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Jewish Futures Conference

Jewish Teens Underground

Vision: The Jewish Underground has a very clear vision for Jewish teens living in Los Angeles. The JU aims to promote connections between Jewish teens from all movements of Judaism that are observed in Los Angeles and among all the different schools that Jews attend.  Our vision is that students will expand their social circles so that they are no longer strangers when they see other Jewish teenagers but rather are at least familiar with them and hopefully are friends. It is our hope that the participants of the Jewish Underground will build lasting relationships and friendships so that the participants can maintain their connections long after the Jewish Underground events.

Goal: Our main goal is to make strictly social events for Jewish teens in Los Angeles so that they can become more connected to other Jewish teens because in fact we are all very similar. As it is now, the teens that go to the numerous Jewish day schools do not really know most of the kids from other schools and because of this we are disconnected and fragmented as a Jewish community.

 

Additional Content:

How: The Jewish Underground will consist of a special committee that will plan, run, and fundraise for the events. That committee will be comprised of  one or two students (depending on the size of the school) that can come together to meet and brainstorm appealing ideas for community events. The selection of the members of the executive planning committee would be a very selective process because we need student leaders on the board. For students to be on the board they must be well liked by their peers, have the ability to draw other students to attend, have charisma, and be knowledgeable about their respective school’s population.

What: Once we have established a board we could brainstorm for event ideas like dances, parties, open microphone nights for comedy nights, or open musician night, etc… There would be one event a month so that the participants want and are eager to attend and are not overly bombarded with events. These events that would be planned would try and draw students from as many different schools as possible. Our events would be strictly social in their aim with no religious emphasis or focus on community service because kids want to come together to have fun not debate the different theologies of Judaism. 

We use the model of United Synagogue Youth as a basis for our Jewish Underground. We tweaked their ideas and took out the most uneffecitve elements of USY, the religious aspect and the emphasis on community service. We took what is fun and stated that we are exclusively about having fun and trying to unite the teenage Jewish community to promote a more cohesive Jewish social network. Often time student are pressured to make Jewish connections to events that might necessarily not have any connection. With enough funds, and the right leaders at the helm, we hope that the Jewish Underground will come to fruition in the near future and that Jewish teens in Los Angeles will be more connected and familiar with one another regardless of movement and high school.