Teens with cell phones are the target audience for JText

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It is an immutable truth of contemporary life.

“Whether you like it or not, teens are strapped to their phones,” said Meir Moscowitz, Lubavitcher Chabad rabbi of Northbrook.

Why fight it? Chabad, 2095 Landwehr Road, is taking advantage of this technology and the teens who use it.

“We are using it as a tool for Jewish education and engagement,” Moscowitz said.

As of 2017 with a handful of interested participants in the synagogue’s CTeen program texting each other asking their own questions about Judaism, over 300 of them are now receiving questions twice a week via the game. JText questionnaire.

At 7 p.m. every Monday and Thursday, those who have texted “JtextNB” to the number, (847) 752-0104 receive a Jewish trivia question, along with multiple-choice answers. The 18th person who responds with the correct answer – 18 is a lucky number in Judaism – wins a $ 20 Amazon gift card.

“I like to learn something different every week. I’d like to think I know a lot of the answers, but sometimes they surprise me,” said Kaylee Zaveduk, a recent graduate from Glenbrook North, who will be attending the University of Maryland after graduating. spent a sabbatical year in Israel.

“Usually the moment that this happens, it’s consistent every week but I don’t just sit around waiting for it. Then I stop and see it. It’s just a good time to reflect on my Judaism and to the different facts about Judaism, ”she said. .

Here’s one she correct, June 21: “Where’s the only kosher McDonald’s besides Israel?”

She guessed Buenos Aires.

“I have a lot of family in Argentina, so I knew that,” Zaveduk said.

Spending her summer as a camp counselor at JCC Chicago’s “Z” Frank Apachi Summer Camp in Northbrook, Zaveduk said she won the $ 20 gift certificate several times over the past two or three years. where she’s been playing JText since a friend told her about it.

With some 300 people playing the game that seems to be the norm, even for someone like Aaron Peer, downstairs at JText in 2017.

“I’m considered the founder-slash-co-creator of JText in the Northbrook area,” said Peer, a caller from Lake Delton, Wisconsin, where he works at JCC Camp Chi.

“We were sitting at a table and basically discussing how we could integrate Jewish culture into the lives of teens and college kids,” said Peer, a Glenbrook North graduate heading to the University of Illinois .

“The rabbi brought up this idea and I’m like, we should definitely do it because everyone is still on the phone.”

The Northbrook Chabad is teaming up with a Connecticut Chabad, who now sends the questions and works with other Chabad across the country, Moscowitz said. Chabad of Northbrook was the first in the Chicago metro area to offer JText, he said. There are now also chapters in Wilmette (JTEXT at 847-316-0108) and Skokie (cteenskokie at 847-232-6161).

The peer can be like a ringtone in the JText game. Her father, Eli, grew up in Israel.

“Usually I’m right most of the time because I’m part of a Jewish family,” Aaron said.

Even with a simple trivial question, however, he sees it as more of a journey than a right or wrong answer.

“One of the most important parts of JText is that we inspire you to research or ask people questions about the answer to questions, which can open up discussion or open a child’s mind to new stories. or outlook he’s never had before, ”Peer said.

“I think it’s great for the middle school or high school student to open their minds to find out more about their culture and their history, to find out more about the community to which they belong.”

It’s certainly not about being that 18th visitor and winning a gift card, he thinks.

“Even more, what we have gained is to bring in Jewish children and connect them to their culture,” he said. “The Chabad is a greater reward than the money in this situation.”

Martin Landa, a new senior at Glenbrook North, might agree. He admitted he doesn’t go to synagogue, but he’s thrilled with JText. In fact, he just won the Amazon Gift Card on June 24, the second time he’s done so.

He said it provided “positive reinforcement” for teens to learn more about Judaism.

“I always thought it was pretty cool when it was someone I knew who won the JText, and I remember when I won, a friend of mine was congratulating me, and I always thought it was was a cool achievement, ”Landa said.

“I always love anecdotes, and I love learning more about my culture and the anecdotes about my culture,” he said. “It’s a way for me to recognize that, hey, I’m Jewish and that’s a fact about my religion.”

Anecdotes and cell phones, Judaism and positive reinforcement.

The Chabad realized that at least at 7pm every Monday and Tuesday, if you can’t beat them, join them.

“The goal is to find a creative way to connect with teens to educate them,” Moscowitz said. “It’s really simple. The concept is as astonishing as it is simple.”


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