Category Archives: Teens

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Christopher O’Riley – Out Of My Hands
Saturday, December 6, 8:00 p.m.
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Imagine hearing the famous rock tunes of REM, Nirvana and Pink Floyd transformed into contemporary classical masterpieces. Christopher O’Riley, recognized as one of the leading American pianists of his generation and host of the popular NPR music program, From the Top, introduces Baltimore audiences to the next generation of classical music stars. Enjoy his renditions of the music of Radiohead, Portishead, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Tears for Fears and Elliott Smith. Sponsored by the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, tickets are $28 in advance; $32 at the door. For information, go to

Priceless Dress Exchange
Sunday, December 7, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Mitchell David Teen Center
A large selection of ‘brand new, with tags’ special occasion dresses from a well-known boutique has been received and we are GIVING THEM AWAY to teen girls who are looking to save some money this B’nai Mitzvah season. Event is held in conjunction with CHANA.
For information, go to

A Family Chanukah with Joanie Leeds
Sunday, December 7, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus

It’s Downtown Dollar Day and families can get into the Chanukah mood with a rocking family Chanukah concert featuring Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights! Your family will sing and dance to the music of this gifted children’s musician, whose albums include City Kid, Parent’s choice award-winner, and I’m a Rock Star. Then create a handmade Chanukah-themed craft.
For information, go to

Community Screening of Beneath the Helmet
Monday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.
Beth Tfiloh Rosen Arts Center
Take yourself inside the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for the Baltimore premier of Beneath the Helmut, a documentary film that explores the intimate journey of young Israelis as they prepare to defend their country at any cost. Following the film, Lt. (res.) Aviv Regev, featured in Beneath the Helmet, will join former IDF soldiers who served in elite combat units, for a panel discussion.
Tickets are $5 for adults and free for students with ID. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Event is held in conjunction with Beth Tfiloh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn
Monday, December 8, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Edward A. Myerberg Center

Is your child painfully shy or a tad rambunctious? Does he or she have trouble making friends? Do you need tools to teach them how to resolve an argument with a best friend?
If so, this program is for you. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, psychologist and writer, whose articles have appeared in Parents magazine and the Huffington Post, will share “5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn.”
Program is presented by SHEMESH. A $5 donation is suggested. Go to for more information.



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Filed under Families, Special Needs, Teens, Women, Young Adults

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Saturday, November 15
Pre-show: 7:00 p.m.; Performance: 8:00 p.m.
Hot Rize – America’s Bluegrass Band Rides Again
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Hot Rize comes to the Gordon to debut their first album in 24 years. Enjoy their unique contemporary approach to traditional bluegrass music. Event is co-presented with Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Pre-show features live music with Letitia VanSant and beer tastings with Baltimore’s own Union Craft BrewingTickets are $35 in advance and $39 at the door. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
JCC’s Annual College Fair
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC

High school students and parents can meet with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide. Attend free workshops to learn about the admission process, hear about financing a college education, discover Israeli programs after high school and understand how to choose the right college to meet your needs. Go to College Center to learn more.

Sunday, November 16
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Family Farm Days
Pearlstone Center
pearlstone nov

Join us for our monthly Family Farm Days, where you will explore a different Jewish environmental theme. This month, help make the farm ready for winter, learn how to identify and plant trees, discover native plants, visit the animals in the pasture and explore the farm’s bounty! Program is $15 per family. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble
Gordon Center for Performing Arts
feets dance

INCREDIBLE FEETS entertains with a music and dance performance that celebrates percussive dances from around the world. Enjoy percussive dance and music from Ireland, England, South Africa, Canada and the American South. Show includes audience participation and lots of foot-tapping fun. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Program is sponsored by BGE with support from the Maryland State Arts Council. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 18
6:30 p.m.
Meet Your Elected Officials
The Associated Krieger Building

Join the Baltimore Jewish Council for a special session to meet and greet local legislators. Learn about their priorities in the upcoming year. Learn more


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Filed under Families, Teens, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women, Young Adults

Who Inspires Your Teen?


By Sara Feldman
JOIN for Teen Supervisor
Jewish Community Services

Last year I heard Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman speak in Baltimore at the Friends of the IDF fundraiser. I was inspired by her dedication to gymnastics, as well as her unapologetic attitude about her Jewish heritage, which attracted worldwide attention at the 2012 Summer Olympics.  During the program, an officer from the IDF made a surprise appearance to read the letter he had written to Aly about how she had inspired him and other Israeli soldiers.

Listening to Aly and the soldier’s story started me thinking about role models. Since I work with teens at the Mitchell David Teen Center, I decided to talk to several teens to find out what inspires them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are inspired by everything around them! One girl admires Ellen Degeneres “because she is an amazing human being who always puts a smile on people’s faces.” Ellen inspires her to give to charity and emphasizes that we should always “be kind to one another.”

Teens are also inspired by historical Jewish figures. For example, one chose Hannah Szenes, the Hungarian Jewish heroine, who is famous for her poem “Elie, Elie” (“My G-d, my G-d”) and many other writings. She joined the Haganah, and volunteered for a daring mission parachuting near the Hungarian border to rescue Jews about to be deported to Auschwitz. She was captured and executed for acting on her beliefs.

The teen admired Szenes because “she fought for a country she considered her homeland and gave up her personal dream in the process, giving up her life to her country. She understood the power of a collective dream.” Hannah Szenes inspired her to grow as a leader and fight for her own beliefs.

I quickly learned that you don’t need to be famous to be a role model. One teen told me that his uncle is his role model “because he came from humble beginnings and worked his way through school.” His uncle taught him to stay humble and always work hard at your job.

Other teens were inspired by their peers’ success, caring hearts, and determination. One said that her peers “advocate making the world a much better and a more peaceful place” and push her to be the best version of herself. Another was inspired to follow in the footsteps of some older girls to take on a leadership role within BBYO.

Parents have an opportunity to contribute to this process.  A good conversation opener is to talk to your teen about who inspires you. Then ask your child if there is anyone now that he or she thinks of as a role model. Your child’s answers give you insight into his or her values and goals. This is also an opportunity for you to tell your child what special qualities he or she has that you admire.

With a little guidance your teen can be a role model for others. Teens are very impressionable.  It’s important for parents to encourage them to be kind to others and serve as role models for younger kids.

Encourage them to take on leadership roles in club at school or in their youth group or at their job. Teens can start out small by helping a teacher, or taking on a smaller position within a club and then working their way up. You don’t need to be the president of a club to make a difference.

Teens need to feel empowered to stand up for what they believe.  hey will inspire others by blazing their own trails and striving to be the best they can be. As Aly Raisman said, “I push myself and do the best that I can to finish and just have a good feeling at the end of the day.”

Learn about JOIN for Teens.

What else are teens talking about. Read about their thoughts on social media.


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Does Empty Time in the Summer Spell Trouble for Teens?


By Susan Kurlander
Health Educator, Prevention Education
Jewish Community Services

“Summertime . .  . and the living is easy” — or so thought my teenage daughter. She planned to sleep until noon every day and then just hang out with friends during the summer of her junior year of high school. It was a rude awakening for both of us when I realized I had never set down expectations for what she considered her free time, and she had never dreamt that I would have anything to say about her lack of constructive activity.  We were both remiss in our perspectives.  My sense is that is easy for many parents and their pre-teen and teenage children to fall into the same pattern.

Parents and kids alike need a break from the overscheduled days we have during the school year. We need to catch our breath and enjoy things we don’t have time to do when we’re busy with so many obligations. But if our teens don’t have goals to accomplish or activities to participate in, all that free time can lead to risky behaviors and unhealthy habits.  When parents aren’t around, it can be too easy for kids to engage in unrestricted computer use, to have easy access to medications including prescription drugs kept in the home, to indulge in abusing alcohol kept at home or to watch R rated movies without parental supervision.

So, how do we help our teens find the balance between enjoying their newly found free time and accepting some responsibility to use that time in positive and non-harmful ways?

Communication and trust are key components to making summer a time of growth and appreciation of what we have. Conversations about expectations need to take place, with both parents and teens expressing their thoughts without being judged. Remember, there can be lots of options for how the summer unfolds as long as it winds up being a time to rejoice, rejuvenate and regroup.

Even if your children attend camp, here are some suggestions for how their free time can be used positively and productively:

• Volunteering at senior centers, the zoo, animal shelters, soup kitchens, etc. will look good on college resumes and applications.
• Attending a class or two can give students a jump start on deciding about a future college major.
• Planning a future fundraising project for a worthy cause might insure the success of that project.
• Participating in a recreational sport can help to develop the prowess needed to gain a place on the team in the fall.

Here are some organizations to check out:

American Red Cross (Junior Red Cross) – Help organize a blood drive or participate in knitting projects

The Ronald McDonald House – Collect pop tabs off aluminum cans to donate to the program.

Habitat for Humanity – Help build homes for poor people in the community.

Meals on Wheels – Do craft activities such as making tray favors for delivered food.

Libraries – Plan a themed story time for toddlers; clean and sort books.

Congregations and Schools – Many welcome student helpers to move books, sort materials, and clean up.

A “perk” of all these suggestions is that teens will be building self-esteem and nurturing a sense of self-worth that is critical for making healthy decisions about what they do with their lives not just during the summer, but forever.

Whatever the activity is, encourage and expect your preteen or teenager to do something constructive as well as relaxing during those lazy summer days. The combination of having fun while accomplishing something significant could give your child a whole new perspective on life. Most importantly, your child’s time will be much less likely to engage in risky behavior when summer time is used fruitfully.

Learn more about JCS Teen Prevention Services.


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Filed under Families, Teens, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women

After Work Workouts … What To Eat?

garrett-weber-gale (2)

By Garrett Weber-Gale
Olympic Gold Medalist

If you’re like many individuals, you typically hit the gym right after work. This is a wonderful routine, and a great way to make sure that you get your workout in for the day, before you go home and relax. What many people may not realize is that they’re not getting the full benefit of their workout, even though they may be working hard. This is due to the simple fact that the majority of people aren’t properly fueling themselves before heading to the gym to workout.

If your last meal or snack was around noon, and you’re going to workout at 5:30, then you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage as far as getting the full “bang for your buck.” We can’t perform at our best and work towards better fitness without being properly nourished.

So, what should you eat before working out? For most people, something as simple as a piece of fruit will make the difference. However, this depends upon how hard, and for how long you’re working out. If you have an afternoon snack around 3 or 4 p.m., that can be proper fuel for your workout. Here are some examples of pre-workout snacks and timing for maximal benefits.

Between 30 minutes to one hour prior to your workout, eat a piece of fruit or around 100 calories of a quick digesting carbohydrate – toast with jelly, a granola bar, pita with hummus, whole wheat crackers, part of a bagel or maybe some instant oatmeal.

One to two hours prior to your workout, add a little more protein or fat to the mix. For example, try a banana with peanut butter, a protein bar, trail mix, almonds, string cheese, pb&j, turkey sandwich or maybe some rice and beans.
The important thing to remember about eating before you exercise is only eat until you feel good, don’t eat until you feel full (this is actually a great rule to practice all the time). We’re just trying to get a bit of fuel here … not a full meal.

Don’t do yourself a disservice by going from lunch to dinner without any snack. You will get much more out of your workout if you’re not running on empty. It may take some experimenting to see what kind of snack works for you prior to your workout, but once you find something, you will surely feel more energized. Be patient and understand that it may take a few weeks, or even months, to find something that works for you. You might even want to ask other people for ideas of what they’re eating.

Want to learn more wellness and nutrition tips to help prepare your young athlete for competition?

Sign up for the JCC’s Athletic Foodie ™ Competitive Swim Clinic with Olympic Gold Medalist Garret Weber-Gale on Friday, June 20 from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. This program if free for Speedo Boot Camp participants. For details visit

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Connecting Through Jewish Camp

Micah 3 (2)

By Micah Saltzberg

Camp Airy is a Jewish camp in Western Maryland, and it is also the place where I have spent the second half of my summer for the last nine years. I still remember my first summer “up on the mountain.” I was anxious going in, not having stayed away from home for a significant period of time before. When my parents picked me up two weeks later, as soon as we got in the car they asked if I wished to return for the next summer. I was astonished that they could not already foresee my answer based off of the smile on my face that went from ear to ear.

Camp Airy gave me the type of experience that, just through one two week session, I knew I couldn’t get anywhere else. Something about the culture of Camp Airy offers an in-depth look into what it means to be a Jewish kid in the modern 21st  century world.

A counselor of mine has said that Camp Airy is not a Jewish camp for boys; it is a camp for Jewish boys. It is a place where people with nothing in common–but the fact that they are Jewish–can go and enjoy the summer in the cool Catoctin Mountains in Thurmont, Maryland. Camp Airy reinforces for me the fact that Judaism is a lifestyle and a culture, not just a religion where the only way to practice is with Biblical traditions.

Living with other Jewish kids from around the country shows the many ways to experience Judaism. Because every camper there has been raised Jewishly, we all automatically have something in common before ever meeting each other. This builds a foundation and a bond that wouldn’t be possible at a more secular camp. Jews have lived together for thousands of years, and Camp Airy prides itself on continuing this tradition, even if only for the summer.

Additionally, Camp Airy helps me see connections that Judaism has to my life and the impact that these connections can have. Every Saturday, the entire camp meets together at our amphitheater for Shabbat services that combine religious traditions with modern meaningful camp traditions. Each week has a theme, such as brotherhood or sportsmanship. Two counselors give a D’var Torah combining ideas from the Parshah of the week, other areas of Judaism, contemporary camp life and more general ideas in a way that centralizes upon the given theme. This is an experience that could not be had anywhere but Jewish camp. During these sermons, I feel connected to my camp family, my Jewish family and my relatives all at once. By going to a Jewish summer camp, I learn how to find the balance between Judaism, the freedom and fun of summer and my life at home.

The reason that I love Camp Airy and return every year is because it is a chance to leave my problems behind, to go up into the cool mountain air and to just hang out and be a kid with kids I have connections to dating back to before the Common Era. The fact that we are all Jewish creates a bond between us that you simply can’t get at any other experience during the summer. I look forward to returning for another summer “on the mountain,” and I look forward to making my connection with Judaism even stronger.

To learn more about Jewish camping, check out The Associated’s Center for Jewish Camping.

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Reflections from Diller’s North American Seminar

American and Israeli Diller Teens in Baltimore
By Anneliese Feldman

diller nsa

The North American Seminar (NAS) was so much fun in Baltimore. All the Diller teens were together before the Israelis came, and we were so excited. Finally, the Israelis arrived, and everyone was hugging and talking as if we were already best friends. We played some games to get to know each other and learned more about each other before we went to our individual houses with our Israeli match. By the end of the first night, we already had become closer.

Although most of the American students were not present for the activities of the second day, the Israelis had a great time exploring the Inner Harbor, M & T Bank Stadium and Fort McHenry. That night the American families spent time with the Israeli they were hosting,and the Israelis learned more about their host family. Afterwards, all 40 teens got together to hang out and play games.

The next day, many American teens joined the Israelis in Washington D.C. We first went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, then the Lincoln Memorial, the Einstein statue and the Vietnam Memorial. The Israelis had done research about these people and events and shared their knowledge with the rest of the group. The next part of the day was spent at the Newseum, where the group explored the history of American news and important events. Finally, the day ended at University of Maryland, College Park, where the group was given a tour of the campus and talked to Diller alumni who attended the University of Maryland. Everyone in the group was able to learn something new about America and American history in the nation’s capital.

The weekend retreat began Thursday evening, and we slept at the Owings Mills JCC. Friday morning, the group left early to head to Capital Camps in Pennsylvania. When we arrived, we unpacked our belongings; then we sat together in a room to begin a set of interesting discussions headed by Uriel, the Israeli coordinator. After these discussions, everyone went to their rooms to prepare for Shabbat, and we all had a blast taking pictures outside with everyone in white clothes.

On Saturday, the group broke down into smaller groups. These groups, combinations of Israeli and American teens, worked together to determine what they would organize during Community Week in Ashkelon. Each group had different themes and ideas of what to do, and everyone was very excited to plan a day of activities in Israel. After a really fun Shabbaton, the group packed up and headed back to the JCC to get picked up by parents and to head home.

The only planned activity on Sunday was at Art With a Heart where the teens decorated bird houses with pieces of cut glass to be hung after they were finished. Although everyone was tired from the crazy weekend, it was a very calming and relaxing activity that everyone enjoyed.

Finally the American and Israeli teens who were matched were given free time. While many went to the Towson Mall to go shopping, others went to places such as the National Aquarium or mini golf. The matches had another fun dinner with their host families and afterwards met at an American teen’s house.

The next day was one of the most exciting. The Americans took their Israeli match to school with them until lunch time so that the Israelis could have the opportunity to meet their match’s friends and teachers and to see what American school is like. After school, many of the Americans met the Israelis at the Pikesville Target to go shopping and buy some really cool things.

Later that evening was the Teen Summit where the Israelis and Americans listened to interesting speakers. The following day was unfortunately the last full day of NAS. At the closing dinner with all the American host families and Israelis, we enjoyed amazing slideshows that allowed everyone to reflect on the fun times during NAS.

It was a great closing to the crazy 10 days. Everyone realized how amazing the experience was – to be able to learn so much about each other’s cultures and lives. It was very sad having to drop the Israeli’s off at a hotel that night where everyone said their last goodbyes. We have all made lifelong friends in Ashkelon. Now we are counting down the days until the flight leaves from Baltimore to Israel!
What An Experience
By Andy Neumann
diller group

Truthfully, I was not so excited for the North American Seminar (NAS). I barely spoke to my match beforehand, and I was nervous about missing school and losing sleep. I had no idea of how amazing those 10 days would be.

From the first dramatic meeting, filled with smiles and hugs, the excitement of the NAS never diminished. The dynamic in our Baltimore Diller group is so special that when we found that the Ashkelon Dillers had the same bond, we immediately clung to them. It felt like one crazy 39-person family where each member contributed differently to make the NAS incredible. The first night silenced all my apprehensions: I knew I would love everything in store.

Over the next few days, Diller became my beacon of every day, my “light at the end of the tunnel” every evening. During school I would daydream about being reunited with my new family. Despite my exhaustion and homework, I felt like it was all worthwhile just to spend a few more minutes with the awesome bunch.

The NAS put me on something that I can only describe as a “Diller high.” I’ve felt it before, mostly from the retreats, but this time it was more intense. The 10 action-packed days felt more like a dream than reality. I longed for time with the Israelis to bask in that warmth just a little longer. It was so incredible to be a part of that group through all of the energized yelling, the Hebrew punch lines and the friendly mocking. I am so excited for Israel and I know we will pick up exactly where we left off.


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Filed under Leadership Development, Teens