As COVID-19’s rapid spread causes the cancellation of more and more physical events, and all people are staying home to limit the virus’s further spread, Jookender has decided to offer teenagers and young adults monetary contributions for hosting online classes for all age groups.

This idea originated in Jookender’s Teens4Teens and Club Bekitzur, where the above groups get trained to support the community by offering a number of classes, workshops or events. To encourage teens to continue being a part of the community after their b’nei mitzvah age, Jookender came up with a program that teaches teenagers how to become Jewish educators themselves.

The Melting Pot program does not limit teenagers with just Jewish topics but encourages adding a “Jewish flavor” to any topic they are interested to explore, plan for, prepare and, lately, teach. This pilot program started in January as an in-person program. This winter, teens were able to put together two one-day camps for children ages 5-12 on MLK and President’s Day, and a few in-person workshops. Right now, the program is being converted to its online version, where students will learn to think about and prepare the online events for kids.

In addition to this program, the other teen program, Social Entrepreneurship, will be working on the overall picture of bringing educational aspects of Jookender online. Outside of these teen programs, our young adult Club Bekitzur will be putting together an online comfort and support program for adults in our community. The classes, workshops and events will be running in either English, Russian or Hebrew, or in a combination of all three languages. While the schedule is still fluid, please check our page for online classes. Classes will be entertaining for both children and adults and will provide positive opportunities to engage while we are all in isolation.

How exactly will these classes be formatted? Classes will be on various topics such as history, morning exercises and basic foreign language, depending on what teenagers feel comfortable with and take interest in teaching. All classes will be completely free for the public and will be a medium to spread education and general well-being in a time when organizations that usually do this are currently closed. The classes will be planned and run by teenagers and young adults, providing them with the opportunity to give back to the community while schools remain closed.

If you are a teenager interested in learning more about teaching, or need help adapting when everything is going online and would like the opportunity to teach a topic of your choice and earn money for the work, or know a teenager who would be interested in this project, please contact Jookender for more information.

The Melting Pot program is open for any teen 13-19 years old. You can sign up for the next term that starts online on April 6.

Arthur Andreev and Daniel Sardak are interns in the Jookender Social Entrepreneurship program for high-schoolers.

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