Blog with Springboard

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

Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

A Civil Rights Encounter Never to Be Forgotten

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Five Teens

I could have sworn I was at a Holocaust memorial.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL is a powerful reminder of generations of violence waged in our country.  And the Legacy Museum that accompanies it gives voice to the stories of oppression that have scarred our nation’s history.  Both serve to inspire a new era of justice and peace, underscoring the need for partnerships across race and religion.

That’s why I’m so excited to work with Pastor Joyce Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on the Civil Rights Encounter.  Jewish teens of all races and members of a historic African American church on Chicago’s west side will explore the history of the Civil Rights movement and its meaning for all Americans today.  

Here are a few highlights we’re most excited about:

16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL

—The site of the infamous attack that left four girls dead, one child scarred for life, and a nation forever changed.


Temple Mishkan Israel in Selma, AL

—Half a mile from the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge, the local leaders of this temple offer a historical account of the dilemmas facing Southern Jews during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery, AL

—A passionate educator offers a vivid retelling of the dramatic efforts of the Freedom Riders in the preserved Greyhound bus station where the major action took place.

Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Temple in Atlanta, GA

—Two prominent houses of worship that will give participants the opportunity to pray and reflect on the relationships they’ve built, the history they’ve encountered, and the commitments they’re ready to make.

Pastor Hatch and I are thrilled to offer this opportunity to Chicago-area teens, and we look forward on embarking on this one-in-a-lifetime journey with you.

Daniel Kirzane is the associate rabbi at Oak Park Temple in Oak Park, IL.   Oak Park Temple is a progressive, near-urban Reform congregation dedicated to expansive welcoming of people of all backgrounds.  Rabbi Kirzane is an alum of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the CLAL: Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, he is on the rabbinic cabinet of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and he serves in alumni leadership positions for the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

It's College Road Trip Season! By Kyle Kolling

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College Road Trip Season

Picking a college is never an easy decision. Currently there are around 7,690 colleges and universities across the United States. Each of these have their own unique courses of study, ways of doing things, class sizes, extra curriculars, and hundreds of other variables that make them each unique in their own set of ways. Because you will spend a period of your life in these universities and colleges, it is important to find one that fits who you are, and where you want to be.

Although you can do some great research online, you never truly know what feels the best for you, and where you feel that you belong until you can be somewhere in person. This is why I believe that the College Road Trip can be so incredibly meaningful and helpful for all prospective college students before they make their decision. On this trip you will see a variety of universities, including but not limited to Indiana University, University of Michigan, Penn State University and Ohio State University. At each of these schools you will get an official tour led by student leaders, you will meet with admissions counselors, scholarship officers, and many more professionals along the way. Not only will we learn about the universities, but we will explore Jewish life on each of these campuses. For example, throughout this program we will learn about Hillel, Chabad, birthright, and many other Jewish organizations to help you find a strong and supportive Jewish community at school.

Finally, each night after our college visits we will explore the local college towns. We may go to a sports game, go bowling, a movie, or just hang out at the hotel pool. No matter what, you will meet a group of Jewish teens that are all going through the same process that you are! Who knows, you may even meet your future college roommate!