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JLI Teens

Custom & Craft
Los Angeles, California United States
Leadership team

Eileen Levinson, Founder & Creative Director
Wendy Jackler, Program Manager

Organization website
Prize category
5+ years
Target audience
Experiential Learning

As we all know, teenagers are a unique demographic, and it takes a special kind of program to involve and inspire them. This is where JLI Teens comes in. JLI Teens is a cutting-edge program in over 100 cities across the globe that engages teens and brings Judaism into their everyday life; helping them grow in their Judaism and strengthen their personal identity as they explore challenging topics.

What Jewish wisdom do you use in your work?

Drawing on research-based instructional design and cutting-edge approaches to learning, JLI's innovative presentation of Jewish teachings is designed to be both intellectually rigorous and highly accessible. We use classic Jewish and Hasidic teachings to inspire teens to live more meaningful and joyous lives, encouraged by the Jewish education that JLI Teens provides.

Every lesson imparts a message of responsibility to make the world a better place, and to enhance their relationships with G-d and with their fellow. Our holistic approach to Jewish study considers the impact of Judaic wisdom on personal and interpersonal growth.

JLI Teens curriculum is designed to speak to the minds and hearts of high school students from all lifestyles, engaging them and challenging them to think for themselves about issues surrounding Judaism, and its relevance to our modern lives.

How does your program work to make that wisdom accessible and directly applicable to your audience's lives?

JLI Teens addresses issues that modern teens grapple with and engages them to develop their own ideas about how to deal with these issues. In the course of that conversation, JLI Teens curriculum provides them with traditional Jewish wisdom that they can easily integrate into their own lives. JLI Teens is not a lecture. Our unique learning model is multi-sensory – designed with the busy, over-stimulated 21st-century teenager in mind. Our presenters challenge their students’ paradigms, inspiring them to evaluate and grow.

Here's what the teens say:

We also use multimedia to enhance the learning experiences. The following is an example:

What impact has your program had on your participants?

JLI Teens was developed to fill a troubling void in the field of education. Adolescence is precisely when the mind matures and becomes capable of abstract, critical thinking. Until now however, there was not a place where high school students could pursue post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Judaic studies. In response, our dedicated team of authors, editors and professional educators collaborated to develop exciting curricula to appeal to Jewish teens.

JLI Teens is far more than an after school academic program; it’s an environment where students engage in round-table discussions, challenge each other with stimulating debate, where they voice their opinions and thoughts about the topics important to them - dating, friendship, social responsibility and more.

Check out the JLI Teens Awards. Here are examples:

What have you learned about applied Jewish wisdom that contributes to your success?

For teens, the best way to reach them in a classroom setting is to be "a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage." That means that the best approach is to create a safe environment for teens to form and express their own opinions about issues that matter to them. By showing them how Judaism addresses these topics in a way that is meaningful and relevant, you help them deepen their Jewish identity and appreciation of their heritage.