Midrasha Teen Groups

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2009

Re: Local activities for Jewish teen
Berkeley Midrasha. The moderator put a link under your post, but I just want to add on to that. My now in college son went to Midrasha after his Bar MItzvah, at 13 and LOVED it. He graduated from Midrasha this past spring, just before his HS graduation, at 18. He bonded with a great group of kids and stayed connected to his Jewish roots in a way that I never expected. Now, his first year of college, his desire to be connected to Judaism comes from his own learning and choosing and not from his parents pushing him. They have some great classes and Diane Bernbaum, the director, is FABULOUS. She has the energy of 3 Everready bunnies, and 100% committment to making Midrasha work for the kids. Lots of my friends kids are in Midrasha now and all seem happy. It is great for some and not great for some, but I hope your son will try it and see. It just started in the past week or so, but I thnk you can join any time. HOpe this helps. june

August 2008

I don't belong to a synagogue here in the East Bay, and short of joining one, what options are available for encouraging my young teen to explore his Jewish heritage? He is just starting high school. Josh's mom

Try Midrasha, for kids in grades 8 to 12. It starts Sunday morning, September 7. Here's the website: http://www.midrasha.org/ Or call Diane Bernbaum, who runs this great program. She can tell you all about it. The Sunday morning program is at Beth El (reform) but all denominations participate, including orthodox, so it's a nice mix. At the orientation meeting last weekend Diane specifically mentioned that unaffiliated kids are equally welcome and that there are a number of unaffiliated people on the Midrasha board of directors. Midrasha mom

You don't have to belong to a synagogue to enroll your son in Midrasha. There is one in Berkeley and Oakland. It is specifically for high schoolers. Check out the websites: www.midrasha.org, www.midrasha-oak.net. My son is 14 and enjoys it. max

The east bay has an excellent program for Jewish teens called Midrasha. There is one in Oakland at Temple Sinai, but no temple membership is required. There is also a group in Berkeley. My sons really enjoyed Midrasha. They have retreats and take interesting classes. I would highly recommend the Oakland Midrasha for more socializing, and the Berkeley Midrasha for more intellectual activities. You can write directly to me if you want more information. Patti

Yes indeed! There is the Bay Area Midrasha. It is a teen program with branches in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Contra Costa etc (actually each is free standing). Temple affiliation is not necessary.It is highly social and has classes in history, ethics, art, drama, meditation, religious issues etc. I am a board member of the Oakland Midrasha. You can google them and or email me. Check it out. Both my kids -a boy ,entering college and a girl, entering 11th grade have loved it. Jenny

Dear Josh's mom, if you are looking for some connections for your son, I suggest Midrasha at Cong. Beth El in Berkeley. You do not need to be a member. My daughter is there now and my son went too for 5 yrs. He will meet other Jewish kids and have fun too. there are classes on Sun. mornings and 3-4 wk end retreats through out the year, no HW. Contact Diane Bernbaum who is the director and will jump through hoops to help kids in Midrasha. diane [at] midrasha.org. good luck. Susan

Look into Bay Area Midrasha. It's a Jewish high school open to the community (unaffiliated Jews are welcome and even marginally identified Jewish teens attend). There are weekly meetings in Berkeley and Oakland, hosted by the Reform Synagogues in the area. They offer a host of classes about Judaism and relevant issues of the day to teens, as well as social events that are just plain fun (retreats, etc.) My daughter loves it and doesn't wish to quit even though she now attends a Jewish High School all day! Feel free to contact me for more info. Naomi

Have you tried Midrasha? You don't need to be affiliated with a temple to join. The purpose is to give Jewish teens a chance to connect once a week in a fun, educational environment. The Oakland group meets on Tuesday evenings and the Berkeley group meets on Sunday mornings. The first Oakland meeting will be this Tuesday, and I believe you can enroll at that time, if you want to. Sandy

Try Midrasha in Berkeley. http://www.midrasha.org/. Many kids really like the social aspect of the Sunday morning classes. Berkeley Parent

Hi Josh's mom, You could look into Midrasha. It's a program of Jewish education and social activities for high school kids. In the East Bay there is one in Berkeley, one in Oakland, one in Pleasanton, one in Walnut Creek. Diane Bernbaum has been at the head of the Berkeley site for a long time. She knows all the other directors and can connect you in the city nearest you. You can reach Diane at 510-843-4667.

You should also get your self a copy of Resource (I call it the Jewish Yellow pages) by calling the Federation at 510- 839-2900 and asking them to send you a copy. That will give you access to all things Jewish around the entire bay area.

You're really close to the start of the fall program so call soon. If you need more help, you can call me at (510) 663-8350. (Building Jewish Bridges.org) Dawn Kepler

An excellent local option for teens who want to explore their Jewish roots is the Midrasha program in Berkeley (www.midrasha.org). It's a Jewish community high school with classes that range from the complex and intellectually stimulating, to art and dance, to everything in between. Some kids come for the classes, some for the socializing. There is a series of weekend retreats that most of the teens live for. I have one teen who has always gravitated strongly toward Jewish life, and one who rarely has. Both have loved Midrasha. Contact me if you? like more info. Stacey

Oct 2006

My 14 y-o daughter wants to learn more about her Jewish roots. Are there any non-bar mitvah classes out there where she can meet other teens and learn about being jewish? Mum

A great teen program is Midrasha http://www.jfed.org/midrasha.htm . Great kids, teachers, weekend retreats, multiple locations in the East Bay. My daughter has been going to Oakland 4 yrs. Scholarships are available, too. anon

Re: your teen wanting to explore their Jewish culture and history there are several programs called Midrasha, one in Berkeley and another in Contra Costa County that have wonderful programs for teens. They provide classes and events that connect the teen with their history, heritage as well as other teens who are part of a Jewish community. My 13 year old daughter and her friends really love this program that starts in 8th grade. You can join any time as far as I know Alison

I recommend that your daughter look into the East Bay's Midrasha programs. Depending on where you live, there are classes Sunday morning or weekday evenings. Subjects include a huge range of cultural, religious, artistic, and historical issues. Kids include those with extensive backgrounds as well as those who have had no connection with their roots. Berkeley Midrasha (843-4667), Oakland (444-6744), Fremont (656-7141), Lafayette (925/284-9191), and Walnut Creek (915/944-4701) Judy

We are really fortunate here in the east bay to have a wonderful high school program for Jewish teens call Midrasha. For more information about the Oakland program visit http://www.oaklandsinai.org/Midrasha/Midrasha2.htm and for the Berkeley program http://www.midrasha.org/index.html (there is also a program in Contra Costa county as well). These programs offer classes in all kinds of topics from history to culture, and are open to everyone, no matter what their level of observance or previous Jewish education, and you don't have to be a synagogue member to join Alice

I think she would have the most fun with other kids her age at Midrasha - the Jewish program for kids post bar or bat mitzvah. You don't have to be a member of a synagogue or have any previous knowledge. I don't know what city you live in but here are the Midrashot in the east bay: Berkeley 510-843-4667 (run by Diane Bernbaum) Oakland 510-444-6744 (run by Elaine Bachrach) Fremont 510-656-7141 (run by Anrea Fleekop) Contra Costa 925-944-4701 (Run by Gabe Salgado) Give it a test run! dawn

My 15-y-o has been attending Berkeley Midrasha Sunday a.m.'s since 8th grade and loves it. Their website is http://www.midrasha.org/. You can contact the Berkeley Midrasha director Diane Bernbaum at: diane [at] midrasha.org. There is also a Midrasha in Oakland that meets Tuesday evenings. I would be happy to talk to you about Midrasha. Jan

You can try Midrasha, a community Jewish high school that has classes on Sunday mornings for teens. The subjects range from yoga to kabbalah. If you google Midrasha, Berkeley you'll find out what's available M