Teens “Learn & Earn” at New Torah Study Leadership Program

Posted on March 11, 2024

In an effort to provide local JSUers with more hands-on Jewish educational programming, Minneapolis JSU has launched a monthly “Learn & Earn” program.

Once a month, the teens learn about leadership through text-based Torah study in small groups led by local community members. The teens receive stipends for participating in the program, generously sponsored by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts.

Ariella Rosenwald, (c.) a junior at Wayzata High School, says she joined the program because she was looking to learn more about Judaism.

“I have really enjoyed these evenings, because it is different from our regular Jewish Student Union meetings at school,” she says. “At school, we get time to socialize and do an activity, which I also really enjoy, but this is truly a unique experience…. [where we] discuss our religion and what we can learn from it.”

Like Ariella, Philip Leyderman (c.), a freshman at Eastview High School, says he has always wanted to learn more about Judaism, and “Learn & Earn” is providing him with that opportunity.

Philip says a recent “Learn & Earn” that focused on leadership from a Jewish perspective was “very insightful.”

“It helped me learn how to bring my Jewishness into daily life,” he says.

The volunteer community members who lead the teen study groups say they, too, are benefiting from the program – and often learn more than they teach.

Mia Usem says it’s exciting to “see the wheels turning in the teens’ heads” during “Learn & Earn.”

“It’s great to hear the teens’ perspectives and learn from them how they plan to bring [what we are learning] into their own leadership experiences,” she says.

Community member Chasida Fertel agrees.

She says she learned a personal lesson from the teens’ discussion about how Batya, Pharoah’s daughter, knew that Moshe was Jewish.

“One of the boys in my group said, ‘Because everyone knows when someone is Jewish. You can just tell.’ When I asked why, he said, ‘It’s the way we carry ourselves. We all have so much value, and it’s important that we remember that and hold our head up high.’”