Emanuel leads Neveh Shalom youth
By Deborah Moon
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Jonathan Emanuel joined Congregation Neveh Shalom as youth activities director on July 1.
For more than 12 years, Emanuel has worked with adults and children of all ages. He has served as youth director, religious school teacher, Israel trip education specialist, summer camp director and large-scale teen retreat and leadership council coordinator.
In his new position, Emanuel is responsible for all informal (non-school) youth programming at the Conservative synagogue in Southwest Portland. He will oversee youth advisors for Junior Kadima (for third- to fifth-graders), Kadima (sixth- to eighth-graders) and United Synagogue Youth (ninth- to 12th-graders).
“My goal is to reinvigorate USY and to grow, expand and add quality to all our youth programs,” said Emanuel. “I see a lot of kids here who have very positive Jewish identities and I want to help foster that.”
Emanuel said he also plans to continue trying to expand community-wide programming for Jewish teenagers. Last year he worked with Portland Area Jewish Educators to create a community-wide Tu B’Shvat teen program that drew more than 200 teens.
“Developing more opportunities for Jewish teens is one of my major goals,” he said. “I look forward to collaborating with other community educators.”
In that vein, he is working through PAJE to put on four to five programs for all Portland’s Jewish teens in the coming year. He received a grant from the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation to help fund those programs.
From 2000 to 2005, Emanuel served as the director of teen services for the Center for Jewish Living and Learning of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay, supervising programming and educational resources for a program serving more than 1,000 Jewish teens.
He moved to Portland in the fall of 2005 with his wife Cara Buchalter Emanuel, sister of long-time Portlander Caroline Buchalter. He moved to Oregon to serve as the district manager of Young Judaea when its regional office was temporarily headquartered in Portland.
“We built a relationship with Neveh Shalom right away,” said Emanuel. “This is an opportunity to be in a place I feel at home and to work with an amazing community.”
The couple joined the Conservative congregation and his wife began teaching at the synagogue’s Wednesday Night School soon after their arrival. He began teaching in the high school in 2006 and last year began teaching in Neveh Shalom’s Hebrew School five days a week.
In the summer of 2007, he took a seasonal post coordinating the Mittleman Jewish Community Center Day Camp.
Emanuel can be reached at 503-246-8831 or email@example.com.