Rabbi Levi Mentz, director, JCrafts Georgia
JCrafts is a workshop program that brings Jewish culture and tradition to life for children. Students engage in hands-on projects of creation and culture, such as matzah baking, shofar building and kosher pickle making.
The physical experience builds on concepts taught in many Jewish schools but also helps unaffiliated children understand their history and customs with events in such public venues as Home Depot.
Rabbi Mentz started JCrafts Georgia in August 2014 when he arrived from Los Angeles. In its first year, the program had 4,000 participants, and its programming has been adopted by more than 25 institutions.
JCrafts programming already is heavily booked for next school year.
Rabbi Mentz is a teacher at Chaya Mushka Children’s House, a preschool and day school affiliated with Chabad, as well as the events coordinator at Chabad of Georgia. His involvement in various youth programs shows his commitment to innovative, experiential Jewish education. JCrafts’ success is a testament to his pragmatism and commitment to the community.
“We are the first organization that is being brought to Reform, Conservative, Orthodox synagogues,” Rabbi Mentz said. “Everyone is excited about the product.”