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Welcome to the OZ Youth Department

Step into the vibrant and dynamic world of the OZ Youth Department, where a warm welcome awaits you. Immerse yourself in a community that thrives on our shared Jewish values and connection as you and your family embark on a journey filled with engaging Shabbat morning groups, thrilling events, and abundant, exciting, chesed opportunities. Our dedicated youth directors are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment where you can participate in various enriching activities and forge lasting friendships. Come and be a part of something extraordinary! Experience the joy of belonging in the OZ community, the thrill of exciting events, and the fulfillment of personal growth. Join us at the OZ Youth Department, where every moment is a chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.

 

We offer:

  • Weekly Shabbat Morning Groups
  • Weekly Shabbat Afternoon Playroom
  • Seasonal and Holiday Events
  • Ongoing Teen Programming
  • Parent-Child Learning
  • Occasional Family Shabbat Dinner
  • And More!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

 

All Events

 

Youth Groups Guide

Here is a little bit more about what you can expect from Shabbat Morning Groups:

The youngest group caters to children who rely on their caregivers’ presence to meaningfully engage in group activities. This group begins with free play time with the various toys in the room facilitated by parents, youth leaders and typically one of the youth directors. There is coffee and fruit for the parents to enjoy; a snack is served to the children. After free-play time, we go upstairs to the *new* social hall playroom where the kids have a chance to run around in a gym-like environment. Following the playroom, we return downstairs for circle time which includes shabbat songs, morning prayers, and story time. We then say kiddush and enjoy food together. Parents can choose to stay and shmooze or bring their child into the sanctuary for adon olam at the conclusion of services.

The toddler group is for children who are comfortable being dropped off by their parents and led by youth leaders for the duration of groups. This group too begins with free play time in the room facilitated by youth leaders. The children enjoy snack time and then go downstairs to the *new* social hall playroom where the kids have a chance to run around in a gym-like environment. Following time in the playroom, a youth director joins the group for circle time, which includes shabbat songs, morning prayers, and an age-appropriate parsha discussion. We then say kiddush and enjoy food together while the children continue to play until the end of services. Parents of this age group can either pick up their child and bring them into the sanctuary for adon olam or the child will remain in the room with a youth leader until services conclude and a parent returns for pick up prior to the kiddush.

In the older groups, which we define as six years old and above, the boys and girls meet separately on the third floor. Each group engages in activities that they enjoy - such as board games, sports, or other contests - with youth leaders present. Once a quorum has gathered, each group proceeds with a more extensive shabbat morning davening, followed by a robust discussion about this week’s parsha and seasonal jewish events and holidays. Snacks, treats, davener of the week prizes and raffle tickets are all part of the shabbos morning fun!

Meet our Youth Directors

Yehuda, originally from West Rogers Park, Chicago, moved to NYC in December 2022, bringing with him his enthusiasm for experiential Jewish learning. After attending Arie Crown Hebrew Day School and Fasman Yeshiva in Chicago, he spent two years at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel before obtaining his bachelors degree in Management Information Systems from Yeshiva University. In the past, he has served as a counselor at NCSY, Camp Simcha, and Camp Yagilu. Yehuda spent eight years volunteering as the National Coordinator for Shabbat Tent. Professionally, Yehuda works in the field of Information Technology as a project manager. As a former mashgiach, eruv-technician and high holiday chazzan, Yehuda is enthusiastic to bring his diverse skill-set to the OZ Community!

Suzanne, a Scarsdale, NY native and a UWS resident for nine years, works full time as a dedicated pediatric social worker at Mount Sinai Hospital. As a young student, she attended Westchester Day School, Ramaz Upper School, and Midreshet Harova. She received her Bachelors degree in Social Work at New York University and her Masters degree in Social Work from Columbia University. She served as a group leader at the Young Israel of Scarsdale, a camp counselor at Moshava IO and the President of Shalhevet (the Orthodox Jewish Student group at NYU’s Hillel). She is passionate about Jewish community building and her expertise in counseling and childhood development brings a unique perspective to the Youth Director role.

Yehuda and Suzanne’s shared ability to connect with young individuals, build community and develop programming will help them as they strive to create a warm and welcoming Shabbat youth experience at OZ. They are eager to facilitate engaging, educational and meaningful experiences for the OZ youth. Please take a moment to introduce yourselves – they are here to connect, engage, and support you and your family on your Jewish journey.

Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784