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The Springboard blog highlights the experiences of Jewish teens and Jewish teen professionals participating in community programs across Chicagoland and beyond. Dive into blogs about different Jewish teen events, leadership programs, trip opportunities, and more! Join us in celebrating the unique perspectives and contributions of Jewish teens and professionals in the Jewish community. To post a blog, please email

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Springboard Blog

Moving Beyond Square One with M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education

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Beyond Square One

This year Springboard partnered with M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education to create a Chicago based intensive and immersive professional development program that promotes and develops local experiential Jewish educators. The Chicago cohort consists of three seminars that blend intensive theory with immediate practical application. Tamara Stein, Springboard Teen Engagement Specialist, reflects on the first two workshops.

About 5 months ago I found myself with a title that I had never held before: Jewish educator. As a Teen Engagement Specialist I would be serving in a formal Jewish youth educator role for the first time, after spending my whole life looking up people who played that role for me. I was passionate about teaching Jewish values, and providing memorable and worthwhile experiences, and was eager to gain new tools to support my transition into this role.  

M2 has given me the vocabulary, the methodology, and the confidence to be a more articulate and knowledgeable Jewish educator. I have learned how to infuse Jewish content in a way that is enjoyable and truly valued by the groups that I work with. I have learned that when planning programs, whether it be a Shabbat experience or a Tikkun Olam project, we must be intentional about our typology of activities in order to motivate participants to join in. I have also learned that Jewish values are the starting point by which we as experiential Jewish educators should teach, not something to meander back to at the very end of a program.  By naming, and then exploring, the challenges that Jewish educators face in their everyday work, and then offering resources and solutions, M2 has opened my eyes to how stimulating education can be if you are able to infuse experiences with intention, Machshava, and action, Ma’aseh.

On a personal note, M2 has enabled me to learn alongside, and befriend, 12 intelligent, like-minded, passionate, Jewish educators. Through my participation I have developed a collaborative network of youth professionals from different organizations with whom I can call on to troubleshoot problems, discuss new ideas and work together with on community events. 

Jewish youth professionals, educators, volunteers and layleaders are encouraged to check out the Professionals tab to learn more about upcoming opportunities for professional development, and networking through Springboard.