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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Targeting more than 98,000 Jewish teens in New York, UJA-Federation of New York has committed over $615,000 to teen programs this year, with an additional $4,403,119 slated to go toward a new, $9 million, four-year, teen summer initiative in collaboration with the Jim Joseph Foundation and The Jewish Education Project.

Planning for the teen summer initiative began on July 1, 2014, and includes matching funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation for a total of nearly $9 million toward the project, which will be operated in cooperation with The Jewish Education Project’s Teen Department. The grant was awarded within the framework of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s national-local funder collaborative, a group of funders interested in working together to expand and deepen community-based Jewish teen education and engagement.

The four-year grant will support new programming designed to increase the number of New York-based, Jewish high school-aged teens participating in meaningful Jewish learning experiences during the summer months, including immersive Jewish travel experiences both in the U.S. and abroad. The summer programs also will be strategically designed to connect to year-round Jewish learning opportunities for teens.

“UJA-Federation is committed to engaging Jewish teens and finding new pathways to get them involved in fun, meaningful, age-appropriate experiences for them and their families,” said Deborah Joselow, managing director, Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal, UJA-Federation of New York. “Summer is an ideal time to engage teens, and we’re proud to support a variety of programs that appeal to the diverse Jewish teen population in New York.”

The new summer teen initiative builds on UJA-Federation’s existing investments in Jewish teen education and engagement in New York including:

The first ever PovertySLAM planned for November 2014, which will bring together Jewish teens (ages 13 – 17) and educators and program staff from New York synagogues, schools, youth groups, and Jewish institutions to develop innovative responses to poverty in the New York Jewish community, with the expectation of a grant competition in 2015.

The Aleph Project, managed by Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Inc. (LIGALY), which works to sustain connections between LGBTQ Jewish youth and Jewish life and experience through activities that provide a safe space and support, while helping young adults to successfully integrate their LGBTQ and Jewish identities. The Aleph Project also provides critical resources and training to the Jewish professionals working with youth to ensure that inclusive and affirming programs are available in Jewish settings throughout Long Island.

Camp Zeke’s Blintzes and Barbells program, which consists of three, interrelated, self-reinforcing components: exercise and fitness, culinary arts and nutrition, and Judaism and Israel. Jewish lessons and values are seamlessly woven into the curriculum. Programs on these topics are offered as one-time events at synagogues and JCCs.

Other community organizations and initiatives that focus on teen engagement and are funded by UJA-Federation include: Jewish Student Connection, Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue and The New Shul, Moving Traditions, The Jewish Education Project, Westchester Jewish Council, and Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst.

The Jim Joseph Foundation collaborative began a year ago following the release of the report, Effective Strategies for Educating and Engaging Jewish Teens. Earlier this year, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and Rose Community Foundation in Denver also were awarded grants as part of the collaborative. Through separate grants, the Foundation also supports Camp Zeke (as part of the Specialty Camps Incubator), Jewish Student Connection, and Moving Traditions.