Teen Programs

Welcome to Mishkan Chicago’s Teen Programs, made possible by The Cohen Kadima Program, Mishkan’s dynamic education program for 6th graders, 7th graders, and post-BMitzvah teens and their families.

At Mishkan, we create safe spaces for students to learn and discover, grow, and be curious about their Jewish identity and the world around them. We encourage our students to explore their identities, cultivate their voice, champion causes close to their hearts, and do deep Jewish learning.

Mishkan’s arc of middle school programming begins in 6th Grade with the Fundamentals program, aimed at building confidence in foundational Jewish skills and concepts, including Hebrew, Torah study, the prayer service, public speaking, as well as exploring modern Jewish values and issues. Our approach isn’t solely focused on leading a service — it’s about understanding the prayers, contributing insights, and engaging in meaningful social justice work. These are the stepping stones to Jewish adulthood. At Mishkan, this journey isn’t just about a single ceremony; it’s a holistic approach to embracing Jewish life. For more information on our BMitzvah program for 7th Graders, please see the program details.

Snap for 8th Graders is a year-long exploration of Jewish identity, history, and stories through photography. For our high schoolers, MishTeens offers expanded programming including our new leadership cohort, Teen Davening Team, trips, and innovation lab and holiday celebrations.

We’re on a mission to breathe new life into Judaism, and we believe that our teens are at the heart of changing our world. 

– Rabbi Ari Moffic, Director of Youth and Teen Experiences, The Cohen Kadima Program

 

Teen Programs by Grade

Bernice and Buddy Cohen were visionary philanthropists with a deep commitment to Jewish community and education. They are remembered for their attributes of love, strength and generosity, which continue to live on through the actions of their many children and grandchildren.
6th Grade

In the Fundamentals for 6th Graders program run by Rabbi Ari Moffic, 6th graders will meet weekly to build confidence in foundational Jewish “hard skills” and concepts, including Hebrew, Torah study, the prayer service, public speaking, as well as exploring modern Jewish values and issues. This class focuses on preparing students with the skills that they’ll need as they become BMitzvah at Mishkan. This class is the next step after graduating from Mensch Academy and is required for all 6th graders planning to become BMitzvah at Mishkan unless they are enrolled in Jewish Day School. 

For the 2024-2025 school year, we offer three options: 

  • Thursdays from 5pm-7pm at Mishkan HQ (dinner included)
  • Sundays from 9am-10am on Zoom (materials and supplies pick up will be required for project and activities)
  • One-on-one tutoring (please email [email protected] to arrange)

6th Graders are also invited to join our Kadima Middle School Youth Group, celebrating Jewish holidays throughout the year with field trips and activities, and our Innovation Labs which invite teens to design and produce our High Holidays and Purim celebrations for our elementary school students.

7th Grade

Kehilat BMitzvah for 7th Graders (which means “BMitzvah Community”), or KBM for short, begins in the Fall of your seventh grade year, and continues through the Spring. All those who become BMitzvah with Mishkan Chicago will participate in these family learning sessions. Through the essential pillars of Torah (deep learning), Avodah (prayer & ritual) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness), your KBM cohort will explore the words, sounds, and meanings of the Shabbat service, while also experiencing other rituals together, discussing our views of God and prayer, learning about justice as a Jewish practice, dunking in the mikvah (optional and awesome!), and building relationships with other families in this similar life stage.

7th Graders are also invited to join in our Kadima Middle School Youth Group, celebrating Jewish holidays throughout the year with field trips and activities, and our Innovation Labs which invite teens to design and produce our High Holidays and Purim celebrations for our elementary school students.

For more information, please see our BMitzvah Program information.

8th Grade

Snap for 8th Graders is a year-long exploration of Jewish identity, history, and stories through photography. Led by Rabbi Ari, students will study and take photos, examining the lens through which different stories are told. This class will weave in Israel education by exploring a diverse group of first-person narrative accounts of pre and post statehood, anchored in photography as the backdrop for discussions. 

We will meet on Thursdays from 7pm-8pm at Mishkan HQ and is designed for 8th grade students in the year after their BMitzvah. Family Buildership is a requirement to enroll in Snap.

Additionally, 8th graders are invited to help with our 6th Grade Fundamentals class as Madrachim (helpers/aides). Madrachim receive volunteer hours for helping 6th grade students each week while refreshing their own Hebrew and Judaic knowledge. 

8th Graders are also invited to join in our Kadima Middle School Youth Group, celebrating Jewish holidays throughout the year with field trips and activities, and our Innovation Labs which invite teens to design and produce our High Holidays and Purim celebrations for our elementary school students.

9th - 12th Grade

MishTeens offers expanded programming for all our 9th-12th graders including our new leadership cohort, teen davening, trips, and our innovation lab and holiday celebrations. 

MishTeens Leadership Cohort will design and plan events, programs and justice opportunities with and for their peers with support from our staff. Our meetings will include dinner, schmooze time, and cultivating leadership skills. The Leadership Cohort culminates with a Shabbaton at Zumwalt Farm (a working Jewish farm) in June 2025. 

MishTeens Leadership Cohort meets once a month from 6:30-7:30 pm on Sundays.  Family Buildership is a requirement to enroll in MishTeens.

Add-Ons:

DC Trip

MishTeens are invited to join our trip to L’Taken Social Justice Seminar with the Religious Action Center in DC.  Teens spend a weekend working with other Jewish teens from around the country to understand political issues through a Jewish lens and lobbying for causes they care about to our representatives on The Hill. This year’s trip will take place Dec 13-16, 2024. If your teen is interested in attending please email [email protected].

 

Teen Davening Team 

Calling all musicians, singers, drummers, and creatives! Bring your instruments, voices, and words to plan services for our family Shabbat and holiday services. Teen Davening Team will be led by Mishkan musicians and Rabbi Ari. No previous experience with Jewish music is required and non-musicians are welcome to join us for other elements of service leading. Teen Davening Team meets monthly prior to the Leadership Cohort. 

 

Innovation Labs and Holiday Celebrations

Our Teen Innovation Labs invite teens to work with artists and designers to create our intergenerational programming for High Holidays and Purim each year! We also offer middle school and high school specific programs for holidays throughout the year. 

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Eli Newell

BMitzvah & Teen Organizer

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Rabbi Ari Moffic

Director of Youth & Teen Experience

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Leora Mincer

Leora Mincer

MishTeens Teacher

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