Article Repost

Article Repost

JTI, CJP Community Action Day

Slated for April 14th

By Jewish Journal Staff

SALEM – On Sunday, April 14, teens from all over the North Shore will come together for JTI and CJP Community Action Day (formerly JServe North Shore Mitzvah Day) to lead generations of families, friends, and community members of all ages in projects like baking, cooking, painting, building, and gardening. Participants will spend the day at Plummer Youth Promise, an organization committed to helping troubled youth find meaningful connections to family and build their skills and community connections. The projects of the day will benefit other local organizations including LifeBridge, Lynn Shelter Association, and others.

“This event is an amazing example of our community working together across generations to make an incredible impact,” says Adam Smith, executive director of the Jewish Teen Initiative. “Last year, more than 200 volunteers, ranging in age from 4 to 84, united to help others on the North Shore. One of the unique qualities of this day is watching teens take a leadership role with their peers, adults, and younger students – all in pursuit of repairing the world together.”

photoJosh Comito, a freshman at St. John’s Prep, and his parents, Robert and Stacey, know a little something about teaming up to do good work for their community. The family volunteered together at last year’s event, where Josh led projects. They are looking forward to repeating the experience.

“I like that I get to volunteer with my family and friends,” says Josh. “My Dad is a social worker and has helped kids who live at the Plummer home. It is very rewarding to help make things better in the community and with kids who have had a very difficult life.”

“I can think of no better way to spend a wonderful and meaningful afternoon,” said Anne Selby, CJP North Shore Committee member and co-chair of Community Action Day. Anne has been deeply involved in Jewish life on the North Shore for decades and is excited to share this experience with her family this April. Last year, Anne was part of the planning committee, but couldn’t attend the day. Her family was well-represented though – daughter, Kate Selby Urman, and son, Joe Selby, along with their spouses and children, Anne’s sister, Judy Mishkin, and her niece, Molly Winston, volunteered.

“Three generations of my family participated in the event – some building tables and chairs, some creating a beautiful mural, some assembling and decorating care packages, and some cooking and baking,” says Kate Selby Urman. “It was a wonderful opportunity for us to give our two young children a valuable experience in the importance and joy of helping others.”

“Passing along the tradition of giving back to future generations has always been important to my family. My parents taught it to us, and we, in turn, have passed it along to our children,” says Anne. “To see my children now passing it on to their children is an absolute joy – L’Dor v’dor” (from generation to generation).

“After experiencing the power of community at last year’s event, I am thrilled to be a co-chair of this year’s effort. There is nothing better than bringing together generations of families, led by teens, to work together to make a difference,” says Sheryl Lappin-Levy, co-chair of JTI & CJP Community Action Day and CJP’s North Shore Planning Committee.

buttonWhether your family is ready to start writing its own multi-generational day of service story, or you simply want to be part of the fun, everyone is welcome to participate.

JServe, the Michael Steinberg Leadership Development Endowment Fund, Pediatric Health Care Associates P.C., Larry Levine’s Kosher Meats & Deli, and the CJP North Shore Planning Committee helped sponsor this event.

Reposted from Jewish Journal – April 4, 2019

2018-19 Teen Engagement

2018-19 Teen Engagement

Jewish Teen Initiative (JTI Boston, formerly North Shore Teen Initiative) is a nationally-recognized model for Jewish teen engagement, connecting communities in the Metrowest and North Shore suburbs of Boston. The core of JTI Boston’s work is focused on building relationships across agencies, synagogues, camps and day schools; meeting teens where they are and helping to strengthen their connections to the Jewish community; and broadening the menu of opportunities available for Jewish teens to connect. Established in 2008 with the support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, JTI Boston has become the “central address” for Jewish teen engagement in Greater Boston. Through collaboration, program development, and expanding access for local youth to participate in regional and national programming, JTI Boston has engaged 1000+ Jewish teens, fostered partnerships with 70+ organizations and connected pre-teens and teens to 250+ events. JTI Boston connects Jewish teens to their peers and motivates participation in Jewish life post b’nai mitzvah. We build community among teens of all abilities and affiliations by serving as a communal connector and by expanding opportunities for leadership development, tikkun olam (repairing the world) and travel.


JTI & CJP Community Action Day

JTI & CJP Community Action Day

Same Great Day, Brand New Name

J-Serve is now JTI & CJP Community Action Day

Since 2009, JTI has gathered teens in April to take part in an international day of service known as J-Serve. Last year, we partnered with Combined Jewish Philanthropies to put together J-Serve + North Shore Mitzvah Day, a day that saw 200 volunteers of all ages led by teens to do a variety of projects to help (check out pictures from last year!)

As the scope of the day changed, we decided that a new name was needed for this amazing day…and so, we are proud to introduce JTI & CJP Community Action Day.

The day will continue to be an amazing opportunity to give back to the North Shore community, and we hope you’ll join us on Sunday, April 14 at Plummer Youth Promise in Salem. Stay tuned for more details!


Following L’Taken in DC 2019

Following L’Taken in DC 2019

#JewishBostonTeens are spending the weekend with Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism & other Jewish teens from all over the country at #racltaken Social Justice Seminar in Washington, DC! Follow our adventures throughout the weekend:

Day 4: Jewish Voices for Justice
After our inspiring group of #JewishBostonTeens wrapped-up their time at Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism #racltaken by lobbying their elected officials and raising their voices for criminal justice
reform, disability rights & awareness, economic justice and gun violence prevention. Everyone is home
safely, and hopefully en route to getting some much needed sleep after all of our DC adventures!

And, now that we’re back home in Boston, we remember that our tradition teaches us that it is not up to us to complete the work (or repairing the world), but neither shall we desist from it.

photoA heartfelt todah rabah (many thanks) to everyone for a very special and awesome weekend. We’ll be in touch in the next few days on Facebook and Instagram with follow-up info and photos, but for now we are still smiling from all of the laughs and fun times our group had this weekend!

Good night, and thank you again!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Day 3: Storytelling for Action

We started day #3 connecting as a group over breakfast, which was followed by a “storytelling for action” workshop and time for our group to check-in, debrief yesterday’s experiences a bit more and create cards to share some love with local Muslim friends and Islamic organizations. Our teens then attended workshops to learn more about different issues and bills, in addition to advocacy skills related to their various interest areas.

Our afternoon brought us to the Smithsonian Museums (and food trucks) on the National Mall, with our group touring the National Museum of Natural History, as well as spending some time hanging out on the Mall. We then headed for dinner at Pentagon Row, and headed back to the hotel for issue briefings to help us turn our interests and passions into action.

photoTonight was all about preparing for tomorrow, with our teens teaming-up with others in our group who shared similar interests. We split into four groups to cover a variety of important topics and challenges: criminal justice reform, disability rights and awareness, economic justice and gun violence prevention, and worked with RAC Legislative Assistants to learn more about their topics and challenges. We will be lobbying for these issues and current proposed legislation on Capital Hill tomorrow!

It has been an absolute pleasure working with this group of passionate, talented and creative teens. We were blown away by their maturity, dedication and compassion – and can’t wait for tomorrow (well…today, at this point)! Before bed tonight, our group took some time to debrief the day and reflect on what we each learned about ourselves from this experience. We also are reminded of what our tradition teaches us in Pirke Avot: it is not up to us to complete the work (of repairing the world), but we must not desist from it. We are commanded to pursue justice, and to do our part in helping to make our world a better place.

Tonight, we had our first electives, where we were able to learn about many different legislative issues currently being discussed. We begin to identify causes sparking our interest that we will lobby for on Monday!  These included Israel, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, the refugee crisis, disability rights, and gun violence prevention.

Stay in the loop and follow our Facebook and Instagram channels!

Time to get a few hours of sleep before we make some noise 📣 in our nation’s capital!

Day 2: #ShavuaTov from #racltaken!

We began Day #2 at L’taken with breakfast and Shabbat morning services, where we were given the charge from Rabbi Jonah Pesner (Director of the Religious Action Center and former Bostonian!) to consider the power each one of us has to make a difference in the world.

After services, we participated in Kesef, Koach and Politika: A Lobbying Simulation – which focused on money, power and politics through the lenses of campaign finance reform and gun violence prevention. Our teens dove right into the middle of it all, helping to create creative marketing campaigns, slogans, arguments for and against various policies and issues – and being outspoken and passionate advocates for their causes.

photoFollowing lunch, we headed into the city to tour the MLK Jr. Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. With recent events fresh in our minds, the threads of memory, hope, justice, freedom and speaking up for change were present through the many discussions and experiences we had today. They also connect to the upcoming holiday of Purim

Our group then headed into Georgetown for dinner and some free time, which was enjoyed by all. We then said goodbye to Shabbat with the rest of the L’taken community with Havdalah at the Jefferson Memorial.

Tonight, we had our first electives, where we were able to learn about many different legislative issues currently being discussed. We begin to identify causes sparking our interest that we will lobby for on Monday!  These included Israel, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, the refugee crisis, disability rights, and gun violence prevention.

We wrapped-up the day with a snack and group debrief, and are excited for another action-packed day tomorrow. A reminder to check out our Facebook and Instagram channels for highlights from the weekend. We’ll post more photos, videos and resources in the coming days. Thanks again for following along…and giving us a few likes!

But, for now…good night! 😴

Day 1: Hello from Washington, D.C.!

Our group had a fun afternoon of getting to know each other and travel, and have settled into our rooms at the hotel as we prepare to welcome Shabbat together with the rest of the community here. The weather has been beautiful, and everyone is looking forward to learning more about what we will be doing this weekend.


We enjoyed Shabbat dinner and services with the rest of the RAC L’Taken Seminar community, followed by a poverty education/simulation activity.

Connected to this, our group discussed the various levels of Maimonides’ Ladder of Tzedakah, and the number of barriers families of all shapes, sizes and stories face. Many of our teens took leadership/speaking roles in the discussion and program! Our group had a meaningful conversation of how we can connect our values to what’s happening in our world around us, what people need, and how different programs help and serve vulnerable populations.

We wrapped-up the evening with a snack and some debrief/bonding time with our group. Lots of laughs, good conversation and an opportunity to review the schedule. Don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Time to rest-up for an action-packed day tomorrow!


2019 Annual Meeting – Join us!

2019 Annual Meeting – Join us!

A Night with JTI Boston

Join us as we showcase the heart and soul of our organization at our Annual Meeting! Whether you’re a parent, a friend or an interested community member, join us to hear teens share stories and lessons from Habitat, NYC, DC, Peer Leadership Fellows, Metrowest and North Shore Service Days, Sheckman Award programs and more.

  • Who: Jewish Teens and all those that support them (families, friends, community partners, rabbis, teachers, board members and more)
  • What: Stories of adventure, impact, laughter and growth as told by JTI Boston Teens. We’ll also work together to complete a special service project in support of Community Action Day (formerly J-Serve), our April 14th day of service in partnership with CJP!
  • When: Sunday, March 31, 2019 from 4-6pm
  • Where: Temple Emanuel at 120 Chestnut St, Wakefield, MA 01880

buttonThis program is free but your RSVP is required to ensure we have enough snacks and project supplies for this special evening.

But wait, there’s more!

It’s a teen afterparty at JP Licks (Market Street, Lynnfield); scoops are on us!

Psst: we get it, life is busy. 

If you want to support JTI but your schedule won’t allow you to join us, you can still send a gift that directly impacts our ability to engage more amazing Jewish teens, like the ones sharing at this event.

Your Support Counts!

Article Repost

Article Repost

Derek M. Sheckman Teen Leadership Award

winners prepare for Tikkun Olam

By Michael Wittner, Jewish Journal Staff

The North Shore can look forward to a wave of tikkun olam over the next few months.

Teens with disabilities will participate in a Jewish community service day. Community members will learn how to make reusable bags from T-shirts at sustainability fair. Volunteers will make enough hamantashen and rugelach to feed over 250 needy people at My Brother’s Table in Lynn.

All of these projects will be spearheaded by the 2018 winners of the Derek M. Sheckman Teen Leadership Award, which for over 20 years has recognized Jewish teen leaders who have made a difference in the North Shore community. This year’s winners were announced at the Jewish Teen Initiative’s Community Action Day (then called J-Serve/North Shore Mitzvah Day) on April 22 of last year.

The award honors Derek Sheckman of Swampscott, who was one of two recipients of the North Shore Jewish community’s first Teen Leadership Award in 1996. Two years later, the inspirational Sheckman succumbed to cancer. He was 18.

The award, which grants recipients up to $1,000 to design and implement a service project in line with their talents and experience, has typically been given to only one winner. However, Gabe Miner, who helps administer the program on behalf of the Jewish Teen Initiative and works with award winners to develop their projects, said this year it was too difficult to choose just one.

“This last year we had three winners, because we felt that all three candidates were very deserving, and they were really addressing a variety of issues,” said Miner. “The teens who were running them were exceptional leaders. The nominations that we had from the rabbis and teachers who brought them to us really indicated a high level of maturity and intelligence, which was confirmed when we spoke with the three of them.”

One of the recipients is Haley Lakind, an 18-year-old senior at Swampscott High School. Lakind is the president of the school’s Innovators Club, which fosters connections between the larger student body and its special needs population.

Since taking over as president, Lakind has worked to reduce the isolation that special needs students can feel. “I’ve been trying to implement programs and activities that happen around the school for more people to meet them and get involved, and to just make them feel more confident about themselves and that they have a sense of home and community within the school,” said Lakind.

On Feb. 24, Lakind and other Innovators Club members made and sold coffee and desserts to raise money at a North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra concert held at Swampscott High. Lakind also has put together a Thanksgiving party, a Christmas cookie decorating party, and is in the process of planning a movie night. She plans to include members of the Innovators Club at the Jewish Teen Initiative and Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Com­munity Action Day on April 19.

Another award recipient is Kevin MacDonald, a 19-year-old from Beverly who is currently a freshman at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. During a high school internship with Salem Sound Coastwatch, an environmental nonprofit, MacDonald learned how to make reusable bags out of T-shirts. This will come in handy for residents of Beverly, where plastic bags have been banned in stores since January.

“Anyone can make them, because they don’t require sewing knowledge,” said MacDonald. “You can cut the sleeves of the shirt and use them as handles for the bag. You cut the collar off, so there’s room to put things in the bag, and then you make a fringe – you cut them into strips and then tie the strips together to close the seam.”

MacDonald has shared these skills at Temple B’nai Abraham in Beverly – which his family attends, and whose rabbi, Alison Adler, nominated him for the award – with a Hebrew school class and during a session open to the community. These two sessions produced 20 reusable bags. MacDonald will run a third session on March 31, when the temple will host the Shomrei Adamah Festival, which will showcase the works of different local environmental groups.

More T-shirts are needed, so if you would like to donate any, you can email MacDonald at

The final award recipient is Arly MackRosen, a 16-year-old junior at Marblehead High School, who was nominated by Rabbi David Meyer of Temple Emanu-El. For a long time, MackRosen has spent Thursday nights helping prepare food at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead for the families of congregants who are sick or have a member who has recently passed away. She also has cooked and baked for many other temple occasions.

After this volunteer work won her a Sheckman Award, MackRosen decided to use her culinary skills to help the wider community. In January, 13 of her peers joined her to make rugelach and brownies to donate to My Brother’s Table. She plans to do three more of these cooking sessions in March, April, and May.

“It means a lot to me because I feel like I’m really privileged, and I always think about how every night and every day I have something for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s hard to think how some people don’t necessarily have that,” said MackRosen. “So it means a lot to me to be giving back and helping people to make sure they have food and something sweet to enjoy after dinner.”

“We were excited about these three projects because they were rooted in things that winners were quite passionate about,” said Miner. “It seemed to us that these were projects that were not only values that we wanted to promote and live as a Jewish organization, but also we were just really impressed with the passion and excitement that the teens brought to these ideas.”

buttonNominations for the 2019 Derek M. Sheckman Award are open through March 20th.

Reposted from Jewish Journal – March 11, 2019

Homework Cafe

Homework Cafe

Attention Gloucester Teens!

(note: non-Gloucester Teens welcome)

Looking for a spot to spend a few hours on Sunday where you can see friends, do homework, and enjoy a hot beverage (on us)?

Drop a pin at Pleasant Street Tea Co this Sunday, March 17th from 12-2pm for our #HomeworkCafe. Bring a book, something to work on, or just come say “HI” 👋.

Can’t wait to see you there!

#JewishBostonTeens #JTIBoston

Derek Sheckman Award Project

Derek Sheckman Award Project

Love Cooking 👩‍🍳

Looking for service hours?

Bake with Arly MackRosen and other #JewishBostonTeens on Thursday, 3/14 at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead from 6:30-8pm for her 2nd session of making My Brother’s Table donations. In honor of Purim, you’ll be cooking hamentashen! RSVP to

Mad props to Arly for COOKING WITH L❤️VE through her Derek Sheckman Award and to all the amazing #JewishBostonTeens who came out on January 10th and made delicious rugelach and brownie donations.

#CookWithLove #JewishDesserts #DerekSheckman #MyBrothersTable

Nominate a Teen

Whether you are a teen with a project you’re passionate about or a teacher, rabbi, coach, or neighbor who knows an impressive teen, learn and nominate a teen today.