My name is Noam Benson-Tilsen, and I was recently appointed and elected President of the Board of Jewish Teen Education (JTE). JTE is a local extracurricular study program for teenagers and run entirely by teenagers in the Greater New Haven area. We offer a variety of classes and help run programs at the JCC, where our classes are held.
Because we are led by participating students, our Board chooses class topics that are relevant to teenagers, as well as topics and teachers whom we know to be engaging. Our teachers are local community leaders, teachers and specialists. For example, local Rabbi Carl Astor has led a text and literature study class for several years. Asya Tibil’s cooking class has become a staple in our curriculum.
JTE meets every Tuesday from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Beckerman Lender Jewish Community Building (JCC of Greater New Haven.) Each session is composed of two class periods with a break in between, snacks provided. This familiar setting allows students to both participate in discussion among peers and to make and reinforce friendships. Fun special programs such as on holidays and at the end of semesters, are prime examples of the bonding and unique moments that JTE creates -- such as in cook-offs, cupcake battles and more. This also occurs in classes, where the low student-to-teacher ratio is conducive to real discussion.
Each year, a few students at JTE apply to the Board of JTE for the next school year. These students, when accepted, are in charge of creating the entire JTE program for each semester. We meet every other week to hammer out classes for the next semester, plan special programs, organize outreach, and more. Within the board is the Executive Committee, consisting of our adult supervisors, the President (this year, me), the VicePresident (Sam Epstein), the Secretary (Aviva Wyner) and the Treasurer (Robert Farbman).
I look forward to serving as president this upcoming school year. I hope to continue expanding our wonderful program along with the new Board and all the students, teachers, and parents. For more about JTE visit www.jewishnewhaven.org/JTE or contact JTE@jewishnewhaven.org