This summer marks the completion of the third year of Teen JUST-US, a hands-on social justice internship and educational program for Jewish teens. Throughout the six-week program, our cohort has been immersed in the world of social justice. The participants have spent this program interning with 10 different not-for-profit organizations across the Boston area, attending community-service-based field trips and studying topics from a Jewish lens.

At internship sites, our teens not only focused on connecting with staff and gaining work experience, each also took on a project to directly benefit the organization with which they were paired. Their projects spanned from organizing fundraisers to serving as research assistants to video content creation and beyond!

Back home at Temple Israel of Boston, the program focused on six core subjects: disability justice, housing justice, racial justice, immigration rights, food insecurity and environmental justice. At Teen JUST-US, we make it our mission to broach these topics head-on and allow for meaningful opportunities to learn.

Teen Just-Us
(Courtesy photo)

This year, achieving that mission included:

  • A trip to Community Rowing Inc. to speak with Paralympic athlete Jen Fitz-Roy and learn how to row, plus a trip to The Carroll Center for the Blind to spend time with students and experience how fencing can benefit them
  • Volunteering to help benefit Food Link‘s efforts to rescue and redistribute food that would otherwise go to waste
  • Building beds for homeless children with the A Bed For Every Child program
  • Hearing from many guest speakers who generously shared their time and stories
  • And much, much more!

Throughout the program, our teens have gained vital skills in communication, collaboration and advocacy. They have also worked to develop a broader sense of social awareness and responsibility. The past six weeks have been a chance to connect one cohort of teens sharing a mutual interest in tikkun olam—repairing the world—with a network of opportunities to give back to their local communities. We are excited about what they have learned, the impact they have had this summer and are thrilled to see where this leads them in the future!

Visit our website to learn more about the program and hear from our teens themselves. Applications for next summer will open in early 2023.

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