Jewish Scouting Awards
Since its inception in 1910, Scouting has been used by synagogues, churches, and many other religious organizations. Approximately 50 percent of all Scouting units today are chartered to religious groups, because religious leaders have long recognized that scouting provides them with exceptional opportunities to draw youth closer to their congregations.
It was a natural outgrowth of this relationship that the religious emblems program was originated to give recognition to youth who had demonstrated religious growth. In 1945, the National Jewish Committee on Scouting issued the Ner Tamid emblem for Boy Scouts, grades six through nine, and registered Venturers (boys and girls), through grade nine, who are Jewish. Today, there is also theAleph emblem for Cub Scouts and Webelos and the Maccabee emblem for Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts (grades one through three) who are Jewish. The newest youth award is theEtz Chaim, for Boy Scouts in high school, ages 14 to 17, and registered Venturers (boys and girls) ages 14 to 20.
THE NER TAMID PROGRAM FOR BOY SCOUTS AND VENTURERS
The Ner Tamid emblem is a pendant representing the Eternal Light. It is attached to a blue-and-white ribbon and a bronze bar pin that carries the inscription "Ner Tamid" in Hebrew and "Eternal Light" in English.
The Boy Scouts of America has authorized the Ner Tamid emblem to be worn over the left breast pocket at the left of the Eagle Scout badge. When the Eagle badge is not worn, the Ner Tamid is centered above the flap of the left breast pocket. Ner Tamid Requirements.
THE ALEPH PROGRAM FOR CUB SCOUTS
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting has developed the Aleph emblem program to help Jewish boys who are Cub Scouts advance in the knowledge and practice of Jewish religious living. The Aleph program also provides a basis for a positive and close relationship between a Cub Scout and his religious school teacher, who serves as counselor.
The Aleph medal is a bronze pendant representing an open Torah scroll and the Eternal Light. The pendant is attached to a bronze bar pin that carries the Hebrew letters "Aleph" and the word "Aleph." Aleph Requirements.
THE MACCABEE AWARD FOR TIGER CUBS AND YOUNGER CUB SCOUTS
As the number of participants in Tiger Cubs grew, the need was felt for a comparable challenge on this youngest level. Hence, the creation of the Maccabee Award with its distinct emblem, requirements, and counselor's guide. The Maccabee Award takes its name from Judah Maccabee and his brothers who led the military and religious struggle against the Syrian king, Antiochus, who attempted to suppress the practice of Judaism. Their revolt ended victoriously in the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 168 B.C.E. the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates that victory.
The Maccabee medal is a bronze pendant depicting the Menorah. The pendant is attached to a bronze bar pin that carries the word "Maccabee." Maccabee Requirements.
THE ETZ CHAIM PROGRAM FOR OLDER BOY SCOUTS AND VENTURERS
The newest award established by the National Jewish Committee on Scouting is the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) Award. This award is to encourage the young adult to explore adult Jewish roles in the context of family, community, and Jewish people. The requirements can be completed in six months and with a counselor's assistance.
The Etz Chaim emblem is a pendant representing the Tree of Life. It is attached to a blue-and-white ribbon and a bronze bar pin that carries the inscription "Etz Chaim" in Hebrew and "Tree of Life" in English. The Boy Scouts of America has authorized the Etz Chaim emblem to be worn over the left breast pocket at the left of the Eagle Scout badge. When the Eagle badge is not worn, the Etz Chaim is centered above the flap of the left breast pocket. Etz Chaim Requirements.
THE SHOFAR AWARD FOR ADULTS
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting has established the Shofar Award, which is a silver Ner Tamid pendant superimposed on a silver Shofar, suspended from a blue-and-white ribbon. The award was developed to recognize outstanding service by adults in the promotion of Scouting among Jewish boys. Shofar Requirements.
FRANK L WEIL MEMORIAL UNIT RECOGNITION AWARD
Of prime importance to the National Jewish Committee on Scouting (NJCS) is its concern for quality Scouting under Jewish auspices. The award is named in memory of Frank L. Weil, one of the founders of the NJCS and its chairman from 1935-1957. The purpose of this program is to recognize the chartered organization to help motivate and improve the effectiveness of the individual unit and its adult leadership, and to provide each youth with a top-quality program.
The award, available through the NJCS, consists of:
- A certificate for the chartered organization
- A colored ribbon for the unit
- A multicolored, embroidered patch for each registered member (youth and adult)
More details on this award can be found here.
HEBREW INTERPRETER STRIP FOR SCOUTS AND ADULT VOLUNTEERS
Youth and Adult members (Cub and Webelos Scouts, Boy and Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts, plus Scouters in all programs) may wear this strip if they show their knowledge of a foreign language or the sign language for the hearing impaired by:
- Carrying on a 5-minute conversation in this language.
- Translating a 2-minute speech or address.
- Writing a letter in the language (Does not apply for sign language)
- Translating 200 words or more from the written word.
For more information on the Interpreter Strip, click here.