SHORTY (which stands for Staunton Harrisonburg Organization of Religious Temple Youth) is the temple youth group at Beth El Congregation. This is a youth run organization with adult advisors. We welcome all Jewish teens ages 13 and up who have either been b'nai mitzvah or are rising 8th graders through 12th grade.
Our youth generated mission statement is: To continue developing our Jewish identity through further education and staying involved with our small (but mighty!) Jewish community.
Our youth group is a social organization involved in fun, engaging activities and events, in addition to community service and religious education. We create opportunities to deepen our Jewish identity through informal education and social activities. SHORTY is affiliated with NFTY (the North American Foundation of Temple Youth) and our participants are encouraged to participate in NFTY-MAR events if they have interest. The purpose of NFTY is for teens to build strong, welcoming communities that engage in tikkun olam and create deep connections to Reform Judaism. Many of our members have attended MAJYK, The Vent, Spring Kallah, and members have even served as leaders on the NFTY-MAR cabinet.
Some of the many events that we participate in regularly include: monthly meetings, social gatherings, volunteering for events both at our synagogue and throughout the community, and welcoming other Jewish youth groups to our temple for social gatherings. Just a few of our past traditions include ski weekend, field trips with our Rabbi to Washington DC, amusement parks, and movies, leading services, and baking for the homeless shelter.
Upon graduation from high school, our SHORTY members are confirmed. The confirmation service and ceremony is an individual and group affirmation of commitment to their Jewish identity. This joyous celebration is a highlight of the year for our Beth El congregants to see our youth off into their next steps into the world.