TSTI students celebrate 2017 Hebrew High graduation

Photo Courtesy of TSTI
Front row, from left, are cantors Joan Finn and Rebecca Moses, Madeline Larson and Jordan Pressel from South Orange-Maplewood, Sarah Wish and Carly Jones from Millburn, Sage Rothman of South Orange-Maplewood, and Rabbi Daniel Cohen; back row, from left, are Rabbi Alexandra Klein, Jacob Hirsch of South Orange-Maplewood, and Matthew Brenner, Ben Goodman and Joshua Baum from Millburn.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The 12th-grade class members at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel celebrated the completion of their Hebrew High program at a student-led service on Friday, May 5. Twenty students from South Orange and surrounding towns graduated this year.

The Reform synagogue’s Hebrew High program incorporates many different aspects of Jewish learning; students explore issues they find relevant and meaningful, gaining an understanding of what these topics mean to them as Jews. The senior curriculum focuses on pressing domestic and global issues happening in any given week, and how to look at them from a Jewish perspective. Topics include history, politics, diversity, God and Israel, to name a few. Taught by clergy and staff members, the focus is on identity and preparation for the next chapter of their lives, with reflection on how their experiences at TSTI have shaped them.

A variety of special programming includes meeting with a Hillel professional to explore being Jewish in college, taking care of themselves and staying safe away from home, and managing life’s post-high school challenges. This winter, students also enjoyed a trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where they met other teens from across the country and lobbied for their views with their elected officials on Capitol Hill.