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Frequently Asked Questions

Who may participate in the Winter 2019 program?

13-16-year-old Jewish and Israeli teenagers who wish to do at least one of the following:

  1. Collaborate with other teenagers,

  2. Share their ideas on Jewish values or Israel, 

  3. Delve into STEM topics in a fun, hands-on way,

  4. Develop or improve their leadership, Hebrew, collaborative, or other skills.


Why is JeSSI considered an "experimental" program? 

JeSSI is a cutting-edge educational endeavor and represents a new wave in Jewish education. It is true that most of JeSSI's program components have been tried before. However, all of these components are integrated into a living system for the first time. Therefore, JeSSI is largely an emerging architecture at its experimental phase. You have the opportunity to witness the evolution of our programs, audiences, and partnerships

As a teenager, what will I get out of this program?

Lots of opportunities to:

  • Network with other teenagers who may share some of your interests

  • Learn to work some online platforms that can be useful for you in school

  • Develop your leadership skills

  • Join tours to interesting places in the DC-MD-VA area

  • Improve your Hebrew by the way


Also, when we build our satellite, we’ll get in touch with you and invite you to join us.  

What’s the time commitment required for the Fall 2018 program?

Over the course of 11 weeks, we plan to have:

  • 11 online meetups – a total of 11 hours

  • At least three optional field trips – a total of 9 hours

So about 11 hours, and 9 more if you plan to join our field-trips. 

What goes on during the online meetups?

Each online meetup will open 30 minutes ahead to allow you to check your connection. We then begin with a short ice-breaker, moving into the discussions and collaborative tasks related to the topic of the day. Occasional guest speakers will enhance the discussions and offer the opportunity for Q&A periods.

What goes on during the field trips?

The optional field trips are  designed to have the participants experience some of the topics discussed during the online meetups. Previous field trips have included a visit to NASA's Goddard facility in Greenbelt, MD, and launching a high-altitude balloon from the area of New Windsor, MD. The Fall 2018 program should repeat these engagements, with an addition of at least one DC Museum visit. Carpooling is encouraged. 

Who are the guest speakers?

The list is forming as we speak. Our six confirmed speakers have a strong background in Judaism, Israel, or STEM. These are people with an impressive career track or a unique and shareable life experience.

I like Science, but I am not very good at it in school. Can I still join the Program?

Yes, this is not school! You do not need to have STEM skills to participate in the program. Plus, there’s lots more to do that is not science-related (art, writing, social media analysis, etc.) Also, JeSSI is adaptable. If nothing works for you, we’ll figure out something.

I am not really into Science (or Judaism, or Israel). I’m here for the other stuff.

That’s fine. 

Do I need special equipment or software to participate in the Program?

Not really. We meet online so make sure you have an internet connection, a screen (desktops, laptops, tablets, phones – whatever works), a camera, a microphone, and a way to hear us (speakers,  headphones, etc.) Some of the online platforms we use in the program may offer added features if you install their desktop apps. But it will be up to you.


What if I can’t log on to or am not available for the online meetup?

No worries, we will connect after the meetup to find a solution for the problem. Also, the program activities and resources can be accessed after the meetup is over. Complete them on your own time.


Who are you? Why are you doing this?

We are a small group of individuals who believe that Jewish education should be affordable, painless, and adaptable to teenagers. We believe that our link to Israel should not be only about rockets or Falafel. We believe that good STEM education, especially in space sciences/engineering, can lead to a very interesting and profitable career. We do it because it’s important.  


Rockets! So you’re political!

No. We try to navigate away from politics to allow everyone to focus on other things. There is no place for political discussions anywhere in the program.


Will you try to convince me to join your congregation?

We don’t run a congregation, and there is no intention to influence religious practice or beliefs. All are welcome to join in our adventure!  


When will you build the satellite?

This is a long-term goal that depends on funding. We hope to start ASAP and to count you in even if you’re not into the nuts and bolts of satellites (just kidding, satellites don’t have nuts and bolts). We’ll also need artists, writers, speakers, leaders, and people who generally like what they’re doing.


Is JeSSI a JCC program?

No. The Bender JCC of Greater Washington is a valued JeSSI partner. Our current other partners include the B'nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, the BBYO-DC council, and other organisations. 

Where can I register?

Follow this link to select your preferred method of registration.