for Jewish Boy Scouts and Venturers, grades six through nine

Application Form

Download an application form   for the Ner Tamid emblem.

Workbook

Download the workbook  for the Ner Tamid emblem

Overview

nertamidAs a Scout you know that learning by doing is a basic principle of Scouting. Just as you keep yourself physically strong by camping, hiking, and other outdoor healthful activities, so also you build yourself spiritually and morally by practicing your religion. The Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) program will help you grow spiritually. It will aid you to practice duty to God, to be reverent, and to be faithful in your religious duties.

To help you in this phase of your Scouting experience, the National Jewish Committee on Scouting has developed the Ner Tamid program for boys in grades six through nine. Similar programs have been developed by the Protestant and Catholic committees on Scouting. All Scouts are eligible to work in the distinctive religious programs of their faith, and every Scout will be proud to achieve this high honor.

As a Scout, you may work on the Ner Tamid program whether your unit is connected with your own synagogue, community center, school, or with some other organization. You carry on your Scout program in your troop while you fulfill the Ner Tamid requirements under the guidance of your rabbi or Ner Tamid counselor. If you live in a small or isolated Jewish community, contact the National Jewish Committee on Scouting for assistance.

Now read the description of the Ner Tamid emblem and then follow the steps in earning the Ner Tamid emblem. Good luck! (An application form and workbook are available at the bottom of this webpage.)

Description of the Ner Tamid Emblem

The Ner Tamid emblem is a pendant representing the Eternal Light that hangs in front of the Holy Ark in the synagogue. It is attached to a blue and white ribbon and a bronze bar pin that carries the inscription “Ner Tamid” in Hebrew letters and “Eternal Light” in English.

The Ner Tamid in the synagogue of our own day goes back to the seven-branched menorah described in the Bible (Exodus 27:20; Numbers 8:2). The center light, from which the other six were kindled, is the Ner Tamid. The lamp burned continually, symbolizing the Jewish people’s eternal devotion to God’s teachings.

Steps in Earning the Ner Tamid Emblem

  1. Fill out the application in this pamphlet. Be sure you read carefully the instructions heading each section of the Ner Tamid requirements. Scouts and Venturers who have completed the ninth grade may still earn the Ner Tamid emblem, but only if they concurrently earn the Etz Chaim emblem for older Jewish Scouts and Venturers. Information and an application for the Etz Chaim emblem are available online.
  2. Get in touch with your rabbi (or religious schoolteacher) and discuss the requirements. He or she will be glad to serve as your Ner Tamid counselor. If you do not live near a synagogue that has a rabbi, contact the National Jewish Committee on Scouting to obtain a counselor.
    Please keep a neat record of all your work in a notebook that you can review with your counselor. You will find a list of books in this pamphlet that will help you tackle the requirements. A good Jewish encyclopedia can also prove helpful. You can find most of these books in your synagogue library, or resources can be sent to you if you have no access to necessary materials.
  3. As you fulfill the requirements, put a circle around the number of each one you complete. From time to time, ask your counselor to check your knowledge of the requirements. He or she will initial each section as you complete it.
  4. When all requirements have been completed to the satisfaction of your counselor, take this application to your local council service center for approval.
  5. Your counselor will then mail the certification and order form to P.R.A.Y. Your Ner Tamid emblem will be presented to you at some impressive occasion, such as Scout Sabbath in February, Chanukah, Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, etc.

Reference Books

You can usually find these books in your synagogue library. Consult your rabbi or counselor for additional help, or contact the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.

  1. HOME OBSERVANCE
    • Donin, Hayim Halevy, To Be a Jew
    • Gersh, Harry, When a Jew Celebrates
    • Trepp, Leo, The Complete Book of Jewish Observance
  2. SYNAGOGUE WORSHIP
    • Donin, Hayim Halevy, To Pray as a Jew
    • Milgram, Abraham E., Jewish Worship
    • Rossel, Seymour, When a Jew Prays
  3. JEWISH STUDY
    • Chiel, Arthur, Pathways Through the Torah
    • Noveck, Simon, ed., Creators of the Jewish Experience in Ancient and Medieval Times
    • Trepp, Leo, A History of the Jewish Experience
  4. THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY
    • American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Yearbook
    • Kenvin, Helene S., This Land of Liberty: A History of America’s Jews
    • Zwerin, Raymond, F., For One Another: Jewish Organizations That Help Us All
  5. WORLD JEWRY
    • American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Yearbook
    • Elon, Amos, Understanding Israel
    • Segal, Abraham, Israel Today (revised)

Requirements for the Ner Tamid Program

A. HOME OBSERVANCE—Living the Jewish Life at Home
Do the first requirement and choose one of the other three.
1 a. Tell how the Sabbath should be observed and the meaning of this observance.
b. Tell how the following High Holy Days and festivals are celebrated and the meaning of these observances to you: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot, Chanukah, Purim, and Tishah b’Av.
2 a. Study a Hebrew calendar (luach) and tell how it differs from the general calendar.
b. Give the names of the Hebrew months.
c. Give the Hebrew dates of the High Holy Days and festivals.
3 a. Give the titles of at least five Jewish books that every Jewish home should have. Include books for study, prayer, and reading.
b. Read a book of Jewish interest approved by your rabbi or counselor and write a book report of at least 200 words.
4 a. Read and explain the following verses in the Bible, which contain some of the sources for the observance of kashrut: Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23; Genesis 32:33; Exodus 23:19, 34:26; and Deuteronomy 14:21.
b. What reason does the Torah give for the observance of kashrut?
c. Tell how you could observe kashrut while camping.
B. SYNAGOGUE WORSHIP—Living the Jewish Life in the Synagogue
Do the first requirement and complete one of the other three.
1 a. Attend synagogue Sabbath services regularly.
b. Describe and explain the use of some of the sacred ceremonial objects such as Ner Tamid, Sefer Torah, Aron Kodesh, etrog and lulav, shofar, and Megilah.
c. What Jewish activities, other than worship, are sponsored by or conducted in your synagogue?
2 a. Give the important ideas contained in the kiddush, Shema, Amidah, Alenu, En Kelohenu, Yigdal, and two other prayers.
b. Write a brief composition (about 200 words) on the subject “How the Ner Tamid program helps a Scout put into practice a Scout is reverent.”
3 a. Show evidence that you are Bar Mitzvah or that you will be Bar Mitzvah.
b. Chant or read the blessings on being called to the Torah for an aliyah.
c. Explain the meaning and contents of the tefilin and learn how and when they are used.
d. Write a brief composition (about 200 words) on the subject “How the Ner Tamid program helps a Scout put into practice a Scout is reverent.”
4 a. Show evidence that you are Bar Mitzvah or are preparing for Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation.
b. Read the blessings on being called to the Torah and the blessings of the Haftarah.
c. Write a brief composition (about 200 words) on the subject “How the Ner Tamid program helps a Scout put into practice a Scout is reverent.”
C. JEWISH STUDY—The Bible and Sacred Literature
Do the first requirement and complete either requirement 2 or 3.
1 Give evidence of being a pupil at a Jewish school for at least three years. Obtain a statement from the teacher that your work has been satisfactory. (Scouts who find it impossible to attend formal classes may substitute an equivalent course of private study under the supervision of the rabbi or counselor.)
2 a. Name the books of the Bible that make up the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.
b. What do Sedra (parasha) and Haftarah mean?
c. What is the Talmud? Select five sayings that you like from “Ethics of the Fathers” (Pirke Avot), which is one of the books of Talmud.
3 Select five names from each group of great Jewish personalities and tell what made each of them famous.
I II III
  • Abraham
  • Moses
  • Samuel
  • Esther
  • Sarah
  • Deborah
  • David
  • Elijah
  • Isaiah
  • Judah Maccabee
  • Hillel
  • Yochanna Ben Zakki
  • Akiba
  • Judah Hansai
  • Rav
  • Daadyah Gaon
  • Rashi
  • Judah Halevi
  • Maimonides
  • Joseph Karo
  • Ba’ai Shem Tov
  • Gaon of Vilna
  • Moses mendelssohn
  • Moses Monteflore
  • Zacharias Frankel
  • Chaylm Nachman Bialik
  • Samson R. Hirsch
  • Albert Einstein
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Aldred Dreyfus
D. THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY—Living in the Land of Freedom
Do the first requirement and complete either requirement 2 or 3.
1 Select from the list of service projects on the back of this pamphlet at least three projects of service to the synagogue, Scout unit, and community to be fulfilled for a period of one year. (A Scout may receive credit for service projects fulfilled before he enrolled in the Ner Tamid program from the time he became a Tenderfoot Scout.)
2 a. List at least five national Jewish organizations in your home city, state, or region, and describe what they do.
b. List the ten largest cities in the United States, showing the total population and the Jewish population in each. Give the approximate Jewish and general population of your city.
3 Select seven of the following great American Jews and describe their contribution to the building of America and the American Jewish community.
  • Judah Touro
  • Hyam Solomon
  • Emma Lazarus
  • Isaac M. Wise
  • Oscar Strauss
  • Jacob H. Schiff
  • Louis D. Brandeis
  • Stephen S. Wise
  • Bernard Revel
  • Solomon Schechter
E. WORLD JEWRY—”We Are All Brothers”
Do requirement 1 and complete either requirement 2 or 3.
1 a. On a map of Israel, locate

  • The regions of the country
  • Major rivers and lakes
  • Three sacred historical sites
b. Tell what each of the following did for the rebirth of the State of Israel: Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, Abba Hillel Silver, David Ben Gurion, Abraham Kook, Henrietta Szold, and Golda Meir.
c. Tell briefly what three of the following are doing or have done in the rebuilding of Israel: Jewish National Fund, United Jewish Appeal, Hadassah, Hebrew University, Histadrut, Agudath Israel, Jewish Agency.
2 a. List the national synagogue organizations and the major seminaries and rabbinical groups of the Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform branches of Judaism.
b. List three national Jewish organizations serving Jewish youth in America.
c. Describe the work of one organization from (a) and one from (b).
3 a. Make a scrapbook of Jewish current events containing news items, pictures, cartoons, stories, articles, etc.
b. List the Jewish and general population in ten important countries.

SERVICE PROJECTS

Choose the three projects to fulfill requirement D-1 under Requirements for the Ner Tamid Program.

  1. Serve as usher in synagogue—at forums, celebrations, etc.
  2. Serve as patrol leader, den chief, or assistant in any Scouting activity.
  3. Act as monitor or as leader of club in religious school.
  4. Help in office of synagogue, Jewish center, religious school, social service agency, or Jewish organization.
  5. Serve as cantor, choir member, reader, or in some other active capacity in junior congregation.
  6. Help with the enrollment of pupils in religious school—distributing letters and leaflets, bringing friends to the school, etc.
  7. Decorate the synagogue, religious school, Jewish center, or home for the holidays and other special events.
  8. Participate in the collection of clothing, food, books, etc., for tzedakah.
  9. Plant and care for shrubs, trees, and flowers around the synagogue, religious school, or Jewish center.
  10. Assist in library of synagogue, religious school, or Jewish center.
  11. Make and distribute posters and announcements for synagogue, religious school, etc.
  12. Help with construction and painting of scenery for plays presented in the synagogue, religious school, or Jewish center.
  13. Build and decorate a sukkah for the home, synagogue, Jewish center, or religious school.
  14. Write for or help get out paper for religious school or Jewish center.
  15. Help another Scout with his Ner Tamid program as a junior counselor.
  16. Coach other students who need tutoring in Hebrew.

Other services of similar standard may be submitted for service credit if approved by the rabbi or counselor.

Please check the National Jewish Committee on Scouting home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.jewishscouting.org. Each candidate for this emblem must be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew, or Sea Scout ship throughout the time that the candidate is working on the emblem.