From Our Blog

Can you hear me now? Why Face-to-Face Interactions Still Matter in the Modern Age

By Margie Bogdanow and Rabbi Dena Shaffer on October 17th, 2017

In the year 5778, the future, it seems, is now. If someone 50 years ago time-traveled to today and saw the myriad technologies and devices that make possible working virtually, she would be amazed, to say the least. She would see a professional environment for many where video conference, shared screens (of all kinds), emails, texts, and other virtual communication are the norm. Wow. In many regards, we are fortunate to operate with these options. Geography, and sometimes even budgets, suddenly become nearly irrelevant as people around the world can collaborate, learn from each other, and trouble-shoot challenges either in real-time or as soon as they’re able to check their smart phone. The timing and place is entirely up to the ...More

From Grant Funding to Sustainability, Life After “Start-Up”

By Adam Smith on August 8th, 2017

In 2009, Jewish Teen Initiative – Boston (JTI), then known as the North Shore Teen Initiative (NSTI), launched in the 23 cities and towns just north of Boston as an innovative, first-of-its-kind program aimed at addressing the alarming trend of teens disconnecting from their Jewish faith and community after Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Now, a little more than eight years later, JTI has become a national model for Jewish teen engagement, with lessons learned being adapted in communities around the country. Created and launched in partnership, and with 100 percent grant funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation, JTI is now independent and building a path toward sustainability – with bumps, bruises and ultimately valuable lessons learned along the way. ...More

“That was the most myself I’ve ever been” – Teens reflecting on new models of summer programming

By Alex Pomson and Melanie Schneider on June 15th, 2017

Some of the most powerful memories from childhood are associated with summer: the riotous sound of crickets at night; a first sighting of the Milky Way; the hot sensation of a campfire on one’s face; or for those not able to get out of town, the intrigue of long hours left to one’s own devices. These moments gain their special force from breaking with the chores and routines of the school year. For many Jewish adults, summer is associated with their childhood experiences of overnight camp. For six weeks or even longer, their foremost task as campers was to release the stress and constraints of school in the company of peers. Such programs might have recruited only a small portion ...More

Sharing Early Insights: Lessons Learned from the Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Funder Collaborative

By Sara Allen on June 13th, 2017

Four years ago, Effective Strategies for Educating and Engaging Jewish Teens was released, a report that brought to the fore promising models and practical ways for communities to engage teens in Jewish experiences that enrich their lives and help them grow. On the heels of the report, national and local funders representing ten communities took action, coming together to study the findings, commission additional groundbreaking reports, and to design responsive local teen engagement initiatives. Ultimately, the group evolved into a robust community: the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative. The Funder Collaborative is an innovative philanthropic experiment – a network of funders working together to develop, fund, support and grow new teen initiatives that ...More

Rethinking Our Communal Approach to Jewish Teen Education

By Josh Miller on April 8th, 2013

Editor’s Note: This blog was cross-posted in eJewishPhilanthropy. Jewish teens seeking to explore their Judaism and connect with Jewish peers have a menu of program options from which to choose. Nationwide, tens of thousands of teens enroll in Jewish high schools, take classes on Jewish topics, participate in youth groups, attend Jewish camps, travel to Israel, and sign up for a range of other ongoing and immersive programs. Research demonstrates that these experiences significantly influence participants and lead to further involvement in Jewish life. On the surface, the narrative is one of success and – for funders investing in the future of Jewish life – is heartening. We are compelled to support these opportunities for Jewish teens to ensure that ...More

The Jim Joseph Foundation invests in promising Jewish education grant initiatives. We partner with effective organizations that seek to inspire young people to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.