JCC Global Teen Fellows:
an encounter

Our teen journalists' reflections on the week 


This July, the Merage JCC hosted 67 teens – 21 from Orange County – and another 47 from Kfar Yona, Israel and Mexico City, Mexico, to a week of So Cal fun. Outings for all 67 included paddle boarding, a pool party, a harbor cruise, Museum of Tolerance, Disneyland, as well as a community service project at Heritage Pointe. But the real fun was in the connections and friendships made.

The teens stayed with host families, another opportunity to experience American culture. Families got to know their guests and showed off our community with trips to Balboa Island, In-N-Out, and the beach.

The charge was to have fun and make connections amongst global peers. The goal: the future of the Jewish Peoplehood.

Next year: Kfar Yona, Israel!

Several of our teens shared their thoughts on their respective experiences:


Today (Friday), the Family Tree teens went to Heritage Point to complete a community service project and bond with the resident seniors. The teens learned that the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam transcend nationality and age. They created meaningful memories a
nd experiences with the residents. Back at the JCC, after a delicious lunch featuring Mexican cuisine, the group saw their Challah covers that they had made on Wednesday and decorated them. Finally, to welcome Shabbat, the teens ventured to Mason Park for a peaceful and relaxed service and dinner. The day was busy yet full of Mitzvot and friendship.






Today (Monday), the Family Tree teens started the day by venturing to Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier to spend the afternoon having fun with the rides and activities in each other's company. After leaving the Pier, the teens were brought on a tour at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance to reflect together on the segregation that humans have put each other through in history at the 
Holocaust (*note* I would normally say "the Shoah", but the exhibit is named the "Holocaust") Exhibit. Later, the teens were welcomed to explore, shop, and eat food at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. The day came to a close with a short visit to the Griffith Observatory to view the Hollywood Sign from a distance.



Meet our Family Tree 2016 Journalist Team 


age: 14, school: Laguna Beach High School

Benny would prefer to write this in binary, but text will have to do.


age: 15.5, school: Corona del Mar High School

In her spare time, Kalia is an amateur film critic.



age: 14, school: TVT

Leyla plans to write herself into Grey's Anatomy.


age: 14, school: Woodbridge High School

Not only does Maya write, she also shreds on her ripstick.


Questions? Contact Nicole Andronescu

Todah to the following for their generous support: 

Doris Chasin

Supported by an Impact Grant from Jewish Federation and Family Services 

Funded by the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County


How we got here...

In 2014 the Merage JCC of Orange County launched a partnership, JCC Global Teen Fellows or Family Tree, with Jewish community centers in Mexico City, Mexico and Kfar Yona, Israel. Each summer we gather thirty teens from each of the three communities to come together to play sports and participate in cultural activities alternating host communities each year. The teens and their families study their own Jewish histories and explore the same from Mexico and Israel.

June 2015 Mexico City, Mexico
July 2016 Orange County, California
June 2017 Kfar Yona, Israel

The program grew out of a global initiative, Amitim, to strengthen international ties and Jewish peoplehood. The Merage JCC was selected as one of 10 North American JCCs alongside 10 from Israel and 10 from the rest of the world to be part of the Amitim program of JCC Global. JCC Global is the umbrella body of JCCs across the world. 

Our Amitim and JCC Teen Global Fellow programs are under the leadership of Samantha Cohen, Program Director, and chairs Adrienne Matros, Wendy Stark and Catie Chase.