Jericho’s Temple Or Elohim recently announced the launch of its new group “Over The Rainbow With TOE & LGBT.” This club commenced in December at the synagogue with teens ages 14 to 19 for a meet-and-greet social. The guest speaker, Ross Wolkenbrod, a student at the University of Rochester, shared his journey with the teens during the social. The new initiative will offer monthly meetings at Temple Or Elohim under the direction of Deborah E. Tract, director of education.
Many teenagers are searching for their identity and the temple is offering them a place to “feel safe” as they go through their journey of self-reflection. The group is non-sectarian and is open not only to Jericho residents, but to all the neighboring communities. Temple Or Elohim is an inclusive synagogue.
Tract was recently awarded a Teen Engagement Micro Grant from the Jewish Education Project. The grant will help cover the costs of special programs, guest speakers, materials and more. This grant was awarded to Tract because she is passionate about inclusion, and believes that all people deserve to feel safe, and be who they are. While applying for the award, she listed many reasons for starting this innovative project, one of which was supporting a young teen that approached her last spring, desiring a place to bring friends and feel welcomed.
Tract, with the support of the board of trustees, quickly ran with this vision of creating a safe space for all teens.
For more information about this program, contact Tract at 516-433-9888 ext. 15.