Dear Mishkan Community,
We are excited to share some staffing updates in our family programs, reflecting our commitment to expanding the ways we serve our growing population of Mishkanites ages 0-18 years old (and of course their grown-ups, too)!
Please join me in warmly welcoming Rabbi Ari Moffic as the Director of Youth and Teen Experience, and Rachel Mylan as the Director of Early and Elementary Life. Rabbi Ari will focus on the experience of youth ages 12-18 including BMitzvah and teen programs, and Rachel, who many of you know as our beloved family Shabbat song leader, will expand her role to oversee Shabbat and holiday program offerings for kids ages 11 and under. We are so grateful to Rabbi Deena Cowans who helped to lay the groundwork for this growth while deepening our family programs over the last three years.
Since our founding in 2011, we have prided ourselves on iterating and refining our programs as the needs of our community present themselves and evolve. Rabbi Ari and Rachel, alongside Mensch Academy staff, will focus on growing our family program offerings that will serve families throughout their Jewish journeys with us.
What we’re excited about:
Expanding our Shabbat offerings beyond Rise and Shine for kids age 0-4 and Mah Tovu for kids age 5 – 8, adding grade-level Friday nights and havdalahs;
Offering more kid-and teen-friendly High Holiday programs;
Launching a new “Foundations” program for 6th graders that focuses on building confidence in Hebrew, Torah study, the prayer service, public speaking, as well as modern Jewish values and issues;
Deepening our partnership with the now two-dozen families (!!) going through the BMitzvah process at Mishkan, and creating opportunities for post-BMitzvah engagement including retreats and travel;
Hiring a new full-time Hebrew Coordinator for Mensch Academy, ensuring consistent Hebrew integration across all Mensch Academy programming and beyond, and facilitating a brand new Hebrew Exploration class (we’re still hiring, please share our job openings).
We look forward to officially welcoming both Rabbi Ari and Rachel at Shabbat on Saturday, August 19th. If you’d like to drop them notes to share your excitement, you can do so at the email addresses below.
We are grateful for this community that continues to grow and evolve, giving us new opportunities to lead people toward more purposeful, more connected, and more inspired lives through Jewish learning, community and practice – at every life stage. Read more about our new hires below!
Sending you many blessings,
Rabbi Lizzi and Rachel Cort
Rabbi Ari Moffic
Director of Youth and Teen Experience
Rabbi Ari Poster Moffic (she/her) has worked as a Rabbi-Educator for over 20 years, but it was only recently that she discovered her true calling and passion: BMitzvahs. She was the Founding Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago (now 18Doors) starting the first “Your Community” initiative where she focused for six years on supporting interfaith couples and families as they explored Jewish life. She recently received the first Open Dor Project grant, given to four rabbis nationwide, to start or strengthen their own communities. In this entrepreneurial venture called Cohere, she worked with unaffiliated families to develop Jewish identity and learning. Rabbi Ari has a BA in Religious Studies from Indiana University, a Master’s Degree from Baltimore Hebrew University in Jewish Education and Communal Studies and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College. She has served as the Director of Education in area congregations which has included writing and implementing creative curricula and building community.
She is passionate about co-creating relevant, meaningful, accessible and inspiring Jewish educational offerings with participants of all ages. She is a parent advocate for full protections and rights for LGBTQIA+ children and teens in school and communal activities. She and her husband Rabbi Evan Moffic have teenage daughters and many pets.
Ari shares that, “I’ve followed Mishkan since the early days and am thrilled to be joining this community of life-long learners! I can’t wait to work with students at this pivotal time in their lives of asking deep questions, wrestling with ideas and explanations and integrating Judaism meaningfully and joyfully into their emerging identities.”
Rabbi Ari officially begins her new role at Mishkan in mid-July. You can send her a note of welcome at [email protected].
Director of Early and Elementary Family Life
Rachel Mylan (she/her) can play guitar, banjo, ukulele, and tambourine, but her real love is turning a group of strangers into a choir. Rachel has spent the past twenty years working in Jewish education, both formal and experiential. She has a BA in Psychology and Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College, and her leadership and teaching experiences include preschool and religious school in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California, where she also served as a songleader in various synagogues, youth settings, and overnight camps. She lived and worked in California until 2017, before returning home to Chicago so that her kids would experience the joy of snow and basements.
Rachel loves group singing, walking in the woods, finding cool rocks, swimming, Mahjongg, snails, and coffee dates. She lives in Portage Park with her husband, Ari, and their two young children, Mika and Toby. Drop her a love note at [email protected]