Sunny Sunday afternoons in May are precious treasures.created at: 2012-05-23

Especially ones that are dry, 75 degrees, and full of an optimism that only comes with blooming flowers and the smell of freshly mowed grass.

So what would cause sixty people to spend their prime afternoon hours this past Sunday inside at Hebrew College?

The first Greater Boston Jewish Youth Summit.

On May 17, teens and professionals from across the denominational and organizational spectrum gathered together to explore topics and talk about leadership in the teen Jewish community. Teens engaged in discussions and learning on pluralism, leadership development, Israel advocacy and education, the landscape of the Jewish community, social media, and more.

Facilitators included Rachel Mersky Woda, NFTY-Northeast’s regional advisor, David Levy, Editor of JewishBoston.com, Dan Brosgol, Director of Prozdor, Casey Topol-Pressberg, BBYO’s New England Region Program Director, Brett Lubarsky, David List, Associate Director of Prozdor, Aaron Bregman, The David Project’s High School Program Manager, and others.

Teens from Prozdor, the JCC Diller Teen Fellowship, Gann Academy, New England Region USY, New England Region BBYO, and other partner organizations all participated in this unique, first-time event.

created at: 2012-05-23The afternoon concluded with an inspiring keynote presentation by Josh Kraft, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Boston. With a message promoting partnership and collaboration between organizations, and one infused with language of tikun olam and Jewish values, he challenged the teens to break down their institutional silos and create a world where they could work freely and energetically to both become a vibrant community and practice the Jewish values they have been learning about their whole lives.

The story of the Youth Summit is far from over. We look forward to convening a series of three youth summits over the course of the coming year and continuing to stake out new ground in the arena of Jewish teen leadership development.

As Josh Kraft told the crowd, “human beings are meant to work together.”

This past Sunday was just the beginning.