We at JumpSpark are here to support our community in this time of uncertainty. Below you will find an update about our Spark Grants, Teen and Parent surveys, and Some Valuable Resources for this new reality.

JumpSpark is delaying Spark Grant decisions, reopening applications will reassess on May 15th

Due to the uncertainty of the future, JumpSpark is delaying Spark Grant decisions and will reassess on May 15th. This will allow us time to assess needs and make sure we are uses our funds in a way that speaks to our new reality. If you have an idea that speaks to this moment, can be operationalized at this time, and needs funds to get off the ground please reach out. As we all pivot JumpSpark has decided to reopen the grant application and are accepting new ideas for Spark Grants. We appreciate your flexibility and patience at this difficult time. Apply here: https://jumpsparkatl.org/spark-grants/

Amazing new resource from the Jewish Teen Funder Collaborative: https://www.newrealityresources.com/

This website aggregates the amazing content, resources and webinars into one place with a focus on youth professionals / those serving teens with clear categories. I hope this saves you all time so that you can spend your energy connecting deeply with the community you serve, and meeting local needs.

On the site you will find:

  1. A spreadsheet of social media content and sources you can lift / share out in a Google spreadsheet that will be frequently updated (also found HERE).
  2. Virtual program ideas and links to 4Front’s new curated content site
  3. A Haggadah for a virtual Seder compiled by Cincinnati
  4. Guides for educators
  5. Public webinars (and links to their recordings if you miss the times)
  6. Wellbeing tools, such as Jewish meditation how-to’s and spirituality resources
  7. General coronavirus updates

**Please note, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has also built a site with both national and local resources: https://jewishatlanta.org/covid19-resources/  In addition, in an effort to best serve our community, Federation is leading the needs assessment and fundraising efforts for our community, you can learn more about the Jewish Emergency Response Fund here

JumpSpark is going virtual

We miss seeing all of you and would love to have you join us for our upcoming virtual learning activities. We will be offering more opportunities in the coming weeks.

  1. A Taste of Moving Traditions Webinar, March 30, 1-2, will be held over Zoom (Register here: http://movingtraditions.formstack.com/forms/tasteofmt)
  2. JumpSpark professional teen mental health first aid, April 28, 9-5, will be held over Zoom (more information coming)
  3. Intown Post-graduation Engagement for Parents Webinar, April 28 7-8:30pm (Navigating Parenthood event – more information coming)

BBYO On-Demand

JumpSpark has joined BBYO as a partner on their amazing new platform BBYO On-Demand: https://azabbg.bbyo.org/on-demand/home If you, or your community are interested in hosting programming on the platform you can submit details here: https://azabbg.bbyo.org/on-demand/home. Please reach out if you have any questions.

JumpSpark is still running our teen and parent surveys

We have 200 teen responses and 150 parent responses so far! Thank you everyone for your efforts in making this happen. It is truly a community project that will yield data helpful to all of us.  The survey is scheduled to end on March 27th so please continue to share it out to your communities, especially since everyone is at home in front of a screen.

Teen survey: http://bit.ly/teensurveyatl

Parent survey: http://bit.ly/parentsurveyatl

Annie Fortnow, Engagement Manager

As JumpSpark considers its role in expanding teen Israel education in Atlanta, we find ourselves at the forefront of a changing approach to this topic for teens today. 

In December 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel with The Jewish Education Project (TJEP) and other Jewish Israel educators from cross-denominational and political perspectives to rethink how we educate Generation Z about Israel. Since today’s youth are increasingly progressive and questioning the conflicts within Israeli society, we need to adapt the traditional Israel trip to better meet teens’ understanding and connection with Israel through a multi-narrative approach that gives a voice to the different ethnic groups that make up the tapestry of Israel. 

What the Data Says

In TJEP’s comprehensive Gen Z report, data shows a clear generational shift in how kids see the Jew in today’s society – teens care about all people, but they are not tribalist. They are asking if being Jewish is good for global humanity, not just their people. The idea of Jewish peoplehood is much less prevalent among teens today than older adults. 

Other major concerns of teens include:

  • Tikkun Olam: teens responded that tikkun olam feels like “white privelege” to them and reinforces Jews as an oppressive white minority. They are looking for a more nuanced approach to volunteering that includes community building and working with communities to fight for social justice and equality in our society.
  • Israel Connection: teens have a positive relationship towards Israel and see it as important in some way. However, the less connected the teen is to the organized Jewish community, the less they felt Israel was important. The organized Jewish community feels Israel is central to Jewish identity in the US, but is Israel the best way to be reaching people on the margins?
Download the full report

Exploring the Multi-Narrative Approach

Our first encounter with a multi-narrative approach to Israel education was with the community of Israelis from Ethiopian descent. We had the opportunity to hear from three prominent Israelis from Ethiopian descent who all work with the community’s absorption into Israeli society in various ways. 

To frame the session, we discussed the importance of talking about race in Israel for teens today. As a generation growing up in the wake of police brutality towards black and brown folks and mass incarceration in the US, issues of race relations are on their minds. Through speaking with the community, we learned that in Israel, there are similar acts of police brutality and discrimination towards Israelis of Ethiopian descent. Although we cannot fully compare the issues in these two countries, sharing this narrative in Israel with teens could allow them to consider their role as Jews in Israel and the US in improving race relations and creating justice and equity for all. 

The next day, we embarked on a dual narrative tour of Bethlehem from both an Israeli and Palestinian perspective. We observed the Israeli West Bank barrier that, from the Israeli narrative, serves as a security barrier against terrorism, and, from the Palestinian side, services as a racial segregation wall. To hear both sides allowed us to better understand the nuance behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, ultimately, make a more informed opinion about our own beliefs. As teens today are increasingly progressive and see Israel as an oppressor in this conflict more and more, we need to not only talk about the conflict with the teens but show both sides to allow them to create their own stance and a better understanding of the complexity behind the situation.  

Questioning and critiquing is a Jewish practice that can be seen throughout our literature and in our traditions today. While Israel travel and education can no doubt light the spark for further Jewish identity exploration, it also allows teens to engage in this Jewish practice of questioning and exploring the complexities behind a situation. To truly meet teens where they’re at, we need to address issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and racism from a multi-narrative approach to add nuance and complexity to a teen’s views of the land, people, and State of Israel. Only then can we help teens discover their own stance on Israel and support their plight for justice and equity in our world. ~ A.F.