STEPHEN LEWIS SECONDARY SCHOOL
Stimulating. Inclusive. Social. Engaging.
This is JYN Academy. My name is Jessica Brooke and I am currently in grade 12 at Stephen Lewis Secondary School. I have been a part of JYN since the first week of grade 9, and each and every year has exceeded my expectations of this program. In my opinion, JYN is definitely “more than an education.” While we study time honoured Jewish Read more
As teenagers, we are always encouraged to relate our learning back to our own lives, and JYN has given me the opportunity to do so, thereby keeping me engaged and excited about learning during these past few years. Participating in this program has led me to appreciate who I am and the values I hold as a Jew, as being surrounded by a group of Jewish teenagers every week allows me to experience the indescribable joy of belonging and community.
Together, we celebrate our morals and views and the extraordinary impact of the Jewish people.
Over the years, I have participated in JYN’s trip to New York, a weekend at an unbelievable cottage, and multiple Shabbat dinners. These educational retreats and special evenings have been an opportunity for me to unplug from my busy life as a high school student and connect deeper to friends and G-d.
JYN has undeniably kept me in touch with my Jewish roots and has greatly contributed to my Jewish pride. It is largely due to my prized JYN experiences that I know I will continue to seek out Jewish clubs and groups in the upcoming years as I enter university.
The JYN experience is priceless and I have been beyond grateful to be a part of it.
Hi, I’m Ryan Levy. I’m a grade 11 student at Westmount C.I. and I’ve been in JYN since Grade 9, while being an ambassador since Grade 10. JYN is a fantastic program that I’m proud to have a leadership position in. It’s a super fun program where we all get to laugh and learn for 2 hours! We always learn what matters to us; the teachers never Read more
On top of having a super fun course, I also gained many things from my JYN involvement. This includes how to be an effective leader, expanding my knowledge of Judaism, and scholastic benefits. Firstly, I learned many different methods on being an effective leader in JYN. These are mostly through watching what Rabbi Shmuli does and learning from them. Some leadership traits I picked up from the Rabbi are that an open discussion is a great way to get your points across, to always respect other’s beliefs or opinions, and to make sure to get constructive criticism and advice from everywhere possible. Secondly, I’ve gained so much knowledge of Judaism through the classes that I never had before. I’ve learned more about my Jewish identity, and I’m more proud than ever before to be Jewish.
Lastly, I gained lots of scholastic benefits from JYN. I’ve been given many opportunities to build up volunteer hours, and after just one full year of participating in every event JYN had to offer, I managed to build up enough to graduate. I also really like the extra credit I gain each year in JYN, because it allows me to lighten my in-school course load.
For the future, I only hope I can play a bigger leadership role in JYN, and to continue my Jewish learning experience. After that, I’ll just try to do my best in the Jewish community, but in the meantime, I’ll just focus on introducing more people to this fantastic program. Thank you for all your hard work Rabbi Shmuli, it really pays off.
AVENUE ROAD ACADEMY
Hi, my name is Moussie Stebben and this summer I had the opportunity to take part in JYN’s Over The Top – West Coast Summer program. It was a lifechanging experience that I will never forget.
I am 17 years old and a student at Avenue Road Academy. I’m a martial artist and enjoy hiking in nature and playing Read more
I‘m going to write about some of the spiritual experiences I had and try to do it justice. Driving to Utah from Colorado was like driving from Earth to Mars. We watch the scenery go from green to red. We stopped at a viewpoint just after we entered Utah. After walking up a steep hill, we got to the viewing post.
The heat was very dry and overwhelming but the only thing I could think of was “I gotta take out my siddur and daven”. For me, that was quite strange. Growing up, we were always made to pray from a siddur on a daily basis and I never experienced a connection to G-d through the siddur till that point. Driving to Arches National Park was also an incredible show of G-d’s creativity. It looked like we were driving through another world with the scenery. We were surrounded by orange and red rock formations that towered over us in a beautiful display of radiance. I really believe that you can see G-d through those rocks. Another spiritual experience I had was Bryce Canyon. The energy there is unlike any other place I’ve been. The whole area is very serene. You can really feel a sort of calm in the air. When we got to the actual canyon I was taken aback. I didn’t want to take any pictures or talk but I wanted to just look down into the canyon and take it all in. The first thing you notice is the colors. The canyon looks like a perfect painting. Then, after staring out into the abyss for a while you notice the trees that are standing miles and miles away and look tiny from where you are. It was absolutely breathtaking; I think I got a bit emotional for a second. Lone Rock Beach was also amazing. I counted 18 shooting stars at night. The sky was mesmerizing.
That’s a bit of the spiritual awesomeness that I had on this trip. I have to add that my heart will always be in San Diego where my dad grew up, that place is magical. After having this experience on the “Over the Top” trip and seeing the selfless dedication of Rabbi Shmuli and all the staff at JYN, I am involving myself in JYN’s programs including the JYN Academy classes. I hope to be able to become a staff member at JYN one day (Rabbi Shmuli pleaseeee let me be a counselor). I also hope to teach women’s self defence at JYN’s new facility when it’s built.
STEPHEN LEWIS SECONDARY SCHOOL
My name is Aaron Litvack, and I am a grade 9 student at Stephen Lewis Secondary School. At my school there are many Jewish teens who are not yet involved with JYN and the JYNAcademy. Being chosen as the grade 9 student ambassador for my school, it is my responsibility to get more teens involved with JYN. I think it is important for all Read more
He has been with me for my entire life and knows my family very well. Throughout my years of Hebrew School I learned a lot about Judaism and am very grateful for that. When my brother was in grade 9, he attended JYN Academy for the first time and said it was a lot of fun. When I joined the grade 8 class in 2016, I didn’t know what to expect from it. In that year, I learned a lot of life lessons that will help with my future, and I learned much more about Judaism.
Going to the JYN Academy has helped me many times with issues I have had with school and with friends; I can’t thank it enough for that. I have also gained a lot of new friends and became more socially comfortable with other people. The shabbatons we go to throughout the year are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and are very fun and unique. Last year in the grade 8 JYN class, we all went on a retreat to a cottage.Going there has brought me closer with my JYN friends and has given me memories I will never forget. This year I hope to go on the New York City retreat. In my future I hope for many more classes at the JYN Academy and more great experiences. Now being in the grade 9 JYN class, there are more new people from different schools to meet and become friends with. I am very glad that I am involved with JYN and I am sure that many more great memories are in store for me and my fellow JYN classmates.