Director of Youth and Informal Education

Hope Chernak, RJE
Director of Youth and Informal Education

Hope Chernak, RJE, Director of Youth and Informal Education, joined the Shaaray Tefila staff in July 2007.  Hope brings years of experience in the Reform youth movement.  She was most recently managing director of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), with responsibility for, among other things, hiring all professional staff, supervising the regional advisors, and coordinating the leadership development of the NFTY Youth Officers.  Hope was also responsible for updating the Temple Youth Group curriculum for the NFTY National Leadership Center of the Union for Reform Judaism.  She has also served as the director of NFTY regions, as a regional advisor for NFTY, as regional director of youth and informal education for the URJ Southeast Council, as a synagogue youth group advisor for two Reform congregations, music teacher for kindergarten students, and as a religious school teacher for 8th and 9th graders.

Hope received her bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and management from Webber International University where she also played basketball, soccer, and cross-country on collegiate scholarship.  Hope has a certificate in Youth, Adult and Family Learning from the New York School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and received her master's degree in religious education from HUC-JIR in May, 2011.

She received her RJE (Reform Jewish Educator) title in October 2011, recognizing her commitment and service to Reform Jewish Education.  Hope also serves as a mentor to educators that are part of the HUC-JIR Certificate for program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adulthood.

As director of youth programs at Shaaray Tefila, Hope oversees our Family Fun Day youth group for families with children in Kindergarten through Grade 3, and our other youth groups for students in Grades 4-12: Club 45, JJS, Just 8, TaSTY and our Rosh Chodesh group for girls in Grades 6-8.  Hope works closely with the other educators and clergy and Shaaray Tefila to recruit for URJ Camps.  She also makes sure to continue the connection between Shaaray Tefila and our alumni who are currently studying at out-of-town colleges.  Hope has also been a faculty member at URJ's Camp Coleman, Crane Lake and Kutz Camps.

In addition to her youth education work, Hope oversees Israel related programming at Shaaray Tefila and is the project manager for Gateways and Tents; our partnership program with our sister congregation/school, Ohel Avraham-Leo Baeck Education Center.  Hope also serves as director of our teen exchange program (our yearly exchange program with students from Haifa).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these programs, please feel free to contact Hope at [email protected] or 212-535-8008 ext. 270.

Check out Hope's blog entries:

Why Youth Group is Important - NFTY Blog post by Hope

Youth Group Recruitment, Membership and Retention: It takes a village!

Reflections about the Justin Bieber movie 'Never Say Never'

A Tribute to Debbie Friedman

A Youth Worker's Reflection

Where Shabbat Meets the School of Rock - Camp Appreciation Shabbat  

Camp, Israel, and NFTY Summer programs send-off Shabbat

Israel Engagement