time the event has been offered as a retreat. The retreat is made possible in part by a Community Collaborative Grant from the Federation.

Students can register at http://www.jfgo.org/retreat. The cost is $18. Students who cannot afford the registration fee should contact Cohen (jcohen@jfgo.org).

Space is limited to 60 participants. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. July 30. Registration will be closed and a waiting list started if capacity is reached before that date.

All meals will be dairy/vegetarian. Dietary laws will be observed.


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