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

Meet the Springboard Lewis Summer Intern, Ariana!!

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Happy summer! I’m very excited to spend my first full summer at home in a while with JUF’s Youth Initiatives Team. My past summers have been filled with Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, Diller Teen Fellows, and being a counselor at Kefiada in Kiryat Gat. If you have any fun Chicago summer tips, please let me know!  

After spending my high school years with more Jewish organizations than I can count, I am excited to be contributing to the planning side. I am very grateful for my upbringing in the Chicago Jewish community and how it has shaped who I am today. The values which guide my life including respect, curiosity, and inclusion all have roots in my Jewish upbringing. I have learned to appreciate the people I surround myself with and how important it is to build a supportive community.

Ariana Photo 1

Ariana and Marc Luban at a CHUSY convention in 2018

I am currently a student at Muhlenberg College, studying Psychology and Business. My hobbies include playing Jewish Geography, making Challah, and overanalyzing my tomato plant.  

As a new resident of the East Coast, at least while I’m at college, I have learned that everyone is obsessed with New York City. While they love their big city and the hubbub, it has made me appreciate the Chicago community and pluralism I am surrounded by so much more. This Shavuot I had the opportunity to learn at Anshe Emet Synagogue with a beautiful mixture of people including one of my high school teachers, my camp director, and some childhood friends. I love the welcoming and openness of the Jewish community in Chicago. The bridge of religiosity and respect from one denomination towards another instills my faith in Judaism. 

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Ariana and Jacob Kline hosting two Israelis as part of Diller in 2019

While I build my community in college, I rely on my friends and experiences from Chicago. Bringing friends into the Jewish world whether at Hillel or elsewhere is always a highlight. The love that emanates from community is beautiful and motivates my involvement within Judaism.  

I am excited to learn more about my Jewish identity and connect with others who have dedicated their work to continuing and improving the Jewish community.

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Ariana with friends at the 18 under 18 celebration in 2019

Meet the new CHUSY Engagement Director, Parker Weber!

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I’m incredibly excited to be joining the USY team as the new Chicago USY (CHUSY) Engagement Director.

Although I was not part of USY, I attended JCC Camp Apachi and Camp Chi, and worked at both summer camps for a combined 9 summers. These experiences are what led me to teaching. Being a camp counselor, assistant unit head, and finally a unit head, were the best jobs on earth. I wanted to find a way to have that kind of joy and feel that I was making that important of a difference every day, I found that through teaching.

Parker Weber

I loved working in the classroom, but I missed those informal interactions with the kids, where we were just trying to have as much fun as possible. I found that when I became a part-time youth advisor for USY at Beth Judea.

These informal educational experiences were more in line with what I was looking for. So, when the CHUSY Director position opened up, I leaped at the opportunity. I’m excited to be in this new role, collaborating with other youth organizations and professionals to create as many opportunities for our Chicago teens as possible to have an amazing Jewish experience.

In my downtime you can find me enjoying a good book, snacking on popcorn while watching a movie, and annoying my neighbors by practicing piano.