Life Skills Workshops for Teens & Young Adults


Self-esteem & Peer Pressure: It’s Time to Feel Good about Yourself

How do technology, media, fashion, friends and parents contribute to high and low self-esteem and the decisions you make? What does Judaism have to “say” about peer pressure? Through a series of self-esteem building activities, participants reflect on their personal views about who influences their decisions and the values Judaism provides in guiding them towards safe and healthy choices.
Values Presented: Attentiveness through Listening (Shmiat HaOzen), Trust (Emunah), Wisdom (Chochmah), Positive View of the Future (Tikvah)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Middle School, High School, College, Summer Camp, Youth Group

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Going to Israel: Everything You Need to Know before Getting on that Plane

What expectations do young people have about partying in Israel? What are the cultural differences between Israeli and American youth? Thousands of teens travel each year to Israel on summer tours and study abroad programs. Many of these programs encourage experiences which promote a tremendous amount of bonding, from close friendships to intimate romantic relationships. After many summers traveling to Israel with camp, studying abroad at Haifa University, and living in Tel Aviv, Mara imparts her knowledge about “life after dark”, and what to do and where to go if you need “help” in Israel.
Values Presented: Responsibility (Achriut), Planning and Decision Making (Tochniyot), Supporting your Friends (Dibuk Lechaverim), Appropriate Behavior/the Way of the Land (Derekh Eretz)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: High School, College, Study Abroad Orientation

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Relationships & Dating: I Love You?

“Dating”, “hooking up”, “going out”, “hanging out”, or “just chilling” – no matter what teens call their intimate relationships, it’s important for them to develop an inner moral compass and a code of behavior based on Jewish ethics for these experiences. Participants learn about the qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships by answering a series of engaging questions, and practice communicating using a “dating” role-play. They also explore the concept of boundaries, essential to expressing feelings in relationships. By the end of the workshop, every participant leaves with new life skills that they can apply in a variety of real-life dating situations.
Values Presented: Respect (Kavod), Not Embarrassing Others (Lo Levayesh), Not Gossiping (Miyut Sichat), Being a Good Listener (Shmirat HaOzen)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Middle School, High School, College, Youth Group, JCC, Summer Camp

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Decision Making & Communication: DYundRst& w@ I’m sAyn?

How many text messages do you send a day? Do you know how to listen to a friend? Participants identify the different forms and styles of communication and have an opportunity to learn new techniques. A thought-provoking discussion explores how Judaism is filled with tradition and wisdom which can guide us in some of the most challenging situations we encounter. Students will apply their new communication strategies using “real life” role-play scenarios.
Values Presented: Truthfulness (Emet), Being a Good Listener (Shmirat HaOzen), Compassion (Rachamim), Choosing your Words Carefully (Shmirat HaLashon)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Middle School, High School, College, Youth Group Summer Camp

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Transition to College: Freshman + Freedom = Freakout?

What do they put in the punch served at freshman parties? What do you do when your roommate’s boyfriend casually moves into your dorm? The transition from high school to college can be one of the most difficult adjustments in a student’s life. Most students average only fifteen hours of classes per week; the rest of their time is spent exploring their newfound freedom by meeting friends, finding parties, pledging a fraternity or sorority, spending money, eating too much, and exercising too little. This presentation helps college freshmen become aware of a host of issues, most importantly concerning their health and safety. Topics dealt with include dating, date rape, emergency contraception, “friends check friends”, and binge drinking.
Values Presented: Taking Care of Your Body (Shmirat HaGuf), Courage (Ometz Lev), Planning and Decision Making (Tochniyot)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Graduating High School Seniors

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Girls Night In: Slumber Party with a Difference!

Ever wanted to chill out with your best girlfriends and someone really cool who can answer all those questions you’re dying to ask? Don’t forget the snacks, friendship bracelets and the sign on the door, “No Parents Allowed!” In this relaxed setting, we’ll hang out together and talk about everything that’s going on in your world, from taking care of your changing bodies to the social and emotional issues that you deal with every day.
Values Presented: Trustworthiness (Emunah), Joy and Happiness (Simchah), Taking Care of Your Body (Shmirat HaGuf), Supporting your Friends (Dibuk LeHaverim)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Tween and Teen Girls, Private Home

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Bullying & Social Cruelty: Welcoming the Stranger

Have you ever been cruel to someone by leaving them out? Have you ever had a mean comment posted about you on the Internet? From cyberbullying to teasing, bullying and social cruelty comes in so many forms today. This workshop helps young people understand what defines bullying and relational aggression. It focuses on role-plays that highlight how these can play out in a young person’s everyday experiences within friendships, through gossiping, and around the theme of popularity. As a means of fostering empathy, Mara talks about her own family’s survival of the Holocaust. She draws on her grandmother’s experience while in hiding with gentiles, the diaries her grandfather wrote after the war, and her personal journey to the concentrations camps, ghettos and work camps of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. Participants reflect on their personal responsibility and the importance of not being a passive bystander when someone is being victimized.
Values Presented: Welcoming the Stranger (Hachnasat Orchim), Respecting Others’ Dignity (K’vod HaBriyot), Not Embarrassing or Humiliating Others (Lo Levayesh), Pursuit of Peace (Rodef Shalom)
Target Audience/Suggested Venue: Health Class, English Literature & Social Studies Class, Middle School, High School, College, Youth Group, Summer Camp

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