Today is May 24, 2019 -

Haunted Havdallah –
A Collaborative Program for Teens

by Amy Dworin
Director, Youth Engagement

School is in full swing, college applications will be due soon, every store is full of scary costumes, but those aren’t the only things 8th through 12th graders have to scream about! Haunted Havdallah is coming up on October 20th!

Jewish high school students in Omaha are fortunate to have a community that supports them in all things Jewish and many opportunities have been created to encourage participation in Jewish life. However, there is not a lot of cross-over participation between Jewish youth groups and as a result, many Jewish teens do not know each other. Beth El, BBYO, Temple Israel, Beth Israel, Chabad and Young Jewish Giving are working to change that! For the last four years, we have joined forces to help the teens put on this amazing event at Bellevue Berry Farm. Teens lead each other in the Havdallah service and then have the opportunity to make new friends at a bonfire, hayride and haunted house.

As a Youth Director, I like this type of collaboration because many hands make light work; two heads are better than one; and all of the other sayings that disguise my laziness with folksy charm. As somebody who cares deeply about the youth at Beth El, I love this type of event because it gives our high schoolers an expanded view of what it means to be Jewish in Omaha, the chance to lead their peers and share in a ritual that they love. Providing our teens with this type of collaborative leadership experience helps teach them how to work with others, be creative and dynamic leaders and it exposes them to the different ways that Jews practice. These lessons are invaluable not just in the cutthroat world of Jewish Youth Groups, but in life.

Haunted Havdallah will be held on October 20th. We will be meeting at the JCC at 7:30 pm and pick-up is at the JCC at 10:30 pm. The price of this event is $20 per teen and it includes snacks, transportation, entry to the farm and activities. Beth El has scholarships available. If you know a Jewish kid in 8th through 12th grade, or if you are the Jewish kid in 8th through 12th grade who happens to read the Kol and are interested in this event, contact Amy or register online at