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KMS Youth Update

Rabbi Aaron Levitt, KMS Youth Rabbi

First of all, let me just say this: The kids in this community are special. They are kind, respectful, and giving. They care about their Jewish identity and their middot. And they are lots of fun! I am still settling in and learning the culture, but whatever is happening here is clearly working! Kol hakavod to all the parents and educators who are raising their children and students to be such menches. And to the KMS leadership for making youth such a priority in this community.

My wife Elisheva and I are so excited to be part of the KMS community. We have spent the past 6 years living in Houston, TX, and the 9 before that in Boca Raton, FL. Those are also special communities. But after coming to Kemp Mill for the past 20 years to visit family, we know how special KMS is and we feel privileged to live near family after so many years apart. We have been welcomed so warmly here and are really enjoying getting to know everyone. Our kids (Shira is in college and Rina and Simcha are in middle school) are thrilled with the move as well, and we are all very happy to be here.

We are off to a great start this year in our youth programming at KMS. High school has already had two packed Oneg Shabbats with about 90 teens attending in total. They have also had learning opportunities at a pre-selichot film discussion and the high school Shabbat Shuva drasha. And they have volunteered to help get KMS ready for the Yamim Noraim and walked to Holy Cross Hospital on Rosh Hashana to blow shofar for patients. They also have oneg Shabbat and sushi in the sukkah events coming up during Sukkot and will have lots of fun dancing on Simchat Torah. Middle school has enjoyed an incredible Minute-to-Win-It ice cream party and has a really fun sukkah party coming up. In addition, the Mother-Daughter Matan Bat Mitzvah Program begins in October. Lower school has enjoyed a thank-you visit to the fire station, a Rosh Hashana book nook program, a sukkah decorating event, and the start of another great year of Bnei Akiva (with more than 100 chanichim attending the opening Snif!), and has the Sukkah Hop and Pizza in the Hut events to look forward to. In addition, Motzei Shabbat Parent-Child learning will be starting in November after the clocks change.

Ruach and teen minyanim are off to great starts with an amazing group of teen leaders. We have plans in the works to have exciting themed kiddushim and cholent competitions (please sign up to sponsor a week if you can). Junior davening, under the leadership of Lisi Levisohn, is also off to a great start. Shabbat groups, under the leadership of Adam Faleder and the teen group leaders, are rocking.

We have a lot to look forward to this year! But let us remember that it is not about how many programs we have, but about how many lives we touch. Our children are growing and developing, and it is our role to give them encouragement and to provide opportunities for them to engage with their Jewish identity and to take on leadership positions. 

As always, if you would like to get involved, you are more than welcome. Please contact either Youth Chair Lisa Brookman or me to let us know.

Finally, I am trying to compile a list of all the youth in KMS with their age, school, and contact information. I also would love feedback about what is working with KMS youth and what we can do better. Please take a moment to fill out this brief Google Form so that we can make sure your child is included in all KMS events:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe1rjfP3n6njqERdFek8HhcqOyEmzj1QO8p1Zb4BfonoPmUKw/viewform?usp=sf_link

Aaron Levitt, 
KMS Youth Rabbi
Sun, December 9 2018 1 Tevet 5779