Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars
We may either smother the divine fire of youth or we may feed it.
Jane Addams (1912)
Support for Entering Adulthood in a Jewish Context
Please click here to download additional information on Nativ- Jewish Teen Seminars, including: important logistical information; how group work contributes to healthy teen development; research documenting the need for such Jewish seminars; who this seminar is for; information on the facilitators; and kudos.
Please download these files for additional information:
Testimonials from Teens and Letters from Parents
Letter to Teens About Nativ
What the Jewish Professional Community is Saying
Introductory Letter to Parents
Parent Information Form
Pre-seminar Questionnaire for Parents
Teen Information Form
The quest for meaning begins in adolescence. It is during this transitional lifecycle stage that teenagers are challenged to consciously create their own personal philosophy - an inner compass to guide them on their path towards adulthood. Jewish teenagers are fortunate in having access to 4,000 years of human questing after meaning to support them as they enter adulthood. Their cultural and moral birthright, with its values, code of ethics, spirituality and supportive rituals, all provide guidance in charting their course during these formative years. Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars offer Jewish teens a new manner in which to experience their connection to Judaism and, in so doing, to reduce their exposure to the normal risk factors that accompany the adolescent rite of passage. Teens are engaged on multiple levels and thoroughly enjoy themselves as they learn and grow. Most report that the seminar was one of their most fun-filled weekends ever.
Through these intensive seminars, youth in our community will be provided with a safe and respectful environment where they can gain the necessary skills for the development of healthy beliefs, clear standards for personal behavior and informed choice making, in an atmosphere that will revitalize their connection to their Jewish heritage. Nativ Seminars, however, is non-denominational and not affiliated with any particular movement or synagogue.
What are Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars?
Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars were developed by Beth Freishtat, a Jewish communal service provider with a masters in clinical psychology and adolescent and family therapy. They are facilitated by Ms. Freishtat and Jackie Redner, rabbi of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in Los Angeles, California and former campus rabbi at Kadima Hebrew Academy in Westhills, California.
Over the course of a Shabbat or a full weekend, Nativ Seminar teens are invited to participate in supportive, challenging and creative group interactions in a safe and nurturing environment. Activities will strike a healthy balance between those that spark the creative and imaginative potential of youth and those that promote critical thinking, rationality, decision-making and problem solving.
Infused with the vast richness Judaism offers at every level, the format for the group will include intriguing lectures and stories, ritual, dialogue and discussion, expressive arts explorations, and activities and games that challenge and promote self and other awareness. Both discussions and activities will address the following common adolescent themes: peer relationships, family conflict, effective communication, spirituality, self-image/body-image, social skills, Jewish identity, sibling rivalry, divorce, identity issues, sex, love, individuality and belonging, school related issues, self-esteem, anger, loss, discrimination, drugs and alcohol, trust, and expression of feelings, hopes, and dreams.
Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars will present adolescents with an approach to life's most important issues from an authentic Jewish perspective. In an atmosphere of fun, spontaneity and openness, we will help teens learn how to:
- Understand the relevance of Jewish values in their journey to adulthood.
- Discover a new appreciation, respect and empathy for themselves and their families.
- Deal effectively with peer pressure in making their own healthy choices.
- Renew or ignite their spiritual connection to Judaism and experience the fulfillment of Jewish community as represented by the diversity and unity of the seminar room.
- Improve problem solving related to normal teenage concerns (rebellion, body image and sexuality, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, impaired social judgment, etc.).
- Discover hidden inner resources and apply them in making healthy decisions.
- Address anger, sadness, fear and other emotions in a healthy manner.
The benefit of group work and goals:
Affirming group encounters, even when experienced on a short-term basis, have the potential to dramatically alter the paths of youth and help them adapt to the multiple challenges of entering adulthood. The group creates an environment where adolescents receive support in their search for identity and in their efforts towards personal growth through helping one another to understand new dimensions of themselves. A sense of competence, belonging and creativity is cultivated within group members and the seminar room becomes a place where teens feel honored for their strengths, rather than singled out for perceived deficits.
Who is this seminar for?
All adolescents require support and guidance as they navigate the uncharted, and often turbulent, waters of young adulthood and create a personal philosophy for themselves. And all adolescents require stretching of their emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual limits. Therefore, teens aged 13-18 from all walks of life and with religious ideologies spanning the full spectrum of American Jewish experience would benefit from participation in Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars. The range includes everyone from the socially competent teen who chooses to join the group recognizing it as a positive growing experience to the teen who is beginning to experiment with risky and acting out behavior and is coerced into attending by their parent.
Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars understand that for change to last sufficient support structures must be in place. Follow-up programs include: a monthly alumni evening session offered to any teen who has participated at any time in a seminar; the possibility of joining a weekly support group facilitated by Beth Freishtat, M.A.; the possibility of joining future Nativ Seminars as a "back-up team" member; a monthly newsletter from the facilitators; access to the Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars internet chat room; and the knowledge that both facilitators are always available by telephone or email. In addition, when necessary, therapeutic referrals will be made.
$250 for the Shabbat or full weekend seminar. Scholarships and a sliding scale fee are available. A portion of all profits will be donated to tzedakah/charity.
"Nativ - Jewish Teen Seminars are a valuable supplement to existing teen youth organizations, both denominational and nondenominational. With those groups focusing on the communal and religious aspects of Jewish identity, there remains a need for a safe haven to explore the challenges teens face within a caring and professional Jewish context. Nativ is exactly that haven. I commend its founders and recommend it most highly!"
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
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