This Sunday, join your friends for a euphoric exploration of art, technology, and music. Blue Man Group is the world-famous show that will “BLOW YOUR MIND!”




Blue Men?

As if they landed on earth from another planet (we’re not betting against it), the Blue Men don’t speak, yet are infinitely curious about the human race and our world. They delve wholeheartedly into exploring technology and our uniquely human eccentricities through a glorious mash-up of dance, music and performance. Dare to Live in Full Color!

Like nothing you’ve ever seen, the performance art troupe the Blue Man Group emerged in the early 90s with their thrillingly inventive concoction of vaudeville, live music, slapstick and cutting edge technology, and have since conquered the world.

The show is constantly changing, so describing exactly what to expect is tricky – in the past, one of the group’s signature set-pieces for this Boston production has been a drumming sequence involving gallons of luminous paint. Also expect plenty of audience participation!

New Year, New Name, New Look!

New Year, New Name, New Look!

We have A LOT to celebrate! 🎉

Fresh content on our website, along with a new URL and email addresses, and a new logo! As JTI Boston connects our community and engages more teens in Jewish life, our new logo reflects many aspects of who we are and what we do.


Todah rabah – many thanks to CJP – Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Jim Joseph Foundation and our partner synagogues and communal organizations for their support – we’re excited for 5778

Staff Article

Staff Article

Welcome Home…Time To Get Back To Work!


Welcome home! Many of the teens in our community are returning from amazing and transformative summer adventures at Jewish overnight camps and summer programs, in Israel, doing acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and many others. We hope you all had incredible experiences, and are excited to hear about them in the coming weeks as we reconnect and prepare for the new year.

One of the amazing parts of going away for the summer is the ability to block out some of the noise and immerse in the joy and community that surrounds us. And yet, reentry can be somewhat jarring when we readjust to the constant stream of notifications on our phones and read the headlines of what is happening in the world around us.

This past week once again reminded of how broken our world is, with racist and hateful events in Charlottesville, VA and here at home in Boston raising important questions of how we can help repair our fractured world, raise our voices, support and love our neighbors and make a difference. We join our community partners at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in condemning these acts of racism, hate and anti-Semitism, and in taking action to address it.

Here are some resources to help navigate these challenging times:

The Jewish Teen Initiative is extremely proud of the important work that teens in our communities do throughout the year to help make our world a better place. From local service programs to national opportunities to our signature Peer Leader Fellowship, JTI teens are making a difference. We hope you’ll join us this year, both at home and in the broader community, as we continue to connect our community, speak up for change and action, and help spread love and support to those who need more of it.

So…it’s time to get back to work.

  • Educate yourself on what is happening in our communities.
  • Attending a rally or event with JTI friends? Let us know and send us a photo of you taking action so we can post on our social media channels.
  • Looking for additional ways to turn your passions into action? Mark your calendars to join JTI at one of our many opportunities to help make the world a little bit better and contact our office – we’d love to help.

As our tradition teaches us, “tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice you shall pursue.” We look forward to working together in the coming year.

bullet point  Brett Lubarsky is Associate Director of Jewish Teen Initiative – Boston

Cross-posted at JewishBoston

Staff Article

Staff Article

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


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.

Utilizing a combination of community organizing and design thinking, JTI has built a community framework that lowers the barriers for Jewish teens to stay engaged, or re-engage, with their tradition. By collaborating with synagogues, day schools, JCCs and other community agencies, JTI has created an ever-expanding menu of teen-centered, local, regional and national programs grounded in the many experiences that comprise Jewish life. It introduces teens to Jewish learning and leadership experiences that promote life-long commitment to Jewish values.

Here are a few highlights from JTI’s first eight years:

  • Built relationships across Jewish agencies in 23 cities and towns on Boston’s North Shore while supporting existing programs, maximizing connections and increasing/diversifying program offerings for teens
  • Engaged 900+ Jewish teens in meaningful Jewish growth and learning experiences. Many of these teens would not otherwise have been involved in Jewish life
  • Partnered with 50+ organizations, strengthening connections between local Jewish agencies, synagogues, youth groups, day schools, JCCs etc.
  • Offered 200+ program opportunities either in conjunction with community partners or alone – each customized to local needs

Today, JTI is expanding its reach at the request of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies and launching a new sub-region in the city’s western suburbs. Most recently, JTI has pioneered a partnership with Hillel International, to adapt its highly effective campus peer engagement program to be used with high school students. This fall will see close to 40 peer leaders connecting with nearly 1,000 Jewish teens throughout these two regions.

Challenges Moving Forward

JTI’s main test today is maintaining financial sustainability. For eight years, the Jim Joseph Foundation provided generous support, which diminished over time, including matching grants in the later years. This support helped lead JTI to a place where it can sustain and expand its work.

However, the transition away from the Foundation funding has been difficult.

“Becoming comfortably sustainable is the ultimate challenge facing this remarkable teen initiative. Recognition and appreciation of these teen experiences by parents, grandparents, community members, and others needs to lead to continued support at every level, especially if we are to continue to connect our teens to the meaning, importance and relevance of their Jewish heritage.”

~ Jerry Somers, JTI Founder/Board member, and former Jim Joseph Foundation Board member

While we at JTI are in the midst of building our path towards sustainability, we can take an honest look back at two particularly valuable lessons learned, which hopefully can inform others who embark on similar efforts:

  • Get Early Community BuyIn. While the Foundation’s seed money made JTI possible, it is now clear that launching with 100 percent funding negatively impacted community buy-in, making fundraising more difficult today. Many potential donors did not want to play second fiddle to the Foundation; some people want to have skin in the game right from the beginning. In hindsight, JTI would have benefited by bringing donors to the table from the outset.
  • Invest in Fundraising. In retrospect, it would have been beneficial for JTI to use some of its early funding on philanthropy training. As the executive director since JTI’s inception, I was hired for my strengths in making connections and creating programming, along with a knowledge of Judaism. The organization would have greatly benefited if I had worked with a fundraising coach early on to build an expertise in this important area. However, with full funding, JTI had no urgent need to start professional fundraising. We were solely focused on establishing a model and path toward success. It wasn’t until year four that the JTI team started to think about fundraising.

In part because of these early “mistakes,” there have been some important developments more recently: More than half of my time now is spent on fundraising; The Foundation has connected JTI with large local funders, including Combined Jewish Philanthropies; and the Foundation also has also helped JTI pursue individual donors who have been positively impacted by the program, such as parents and grandparents of teens.

To date, we have raised 80% of our annual campaign goal and early indicators are that we are tracking to a place to be sustainable locally without the Foundation’s involvement. The ongoing discussion and challenge will focus on our ability to have a larger community impact without a national partner.

A Partnership that Led to Success

Today, as we fundraise, JTI continues to thrive and engage more Jewish teens. The Foundation played a large role in the success of the model, guiding our evolution and growth each year.

From day one, Foundation leaders provided direct input and involvement with JTI professionals and Board chairs. They helped with staffing models, evaluation processes, training, coaching, and brainstorming. They opened doors not just to funders, but to program partners and resources.

For our part, JTI has remained committed to innovation. In the eight years that we’ve existed, we’ve never stepped back. No two years have really been the same. While our overarching goal did not change, we were never constrained to maintain a specific approach if we could see it wasn’t working. We had a commitment to flexibility.

All of us with JTI have learned the importance of being responsive to our community – to always ask questions to learn what people want; to pilot, test, and have a risk-taking mentality. Over eight years, we have built deep and meaningful relationships with teens, families, and congregations in our community. While the road ahead is not without challenges, we are confident that JTI will continue to help support and create vibrant Jewish life for many.

bullet point  Adam Smith is Executive Director of Jewish Teen Initiative – Boston.

Cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy

Article Repost

Article Repost

Looking to Make Moves for the Summer? Check Out Simchah CIT!

Email Camp/Youth Director Ashley Corcoran or call 781-476-9907 to learn more!



By JewishCamp.org

Thank you to David Berlin and Evan Taksar for contributing your resources on this topic.

Do you love working at camp but feel like you need to get a “real job”? Think again. You can learn even more working at camp than at any other type of summer job! As a counselor, you have been able to develop and hone your skills in so many different areas.  The lessons you learn at camp can all be made applicable across different fields and will make your resume stand out from the rest of the pack!

Here are some tips to make your summer work shine:

  • Avoid camp jargon!  While “camp people” may look at a resume and understand “camp language”, assume that most professionals do not. You do not want to undervalue yourself or the leadership experience you have gained working at camp, so use language that professionals in the non-camp world will understand and value. Camp Responsibility: Served as Color War coordinator for lower camp program. Translated for Resume: Oversaw two-day intensive program serving 200+ children and supervising 60+ staff, including management of program logistics, boosting morale, and ensured safety protocols were clearly defined and followed.
  • Focus on specific accomplishments! Go through your daily camp routine, and pick out specific things you do each day. Then describe them using action words and professional language, such as “supervised and organized a comprehensive skill-building sports program serving up 40 children per hour and 120 per day.” By focusing on specific numbers and results you demonstrate your impact at camp, which future employers eagerly look for.
  • Highlight how important your work at camp was! Very few “real world” jobs give college-aged students the amount of responsibility that a job as a camp counselor does. What other profession allows an 18-year-old to supervise, organize, lead programming, and take care of other human beings? It takes a lot of responsibility to be a summer camp counselor, so don’t be afraid to highlight it!
  • Utilize the marketable skills that camp has given you! Depending on what job, different skills become more valuable.
    • Time management: You got your campers from the ropes course to the pool on time.
    • Conflict Resolution/Negotiation/Consensus Building: Your campers often got in fights and you were able to mediate a cabin argument between the 10 campers in your bunk.
    • Team Player: As a counselor you lived and worked alongside your co-counselors, supervisors and other camp staff.
    • Flexibility & Multi-Tasking: It started randomly storming while your bunk was on the climbing wall and you were required to move all campers safely into the nearest indoor location.
    • Emotional intelligence/awareness/cultivation: One of your new campers is homesick because they are away from home for the first time, and you’re the one who helps them to stop being upset and enjoy camp.
    • Group Facilitation/Program Management: You wrote and led fun yet inspiring programs for the entire unit (division).
    • Public Speaking: Last summer you were chosen as Color War Captain and had to lead a group of 50+ campers and staff.
    • Communication: One of your co-counselors is sick in the health center, the other one and you don’t get along as well but you are able to work through your differences to ensure the safety and security of your campers.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg!  Camp is one of the best jobs you can have to prepare for the “real world”. Still skeptical?  Check out what these successful professionals say about where they got their start!

“Working at camp was an incredibly important experience that taught me lessons that I still lean on today. There’s nothing quite like being responsible for engaging a group of middle schoolers for an hour to teach you the lessons of meticulous planning and contingency plans.”  -Ari Greenberg, Global Partner Marketing Lead at Spotify & Alumni of Camp Ramah in California 

“Working at camp helped me become a team player, offered the opportunity to lead large groups, and gave me experience working with people of all ages. Camp also taught me how to adapt quickly, an important skill useful for any job.  Having camp on my CV allowed potential employers to see that I could be flexible, think on my feet, and excel in a sometimes stressful environment.” -Emil Cohen, Photo Editor at The New York Times & Alumni of Camp Solomon Schechter 

“Researchers recently canvassed top American companies, (Apple, Lego, &AT&T), to understand what attributes their happiest and most successful employees shared. Not surprisingly – collaboration, creative thinking, taking initiative, having an effective leadership style, and being responsible came out on top. It’s no coincidence that these are exactly the life skills fostered by the camp counselor experience.” -Lisa Mamaysky Vice President, J.P. Morgan Asset Management & Co-Founder of Camp Zeke

“A restaurant like Shaya operates for 16-20 hours a day and the life of a counselor is not much different.  I think about the parallels of managing campers and my restaurant staff a lot and it’s eerie how similar they can be. Every day I put out “small fires”. Keeping a cabin of campers happy and having a good time isn’t all that different. It can be exhausting managing the expectations of so many people but is also super rewarding, which is the reason I became a camp counselor in the first place. -Zachary Engel, 2017 James Beard Award Winner, Chef de Cuisine of Shaya Restaurant in New Orleans, LA, & Alumni of URJ Camp Coleman 

“I run a tech company with young people that work their heart out for something that they believe is larger than themselves. None of them ‘work for me’ — they work for each other, and I’m just here to help them pursue their potential. Guess where I learned that style of leadership from? It’s almost like we run a summer camp…” – Jason Freedman, CEO of 42Floor & Shwayder Camp Alumni & former Assistant Director of URJ Camp Coleman 

“Working at camp helped me build my confidence in a caring and safe place, which helped propel me into my career.  My communication skills were fine-tuned by learning to interact with all different types of people.” – Daniella Steger Steinberg, Director, Merchandise Planning at Kate Spade & Company, Alumni of Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake & Tel Yehudah

Reposted from JewishCamp.org