“Can Jewish people celebrate birthdays? What about Thanksgiving?” “Do Jews still do animal sacrifices like in the Bible?” “Can you only go to Jewish colleges?” “What are your feelings about Israel? “Do stereotypes about Jews bother you?”
These are just a few of the many questions that have been asked of Jewish teens by their non-Jewish peers during their Student to Student presentations.
The JCRC of Greater Boston is excited to have recently launched Student to Student (STS), a classroom-based experiential program that engages Jewish teens (juniors and seniors) who are trained to respond to antisemitism and demystify Judaism by giving presentations in high schools that have no Jewish presence. These young people authentically share their Jewish and teen identities with their non-Jewish peers, many of whom have never met or interacted with someone from the Jewish community.
Presentations take the form of informal conversations, confronting stereotypes and misinformation. Participants speak openly about their experiences as Jewish teens. They share stories about their lives and bring props to enhance their presentations. When discussing Shabbat, instead of just describing challah, they pass around the Sabbath bread for the students to sample. These students come away with a new understanding of Jewish religious and cultural practices and connect to the presenters on a personal level.
The program was created 30 years ago by the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council, which five years ago began helping other communities launch their own STS programs. Now in 13 cities, STS continues to expand as the featured program of a new organization, Be the Narrative.
You can join us for the 2022-2023 school year to break down stereotypes and foster increased understanding in our community!
Nominations and applications are open for this year!
Nominate high school juniors and seniors to participate in Student to Student 2022-2023 here.
For more information, please contact Emily Reichman.
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