Youth directors, blog away! Vent your frustrations, share great ideas, solicit feedback, or simply say hello.

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Sensory Sensitivity at Purim Carnivals

Posted by Shira Berkovits on March 23, 2016 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Just got the following email from the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale's, Director of Synagogue Programming and Youth Education, Menachem Menschel:

Early Carnival Access for Children with Sensory Sensitivities.

"We have arranged for children with sensory sensitivities to gain early access to the carnival rides tomorrow! Rides will be accessible without loud music and with fewer children. Questions? Contact: [email protected]"

Well done Menachem! Would love to see this become standard operating procedure. Kol hakavod and Happy Purim to all!


P.S. Have a fantastic program or great idea that you'd like to feature? Comment here or email me at [email protected]

Teen Minyan

Posted by Shira Berkovits on February 9, 2015 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A new resource on Teen Minyan has been added to the programs tab, under Tefillah Curricula. For those of you who have already purchased a Tefillah Curricula package, this new addition is free. Simply use your previous password to download the workable .doc file. If you've forgotten your password, just shoot me an email and I'll send it your way. If you'd like to purchase the Tefillah Curricula for the first time, check it out in the web store.

More Tot Shabbat!

Posted by Shira Berkovits on December 5, 2013 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

As Youth Professionals, it's hard to get enough of Tot Shabbat. Recently a number of you have contacted me to ask for Tot Shabbat resources. Since this question seems to be a recurrent one, I thought I would post the resource list here for everyone to see.

  1. Watch my 2010 OU Youth Con presentation on the ABC's of Tot Shabbat here.
  2. Watch Carmiya Weinraub (one of my favorite staff members from my youth directing days) lead an interactive Tot Shabbat at OU's 2012 Youth Con here.
  3. Check out the Web Store, where you can purchase the Tot Shabbat package (including Carmiya's CD) for less than it would cost you to pay a Tot Shabbat teacher for just one Shabbat. 
Got your own awesome ideas? Share them here in your own blog post, and help other youth directors enjoy the magic of Tot Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom,


Survey: Youth Director Salaries, Benefits, Responsibilities

Posted by Shira Berkovits on October 27, 2013 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Youth Directors,


Being a youth director is a challenging but meaningful job. Today synagogues are increasingly realizing the vital role that youth directors play within the community. The position of youth director has become a respectable, legitimate career path which no longer needs to be a stepping stone to another position, but can be an end in itself. However, in order for youth directing to be a viable career option, youth directors need to feel that they are fairly compensated. I often get phone calls from youth directors wondering how much other youth directors are paid, what their benefit packages look like, and what is expected of them. Knowing where your offer falls on the continuum of youth director salaries is critical information for negotiating a competitive package. Unfortunately, we currently have no systematic way of really knowing what the going-rate is for youth directing.


I have developed an anonymous" target="_blank">google-doc survey, that asks questions about salary, benefits, responsibilities, time commitment, and youth director/synagogue demographics. The survey will take you some time to complete (~15-20 minutes), but will ultimately provide you with the information you so badly want in time for negotiating next year's contract. Please help me help you and other youth directors by filling out the" target="_blank">survey. I will analyze the data and publish a report here on this website, so that you have the tools you need to be your own best advocate.


Thank you for your help!



Simchat Torah

Posted by Shira Berkovits on September 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Just posted an overview of an interactive and educational Simchat Torah program (can also be used for Shavuot), that I like to call "Journey Through The Living Torah". Check it out under Resources>Program>Holidays, and let me know what you think. Chag Sameach!

$50 iTunes gift card for $40

Posted by Shira Berkovits on September 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Shana Tova!

I hope to start posting here after the chagim with tips and conversation points for youth departments - and I hope you'll join me. But in the meantime, Staples has a deal today: $50 gift cards for $40. I know a bunch of you youth directors purchase iTunes cards throughout the year for various purposes, so I thought I'd share.

G'mar Chatima Tova to all.


North Riverdale ISO PT/YD

Posted by Shira Berkovits on June 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

For those of you looking for a part-time youth directing gig:

Young Israel Ohab Zedek North Riverdale/Yonkers, a warm, vibrant, community synagogue located 10 minutes from Manhattan, is currently looking for a part-time youth director for our growing youth population. Responsibilities include supervising teen leaders, coordinating Shabbat morning groups, as well as holiday and recreational activities for our youth department. Interested individuals should contact: [email protected]

If you know of others, feel free to post them here.


Love it!

Posted by Rena on August 18, 2012 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This site is such an exciting and accessible way to network and brainstorm for programming ideas. It's also a great resource for materials-it's like all the work's been done for you! Thanks!

Welcome Informal Educators!

Posted by Shira Berkovits on August 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to the Informal Youth Educator's blog! This blog is not exclusive. Consider it an opportunity to share your thoughts, questions or suggestions with the virtual community of youth directors worldwide. Everyone is welcome to blog as often or infrequently as they wish. Of course posts are expected to be respectful and tolerant, and I reserve the right to remove any that are not. Posts should be related to informal Jewish youth work, but beyond that the content is up to you! And of course get the dialogue going by commenting on others blog posts.