Teen Programs

Welcome to Mishkan Chicago’s Teen Programs!

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 and more, please see the program details.

Students in 8th – 12th grades are invited to join MishTeens, our high school program that offers a tapestry of monthly social, justice-focused, and Jewish learning experiences. 

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


Teen Programs by Grade

6th Grade

In the Fundamentals 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 will focus 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 learning Hebrew and foundational skills somewhere else (for example, with a tutor or they are in Jewish day school).

7th Grade

Kehilat BMitzvah (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, visiting the Illinois Holocaust Memorial, dunking in the mikvah (optional and awesome!), and building relationships with other families in this similar life stage.

8th - 12th

Under our growing umbrella of teen programming, 8th-12th grade students will have opportunities to explore many forms of engagement with our Mishkan Chicago community. These opportunities may include but are not limited to: a monthly community space to unwind, unpack complicated societal & social dynamics through a Jewish lens, and eat delicious food with peers; Mishkan-chaperoned travel experiences to explore American history and culture; teen leadership roles around major holidays (i.e. our teen designers & facilitators at Family Purim and High Holy Days); small groups for teens looking to dive deeper into justice work or further study; teen holiday celebrations and events throughout the year; and more!

Monthly Engagements

Our signature MishTeen holiday programs are helping to plan and lead the children’s programming over both the High Holidays and Purim. Recent social programs have included a Chanukah donut crawl around Lakeview and a chocolate seder before Passover.

Leadership Volunteer Opportunities


Teen Programs Staff

Eli Newell new headshot

Eli Newell

BMitzvah & Teen Organizer

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Rabbi Ari Moffic

Director of Youth & Teen Experience

Leora Mincer

Leora Mincer

MishTeens Teacher