J Line South Hills

Temple Emanuel, Beth El Congregation, South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh and the JCC are bringing the very best opportunities for Jewish Teen Engagement to the South Hills. Together, we are excited to bring Judaism to life in a way that is relevant, enriching and worthwhile to the teens in South Hills.

We recognize that the teenage years are an important time, and we aim to make Jewish values ‘front row and center’ in a way that speaks to teens in today’s world.  We have crafted unique and enriching learning opportunities for teens to dig deeper with the same J Line learning values we have used in the past.

Throughout their experience, South Hills Jewish teens will be encouraged to ask and be challenged by these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • With whom and what am I connected?
  • To whom and for what am I responsible in this world?
  • How can I bring about change in this world?


Register for Winter Trimester!
Click here for J Line South Hills Program Guide



December 4, 11, 18
January8, 22, 29
February 5

HOUR 1: 6:30–7:15 PM

7 Habits of Highly Effective Jewish Teens: Grade 8 There is so much to do as a teen: social media, friends, sleep, school, family…how can we be expected to fit all of this in? “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” is a system designed to help you do it all. We will uncover the habits with film, food, experience, and conversation. Rabbi Ron Symons

Character Counts: Grade 9 Choices, choices, choices…. Every day we make thousands of decisions from what we wear to what we eat to how we speak. Some of them come easily, others are more challenging. When it comes to the challenging decisions around friends, language and ethics, Judaism has some advice. We will explore this advice and decide if we want to take it. Barak Naveh

■ Confirmation: Grade 10 How have the teachings of Judaism shaped Jewish minds, hearts and souls for the past 3,000 years? Judaism is explored as “The Wisdom of The Ages”, “The Mysteries of The Universe”, “The Secrets of Existence” and “The Key to Goodness, Happiness and Holiness”. Teens explore Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s book, Jewish Literacy, and celebrate their successful completion of the course with Confirmation on Shavuot. Rabbis Mark Mahler and Alex Greenbaum


Winter Trimester Chugim (Electives)

HOUR 2: 7:30–8:15 PM
December 4, 11, 18 January 8

The Art Of War: Who Should Live and Who Should Die?—Grades 8-9

Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan? Drones and chemical weapons? Preemptive or retaliatory? These are big questions being asked in situation rooms around the world. As you dig into ‘The Art of War’ you will debate what makes a just war. Jewish wisdom has something to say about it. Rabbi Alex Greenbaum

LGBTQA: 21st Century Conversations— Grades 8-9

Was it “Adam and Eve” or “Adam and Steve” back in the garden? Was the first creation a man, woman or both? Does it even matter? These are among the foundational questions we will ask as we explore our 21st-century perspectives on LGBTQ realities. Your opinions will make all the difference as we meet a wide variety of people from in and around Pittsburgh who have what to say about the issues confronting the LGBTQA community and all of us. Rabbi Ron Symons

Current Events: Grades 10-12

If you only read the headlines, you might not know what to think of the 24-hour news that comes our way. This is a weekly opportunity to go a little bit deeper. You pick the headline and your instructor will help you make sense of it through respectful conversation that brings lots of voices to the table. You will learn how to understand then be understood as you explore the issues of today with a Jewish lens. Barak Naveh

L’Taken Seminar Prep: Grades 10-12

In partnership with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), you will have the opportunity to impact our country as you share your views on social justice topics with decision-makers on Capitol Hill. Each year more than 2,000 teens from across the country attend L’Taken seminars. These sessions are designed for teens traveling with Rabbis Locketz and Greenbaum to Washington DC in January. Rabbi Jessica Locketz

HOUR 2: 7:30–8:15 PM January 22, 29 February 5

Jewish Short Stories: Grades 8-9

“Art is too long and life is too short,” said Jewish-American writer Grace Paley when asked why she hadn’t published more works or any novels. Instead, she wrote poetry and a number of collections of short stories, a favorite medium of many Jewish authors. Read some short stories from across genres, and explore what these writers are able to say, and how they are able to affect the Jewish community in so few pages. Barak Naveh

J-Serve 2018: Grades 8-9

(340 Teens) x (5 hours of Service) = LOTS OF GOODNESS! The 1,700 hours that we served last year represented the largest group of teens in any city in North America participating in J-Serve! Explore why doing good with your peers is a really good Jewish thing to do. Uncover the values that drive us to make difference for good in the world around us and get psyched for J-Serve 2018, March 11, 2018! Hannah Kalson and Stephanie Aaronson with J-Serve Teen Leaders

Side by Side: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Grades 10-12

Let’s break down the myths, untruths and false assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as we compare them side by side. We will have conversations with Christian and Moslem leaders as we explore the ‘we’ in ‘we the people… of this very diverse community we call Pittsburgh. Rabbi Ron Symons and Rabbi Alex Greenbaum

Garage Band: Grades 10-12

There is something about music that is transforming. It sets the mood, expresses ideas, calms anxiety, and gets us revved up. Bring any instrument, rhythm, and/or your voice and make music with friends.

Madrichim Training: Certificate in Elementary Jewish Education

Are you working as a madrich/a in a religious school classroom this year? Participate in madrichim training, and earn a $100 stipend for your professional development!

Squirrel Hill Partners: Temple Sinai, Temple David, JJEP, Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha, Temple Emanuel, Beth El Congregation

South Hills Partners: Beth El Congregation & Temple Emanuel. Dates to follow. 

Connecting Communities with the Hill District

Get to know teens and history from Pittsburgh’s Hill District!

Once every other week from February to April, hang out with teens living in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, a predominantly African-American neighborhood which used to be the nucleus of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. We’ll also spend time exploring the archives of both Jewish and African-American history in the Hill District at Heinz History Center, and tour buildings which have been used by both communities over the years for different purposes. What is our shared connection to these same streets? What is our connection to each other?

Dates To Follow

Learn More by contacting Hannah Kalson
[email protected] 412-339-5400

HaZamir Pittsburgh
J-Serve Pittsburgh
Teen Leadership Council

Sunday Schedule
9:00 – 9:55 Hebrew and Jewish Experience Classes
9:55 – 10:20 Breakfast B’yachad: Eat and Schmooze
10:20 – 11:15 Hebrew and Jewish Experience Classes
11:20 – 12:15 Chugim

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