Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Word from the Director: 6/7/2011


As the NBA season comes to its grand finale with the great Mavs-Heat Finals matchup, Aish Tamid is proud to announce that it has recently installed a basketball hoop at the building. The boys have been playing pickup games every day on this excellent extension to our newly-furnished gym facilities! We'd like to thank Elliott Dolin for his continued support in helping Aish Tamid better meet the (exercise and entertainment!) needs of our kids.


This year we will be hosting a teen Shavuos all night learning program at Aish Tamid. As in the past, we have many interesting and dynamic classes for the teens. We will of course be providing sushi and plenty of sugar and caffeine laden treats to keep us up learning through the night. In addition, the Aish Tamid Minyan, under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Leibovic will host a variety of inspirational classes. In the past, we have had dozens of teens drop by throughout the night. We look forward to another inspirational all night program.


We’re up and running! Aish Tamid’s girls program started with six girls last week at an undisclosed location (to maintain privacy) and we have already received lots of positive feedback. The girls had a fun time hanging out and meeting the female mentors who will be working with them. A major focus of the group is for the mentors to create a relationship with the girls which continues outside the confines of the weekly meetings. The need for these young women to have a relationship with an adult figure whom they feel is not judging them and is available on their terms is crucial. One of the biggest challenges that we find with teens is their inability to trust and be trusted by adults. Our mentors and therapists do not have a history with the girls. We are capable of creating a new relationship based on trust and caring.

All parents have dreams and aspirations for their teens. However, sometimes teens need to have a relationship with another objective adult who may not be as personally involved and demanding as the parent. For example, a certain therapist and rabbi in New York ran a teen support program. His son began exhibiting some of the problematic behaviors the rabbi had dealt with in other people’s teens. This wise man however, did not get involved directly. Instead he chose an outside person to help his son. He understood that he had to give his son some space while placing him under the care of a trustworthy adult. In this way, he allowed his son to develop a relationship with his mentor in which he could be assured that his secrets would not be divulged.

Teens have to be able to trust their mentors/therapists. The building of a therapeutic relationship is in actuality the creation of a “safe place” for young adults to explore themselves and grapple with the many challenges they are facing. The development of that relationship is challenging since teens tend to be mistrustful of adults because they have often experienced “being let down” by those in whom they have confided in the past. For a relationship between an adolescent and a mentor to be successful, it is pivotal that confidentiality and privacy are highly valued. In this way, teens can begin to trust that what is shared with the adult will be safeguarded. In turn, therapists seek to help teenagers create stronger bonds with their families when possible, and will certainly involve parents if there is significant threat/danger to the teenager.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

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