March for Our Lives Boston

March for Our Lives Boston

Join the teen advocates gathering at Temple Israel of Boston on Saturday, March 24th at 10 am in advance of the March for Our Lives – Boston! Learn and work together before moving together to the March for Our Lives – Boston.

Need accommodations Friday night? Temple Israel is offering space for an overnight/shul-in Friday night, March 23, 2018. Overnight parking is available next to Temple Israel at 375 Longwood Ave, Boston MA, 02215 – the MASCO Longwood Parking Garage. After 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons, parking is $8.00 per 24 hour period.

buttonWe will not centrally organize all participating groups during the March itself, but we hope to join back together at the March’s conclusion.

J-Serve 2018

J-Serve 2018

Join us for J-Serve + North Shore Mitzvah Day, a massive multi-generational event that will help Lifebridge and Plummer Youth Promise in Salem, MA. Sign up now for the April 22 event!


Following Habitat

Following Habitat

Jewish teens from Greater Boston, ages 16+, have gone from hitting the books to hitting nails in Raleigh, North Carolina through our alternative spring break program with Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps:

Day 1: What an amazing first day we had!  After enjoying breakfast at the hotel (southern hotel = biscuits = yum) we loaded up the vans and went to the Crosstowne neighborhood to start working on two houses.  This neighborhood is actually familiar to JTI…we built here last year too!  Past participants recognized it immediately, and it feels cool to come back to the same neighborhood.

During orientation they explained this neighborhood has around 120 plots, and they’re about halfway through building the homes.  Last year Habitat of Wake County build 60 homes, and this year they’re shooting for seventy.  It’s pretty incredible and we feel very lucky to be a part of such an operation.  Don’t worry, they also explained how to be safe and cautious while we’re building!

After a solid first day that included getting to know each other over hammers, ladders, and foam insulation we headed back to the hotel to relax and get ready for tonight’s evening activity: the NCAA basketball game.  We repped Boston hard, but sadly our positive MA vibes were not enough to carry BC to victory.  We still had an awesome time, and some of our crew went down to the lower seats and made friends with the band.

I should also mention that last night included an epic scavenger hunt in WalMart as well as a surprise trip to the Melting Pot for dessert.  We’re keeping the group accustomed to a certain level of style.

photoDay 2: It sounds crazy, but we’re halfway through our trip already!  We’re really getting into the swing of things at the work site (hammer pun), and today we added more insulation to the houses, installed windows, and a group of us put up scaffolding.  It was another warm day, so we’re reminding people to drink lots of water and wear sunscreen (don’t worry, we have some that we bought for use at the site!).

Ellie, Lincoln, and Eamon are the main Habitat people at our site and they’re doing a great job managing the group and coaching us as we build.  It’s pretty incredible to think that Habitat’s model is built on working with people who have little or no experience building houses, but we’re thankful an organization like this exists.

After another great day at the build site we made our way over to the Habitat warehouse (conveniently located right near our hotel) where we enjoyed a BBQ dinner with the Wake Habitat team and we got to hear from the CEO of Habitat Wake County, who spoke about Habitat’s work locally and nationally and his appreciation for our group’s longstanding relationship with Wake County.

To cap the night off, we went to Adventure Landing, a local fun park where the group enjoyed arcade games, mini-golf, laser tag, and go-karts.  Tomorrow we’re back at our build site and we can’t wait to get to work!

That’s all for now.  Til tomorrow!

photoDay 3: Another great day at our work site, and sadly our last at this site. We finished installing windows into our houses and we got to work with another group who came to volunteer for the day. Tomorrow we’re headed to a new site to work on one of Habitat’s home restoration projects. We’ll miss our friends at the Crosstowne site, but we’re looking forward to painting and more tomorrow.

After taking it easy at the hotel we headed to a shopping plaza for dinner at Noodles & Co followed by walking around the plaza. The group decided that as fun as bowling sounded, they would rather do some shopping after dinner and then relax together at the hotel, so the staff decided to listen to the group.

Tomorrow will be a short day so that we can come back to the hotel and get ready for Shabbat at Duke after we tour the campus. And before you know it, we’ll be back in Boston!

photoDay 4: Today we were sad to say goodbye to our Habitat friends as we finished our volunteering for the week. We went to a veteran’s house and got to paint it as part of Habitat’s restoration projects. It was a nice change of scenery and it was great to be a part of this project Habitat. I know that Boston is Dunkin land, but our worksite was right next to a Krispy Kreme, a southern donut delicacy, so we had to try some! They make them fresh all day, so we got a hot batch. It was delicious and fluffy…like eating a greasy cloud.

After we cleaned up our paint brushes and put away the ladders, we went back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbat. From the hotel, we headed over to Duke where we toured the campus and heard about Jewish life on campus before going to Hillel to join the Duke community for spirited Shabbat singing, services, and a delicious dinner.

It’s been an amazing week in North Carolina, and we’re thrilled we got to come down and make a difference. This was a truly special group, and we know we’ll continue chatting on the groupme even after the trip is over!

Israel Discussion 1.21.18

Israel Discussion 1.21.18

Our #JTIBoston Metrowest #PeerLeadershipFellows spent time exploring and wrestling with the role Israel can play in our Jewish journeys, and learned about some of the amazing opportunities how #JewishBostonTeens can experience Israel – both during and after high school!

Many thanks to Maor Perry and Dana Gerbie Klein from Alexander Muss High School in Israel for joining and sharing with us!

Are you or do you know a teen who might be interested in connecting to Israel this summer, next semester or post-high school? Contact us to learn more!

Teen Blog

Teen Blog

Making a Difference

By Simone Nardizzi, Swampscott High School, 2019

The L’Taken seminar opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into when I initially signed up, however, I left Washington DC with new passions and a new idea of how Judaism played an active role in my daily life. Throughout the weekend, we were given the opportunity to sign up for certain seminars, learn as much as we could about that topic, and eventually lobby it to a congressman. I chose two very different topics: criminal justice and reproduction rights. I ended up lobbying about reproduction rights/comprehensive sexual education, however, I am currently extremely interested in studying criminal justice in college. This is a study I had never seen myself in until I was exposed to it on this weekend in DC.

We were given so many opportunities to meet people from around the country in the seminars and during the services. I also became really close with the people that I went on the plane with through rooming and just spending most of the days together. Not only was the weekend very educational but it was also incredibly fun with the free time we were given to wander around, visit monuments, and so much more. I would recommend this trip to anybody, no matter how involved or uninvolved they may be in any of these topics. It really is a trip to find your passion and it is a very fun weekend.

Lobbying for our country’s social justice issues and seeing how they connected to me was meaningful! I care more because of this trip. It feels good knowing I can make a difference!

bullet point  Simone Nardizzi was a 2016 L’Taken Social Justice Seminar participant.

L’Taken 2018

L’Taken 2018

In Their Own Words

Read what JTI teens have said about participating in Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Seminar in Washington, D.C. Read on and click here to learn more and register.

“The RAC L’Taken trip in Washington DC made me realize how important it is for us Jews to advocate on the behalf of others because as a group we know what it is like to depend on other people advocating for us.”

~ Ben Birnbach, L’Taken 2016

“I now realize how important facing our country’s social justice topics are to me. Being able to lobby for an issue that I am passionate about, while seeing how it connects to me, is really meaningful. Without this trip, I wouldn’t care so much. It feels good to know I can make a difference!”

~ Simone Nardizzi, L’Taken 2016

“The experience piqued my interest in political action, and made me more aware of problems facing Americans and how our religion sees them. The trip overall was an incredibly prodigious experience, and I left the capital with friends from all over the country, including right here at home.”

~ Elana Zabar, L’Taken 2015

“Throughout the weekend, I learned some of the things that no one can teach you, but you can teach yourself. I met the kindest people and I have learned how to accept different types of people for who they are. In DC, I took a chance to be open, kind and willing to learn new information about a different movement of Judaism.”

~ Daniel Jacobson, L’Taken 2015

“L’Taken gave me the chance to self-reflect, create new friendships and see our nation’s capital.”

~ Matt Scholnick, L’Taken 2014

“One moment from the trip that really resonated with me was spending havdallah on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. All 300 conference teens from around the nation held candles and prayed together. There was a feeling of togetherness and connection.”

~ Lily Cummings, L’Taken 2012

Convinced it’s going to be an awesome trip? Register here!

JTI Peer Leadership Fellows are…

Connecting the Community

Meet the remarkable teens who make up our signature Peer Leadership Fellows program! Fellows are trained and empowered  to be communal connectors, reimagining how they can develop meaningful connections with their peers in order to share the vast menu of opportunities available to them in their community and beyond.

Get to know the North Shore Cohort 2: 2017 – 2018 or the Metrowest Cohort 1: 2017 – 2018.


Article Repost

Article Repost

North Shore Teens cook meals for Soup-er Sunday

Superheroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes, they wear aprons.

That was the case when 120 North Shore teens spent last Sunday whipping up more than 50 lasagnas, 40 apple pies, four giant vats of white bean and kale soup and brownies. The food was delivered to families at the Lynn Shelter Association and My Brother’s Table.

The annual Soup-er Sunday event is organized by Jewish Teen Initiative Boston, a nonprofit based in Marblehead, connecting kids to community service and social justice programs and trips.

“I’m always amazed at the number of teens who are willing to give so generously of their time and energy on a Sunday afternoon in November,” said JTI Boston Director Adam Smith. “This event reminds us to think about people in our extended circles and broader community who are in need.”

JTI launched its first Soup-er Sunday in 2009 with just 24 volunteers. This year’s event was its biggest ever. In fact, organizers had to split volunteers between two Marblehead sites; third-seventh graders worked at Temple Emanu-El while eighth-12th graders cooked at the JCC of the North Shore.

“It feels amazing knowing that I was able to help others by providing meals to hungry and needy families in our community,” said Maya Goldman, a Marblehead High School senior. “I love the feeling of helping others while connecting with Jewish teens in our community.”

Rebecca Dunn, of Peabody, has volunteered at Soup-er Sunday for three years.

“I enjoy it more every time I go. Giving back to the community is always a rewarding experience.”

The kids’ efforts make a deep impact, according to Samantha Wheeler of the Lynn Shelter Association.

“Our families are connecting with each other over homemade lasagna and delicious apple pie,” Wheeler said. “The teens are helping to foster that and create community for the people we serve. Without the support of the Jewish Teen Initiative, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We really appreciate their support and dedication.”

Soup-er Sunday isn’t a one-time good deed for JTI, but part of a year-round focus on community service and social justice. In February, teens will head to North Carolina to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and in June, they’ll travel to New Orleans to help rebuild hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods.

Teens can also meet weekly to volunteer with inner-city kids at elementary schools and homeless shelters. In the spring, JTI sponsors J-Serve, a day when teens volunteer cleaning, painting, and gardening at sites in Lynn.

Social justice is also a key component at JTI. In March, teens travel to Washington D.C., where they lobby lawmakers on important and timely issues.

“They’re able to turn their passions into action, roll up their sleeves and help make our world a better place,” said Brett Lubarsky, JTI associate director.

To learn more about JTI Boston, all its programming and recent expansion into Metrowest, visit