Youth Appreciation

I hate to brag, but… Whenever I mention to rabbinic colleagues that we
have 14 teen madrichim, that our high school program is burgeoning,
and that our teens regularly lead services, read Torah, tutor Hebrew,
help out in our temple garden, and even maintain our Torah scrolls by
sewing and cleaning, they are amazed at the vibrancy of Jewish life in
Harford County for our teens.

We have new and improved criteria to qualify for the Youth
Appreciation Fund. This fund honors our teens who contribute to the
life of our Temple community throughout their post B’nai Mitzvah
years, from grades 8-12. The criteria include choices for providing
service to the community, demonstrating leadership in the synagogue
and actively participating in our religious services.

I would love to honor all who fulfill this program with a scholarship
check as they go off to college! But I need your help. Please consider a
donation to the YOUTH APPRECIATION FUND. What a great way to
express gratitude for a simcha, to memorialize a loved one, or to wish
Happy Birthday to your favorite teen (maybe a grandchild or niece or
nephew). Make out your check to Harford Jewish Center, with a note in
the memo to direct it to the Youth Appreciation Fund. Todah Rabbah,
Rabbi Gila Ruskin.


To be eligible for the Youth Appreciation Award, students in grades 8 through 12 will be involved in Tefillah (Prayer), Kehillah (Congregation) and Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) in the way that is best suited to their talents and their interests – ONE FROM EACH CATEGORY EACH YEAR.

We are also open to creative ideas that students might have in any of the three categories. Anything not included in the table requires the Rabbi’s approval.

All students must be enrolled in Religious School through grade 10 and participate in all Confirmation activities.


Category 1


Category 2


Category 3



Serve as a Teen Mentor to B’nai Mitzvah students



ASTY or NFTY-MAR officer or program chair

Community Service hours already completed for middle school or high school requirement, with the identification of the Jewish value it represents


Read Torah or Lead Services three times during the year.

Madrich for Sunday with regular attendance. Madrich for midweek with regular attendance.



Volunteer regularly for a

non-profit entity in the local area.


Maintain our Torah scrolls by cleaning, sewing, changing for holidays.



Steward of our Temple Garden


Phone contact on a regular

basis with elderly or

home-bound congregants.


Serve as a greeter for services four times during the year.

Server, set-up, clean-up at Passover Seder, Purim Carnival, Chanukah Celebration, Sukkot Dinner.



Tutor a student regularly

in a subject such as math,

English, etc.


Develop a new idea to implement for a regular or holiday service (prayers, melodies, presentation, etc.).


Clerical help in Temple office on a regular basis.

Visit a Senior facility on a regularly scheduled basis, providing conversation, entertainment, craft, etc. Our Social Action committee is involved at Lorien Bel Air.