Over the past five years, the San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative has stood by the belief that exposing teens to a diversity of Jewish experiences and opportunities will help them more deeply connect with their Jewish community. If teens are able to experience different ways to connect to their Judaism they will more likely become lifelong participants in Jewish life. We have been working with educators, parents, and teens to explore and implement ways to help teens navigate Jewish experiences and today find ourselves in a new world of possibilities for Jewish teens. In thinking about how to present the diversity of ways to be involved Jewishly, the concept of 18 Under 18 emerged. 18 Under 18 is a community-wide awareness campaign that recognizes 18 teens doing outstanding things in our community. Our hope is to inspire other teens and preteens to find their connection to Jewish life that is authentic. “Oh my goodness, this is incredible! Thank you so much, I look forward to continuing being a leader in our community!” says Talia Schauder, 18 Under 18 recipient. As the San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative, we felt strongly that these teen’s outstanding accomplishments needed to be shared with the greater San Diego community. “18 Under 18 is such an exciting opportunity because it highlights the amazing and diverse ways our teens are getting involved in their community. As a teen educator this is a unique and meaningful way to celebrate the accomplishments of the most active and involved leaders beyond simply recognizing their contributions within our organization. 18 Under 18 brings to scale the hard work each teen contributes to making San Diego a more robust and thriving Jewish community for young people.”
— Daria Tomsky, Jewish Family Service
18 Under 18 is all about celebration through a teen lens. “It brings me great pride to learn about these teen’s amazing accomplishments and to work closely with the teen educators who are mentoring and supporting them as they reach these achievements.” — Rebecka Handler, Director of the San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative.