Rabbi Mordy Birnbaum, creator and director, Ariel Youth
Rabbi Birnbaum has the ability to talk to kids on their level and engage each member authentically. As a result, Ariel Youth is one of the most successful synagogue youth programs in Atlanta. Activities include camping trips, whitewater rafting and a weekend at a cabin in the North Georgia mountains.
As a smaller shul, Congregation Ariel is a tightly knit community of committed families. Ariel Youth is an extension of that model — a gathering of kids who connect with their peers and the Jewish community as a whole.
Rabbi Birnbaum ensures Ariel Youth’s success by inviting and engaging much of the congregation’s youth population, then asking them to bring friends. His program is a paradigm of engagement and Jewish continuity.
“The goal is to find age-appropriate things that they’re going to connect with,” he said, “and to try to engage them at their level.”