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Register now for ALL the 8th through 12th-grade programs by clicking here.

Eighth Through Twelfth Grade

Adolescence is its own unique time, distinct from the experiences of childhood or adulthood. This is why we have developed BeST (Beit Sefer Tikhon), a series of meaningful experiences specifically designed to benefit teens. Our teens face a world punctuated by standardized testing, rigorous academic schedules, and fierce competition for coveted college placements. BeST provides them with the opportunity to unplug from the pressures of the week and enjoy the Temple Emanuel community. We offer a variety of opportunities for teens to be involved: 

The Youth Lounge: A special space reserved for eighth through twelfth graders on Sundays from 8:45 am to 1:00 pm provided they are not attending class or tending to other responsibilities.

The Madrichim Program: Teens receive leadership training and set goals for themselves while aiding and assisting the Religious School (application required).

TEmTY (Temple Emanuel Temple Youth): Affiliated with NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), TEmTY is a group of motivated teens that enjoy hanging out together to gain leadership, community-bonding skills, and have fun.

Junior Cantors: For teens with a higher appreciation of music, the Junior Cantors program conveys a deep understanding of leadership in synagogue prayer services throughout the year, including leadership roles in High Holy Day Family Services. Students may participate in Jr. Cantors only with the Cantor’s approval


We have created the Passport program to meet the needs of teen(s), with their busy schedules to offer them a chance to build on their Jewish identities with their peers, that culminates in an incredible travel experience. Temple Emanuel’s one-of-a-kind leadership development program is designed as a creative, fun experience for teens to enrich their preparation for college and the bright futures ahead of them.

  •  For 8th grade students Passport gets participants to “Explore Judaism in the Wilderness.” A 3-day adventure allows young teens to experience their Jewish traditions while exploring the beauty of a national park.
  •  For 9th – 12th graders, two tracks are offered:

"Wild West Judaism” gives teens a chance to explore the West Coast and connect with the local and long-standing Jewish heritage in the area. Learn how cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with the rest of the western United States grew into an innovative, vibrant hub of Jewish culture. Connect with other Jewish teens in our sister congregation in San Louis Obispo and discover the West through the Jewish lens.

 The “Teen Civic Leadership Council” takes their participants all the way to Washington, DC. Temple Emanuel has partnered with the Religious Action Center (RAC) where teens choose an issue, learn from experts in the field and engage in non-profit advocacy. This group expands their understanding of major issues, and culminates with 2000 other students in our nation’s capital at RAC’s L’Taken Social Justice Seminar.

For more information, contact Karen Porper 301.409.2950 

North American Federation of Temple Youth

When a teen joins BeSt they join TEmTY, they also become a member of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), the national umbrella organization for teens in the Reform movement.

For over seventy years, NFTY has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism.

Today, over 750 Reform congregations throughout North America sponsor Temple Youth Groups, bringing the NFTY experience to more than 10,000 high school-age young people in grades 9 thru 12. Through involvement opportunities offered by congregations, our 19 NFTY regions, and on the North American level, NFTYites strive to forge an identity in consonance with the goals and values of Reform Judaism.

Stemming from a historic tradition of both Jewish and non-Jewish European youth movements, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (otherwise known as “NFTY”) is the Reform Jewish religious youth movement that fosters leadership at the national, regional and congregational level. It is advised by a set of adult Jewish youth professionals. Comprised of over 750 local synagogue youth groups, NFTY also functions as a youth organization, an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), as well as a program of the Union for Reform Judaism. There is a healthy balance between those aspects of NFTY that are youth-led and those that are directed by its adult advisors.

Whether functioning as an organization, program, or youth movement, NFTY is a Reform Jewish community for high school students. NFTYites forge and build friendships, lifelong Reform Jewish identities, and leadership skills through community building, worship, social action, and experiential youth-led Jewish educational programming. Many NFTYites serve as NFTY leaders on the local TYG, regional, and even North American levels. Many NFTY Leaders continue on to become both lay and professional leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement.

For more information visit nfty.org

For more details about the BeSt high school program, click here for our FAQ and class schedule. 

If you have any questions about the registration for these programs, please contact the Religious School office at 310.409.2950