Calling All Bay Area Teens: Sign Up for Jewish Teen Programming this Summer!

Our teens are experiencing a summer like no other. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in months of shelter-in-place, disruption of school and social activities, and cancellation of camp and usual summer programming. That need for connection and interaction, however, is still there.

That’s why the Federation's Teen Initiative has granted just under $150,000 to 14 organizations with established teen communities to help them create new and enhanced opportunities for teen engagement this summer. The innovative Jewish programs listed below foster social action and community service, health and wellness activities, and meaningful connection to Jewish life.

Check out and register for these great programs, or share them with friends. Let’s make this a summer to remember!

BBYO – Havdalah At Home

Saturday, August 8, 7:00-10:00 pm
For grades 7 through 12, but all are welcome

A weekly virtual Havdalah service for teens and families. Participants will receive Havdalah kits and the program will conclude with a Kiddish Cup art project. The regional teen board will take the lead during the rest of the planning and execution of each service. This includes coordinating with the professional song leader, creating scripts, and having creative control over the art project.

Camp Ramah Northern California – Haraga’ah Teen Mentorship Program

June 22 – late July
For ages 14+; additional virtual camp options for 7-17-year-olds

A virtual program open to all teens aims to continue the camp custom of a bedtime ritual and reinforce peer mentor relationships. The Haraga’ah program that happens nightly at camp consists of communal stories, conversations, music, prayers that is led by visiting rabbis, guest mentors, or invited staff. As part of this virtual program, teens will partner on presenting daily harga’ot, led each evening by a different teen who will introduce their mentor rabbi or other identified mentor. The Haraga’ah program will be part of the Ramah Galim’s virtual camp offerings and open to all teen participants.

Camp Tawonga – Teen Social Justice Engagement and Leadership Development Program

July 8–29
For rising 11th and 12th graders (SCIT and TLI program participants)

Teens will participate in virtual sessions to develop the formation of the Teen Leadership Council and the development of virtual programming focused on social justice issues and leadership development. Members of the Teen Leadership Council and part-time seasonal staff will co-facilitate the sessions. As gathering together for meals is a key component of community building, teens will have that opportunity during each virtual session. Tawonga will provide teens and staff with gift cards to purchase food. For more information, please contact

Congregation Beth Emek – Rosh Chodesh Summer Gatherings

Mondays and Tuesdays in July and August by age group, 4:00-5:00 pm

Three groups of Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! will meet virtually during the summer of 2020: one for rising 7th/8th grade girls, one for rising 9th/10th grade girls, and the other for rising 11th/12th grade girls.

Congregation Netivot Shalom – SummerTEEN

July – August
For grades 8 through 12

Eight weeks of virtual and in-person/small groups/social distancing gatherings for teens. Topics to include digital storytelling, outdoor activities, teen-led Shabbat service, Torah theater, social justice projects. Teens will also create programming for younger students. For more information, please contact Rebecca Goodman, Youth and Family Education Director.

Contemporary Jewish Museum – Teen Art Connect Summer Studios

Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 21 – August 6
For teens ages 14–19

A three-week online Summer Studios program where teens will meet artists, make art, and visit studios. We’ll meet virtually with six Bay Area artists for an inside look at their studios and processes. The program will include connections to Jewish values. Enrollment in this program is for all six sessions. An art toolkit, including art-making materials, will be provided and shipped, free of charge, to each participant.

Contra Costa Midrasha – Summer Sheva 2020

June 24 – August 5, Wednesday evenings
For grades 8 through 12, adults welcome for the Cooking Elective

Seven weeks of getting social while social distancing – featuring celebrity chefs, art in a box, and drive-in movie night.

Jewish Film Institute – SFJFF Youth Jury

For current high school students

At film festivals around the world, a selection of accomplished filmmakers and other film professionals are selected to watch a series of films and award one as the best film in the program. This is a unique opportunity to gain insight into the process of evaluating films, network with award-winning filmmakers, and engage in meaningful discussions around a variety of contemporary Jewish films. For more information, contact Ken Levin.

JYCA – Summer with JAM (Jews Against Marginalization)

Tuesdays, June 30 – August 18, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
For teens 14-18 years old

JAM, JYCA’s Jews of color cohort, focuses on building a space that is fun, supportive, honest, and creative for youth with marginalized identities in the Jewish community. Connect with other JOCSM teens, be creative, co-facilitate meetings, and host virtual community organizing events.

JYCA – Summer Organizing Academy

June 29 – August 9, 4:30 – 6:00 pm
For teens 14-18 years old

Spend 6 weeks learning about community organizing through virtual skills-building and action meetings. Put learnings into practice by working on campaigns related to current events.

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp – Maccabi Fellowship in Sports Leadership (M-FiSL, pronounced Em Fizzle)

July 13 – August 7
For teens 13-16 years old

A teen leadership program with virtual sports training, one-on-one coaching sessions, and team-building activities. Teen participants will also spend time building out a year-round teen program to include skill clinics, camp reunions, and social gatherings, and the 1st ever Bay Area Junior Maccabi Games. For more information, please contact

NCSY – Shalom Trivia App

June 22 – August 22
For grades 6 through 12

The NCSY Summer APPortunity is a free, interactive mobile application, for Apple and Android, where teens receive daily Jewish questions and respond for a chance to earn prizes. With more than 400 participants, NCSY has instant access to educate and inspire teens from the comfort of their own home.

Temple Isaiah – TIZZY Summer Programs: Tzedek Internship and TIZZY Studio

June 23 – July 30
For grades 9 through 12

This program will offer virtual programming in two tracks – an art installation project and Tzedakah Internship. The art installation project will create a virtual process for teen artists to connect through art that will lead to the creation of an outdoor mural on the Isaiah campus. In addition, a short documentary will be filmed that will include time-lapse videos of the art production and teen interviews describing the meaning behind their work. The program will work in collaboration with two Jewish artists: Sarah Lefton and Hillel Smith. The program will bring teen artists together in a virtual format once a week for about 5-6 weeks. The Tzedakah Internship will be an option for those interested in community organizing and social justice.

URJ Synagogues, Camp Newman, and NFTY – TeenFest 2020

June 29 – July 11
For grades 8 through 12

An innovative, virtual experience for 8th-12th graders where you can pursue a passion, spark your curiosity, take action on issues that matter to you and create lasting friendships! Choose a track (Eco-Judaism, Arts, Justice Work or Leadership), choose a major, and choose electives to create your own experience. Belong to a community of passionate, caring, FUN teens. Live your values through meaningful, relevant, and joyful Judaism. Create and strengthen lasting friendships and mentor-relationships.

Wilderness Torah – Neshama Quest, Adventures into the California Wilderness

July 12 – 18 and July 22 – August 2
For rising 8th -12th graders

The Neshama (“Soul”) Quest is a teen wilderness backpacking trip and overnight solo excursion, where teens spend time alone to reflect on life, seek inspiration, and cultivate inner guidance for their transition to adulthood. Neshama Quest offers teens backcountry skills, Jewish myth and mysticism, nature connection routines, and solo challenges.

The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (Teen Initiative) is a project of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, with generous support from The Jim Joseph Foundation and local funders. To learn more, contact Michele Levine.

Categories: Teens, Grantees, Community


June 24, 2020