Yom Shishi, 11 Sivan 5778
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20 August 2015

Israel Education: Bringing Israel to Westfield

Once again, our Temple is engaging a Rishon, young Israeli emissary, to teach and learn with our 7-12 grade students on Tuesday nights as part of our Religious School HaMakon program. This year, we welcome Dotan Miller to the Temple Emanu-El family.  

In addition, based on the success of a pilot program implemented over the past two years with the Orthodox and Conservative movements, we will join the Israel Program Center of Greater Metrowest Federation in welcoming Lavi Hoffman as the Reform movement Shaliach, post-army Israel emissary, who will join Temple Emanu-El in bringing authentic and mearningful Israel education and engagement to our community.

Our Israeli Educators

Dotan MillerDotan Miller was born in Rishon Lezion, Israel. He studied physics and chemistry in school and in his free time loves to listen to music, hang out with his friends, and play basketball. He was also a gymnast. Dotan says that a large part of his life is dedicated to the Israeli Scouts, and he has spent the past 8 years with this youth movement as a counselor and this past year was a Merakez Hadracha and in charge of building the annual educational program for grades 6-8. In his sophomore year, Dotan participated in a program called Young Diplomats. According to Dotan, the highlight of this program was the Young Ambassadors Student Exchange delegation, which took place in Houston, Texas (and NYC and Washington DC). Dotan also was part of the Israeli Scouts Delegation 2014, where he spent two months in the Reform Jewish camp - URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Mississippi. Dotan is looking forward “to meeting new people, having a new cultural experience, and above all - to have a compelling and a life changing year.”

Lavi HoffmanLavi Hoffman was born and raised in Jerusalem and is very excited to be joining the MetroWest Reform Jewish community. Lavi’s parents both made Aliya in their 20s; his mother from Montreal, Canada and his father from Johannesburg, South Africa. Lavi’s younger brother is serving in the IDF and older brother is graduating from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Lavi says that growing up he was very involved in his Reform Jewish community at the Kol Haneshama synagogue in Jerusalem. He participated in the youth group and attended Reform camps as a participant and as a staff member. He has also staffed URJ programs, including NFTY in Israel and a Kesher Birthright trip. He also participated in the URJ Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellowship for Global Leadership where he learned about leadership in the Reform community around the world. Lavi says, “Throughout my involvement in the fellowship, I have not only been exposed to Jews in the diaspora but have also begun to form a global network of young leaders in the Reform movement. I am looking forward to moving to New Jersey and am excited to be working with the Temple Emanu-El community!”


19 August 2015

Exciting Changes to our Youth Groups

By Rabbi Sarah Smiley

I am thrilled to announce some amazing changes being implemented with all of our youth groups. Beginning this fall we will launch Temple Emanu-El Youth Groups 2.0. The names of our youth groups will change and so will the different opportunities for each grade level. 

EXTREME YELADIM (Kids) For 3rd and 4th graders. About once a month we will have a fun, social event alternating between being inside the building and going on an adventure at a location outside the building. 

EXTREME BONIM (Builders) – For 5th and 6th graders. About once a month we will have an event alternating between being inside the building and going on an adventure at a location outside the building.  

JR. ADVISORS – For 7th and 8th graders. A new opportunity for 7th and 8th graders to give back to the community and serve as role models for the EXTREME YELADIM members.  Our Jr. Advisors will have the opportunity to join us at our EXTREME YELADIM events and help us lead the program. 

TEWTY – For 8th-12th graders. The TEWTY leadership cabinet will plan monthly fun, social and mitzvah project events with my guidance. New this year, 8th graders will be invited to join all of the TEWTY events. 

In Pirkei Avot we learn, “Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend; and judge every person towards merit.”  These three qualities permeate our youth groups.  Each time we join together we act as teachers for each other.  We welcome all opinions and learning styles as we always try to insert Judaism into every event.  Our participants learn from our teachers and our teachers learn from our participants as we create an open learning environment for everyone.  It is easy to create an environment of lifelong learning when each participant feels safe sharing their opinions and learning new things.  Each youth group member makes many friends from nearby and far away that will last them a lifetime as they participate in one of our youth groups.

We invite everyone to make a new friend in a warm and welcoming environment where everyone is judged fairly with one of our events. If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Smiley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 908-232-6770 ext. 139.

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