Religious Awards for Youth and Adults
It was a natural outgrowth of the relationship between Scouting and Jewish organizations 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 and Venturers who are Jewish. Today there is also the Aleph emblem for Cub Scouts and the Maccabee emblem for Tiger Cubs who are Jewish.
Since these emblems were designed and implemented by rabbis and not by the Boy Scouts of America, it is appropriate that they be presented during a religious service at a youth's synagogue. (A sample Ner Tamid presentation is provided on this site.)
for Tiger Cubs
In recent years, as the number of participants in Tiger Cubs has grown, the need has been 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 (Feast of Lights) 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".
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".
for 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.
for older Scouts and Venturers
The Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) Award is designed for Boy Scouts in high school, ages 14 to 18, and registered Venturers ages 14 to 20. The purpose of the 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.
for adult volunteers
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.