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To counter the trend of Jewish teens dropping out of organized Jewish life, The Jewish Education Project works with individuals, institutions, and communities to find innovative and meaningful ways to engage Jewish teens in today’s ever changing world.
Today's teens are different than those of prior generations. They are seeking different program models and opportunities for the summer months. Thousands of New York teens do not participate in Jewish summer programs and the current marketplace does not meet their needs.
In order to expand the marketplace of options for New York’s Jewish Teens, The Jewish Education Project and UJA-Federation of New York launched a cohort of new summer programs designed to match specific interests and needs of Jewish teens in New York. The programs will all be part of a nurturing Incubator experience and will receive start up support from the newly formed New York Teen Initiative for Immersive Summer Experiences for Jewish Teens, a $9.2 million, four year initiative supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation and UJA-Federation of NY.
The full list of new programs include:
In September 2015, The Jewish Education Project, with generous support from UJA-Federation of NY and the Jim Joseph Foundation, launched FindYourSummer.org, a new website where Jewish teens can discover summer experiences as unique as they are. FindYourSummer.org is the first site that connects Jewish teens to hundreds of programs - from surf camps to social action projects, international travel to art workshops - so they can explore their passions and expand their horizons.
Visit FindYourSummer.org to find information on more than 350 programs that appeal to different passions, interests, and backgrounds.
The Jewish Education Project is pleased to announce the recipients of the Teen Engagement micro-grants, that support new initiatives for teen engagement in the greater NY area:
The LGBTQ Inclusion Project is a multi-service program in collaboration with Keshet, that will gather, train, provide resources for, and support a select cohort of Jewish teen programs in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, to become more inclusive of LGBTQ individuals and families.
We work with organizations along a continuum of inclusion, from those who are just beginning to acknowledge their need for improvement, to those who have deep and sustained initiatives in place and who strive to broaden their reach.
The Jewish Education Project is partnering with the Jewish Community Relations Council - New York on an exciting program called "Leading on Campus" program for 11th and 12th graders.
This program aims to engage and empower high school seniors before they get to the college campus, and aims to expose students to the myriad of Jewish Engagement / Leadership opportunities on campus as well as the Israel-related challenges they may encounter. This is not an Israel advocacy training session, but rather, an opportunity for students to talk openly about their hopes (and sometimes fears) about the college campus experience and to empower them with "best practices" in meeting these challenges. The program runs for about 90 minutes and is ideally suited for 20 students per session. All costs involved are covered by a special grant.
This program took place in 7 schools last year, both Jewish and public and was highly successful. This year we are aiming to work with an additional 3-4 Jewish high schools, 6-8 public schools, and 10 congregational schools in the greater New York metropolitan area.
Today's teens are all about options, personalization, and choice. The Westchester Jewish Teen Learning Initiative offers high quality, collaborative opportunities for learning, engagement and growth. The new year has just begun - click here to learn how to get your teens connected today.
The Jewish Education Project hosts multiple webinars every year on topics relevant to youth professionals across North America. These webinars place key issues and cutting-edge topics on the agenda of youth professionals and youth organizations. The wide reach of these webinars also enables lay leaders and other communal professionals to learn about current trends and issues of concern in Jewish education and teen life. Past webinar topics have included “Digital Learners,” “What Practitioners Need to Know NOW: Engaging Jewish Teens” and “Clothing and Teens: What They’re Wearing and What We Can Learn about Jewish Identity.”
For information on this year’s webinar series, click here.
The Jewish Education Project provides quality professional development opportunities for the youth professionals in our networks, balancing their individual personal development requests with experts and training to which they would otherwise not have access. Youth professionals attend both regional events, delivered separately to each of our three regions (Five Boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester), and cross-regional events in which we bring youth professionals together from across the New York area, providing unparalleled opportunities for communal learning, sharing, and networking. Our most recent sessions included a Marketing and Branding workshop by Brandraising expert Sarah Durham of Big Duck, a session on “What Colleges Are Really Looking For” by a former College Admissions officer at Columbia University, and a terrific eye-opening session with Matt Cohen and Jillian Curran of MTV, who presented their study on Young Millennials to 80 youth professionals from the New York area.Our very own Jamie Betesh, Associate Director of Strategic Research and Insights at The Jewish Education Project, then led participants in a workshop in which they learned the fundamentals of human-centered design, the importance and necessity of understanding one's teens in order to design for them and address their needs, and guidance and practical tips for learning about their own teens.
Our Long Island Jewish Teen Directors Network is a dynamic and collaborative group of full-time Jewish Teen Directors, both regional and local. The group meets once a month for three main purposes: networking, professional development, and collaboration. By sharing their successes and challenges with each other, as well as getting to know each other personally and professionally, their networking helps elevate their work and the work of teen engagement on Long Island. The professional development component includes sessions based on preferences and professional needs.The network’s focus on collaboration was one of its most successful endeavors.
The Jewish Education Project collaborates with multiple organizations to produce two types of community events. Teen Community Events are for teens only. Teens from different organizations participate, and often help plan and facilitate these educational or social programs. At other events, teens and parents join together to learn and engage in conversation about an issue affecting teens today, often through a specific Jewish lens.
Learn more about Teen Community Events here.
Project InCiTE’s 20 fellows are developing innovative new projects—focusing on teen engagement with Israel and Jewish peoplehood. Fellows received formal creativity training by SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) preceding and during the project design phase of the program. Project InCiTE is a partnership between The Jewish Education Project and the iCenter, and it is funded through generous support from the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation—in collaboration with MAKOM, the educational branch of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
We are pleased to share what we have learned through our experiences during Project InCiTE, and invite you to glean insights from the perspectives of innovation and Israel education.
View the Project Incite website.
A two year-long process intended for organizations to innovate their teen program models through design thinking, coaching, and peer consulting.
In collaboration with The Experiment in Teen Engagement Task Force of UJA-Federation of New York, The Jewish Education Project commissioned The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University to carry out research on Jewish teens, their parents and communal professionals. Funded by UJA-Federation of New York, Engaging Jewish Teens describes Jewish teens, their everyday reality, and the factors that contribute to or detract from their engagement in Jewish life.
Read the full report and executive summary here.