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Merit Scholarship

The Beth El High School of Jewish Studies Merit Scholarship Program rewards those students who choose to develop their own base of Jewish knowledge and experience outside the framework of the formal classes offered at the Beth El High School of Jewish Studies. The Merit Scholarship Program is open to all students in grades 9-12 who attend the Beth El High School of Jewish Studies.

Mark Kelln, Education Director
402-492-8550 - Work

Caryn Scheer, School Board Committee Chair

Merit Scholarship Meeting
Sunday, September 11
12:15 pm

2022-2023 Merit Scholarship Application
Deadline: September 25

This incentive program is designed to encourage greater involvement of high school students in their Synagogue and the greater Jewish community. 

Scholarships will be announced at the end of each school year, with payment made upon request for 1) an approved trip to Israel or 2) a Beth El sponsored youth trip or convention high school or 3) upon graduation from public or private high school for continuing education at an accredited institution of higher learning.  The award will be made for completion of all the requirements as follows:

            1st year        $350*
            2nd year       $350*
            3rd year        $400*
            4th year        $500*

*A lesser amount may be awarded if all standards are not met.*

There will be a bonus amount of $400 awarded to anyone completing all 4 years.
Possible total award = $2000

Plus, the Merit Scholarship Program is an outstanding addition to your college applications.

Program Components
Category I:            Consists of 3 required activities
Category II:           A. Activities chosen must total at least 20 hours
                                      B. Choose one activity
Category III:         One project must be selected each year
Chosen activities may not be repeated in consecutive years with the exception of participating in the Bible Quiz.
Category IV:    Meet with Mark once per semester. (Required)

Category I

1.    In Person Attendance at Synagogue Services
Students must attend at least 15 services at Beth El Synagogue, a minimum of which 10 must be on Shabbat.

Attendance at High Holy Days Services
Students must attend both Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur High school discussion groups.  

Attendance at a minimum of 3 other Jewish ritual experiences
Students are required to participate in services in at least 3 other community holiday experiences. For example: Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Shavuot,

Attendance will be taken by Mark.

Attendance must be counted as services are accrued.    

The following services qualify for this requirement:
a. Morning Minyan, Mondays & Thursdays at 7:00 am
b. Evening Minyan, Sunday-Thursday at 5:30 pm
c. Kabbalat Shabbat, Friday at 6:00 pm
d. Shabbat Morning at 10:00 am
e. Havdallah Saturday evenings. Please check the website
f.  BESTT Sunday Minyan, Sunday at 9:30 am
g. Holidays at their posted times.

2.    Active membership in USY – Attend 50% of programs. 

3.    Attendance at Beth El Synagogue Hebrew High School of Jewish Studies - Attend 70% of classes, including the Yom HaShoah High School program.

Category II:        
A. Activities chosen must total at least 30 hours
B. Choose one activity

A.  Volunteer work (Complete one or two activities for a total of 30 hours)

Special Projects:
Please watch for postings and make sure to volunteer!

Work with BESTT students:
We will be looking for volunteers to work with our kids in Hebrew.  Mark will provide you with materials.

Bible Quiz Participants:  The stakes are higher
Create a quizlett for a section that we will be studying.  
Worth 2 volunteer hours.

Bible Quiz Scholarship Awards
First Place - $1,000
Second Place - $600
Third Place - $400
Fourth Place $200

Cash on the day of the quiz
3 correct answers - $20
4 correct answers - $50
First place - $100

B.    Participation at Beth El Synagogue (Complete one activity)

1.    Chant Torah 2 times per year

2.    Chant Haftarah 1 time per year  (especially on your anniversary)

One project must be selected each year.  You cannot do the same project 2 years in a row except for the Bible Quiz.  You must choose a different project each year.

1.    Research paper on Jewish topic of student’s interest (3 typed, double-spaced pages, including at least 3 outside references.)  The work submitted must demonstrate an extended amount of effort, no grammatical errors or typographical errors.

2.    Book report on approved Jewish book (at least 200 pages in length).  The length of the report should be at least two typed pages double-spaced.  (This may not be a previously submitted project for public high school or for Beth El Synagogue High School of Jewish Studies.)  

3.    Prepare and answer a 50-question quiz on one book from Prophets or Writings, citing verse and line.  (The first five Books of Moses are not permitted.)

4.    Prepare and present a D’var Torah for either the adult congregation on Shabbat evening or morning, a USY Shabbat event. (See the guidelines for writing a D’var Torah.)  A D’var Torah presented prior to a regular USY meeting would also qualify.  Rabbi Abraham will act as mentor for a D’var Torah.

5.    Jewish cultural arts project
a.    compose a musical selection
b.    write a poem, short story, essay, etc.
c.    choreograph a dance
d.    draw a painting/picture
e.    create a sculpture
f.    create a video of Jewish interest
g.    other (with advisor’s approval)

6.    Technology submission.  You may develop a computer program of a Jewish nature or one that could be used in the religious school such as a game or quiz. Any project requiring technology for its presentation must be field tested at least one week prior to the presentation to avoid the possibilities of technical failure.

7.    Participate in the B’nai B’rith Bible Quiz and answer 3 questions correctly.

All submissions must be turned in electronically and with a hard copy so that the evaluation committee will be able to preview the entries prior to the evaluation meeting.


1.    Meet with Mark once per semester.
2.    Complete and submit your project by May 7, 2023.
3.    Complete the following activities:
         3 requirements in Category I
       30 hours from Category IIA
         2 activities from Category IIB
         1 choice from Category III

The BESTT Merit Scholarship Committee reserves the right to change and amend this program as it deems necessary and proper.

Fri, June 9 2023 20 Sivan 5783