What is BESTY?
BESTY stands for Beth Elohim Senior Temple Youth, a teen run organization within CBE. We plan monthly programming for 9th-12th grade students at CBE. Our programming consists of events that focus on social justice, and sometimes our events are just social! We are the local level under the organization NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), and are a part of the New York Area Region (NFTY-NAR).
What does BESTY do?
We aim to create a space for our teens that empowers them to be the best they can be! We hold lots of amazing events during the course of the year. Also, students who are involved in BESTY are eligible to take part in NFTY programming.
Take a look at what BESTY accomplished, created, and had fun doing this year!
Havdallah on the Beach
BESTY went all the way to Coney Island! A group of 22 teens traveled down the shore to enjoy games, programming, and Havdallah on beach. We got to the beach and played tag and frisbee. Later members of the BESTY Board led the group in a feel good note writing activity. As the sun set, we had a lovely camp-style Havdallah. And, of course, a BESTY event is not complete without a sweet treat. We all got ice cream before dispersing for the evening. What a great start to the school year!
Volunteering at HUC Soup Kitchen
BESTY loves to fill the calendar with as many community service projects as we can. One of our favorite ways to volunteer is spending time at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion soup kitchen. HUC-JIR hosts a soup kitchen every single Monday evening. The room is set up like a restaurant and there is always live music. The teens get to take on roles of either serving or greeting, getting to interact with a community of people that they may not get to talk to everyday. HUC-JIR does a great job of educating the students on food insecurity before they volunteer and we always have a debrief at the end.
Sandwich-Making and Packing for CHiPS
BESTY made over 200 sandwiches for CHiPS. Since 1971, CHiPS has been supported in the community helping to prepare hot, nutritious meals and serve them to the hungry in a caring and respectful environment. They also hand out bagged lunches. BESTY got together and bagged over 200 lunches with sandwiches, a snack, and a beverage. It is great to see what the teens can accomplish when they do it together!
Kallot are an amazing time for our high school students to get together with other Jewish Teens in our region. Our NFTY region is made up of Long Island, NYC, Westchester, and Fairfield County, CT! Eight teens and our Teen Educator, Hannah Isaacs, went all the way to Kutz Camp in upstate NY for a weekend full of exploring our own Jewish identity, fun activities, dance parties, and meeting new people!
Make your own Pancakes and hang out, sounds fun to me! That is exactly what BESTY did in December. We took out the griddle and made our own pancakes by chef Stella King! We then did some arts and crafts, board games, and enjoying time with friends. Sometimes a good hang out is all you need.
Winter Kallah is always home hosted, meaning that a synagogue hosts teens from all over the region. This year, Winter Kallah was hosted by Larchmont Temple in Westchester. A few teens went and explored different social justice issue they are passionate about. One of the most eye-opening programs was the one about climate change. We really learned a lot!
Ice Skating with BHGSY
Ice Skating and Hot chocolate– what else is there to do in January in Brooklyn?! Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and CBE joined forces and hosted an ice skating program together. We had some mixers, ice skated together, and wrapped up with a beautiful Havdallah in the park. Havdallah was led by board members from both synagogues– it was a great time with BESTY & BHGSY.
Volunteering with Dorot
BESTY loves volunteering with Dorot. Dorot is a Jewish organization on the Upper West Side that helps fight isolation among the elderly community. In February they had their Winter Package delivery day. BESTY split up into five groups to visit five different seniors in their homes. The teens and seniors love visiting each other!
Volunteering at HUC Soup Kitchen
BESTY visited the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion soup kitchen again! HUC-JIR hosts a soup kitchen every single Monday evening. The room is set up like a restaurant and there is always live music. The teens get to take on roles of either serving or greeting, getting to interact with a community of people that they may not get to talk to everyday. HUC-JIR does a great job of educating the students on food insecurity before they volunteer and we always have a debrief at the end.