A new program that aims to build bridges of mutual trust and understanding between Jewish and non-Jewish teens is coming to the East Valley JCC!

The Student to Student program, founded in St. Louis, Missouri, 25 years ago, breaks down barriers of misinformation and stereotypes by bringing together Jewish teens (Ambassadors) to speak to high school classes about being Jewish – how they experience and practice their Judaism, the rituals they do, lifecycle events within Judaism, and the role of Israel.

The program expanded to Des Moines, Iowa, and Richmond, Va., in 2017 and will come to Arizona in spring 2019. An informational session for teens and parents will be held 6-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at the East Valley JCC.

Anti-Semitism has increased throughout the country and, in Arizona, the ADL reported a 60% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2017. Many of these incidents were among school-age children and on school campuses. There are many classrooms and entire schools that do not have a Jewish presence. In these settings, ignorance and misinformation can develop into anti-Semitism. Through the Student-to-Student presentations, non-Jewish teens, who might not otherwise have any other contact with Jews, can realize how much they have in common with their Jewish peers.


Student to Student is an antidote to fear and distrust through peer-to-peer interactions that build connections between individuals. Furthermore, this program empowers Jewish teens to talk about Judaism and Israel with proficiency, authenticity and confidence. During presentations, Ambassadors provide insights into their lives as Jewish teens and put a “human face” to Judaism.

The EVJCC is looking for teens to participate in the Arizona Student to Student program. The EVJCC will provide training and supervision. Typically, an Ambassador takes part in about two presentations per
semester, at a time that fits into his/her schedule.

Students who experience these presentations report an increased understanding of Judaism and more positive feelings towards Jews. For our Ambassadors, Student to Student provides an opportunity to truly make a difference in our community, assists in self-awareness and identity, and provides leadership training.

To participate in the EVJCC Student to Student program, please fill out this form and return to the EVJCC office by Wednesday, Dec. 5. If you have any questions, please contact Andre at andre@evjcc.org.