How might we re-imagine the NYC teen experience?

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue | 2017

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Qualitative & Quantitative Research, Design, Innovation, Branding, Facilitation


Brief + Work

Over the course of this year, Community x Design has worked alongside the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to help their Senior Team answer an important question for the future of their synagogue: “how will we compel young people to be inspired by Jewish values and traditions, especially as numbers of engaged young people decrease year after year?”

At the beginning of this year, we spent six months conducting qualitative and quantitative research that included the voices of over 200+ teens, and over 100+ educators, program directors, and innovators within and outside of the Jewish world. We presented 16 different concepts to the synagogue’s Advisory Council, and through this process wev launched a new design & innovation lab for teens called The Greenhouse, powered by the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.




Teens are closer to being adults than children. A lot of programs will design something by saying, “Let’s take this programming that we have in place for a 10-year old and adjust it for an older audience.” Instead, we looked at taking what’s happening in the adult world and bringing it into a teenage landscape.


The Process


The Program

The Greenhouse is a community platform that aims to provide Jewish teens and their peers with the skills to become social innovators and create a more just and sustainable society. 

Through our signature three-pronged approach, teens will learn from diverse communities of Jewish role models and industry experts, travel to new places to view how others in the world are innovating to address social challenges, and return home to design their own social impact solutions. In addition to offering teens a brand new kind of Jewish experience that meets the organic intersection of Jewish values and social innovation, The Greenhouse is giving Jewish adults whose stories and expertise are both impressive and diverse a new opportunity to get involved through teaching and mentoring as facilitators, mentors, speakers and entrepreneurs-in-residence.


Launch Video

The way I see it, The Greenhouse is offering me a window into tomorrow. I can’t wait to explore how my different passions can lead to future career paths and to be involved with community based social change projects.
— Freddie M, High School Student

Growing an ecosystem of teen led social innovation


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