Oshman Family JCC


Palo Alto, CA

Oshman Family JCC’s project, Youth Service Havurah (YSH), is a social action program that gives middle and high school students the opportunity to deepen their connection to Judaism through social action and hands-on opportunities. YSH will introduce teens to social and environmental justice issues that exist in their own backyard. The program will empower teens by asking them to be proactive and identify gaps they see in service needs in the community. The group will decide together which of these to address and create projects based on their choices. Each YSH project will incorporate relevant Jewish learning, including the inspiring, innovative, and progressive teachings of Rabbi Gendler. An open discussion at each YSH meeting about the continued relevance of the Rabbi’s philosophy and ethical concerns will infuse each project with value and meaning. YSH will give teens the tools to make change, in their own lives and in the lives of others. Because each activity takes place within the scope of the Jewish universal worldview, teens will see how relevant Jewish ideas, texts, and concepts are to their world and to making it a better place. Each project will provide meaning for the heart and the mind, allowing teens to place their actions in a larger context and see the inner beauty of Jewish teachings. By actively working to build a better community, they will be empowered to do more, and empowerment is the first step in making change.

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