One such occasion is selichot night. The combination of the late hour (selichot are traditionally recited at the midpoint between sundown and sunup on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Hashanah) and the ancient liturgy, makes the selichot experience in most shuls rather difficult for teens to relate to. Therefore, a few years ago we began running programs for both our boys and our girls high schools in the hours leading up to selichot in order to make the experience more meaningful.
This year's program, designed by Rabbi Stein, started at 10:30 with pizza and ice cream in each of the respective schools. Then, both sets of students watched a lengthy clip from Disney's The Lion King followed by a discussion about the teshuva-related themes which the film explores: running away from the past versus facing it, living up to expectations, changing course, and making up for past mistakes. Each group then had a kumsitz to further set the mood and then finally, at 12:50am, the boys and girls came together in the Beit Midrash for selichot led by Rabbi Gersten.
Below you'll find some pictures from the program as well as a short video clip of the boys signing at their kumsitz.
Gemar chatimah tovah to all.