Home / Community / Bagels & BytesRSS Feed
Bagels & Bytes for August 24th, 2001
August 24th, 2001
Not only does Becca Wolfson concentrate on her own schoolwork, she finds time in her busy schedule to work as a teachers aide at Congregation Shaloms Religious School and Hebrew School.
The Nicolet High School junior is following in her parents footsteps. Her mother, Diane Wolfson, has been teaching at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School for eight years, while dad David Wolfson is in his tenth year of teaching in Shaloms religious school.
Becca can be found working as a teachers aide in a third-grade classroom on Sunday mornings. I really like working with the kids and sort of serving as a role model for them. When some of them dont want to pay attention, I tell them that the material may not seem meaningful now, but later it will be important. I think student aides can motivate the kids to learn because they may relate better to us. My students always want to work one on one with me. Theyre really cute.
In addition, Becca is the president of the Congregation Shalom youth group, SHFTY, which boasts a membership of 80-90 high school teens. She is pondering whether to seek another term as president of the Shalom group or to run for a regional NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) office.
Becca said she got involved with the youth group because her older sister was active in it. She got me to go to some of the activities, which led to my participation in a leadership conference at Camp Kutz in New York.
During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she attended a NFTY conclave designed to help the teens develop leadership skills. I guess it worked for me, because after I came back I did become more active [at Shalom]. I like going to NFTY conclaves because I get the chance to meet kids from all over the country. Its really fun.
While admitting that all members dont attend every program, Becca said there is a core group of about 20-30 kids. She explained the group has several focus areas, including religious/cultural, social action and membership/social plus there is a youth lounge at the synagogue where kids can just hang out.
Throughout the year, she has been involved with planning a youth group Shabbat service, working at a food pantry and going to a Bucks game. The next activity is an ice skating party.
The number of kids who come to any event, she said, depends on its appeal. A lot of guys want to go to a Bucks game, but may not be interested in volunteering at the pantry. Also, a lot of it depends on whether they have the time to do something.
She added, I think the biggest draw overall is that most teens want to do things with other Jewish kids, not just from their own high school. Weve had off years where for whatever reason the chemistry isnt good and the programs we offer arent well attended. But we hope that throughout the year there is something that appeals to everyone.
She said she really likes helping people. In profiling the contemporary American teen, she feels they get a bad rap. I think some adults underestimate teens and dont think we care about anything important. Were often labeled as apathetic and I really dont think thats fair. I know a lot of kids who really want to help others and do good things either at their school or in the community. Its very rewarding. Everyone doesnt just hang out at the mall. I think temple youth groups sort of act as a safety net and give kids a place to be.
Also, she credits Rabbi Shari Heinrich, Shaloms assistant rabbi, and Brad and Becky Dallet, SHFTY advisors, with great enthusiasm and interest in working with the program.
Though she doesnt know where she will go to college, Becca knows she will be involved in Jewish life on campus and later in synagogue life. I know Ill always be involved in some way, she said with a smile.
Becca enjoyed a plain bagel with cream cheese and tomato at Brueggers Bagel Bakery on Silver Spring Dr. Bagels 'n Bytes
By Mardee Gruen