COVID: Kehillateinu! is coming back! It’s been on hiatus during the pandemic, but with careful planning and a great deal of care for all our children, we are excited to now offer this important program monthly in a meaningful way. Please read the updated paragraph below and register your child for each session.
Youth and young families are a HUGE part of Kehillat Beth Israel! Join Laura Dimitroff, our Youth Engagement Professional, as well as Cantor Green (our Youth Director), Rabbi Zuker, Rabbi Kenter, and other staff and volunteers for engaging and fun family programs. Our programs are for kids and families of all ages and stages. KBI’s Youth and Young Families programming is a great way to get involved in the community and make lasting memories. Our goal is to help our tiniest kids grow and connect to their Judaism, flourishing on a steady path through our youth program into full-fledged leaders in the Jewish community.
Watch this space for all our youth programs and their registration links [coming soon].
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Our youngest members and their parents are warmly invited to participate with Rabbi Zuker in a host of activities, services, virtual offerings and more. Please visit our Family Engagement page for all the info. Email Rabbi Zuker.
K’tanim means “small ones” in Hebrew. We’re pretty BIG on “small ones” at KBI! Programming for K’tanim includes both parent-participation events as well as drop-off happenings (or have parallel parent socializing opportunities). This is a great way for our youth to start finding their independence and developing their own Jewish identities while getting involved in a fun way. In the past, they’ve enjoyed trips to Laser Quest or Merivale Bowling Lanes, eating ice cream sundaes together, joining our Youth Engagement Professional for games and crafts, or joining us for our annual Chocolate Seder!
USY is the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Youth Movement. For more than 60 years, USY (and its middle school counterpart, Kadima) has taught young Jews the values and skills they need to become exceptional leaders in their religious and secular communities. Through year-round programming and domestic and international travel opportunities, USY inspires in teens a deep sense of pride and love for their Jewish identity.
Ottawa’s USY chapter is JACCUSY, proud members and Chapter of the Year 2019-2020 of the Eastern Canadian Region of USY (ECRUSY), which includes Toronto and the GTA, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal, and Halifax. JACCUSY is made up of Kadima (Grades 5-8) and USY (Grades 9-12). Our K’tanim program (Grades K-4), graduates children into Kadima, where they begin the USY journey, participating in programming as well as taking active leadership roles on our JACCUSY Youth Board, and very often going on to leadership roles at the Regional USY level. JACCUSY is particularly passionate about Social Action and Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) and takes many opportunities to have fun together while being a “Light Unto the Nations”.
Kadima means “forward” in Hebrew. It’s what “comes before” USY! Programming is usually drop-off, and includes local activities with our Youth Engagement Professional and our Youth Director/Cantor. It is powered by our Youth Board, who come up with programs and projects and run them with the guidance of the staff. Starting in Kadima, kids help host and take part in local and regional Shabbatonim, Encampment, online educational programs (MyUSYFiFall) and conventions, where they enjoy amazing times with their counterparts from the other chapters, participate in leadership exercises, ruach (spirit), chinuch (learning), t’filah (prayer), and chofesh (relaxation). Kadimaniks officially hold paid memberships at the National level, and there is a palpable sense of ownership, pride, and Jewish connection with something larger than the home chapter. As with all our youth levels, Kadimaniks ‘graduate’ and become proud USYers.
USY doesn’t mean anything in Hebrew, but USY means a lot to our teens! Programming at this level is also driven by the JACCUSY board and supported by the Youth Engagement Professional and Youth Director. The president of JACCUSY and VP of SATO (Social Action and Tikkun Olam) come from the ranks of USYers. This age group takes a larger lead on organizing and running local and regional conventions (described above, under “Kadima”). USYers often act as madrichim (teen leaders or assistants) for Kadima, K’tanim, Kehillateinu, and Tot programming at KBI. There are also expanded opportunities for prayer learning and leadership in the adult community guided by Cantor Green. Membership is required for participation in all conventions, as well as for gaining voting privileges for, and being elected to, ECRUSY (Regional) board positions. USYers proudly go on to become leaders, not just at the Regional level, but in the Jewish community in general. They are the future of Conservative Judaism!
“Kehillateinu!” is our monthly Junior Congregation service (for grades K-6), designed by our Cantor and led by our Youth Engagement Professional, volunteer parents and teen madrichim (guides/assistants). It is geared at developing skills and enthusiasm for the next level, joining in and leading our main prayer services. Kehillateinu! (which means “our congregation”) meets during COVID on the first Shabbat of the month (starting Dec. 5th), by advance registration, 11:00-11:45am in the Basement Sanctuary (stairs are near the parking lot entrance). It includes, t’filah (prayer), Torah study through skits and discussions, social and physically-active time, physically distanced games, and a snack-to-go. Parents wishing to register for the concurrent Shabbat service can do so here.
JTeen is our educational and leadership program for Jewish Ottawa teens, a collaboration including KBI, Or Haneshamah, and the Ottawa Talmud Torah. For more information, visit our JTeen page or email Rabbi Kenter, our JTeen coordinator.
Celebrating a Bat or Bar Mitzvah in the next 2-3 years? Mazal tov! We are proud to help you make the occasion most enjoyable, meaningful, and memorable. For more information visit our B’nei Mitzvah page or email Cantor Green, our B’nei Mitzvah Program coordinator.
My name is Laura Dimitroff, and I’m KBI’s new Youth Engagement Professional!
I find working in the Jewish community very fulfilling — I previously worked at Hillel Lodge in Program Administration. I’ve already started connecting with KBI’s youth and their families, and look forward to many opportunities to celebrate, pray, learn, and grow together.
Born and raised in Ottawa, I graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Psychology. I’ve enjoyed traveling to Israel and the U.S. to attend various programs and Shabbatonim. I like all animals and currently have a rescue dog, a snail, fish… I’ve owned all types of pets over the years! I also enjoy kayaking, spending time in nature with friends, and reading autobiographies.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know all our youth — it’s important to stay connected during these difficult times. Always feel free to drop me a line, ask programming questions, etc. My Email me and feel free to text or call my cell phone: 613-712-5904, and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.
L’hitra’ot — See you soon!
Our Youth Committee is made up of parents with kids in all the above age groups who are passionate about the Youth program at KBI. Its co-chairs are Jackie Luffman and Anne Read.
Our Youth Director is Cantor Jason Green. If you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or want to discuss anything confidentially with Cantor Green, please do reach out.