Youth Groups

Beth Emet’s youth groups help young people build the skills for leadership and social change and grow as Jews and thoughtful people.

Field trips, writing workshops, meditation, music, leadership training, Torah study, and of course the chance to hang out with friends are just a few things that give Beth Emet’s younger generation a chance to engage with our community.

Garinim (4th & 5th Grade)

Beth Emet’s Garinim (seeds) youth group activities for 4th and 5th Grade provide an engaging introduction to Beth Emet youth group culture.

Over the course of four to six events per year, participants begin to build social relationships within a distinctively Jewish environment. Youth Programs staff provide age-appropriate, thoughtfully planned activities that encourage pride in our synagogue community, a Jewish social experience, and lots of fun.

Chasamba (6th-8th Grade)

Chasamba strives to cultivate a supportive and fun social community that bridges Jewish values with this age group’s increasing social exploration. Named after a popular Israeli children series (an acronym translated to “The Absolutely Absolute Secret Group”), Chasamba provides middle school-age youth an opportunity for a fun, semi-structured social space that meets students at one of their greatest period of change and growth–the pre-teen and early teen years.

Chasamba events run monthly and act as a bridge between Garinim’s structured social programming, and youth-driven, holistic programs for high school students. Events are carefully planned by Youth Programs staff who work with Chasamba-aged youth leaders to build the capacity of leadership and to provide age-appropriate and fun activities. Typical events integrate social time, Jewish experiences, and social action initiatives.

Most importantly, Chasamba builds a strong community among participants, creating a launchpad for lifelong relationships. Participation not only leads to relationships that last a lifetime but also builds a strong affiliation with Beth Emet that carries on through high school and beyond.

BESSY (Beth Emet Senior Synagogue Youth)

BESSY is our highly active, peer-led youth group for high school students. Through monthly, teen-planned events, BESSY provides a Jewish social space and a platform to engage Jewishly with social action and justice.

  • BESSY is a highly visible asset to Beth Emet – each year, BESSYites help organize the Purim Carnival and lead the congregation in Shabbat evening worship. BESSY events range from intimate open-mic nights to social action workshops open to the public; from seeing improv at the Second City to lock-ins at the synagogue. The relationships built in BESSY go beyond the strictly social to encourage and build the leaders not just of tomorrow but of today.
  • The BESSY Leadership Board is an all-teen board supported by Youth Programs staff. BESSY board meets at least once a month to plan activities; striving to recognize and fill the needs of their peers.
  • BESSY is affiliated with NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth), a North American youth group network sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism. Teens are encouraged to participate in regional NFTY-CAR (Chicago Area Region) events throughout the year.