Three JTI Peer Leadership Fellows sound off on what it’s like being a Jewish teen in Greater Boston, how they’re helping to connect our community and how they navigate their personal Jewish journeys.

From finding opportunities to meet more Jewish teens, exploring what Jewish identity looks like today and encountering antisemitism while exploring new ways to raise their voices and make a difference, these inspiring teens give us a lot to think about. Listen to their poignant discussion below.

Meet the teens:

Ryann Bloom is a senior at Natick High School. She is heavily involved in NFTY-NE and is co-president of her temple youth group, STIFTY at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, in addition to helping to connect her peers as a JTI Peer Leadership Fellow. Ryann also participates in her school choir and theater performances. She enjoys singing, writing, criminology and hanging out with friends. During summers past, she worked as a counselor and in the kitchen at Sandy Island Family Camp. Ryann also attended Alexander Muss High School in Israel in 2018 as one of its Impact Fellows.

Rachel Kessler is a senior at Hopkinton High School. She is involved in a freshmen and exchange student welcoming committee and is on the varsity debate and tennis teams. She enjoys drawing, writing, baking (when she doesn’t mess up the recipe) and, of course, making new friends. She is a member of the BBYO community and has lived in four states.

Josh May is a senior at Needham High School. He is involved in the DECA chapter at his school and loves to attend NFTY events. He studied abroad in Israel with URJ Heller High School and is a member of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley. Josh is helping to connect his peers as a JTI Peer Leadership Fellow and has been involved in the development of He attended URJ Kutz Camp. Josh loves to travel and is always on the go.

Jewish Teen Initiative (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. is Greater Boston’s online resource for teens, their families and the Jewish professionals who work with them. The website connects teens to the community’s vast menu of nationally-recognized programming and opportunities and supports professionals with resources and opportunities.

Originally posted on CJP’s blog The Tribe.