New South Hills collaboration creates united high school program for Jewish teens

New South Hills collaboration creates united high school program for Jewish teens

South Hills teens, regardless of affiliation, will be offered the chance to come together to learn and socialize through a new supplemental high school Judaics program supported by several Jewish institutions in the area.

The South Hills Community Jewish High School, to be launched this fall, is a collaboration between Beth El Congregation, Temple Emanuel of South Hills, the South Hills JCC and the Agency for Jewish Learning.

“We believe the time has come to combine forces in creating a high school program for students in both congregations and for all interested Jewish high school students in the South Hills,” according to a statement prepared by Rabbis Alex Greenbaum and Amy Greenbaum of Beth El; Rabbi Jessica Locketz of Temple Emanuel; Merril Nash, Beth El’s SHJCHS liaison; and Gabe Goldman, director of experiential education at the AJL.  

“Working together, we will create a high school program that far exceeds the individual ability of either congregation to offer teens expanded learning opportunities, firsthand experiences and much broader connections with other South Hills Jewish teens,” the statement continued.  

Chabad of the South Hills may partner in the program as well, according to Rabbi Mendel Rosenblum, spiritual leader of Chabad of the South Hills.

Classes will be offered on Monday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will rotate quarterly between Temple Emanuel and Beth El.

Occasional social opportunities on Sunday afternoons will be held at the South Hills JCC.

Course topics may include Jewish ethics and values, Hebrew, Jewish cooking, Israel, current events, Jewish art, Judaism and the environment and comparative religions.

Instructors will include the rabbis from each congregation in addition to other qualified teachers from throughout the community.

Initially, the program will be offered to incoming eighth-graders, but will integrate teens in the ninth and 10th grades in January.

“We are planning to create opportunities for 11th- and 12th-graders as well,” said Locketz, who serves as principal of Temple Emanuel’s Torah Center religious school for grades K-10.

Members of the AJL staff are serving as educational consultants.

“Right now, this is a work in progress,” said Locketz. “But we are really excited about the endeavor.”

For more information, contact Locketz at

Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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