Before 2008, Jewish teens living in the 23 towns and cities north of Boston had few options to engage in meaningful Jewish experiences. The North Shore Teen Initiative (NSTI), funded by the Foundation, was launched to fill that void and connect Jewish teens to their peers and foster participation in Jewish teen life across the community. As NSTI enters its sixth year, the demonstration project has evidenced success both in the number of teens engaged and in its influence on Jewish growth among the participating teens. Through collaborative social programming, travel opportunities, service learning and more, hundreds of Jewish teens from all over the North Shore have been involved.
How has its model achieved success? NSTI has become the hub of a network of North Shore synagogues and other teen-focused organizations to engage new teens and build on existing teen engagement in Jewish learning. Its also creates new Jewish educational experiences for teens, all centered on experientially-based programs rooted in Jewish values. In collaboration with partners, these engagement and learning opportunities range from Lag B’omer Beach Jam, to Maccabi Artfest, to Torah Hub, to numerous Tikkun Olam activities.
Smaller organizations and congregations credit NSTI’s support and capacity building in providing them with the means to engage more Jewish teens.
“They’ve made all kinds of conversations possible, brokered new partnerships and brought the different pieces of the community together. NSTI is the way of the future.”
-Rabbi Baruch HaLevi, Congregation Shirat Hayam, and President, North Shore Rabbinical Council
As NSTI moves to sustainability, other communities with similar geographic and demographic characteristics can look to its model to engage their own Jewish teens.
Jim Joseph Foundation funding to support NSTI’s continued growth and transition to become locally sustainable:
Up to $436,000 over three years, 2013 – 2016
(total Jim Joseph Foundation grants: Up to $1,821,043 over 9 years, 2007-2016)