Federation Hosts First Jewish Youth & Teen Wellness Summit

On April 14, 2024, the Jewish Federation of San Diego, in collaboration with the Jewish Federations of North America's BeWell program, hosted a transformative event: the first-ever “Jewish Youth & Teen Wellness Summit.” This half-day summit, held at the serene Leichtag Commons, was a beacon of inspiration for Jewish organizations across San Diego, emphasizing the critical importance of youth mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness.

The summit was not just an event, but a movement aimed at equipping parents and community leaders with the resources and best practices necessary to raise resilient youth and teens. With nearly 80 community professionals in attendance, the summit was a testament to the San Diego Jewish community’s collective commitment to youth wellness. Attendees represented organizations that are part of the Federation’s Teen Wellness Coalition, each having pledged to proactively enhance teen wellness and resilience.

A Day of Insightful Discussions and Interactive Sessions

The summit featured a dynamic lineup of speakers, including educators, clergy, marriage and family therapists, religious school directors, and authors. The day's agenda was packed with a variety of activities designed to foster learning and collaboration:

  • Plenary Session: Kicking off the day, a keynote speaker set the tone with a compelling address on the importance of youth wellness.
  • Breakout Sessions: Attendees participated in focused discussions on the "pillars of resilience," allowing for in-depth exploration of key topics.
  • Delegation/Organization Meetings: These sessions enabled representatives from each organization to strategize and plan actionable steps tailored to their unique needs.
  • Closing Panel: The day concluded with a panel of experts who offered reflections and answered questions, reinforcing the day's key messages.

Building a Culture of Resilience

Under the banner of the "Community Brit to Support Teen Resilience," the summit underscored our Jewish community’s commitment to mental health and wellness. This initiative is not just about implementing new practices but about creating a cultural shift within the Jewish community. By providing tools for healthy development and fostering a supportive environment, the initiative aims to ensure that Jewish teens in San Diego can thrive.

The commitment from these organizations includes continuous learning, evaluating and improving organizational culture, taking actionable steps towards fostering resilience, and sharing their progress with the broader San Diego Jewish community. This collaborative approach is vital for creating a lasting impact.

After the summit, Federation awarded $1,000 micro-grants to 17 participating organizations in support of their wellness initiatives for the coming year. The initiatives vary widely, with some focusing on teens directly, others on parents, and some on the staff who work closely with teens. This diversity ensures that the strategies are well-suited to the specific needs of each community.

Looking Ahead

The Jewish Youth & Teen Wellness Summit was more than a single day of learning; it was the culmination of a years’ long effort to prioritize the well-being of San Diego Jewish teens. As we look to the future, the insights gained and the connections made at the summit will undoubtedly serve as a foundation for ongoing efforts to support and empower our youth.

We invite you to watch this video to hear testimonials from attendees about their experiences and key takeaways from the summit. Together, we are building a community where Jewish teens can thrive, supported by a network dedicated to their mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness.


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