Student-to-Student is a program where Jewish high school students travel to different schools or churches to present about Judaism. Initially started in 1992 in St. Louis, this program started with the belief that teenage students may be more receptive to a presentation by peers rather than adults.
This program was brought to Des Moines in 2017 by current Coordinator, Kyle Grossmann. The following year, the St. Louis branch received a grant to spread the program nationally, with Des Moines being among the first three cities chosen. Since then, student groups in Des Moines have reached over 400 students across 12 schools and churches.
The presentations covers major areas such as life cycle events, Shabbat, Kosher dietary laws, and holidays. They also cover other topics that are important to Jews, namely the Holocaust and Israel. On top of our outline that guides the presentation, participants are encouraged to share personal practices. This demonstrates the unique ways that Judaism can integrate into people’s lives. Presenters give questions brought up from the classes extra focus, since that indicates the audience’s interest. Often times, the answers come in a later section.
One aspect that strongly catches the audience attention is the use of props. All sorts of items are brought, such as Havdalah candles and spices, kippot, familiar books printed in Hebrew, and a shofar. However, the crowd favorite is the food. Naturally, they bring challah to explain Shabbat customs, but the group also brings Oreos. The familiar cookie helps demonstrate that many foods are Kosher.
I really enjoyed this! The speakers were fantastic and genuine. The things they brought for us to look at was really neat too. 🙂North Polk High student in World Religions class
Good presentation. I enjoyed the laid back feel of the presentation & the visual aids. Thank you!Holy Trinity Lutheran Church adult chaperone
Our youth really enjoyed the youth presentations. It makes such a big difference to hear from people their age. The presentation was interesting and thorough. Thanks again.Westminster Presbyterian Church adult leader
If you are interested in participating, or would like to schedule a presentation, contact Kyle Grossmann, Des Moines Student to Student Coordinator, at 515-987-0899 ext. 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.