Westside Chai & USY

Westside Chai: A Community High School Program for 8th-12th Grades

For more information, please contact: Director of Education and Youth Programming at Kehillat Ma’arav: Sharone Weizman, M.A. Ed
Phone: (310) 829-0566

Click HERE to download the Westside Chai brochure and scroll down for more information.

Join us for our next event!

Past events included:










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Dinner, social time, and dessert are built into each and every interactive class session.
USY Membership included. Open to all Jewish teens on the Westside.


Students will go on a journey of Jewish exploration with amazing HS facilitators. Students will grapple with such themes as God, Torah and Israel through experiential and text-based curriculum, significantly contributing to the intellectual, emotional, social, cultural and religious growth of our teens. Interactive learning techniques, guest speakers, multi-media, debate and other engaging vehicles are utilized in the classroom. The program is further aimed at enhancing an appreciation for lifelong Jewish learning and living; promoting a Jewish context for our teens to embrace and transmit Jewish values, inspiring leadership development, and a commitment to Ohr L’Olam (being a light to the world).

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Special Programs

*  High School Kick-Off Event
* Field Trips
* Social Action / Ohr L’Olam events
* Holiday Programs


Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.20.39 AMMadrichim Program
Madrichim literally means “guides,” and our High School students are tomorrow’s leaders. Many of our teens have the skills to tutor younger students, assist in the classrooms and help out in the Religious School office. They have become an essential and wonderful addition to our Religious School programs. For more information, please contact your synagogue’s Religious School Director.

Ohr L’Olam
Ohr L’Olam, (being a light to the world), is a fundamental concept in Judaism. Our students are involved in many Ohr L’Olam projects throughout the year on the Westside. Teens will actively participate in“Mitzvah Day”, lead the Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide and participate in other projects. Guest speakers and facilitators will be invited into the classroom. Teens will also connect with Israel and other Jewish communities around the world while raising awareness, goods, etc. to send to these communities.

Exciting “Westside Chai” Classes

Taught by rotating High School Facilitators

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.21.28 AMGod/Ethics/Morality
This class will allow for students to explore God, Torah, Mitzvot and ultimate morality. Students will uncover such themes as Jewish ethics, business ethics, headlines which address modern-day issues, and Jewish principles such as love thy neighbor as yourself and lashon harah (gossip). Students will explore and discuss how Torah is applicable and relevant in their lives as teens.

Sex in the Text                                                         
What does our tradition say about Love? Intimacy? Pre-marital sex? Marriage? Adultery? Rape? Homosexuality? What is the connection to God and holiness? Participants will explore our biblical and religious texts, the intimate experience of our forefathers, and consider what is relevant for us today.

PB&J Tough Teen Questions
Teens explore difficult Jewish questions and tough teen topics from a Jewish perspective through PB&J – Pluralistic Branches of Judaism.  We will also invite guest speakers from various denominations to join our discussions.

Teenage “Hot Topics” from a Jewish Perspective  
Students will grapple with the hot topics that confront our teens today. We will use the Torah Aura Body Ethics texts related to Abortion, Acquaintance Rape, Drugs and Alcohol, Eating Disorders, “Hooking Up,” Piercings and Tattoos, Suicide, and Torture and will discuss each topic through the lens of Jewish values.

Jews and the Media                                                               
Jewish culture pervades pop culture- Madonna studies Kabbalah, New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire publicly declares his commitment to Judaism, supermodel Bar Rafaeli is Israeli, Seth Rogan regularly portrays nerdy Jewish characters- and doesn’t hesitate to crack Jewish jokes in his blockbuster films. Did you know that Justin Bieber says the Shema before every concert? Students will sample a piece of film, television, music, or media to discuss and analyze the Jewish messages found in the work of today’s cultural icons.

Theatre Olympics                                                    
Through theatre games and improvisational activities teens will act out all types of Jewish scenarios, holiday related themes and skits. Students will participate in an end of the year performance for the RS.

Jewish Cooking – Ashkenazic vs. Sephardic Throw-down!
This class will be designed for the students to learn about traditional recipes, their origins, the culture and arts of these different lands and of course learn to cook – throw-down style!Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.20.53 AM

Are you creative, imaginative and talented, or do you just love Art? This class will explore our rich heritage through making art; ancient scribal arts made modern, ‘hiddur ha mitzvah’ (enhancing a mitzvah) by creating ritual objects, or using technology to make videos, photo exhibits and MORE!Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.21.05 AM

Jam Band
Do you like to sing, play guitar or any other instrument? Have you ever been to a Jewish camp, sitting around a bonfire and singing Jewish songs? This fun, camp-style music class is for our talented teens – think relaxed jam session featuring the biggest hits of Jewish and contemporary popular music.  Bring your instrument or your voice and join in the fun!

Israel Through the Music          
There is much more to Israel than just war, peace talks, falafel, Tel-Aviv’s beach and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Teens will be exposed to Israeli society through the diversity of its music. Teens will listen to the same rock, hip-hop, rap, reggae and pop that teens in Israel download. YouTube videos, lyric translations, news articles and clips will give a taste of reality so that we can address stereotypes and preconceived notions about Israel. Teens will know Israeli society well enough to defend it from its critics and have many new tracks to add to their IPod’s playlist. Students will discover Israel as our Homeland.  Israel topics and discussions to include: Israeli Politics, History and Zionism, current issues and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

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