Peer relationships are incredibly important to teens, and the content of those relationships is formative to their connections to their own Jewish identity and community.  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.

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

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A sense of sympathy and empathy for others.

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

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

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The Samis Foundation believes there is a significant opportunity in our community to positively impact Jewish identity development in teens. With a deep commitment to Jewish community, the Foundation has continued to increase its investments in teen enrichment and engagement with a particular emphasis on developing meaningful connections between Seattle teens and Israel. While this work continues to evolve, our early investments in this space have focused on the following key areas:

  • Encouraging and supporting teen travel to Israel and local Israel education experiences. Our hope is that the Foundation’s support will encourage more families to consider sending their teens for a high school Israel experience, and remove the financial barriers to doing so.  We strongly believe in the value of teens experiencing Israel and cultivating their relationship with the country before a potential Birthright experience in college;
  • Through involvement in youth enrichment and youth group programs, supporting teens to be active agents in the world, making positive change today while developing skills and values they will use throughout their lives; and
  • Creating a diverse, rich and meaningful menu of opportunities for Jewish teens to continue their learning and social engagement regardless of background or prior Jewish educational experience.

The Samis Foundation supports teen enrichment and engagement through: