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Teenagers Take to the Phones on Super Sunday

January 26, 2006 By:
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Teen attendance is expected to be on the increase for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Super Sunday 2006 on Feb. 12, because of new initiatives that have been planned just for them.

"It's important to bring this population into the Jewish community, and help them understand what Super Sunday is and have them feel that they are part of it," said Leah Wenger, a Federation intern from the University of Pennsylvania who's heading up the Super Sunday Teen Initiative.

Teens from three branches of the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, synagogue confirmation classes, Jewish day schools and youth groups - as well as individual teens who come with friends or parents - will participate. All teens will be asked to make a gift either with their group or individually.

At the Gratz College site on the Mandell Campus in Melrose Park, teens will have their own shift from noon to 3 p.m. beginning with an improv, interactive learning session about Super Sunday with Theater Ariel. Afterward, there will be time for pizza, snacks and conversation before they get on the phones or do other jobs.

"What we want to do is create a program for teens to learn that it's fun and hands-on," said Wenger.

Ari Goldberg, principal of JCHS, feels that "when a person hears a fresh voice talking about how Federation helps, there's extra excitement, and it's hard to say 'no.' I think the pride they have in the community entrusting them in this adult role also gets communicated."

Stacy Myer Klein, a student at JCHS' Mandell Campus, finds that while "it's not easy to ask for money, it feels good when it works. The money adds up.

"I know how important it is," she continued, "because Federation has helped me go to JCHS on a scholarship and also to Israel with Young Judea. It's fun to sit with friends and compare notes. And if you get a reject, keep on going. For every reject, you'll get a gift."

Rabbi David Ackerman, religious leader of Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, has brought the synagogue's confirmation class to Federation's Bux-Mont Region's site at the NCO Group in Horsham for six years.

"Super Sunday is a tangible, powerful way for our kids to learn what a Jewish community is made of," said the rabbi. "It's a chance for kids to see how hard volunteers work for the community and shows them what it is to be a leader in the Jewish community."

Main Line and Delaware County Region teens will volunteer at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Merion; Chester County Region's young people will go to its site in Wayne. Teens will also be volunteering at the Jewish Community Center's Klein Branch in the Northeast and at Super Sundays' newest site, the Jewish Community Services Building in downtown Philadelphia.

In Federation's Bucks County Region, a flyer went out to teens giving information on transportation, and tells the kids that it will be "an exclusive teen shift" from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with separate social and food areas (dinner and noshes provided).

It also lets them know they can earn four mitzvah hours toward confirmation and four community service hours for public school.

Lisa Cooper is doing teen recruitment for the region including visiting each synagogue's school and youth group: "I show them a Bucks County spreadsheet and point out that of the 30 ways listed of how Federation helps our community - 20 deal with teens and families. I bring it home to them."

Super Sunday Platinum sponsors are the Jewish Exponent, Klapholz's Kosher Delicatessen and the NCO group.

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