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May 24, 2007 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-05-24

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Editor's Letter

jarc

Meet Generation T2T

H

adas Corey wants to learn more about who she is
as a Jew. And we at the Detroit Jewish News aim to
help her and other Metro Detroit teenagers embrace
their Jewish identity.
The 16-year-old junior at Birmingham Seaholm High
School is the first intern of Teen2Teen (T2T), Detroit Jewry's
new monthly teen publication. The
full-color, pull-out feature debuts in
the centerfold of today's JN.
With its enthusiastic staff, Teen2Teen
offers boundless potential to give
teens a forum for expression — and a
spur for communal engagement. The
publication, written by and for teens,
is an initiative of the JN and the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
Teen2Teen also will be distributed
through BBYO, day and synagogue
schools, the JCC and other places
where Jewish teens gather.
"I want to get more in touch with who I am',' Hadas told
T2T's executive editor Keri Cohen and me when she began her
internship. "Being Jewish is a very important part of my life,
and I want to expand it. I want to learn
more and do more'
Hadas has studied journalism at
Seaholm. She loves to write, and she's
ecstatic about having the chance to
voice her views.
"I think that teens will really enjoy the
subjects that we — their peers — will
be writing about because they'll be able
to relate so well;' Hadas said. "With the
teen section, the JN will reach a whole
new generation of readers."

of our community — religiously, economically, geographi-
cally — these engaged teens will help point us in the right
direction to keep others of their generation involved and con-
nected.
Keri Cohen lauded her young staff's energy and dedication to
the new teen publication.
"These are very busy kids with tons of homework, friends,
extracurricular activities, family obligations and more Cohen
said. "Yet they come to the table with ideas, definite opinions,
humor and the drive to pull it all off."
We're proud to be working with these young journalists.
The experience of working in a professional setting is
invaluable. Our student writers may be feeling their way
now, but it won't be long before they tackle hard issues along
with the fun stuff. They will grow as Teen2Teen grows. It's a
win-win situation for the kids, the community, the IN and
Federation's Stephen H. Schulman Millennium Fund. The
fund supports innovative projects that benefit local Jewish
teens. A Schulman grant is helping bring T2T into the com-
munity.

Teen Readers Mattes-
We can't sit back when it comes to engaging teens.
We have witnessed the phenomenal growth
of the Frankel Jewish Academy, which is
guiding more than 200 teens in a serious
exploration of Judaism while teaching values
that anchor our Jewish community. Beyond
that, more than 300 teens at Bais Yaakov,
Yeshivas Darchei Torah, Yeshivat Akiva and
Yeshiva Gedolah receive a strong Jewish
education.
"Despite these successes:' says Rabbi Judah
Isaacs, director of Federation's Alliance for
Jewish Education, "the number of teens con-
tinuing in congregation-based schools post-
A Voice, A Hope
bar and bat mitzvah, continues to decline.
It's a generation that will play a central
Although BBYO remains strong, the total
Teen journalist Hada s Corey
role in Jewish continuity, in the suste-
number of teens involved in youth groups
nance of our heritage against the head
has declined precipitously in the last 10
winds of assimilation, acculturation and apathy.
years. Teens are dropping out of Jewish life at the time in their
More than 16 percent of Jewish Detroit's population of
life when religious affiliation and identity are being formed."
72,000 consists of 10- to 19-year-olds — meaning teens are a
The numbers are revealing: In 2003-04, teen enrollment in
huge percentage of who we are. Some of our teens attend day
congregational schools totaled 884. Today, 791 students are
schools. Others are enrolled in synagogue schools. Still oth-
enrolled. Our declining population isn't the only cause.
ers only participate in Jewish youth groups, like BBYO. But all
We know that teens step forward with the right encour-
have a part in the grand script to dispel the illusion that it's
agement. Friendship Circle attracts local teens as volunteers
not cool to be Jewish.
and role models. Recently, 100 local teens came together for
Seaholm isn't one of the public high schools with a significant JServe, a day in which teens worldwide made a difference in
Jewish enrollment. But Hadas, daughter of Lisa and Lou Corey, their home communities. More than 250 local teens joined a
has made lots of Jewish friends through the religious school
Shout Out for Israel rally during the 2006 Lebanon war.
at Temple Israel since age 5. She's part of the West Bloomfield
Teen2Teen is a window into the lives of our teens: their
synagogue's adult and teen Tefillah singing groups as well as the challenges, ambitions, hopes and dreams. It's an innovative,
Kever Avot program, which enables seniors to visit the graves of collaborative effort to bring together our teens to help rein-
loved ones during the High Holidays. Her 13-year-old brother,
force the vitality of our community.
Sam, attends Derby Middle School.
We invite your feedback to Teen2Teen. Contact the section's
executive editor at: kcohen@thejewishnews.com . Communal
A Staff Journey
monitoring is essential to maintaining the mini-newspaper's
Hadas is one of 15 who make up the inaugural staff of
budding synergy.
Teen2Teen. The section is all about teens, but adults should
Says Rabbi Isaacs: "It will be incumbent on all of us to read
peek at it, too, for an insight into our next generation of
it and respond. We believe that this is the time for teens to
Jewish leaders. Because they represent a broad brushstroke
step up and be heard. We are listening." I I

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May 24 2007

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