“Education means teaching a child to be curious, to wonder, to reflect, to enquire. The child who asks becomes a partner in the learning process, an active recipient.” - RABBI LORD JONATHAN SACKS zt"l

Jewish & Israel Youth Programs:
Engaging and Inspiring Seattle’s Jewish Teens

The teen years are formative. It’s when children lay the foundation for becoming young adults and when they begin to shape their identities. During this time, it is crucial for teens to stay connected to their Judaism and build relationships within the Jewish community. Through youth enrichment and engagement programs, teens form new friendships, learn valuable leadership skills, strengthen their connection to the State of Israel and build community. The Samis Foundation proudly supports several local youth enrichment and engagement programs.

Explore Youth Enrichment and Engagement Programs:



BBYO — Summer Leadership Programs — Current Grantee

BBYO is the leading pluralistic organization that gives teens the opportunity to have meaningful Jewish experiences. Founded in 1924, BBYO impacts 70,000 Jewish teens in 50 countries, providing them with leadership programs, trips to Jewish communities around the world, the chance to volunteer and ways to meet other Jewish teens. It’s an inclusive organization, welcoming teens from all different backgrounds, regardless of their denominational affiliation, gender or abilities. BBYO has four flagship leadership development programs every summer; CLTC, ILTC, Kallah and ILSI. Eligible Seattle teens can apply directly to the Evergreen Region chapter of BBYO for a Samis supported needs-based scholarship to attend a BBYO summer leadership program.

Eitanim LOGO 2017


Israeli American Council — Eitanim Program — Past Grantee

The Israeli American Council, founded in 2007, serves the needs of over half a million Israel-Americans living in the United States, and strengthens the bond between Americans and the State of Israel. The IAC Eitanim program is an entrepreneurship teen leadership program forging connections between Jewish-American and Israeli-American middle and high school students. The program brings teens together for project-based learning experiences that foster learning about teamwork, leadership, entrepreneurship, presentation skills and Israeli innovation. IAC hosts over 30 Eitanim student groups nationwide.



NCSY Local Chapter and Jewish Student Union — Current Grantee

NCSY is a youth program designed to inspire teens to connect to the Torah, Jewish tradition and become spiritual leaders in their communities. Founded in 1954, it gives teens an informal Jewish education, holds Shabbatons and hosts year-round retreats around the nation. NCSY JSU is a Jewish youth outreach program in Seattle public schools that brings teens together for Latte and Learn programs, Shabbat and holiday dinners and student led board meetings. The program also offers scholarships for teens who want to partake in one of the many unique NCSY or NCSY JSU teen Israel experience programs.


StandWithUs High School Internship Program & Teen Leadership Council — Past Grantee

StandWithUs is a non-partisan, international organization that educates the public on the State of Israel and combats global Antisemitism. With their High School Internship Program, StandWithUs prepares students for obstacles they may come across when discussing Israel on their college campuses and in their communities. During the yearlong program, teens attend online workshops and two national conferences while organizing programming in their youth groups and high schools. Through the StandWithUs Teen Leadership Council, students participate in a four-month-long program where they discover community building, connect with other local teens and learn individually and in groups about the State of Israel.



Stroum Jewish Community Center, Giving Initiative for Teens (GIFT) — Past Grantee

The Stroum Jewish Community Center hosts the Jewish Funders Teen Network (JFTN) Giving Initiative for Teens (GIFT), which educates Jewish teens about fundraising, Jewish values, grant-making and nonprofit management. The program has monthly meetings from September through June where teens are given the opportunity to go through the grant-making process and raise money for local nonprofits. GIFT teens have raised and granted almost $50,000 to organizations including Jewish Family Services, Mary’s Place, Sound Mental Health and the Eastside Legal Assistance Program.

Research from the Cohen Center at Brandeis University validates the relevance of understanding teen development to Jewish identity formation, and focuses on the “6Cs.”


Positive view of one’s ability to achieve in various areas, including social, cognitive and emotional.


An internal sense of overall positive self-worth.


Positive bonds and development of relationships with peers, family, school, and community.


A sense of sympathy and empathy for others.


Respect for norms and standards of acceptable behavior, morality and integrity.


The desire to positively influence one’s family, community, and society.