Jookender is a fabulous, friendly, open-minded and all-inclusive group of Russian-Jewish families with kids who live around Boston and enjoy time spent together, learning common Russian-Jewish values, watching their kids growing in a friendly environment and sharing the same history, motives, and inspiration. Come up with ideas for a weekend or school vacation and see your ideas come to life. Everybody welcome. Everyone included. Serving kids ages 3 to 18.

The group is mostly first generation immigrant secular Jewish families, where the majority of members immigrated from Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union (or Post-Soviet countries) or Israel. Situated in the heart of the Greater Boston area, Jookender’s main objective is to introduce secular Jewish families to Jewish heritage and culture and to rekindle their feeling of Jewish identity.

Jookender takes a unique approach to its teen programming—it doesn’t separate teens from the rest of the family. It seeks to nourish and support teens in the context of the family. According to this Business Insider article, about 64% of teens indicated that they would likely to come to their parents for advice on a regular basis. Nowadays teens have more influence on their parents, as well. Teens are the best Jookender conductors to promote volunteering and giving back to the community to their parents and extended family.

Jookender uses the connection between teens and their parents (and siblings) to create one of a kind programming that affects both teens and their families, providing all necessary tools to the Teens to learn about and embrace their Jewish Identity. The program also educates both parents and the younger generation on Jewish history, heritage and current trends. We’re changing the culture of the first immigrant generation—also called “The Generation of Non-Givers.”

Our programming for teens included, but not limited to:

  • Celebrating Jewish holidays, teen style
  • Jewish heritage tours for families with teens
  • Jewish Teen Collaborations
  • Jewish Shabbatons where teen volunteers can earn up to 30 community hours
  • Jewish leadership and social entrepreneurship internship program
  • Jewish teen teaching program for teens ages 14 and up
  • Teen social gatherings

In addition to the various programs around teens, Jookender also pilots U.S.-Israeli programs that serve families with young kids and the young adult community. Jookender aims to cover the entire Russian Jewish population so all generations feel welcome and accepted to our programming.

Jookender is a fast growing group that already counts over 900 actively engaged families. Our Facebook group has already gained over 780 engaged members; our Meetup group counts 640 members (with only 20 percent overlap with our Facebook group); and our monthly newsletter, which reaches over 2,500 families, has significant open and click rates. When we run our surveys after major events, such as family camps, we encounter 90 percent survey participants. With programs we are currently running or plan to run in the near future, we aim to spread our influence among the 24,000+ Russian-Jewish families in Boston in New England over the next five years.