SAN DIEGO: As a teenager, Rabbi Daniel Bortz, a 20-something, energetic, newly ordained Chabad rabbi, wasn’t so Jewishly observant. After he was living in Israel for a while, he came back to the US, to establish an organization for teens in highschool that will will do what Hillel does in college campuses.
The result of that desire is JTeen, a non-denominational program started in spring 2011 and led by Rabbi Bortz for San Diego Jewish teens and pre-teens, especially those who are unaffiliated or attend public schools. It’s aimed at providing Jewish social connections, Jewish wisdom and learning, and social action.
“Anyone can join, anyone can be a part of it, and they do all sorts of activities,” says Skyler Witties, who graduated in spring from Canyon Crest Academy, a public school, and was involved in JTeen during his senior year there. “Everyone is really open and accepting, and it’s great.”