Kol High Tuesday Teen Program

IMG_7774Our high school program, Kol High, gives Kol Emeth teens an opportunity to continue learning, to make and sustain friendships, and to discover the ways in which Judaism can help address the moral challenges that daily face them.  We begin our Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm with our first hour of class, followed by a delicious dinner prepared by our resident chef and facilities manager, Pepe Sanchez. After giving thanks as a community by singing Birkat HaMazon, we move on to our second hour of class, finishing at 8:45pm.

Kol Emeth membership is not required for Kol High participation – all Jewish teens in the area are invited to join this program! Join our teen activities email list to stay in the loop!

In the years following their B’nai Mitzvah, our 8th and 9th graders continue studying with their beloved teacher Jeff Schwarz and Esti BenDavid in an exploration of Jewish Ethics. They discuss such “hot topics” as inter-dating, vegetarianism and addiction.

Older teens also continue a special relationship with our rabbis through the Kol High program. Rabbi Booth enjoys studying significant Jewish texts such as Talmud and Jewish philosophy. Rabbi Matzkin has creatively combined an introduction to Kabbalah with a practice of Yoga and meditation, and over the past few years we have introduced other compelling courses such as Judaism and Social Justice and Comparative Religion through Jewish Eyes.

The Madrichim Program is coordinated with Kol High. Each week, Madrichim meet during Kol High on Tuesday nights to plan Shabbat lessons for the 3rd-4th grade class. On Shabbat mornings, they tutor the students in Hebrew and prayers and offer camp-like activities to teach big Jewish ideas.  Madrichim are compensated for their teaching time on Saturdays either financially or with community service hours.

Kol High Courses Include:
Hot Topics in Jewish Ethics – Jeff Schwarz (8th Grade)
How do we make ethical and moral decisions in our lives? We’ll explore and debate Jewish teachings about how we treat others, care for our own bodies, and help repair the world. Find out how to internalize Jewish values such as “V’ahavta l’reiecha kamocha” (love your neighbor as yourself) and “kol yisrael arevim zeh la’zeh” (all Jewish people are responsible for one another.). We’ll use games, role play, and listening to expert speakers to help us better understand ethical issues including drugs & alcohol, sexuality, modesty, even suicide from a Jewish perspective.

Jewish American Experience + Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust – Jeff Schwarz (8th Grade)
How and when did Jews come to the America? What difficulties and hardships did they face? What contributions have Jews made to American history and society? Why have so many Jews made their names in acting and comedy? We’ll answer these questions and more using text and video as well as tracing our own Jewish American ancestry. The 2nd half of the year is devoted to further Holocaust study, specifically: Jewish resistance, Jewish partisans, righteous gentiles, and U.S. involvement in WWII. Watching and discussing film excerpts will be a big part of better understanding how some Jews were able to fight back against the Nazis.

A Bride for One Night: Subversive Stories in the Talmud – Rabbi David Booth (8th-12th Grades)
Ruth Calderon, a member of Israel’s Knesset, a noted scholar, and a founder of a secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, has compiled a collection of Talmudic stories. She has also written her own narrative and comments to each story. Her political and feminist narratives are fascinating, inviting a new and sometimes subversive look at the stories. We will study the stories in their original context and then look at her narrative and notes as well as we explore issues of politics, gender, and Israeli society.

Madrichim Prep – (9th-12th Grades)
See Madrichim page for more information.

All high schoolers are also encouraged to participate in Palo Alto USY (PAUSY), Kol Emeth’s high school youth group chapter. On our online registration form, select “USY” under the “Youth Group Membership” drop-down menu.  You can learn more about USY here!


Everyone is welcome in our egalitarian Jewish community