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$9.2 million initiative aims to expand Jewish summer options for teens

– by JTA

February 10th, 2015

JTA-logoNEW YORK (JTA) — A new $9.2 million initiative will attempt to expand and improve Jewish summer programming for New York-area teens.

The New York Teen Initiative for Immersive Summer Experiences for Jewish Teens, a project of New York’s Jewish Education Project, through an incubator project will help launch eight programs this summer that are designed to match specific interests and needs of Jewish teens.

The eight programs include local options, like a Jewish surf camp and a theater program, as well as travel and community service opportunities, including ones in Panama and Memphis, Tenn. One program is specifically for Russian Jewish teens, while another is an Israel tour designed for teens from interfaith families. The programs also will focus on connecting participants to year-round Jewish learning opportunities.

“Summer is a great time to engage teens in Jewish experiences,” Robert Sherman, CEO of The Jewish Education Project, said in a news release.

The initiative, jointly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation, is providing financial support, personalized coaching, marketing assistance and educational workshops, as well as a series of interactive educational workshops, to the eight programs.

The goals of the initiative include increasing the number of teens participating in accessible, affordable and inspiring Jewish summer experiences, and expanding the pool of available scholarship dollars for such programs. In addition to serving the eight programs in its incubator, the initiative also plans to provide professional development opportunities for other Jewish summer program providers in New York.

The new initiative will also fund a limited number of “innovative and emerging” summer programs, including a special needs track on the Ramah Israel Seminar and an arts program called Pop Up NY.

Source: “$9.2 million initiative aims to expand summer options for teens,” JTA, February 10, 2015