Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Seed613

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There are many ways to embody what Tikkun Olam means and turn it into action. Our community has many programs that allow teens to do just that; one of them is JCC’s Seed613. This program empowers female identifying Jewish teens to work together to identify challenges in the community and create solutions, whether big or small, that will make a meaningful difference. Tikkun Olam and repairing the world come in many shapes and sizes. Here are some of the incredible examples of projects Seed613 fellows have done that do just that:

Disconnect2Reconnect: is a campaign to educate teens on the positive benefits of reducing technology use in everyday life. This 5-day campaign will be implemented in schools across the Chicagoland area, encouraging students to disconnect from one type of technology or social media each day. Technology usage has been linked to increasing mental health issues in adolescents, and we hope to educate both teens and their parents on the positive and negative impacts of technology.

disconnect to reconnect

Mindfull: an after-school club at high school focused on inspiring students to lead a healthy lifestyle. The clubs are student-led and each week, club-goers participate in a healthy activity such as smoothie making, or learning about different wellness options. MindFULL also prioritizes environmental initiatives – creating a school community garden and completing a relevant service project. MindFULL was created to address the lack of health and wellness information available to school-aged children.


 CopStop: The mission of CopStop is to spark empathy between police and community members in order to build in accountability and transform the culture, relationships, and popular opinions between inner-city citizens and police. It’s an app where users can see crowd-sourced reviews of local police departments, view individual officers, and leave feedback for police.

Cop Stop

 My Student Mind: My Student Mind a website designed to form a digital community for students working through understanding their mental health, encouraging them to take control of their mental well being both inside and outside of the classroom. My Student Mind has everything a student needs to take control of their mental health. The site creates a community of students all with the same goal in mind; mental well being. It provides both tangible and emotional tools that students can customize and choose if and when to use based on their personal interests and dependencies. Once you log on, you have control.

My Student Mind

While Seed613's focus is on innovative projects like the ones above, the fellowship offers so much more; a community - "When I met the other girls, I knew I was welcomed and appreciated for being my true self [...] I realized how lucky I was to be in a room full of people that wanted to support me, my ideas, and this program.". Community is something we are all craving given the state of the world. To learn more about Seed613, the community it can give you, and to get a taste of what participating might look like, sign up here  for the very first Taste of Seed613 tonight on Zoom. Some of the most impactful and innovative things happening today have been created by teens, and you can be next! 

#RepairTheWorldWednesday with JCUA, Springboard, and JUF Teens

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Antiracism Training

We are living through history. 2020 has become a pivotal time that will be remembered for many reasons, including shining a light on the racial injustices that have plagued our nation’s history for many years. Being actively Anti-Racist, and making racial justice a key part of your ally-ship is so important. There is always more to learn, more to share, and more ways to help- and here is your chance!  

JCUA, Springboard, and JUF Teens have partnered to create an Anti-Racism Training. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, many of us are thinking critically about structural racism in the United States. Join us to learn to be a better anti-racist ally through critical theory, American history, and Jewish texts and values. The Teen Anti-Racism training will be held Sunday, August 23rd (1:00-4:30 PM) and Tuesday, August 25th (4:00-6:00 PM). Click to register  here. We hope to see you there and work together to learn and make a difference.  

Check out these additional resources:  

Ways to Help from Black Lives Matter 

Jewish Action in the face of Anti-Black Racism 

Anti-Racist Reads for Teens and Children  

Anti-Racist Articles, Social Media, Movies, Documentaries and Books 

Springboard is Proud to Announce This Year's LEAD Award Recipient

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LEAD Finalists

The LEAD Award (Leader Educator Advisor Dugma/Example) was created to recognize outstanding adults who go above and beyond in their role of educating and caring for Jewish teens. Springboard and JUF are thrilled to recognize Daniel Warshawsky as this year’s LEAD Award recipient! Additionally, we would like to recognize and thank all our LEAD Award Finalists, Adam Blue, Eric Golberg, Samantha Isenstein, Jessie Morris and Adam Rubenfire, for their incredible work and contributions to the Jewish teen community. Nominees were recognized by teens in the community who completed applications sharing how the nominee had influenced them. Here are some of the wonderful things teens said about their educators, advisors, and mentors. 

Adam Blue

Adam has been a role model for me for a long time.  He continuously demonstrates to the people around him the importance of respect and works hard at instilling the value of treating others with dignity and respect, no matter their viewpoint, among the interns he oversees.         – Jacob K.  

Jessie Morris

Jessie has been a role model to me because she is so positive whenever we have club and she welcomes everyone into club with open arms. Jessie is considerate and always gives the best advice while engaging in conversation with club members. -Ella R.  

Samantha Isenstein

Samantha has helped me with my leadership and is very flexible and works very hard for teens in our community. She is very caring and understanding of everyone and their needs. – Josh L.  

Eric Golberg

Eric is truly someone who helps me create fantastic programming by finding time to sit down and work with me one on one. Eric welcomes people into our chapter with the utmost respect, showing me what it looks like to be a leader.  Eric is consistently enthusiastic about programming, even if he himself is not directly part of the program. – Geoffrey G.  

Adam Rubenfire

Adam helped facilitate a connection, worked tandem with me in crafting an amazing program, and was there to congratulate and recognize me for developing what all the teens who attended said was an awesome program! Teens rarely receive recognition and gratitude from others in today's society, and Adam is someone that is constantly uplifting; we need more people in the world like him. – Andy N.

Daniel Warshawsky

Daniel has taught me the importance of finding your own path in Judaism. You don’t always have to follow exactly what your parents do or what your friends do, but you have to find what is most meaningful to you. He has also taught me to stand up against the injustices in Judaism. You don’t have to accept something just because it is written, you can challenge it and do what you think is right. – Stephanie K.  

#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Camp Tzedek

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Camp Tzedek

Camp Tzedek proved you can have fun and change your community at the same time (and virtually!).  Over the course of a week, Camp Tzedek gave campers a chance to learn more about homelessness, food insecurity, and youth-at-risk issues in Chicago.  We put that new knowledge to use as we evaluated grant proposals and site visits with six organizations.  At the end of the week, we awarded almost $8000 in grants to three different local Chicago organizations. Here are a few six word memoirs from campers to share what they learned over the course of the week. 

Teens can also make a difference.  – Kayla Kupietzky

Philanthropy is very interesting and fun! – Ethan Sugar

Philanthropy is sharing/donating your passions.  – Eva Beresin

It's surprising some students are homeless.  – Dina Levin

The organizations all wrote a proposal.  – Louie Bloomberg

The power of education and community.  – Emily Helfand

Giving time/money can change lives. – Eva Cohen

Making a difference can feel amazing!  - Talia Holceker

If you’re interested in making a difference in your community and teen philanthropy, consider applying for the Voices: the Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation board.

#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Noa Mishell

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Noa Mishell

How to Connect the Past to the Present

After the death of my Bubbe in 2016, it became my goal to preserve her legacy. My Bubbe was a Holocaust survivor of the Shavli ghetto and the Stuttoff concentration camp. I began to research the Holocaust, eventually pursuing an internship at the Illinois Holocaust museum. 

During my junior year of high school, my friend Lila Steinbach connected many Rochelle Zell students with the Illinois Holocaust Museum. We became interns at the Take a Stand Center. We facilitated the Holographic theatre and led special exhibits. 

The Holographic theatre allows visitors to converse with a holograph of a Holocaust survivor. While they are not talking to an actual person, it feels as though they truly met a survivor. They build a relationship with a survivor through this incredible technology. 

Moreover, whenever I had an opportunity to facilitate special exhibits, I connected with the visitors through education and a shared interest to create a better world. Most recently, I led an exhibit called Memory Unearthed. This exhibit displayed pictures that Henryik Ross, an inmate at the Lodz ghetto, took using a polaroid camera. Visitors learned about the Nazi horrors through the poloroids. 

What strikes me the most during my work at the museum is people’s reactions meeting a granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. Many visitors are shocked; they cannot believe that an 18 year old girl has a close relative who survived the Holocaust. 

While it does feel as though this tragedy occurred a long time ago in a distant country, we are still living in a world filled with hate. I truly believe that Holocaust education will help contribute to a more just world. Whenever visitors hear from the holographs or enter the special exhibits, they are able to pay witness. We must take these stories and keep them close to our hearts in order to create change in this world.

Noa Mishell is a recent graduate of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, and she is currently a freshman at Emory University. Noa was a Diller Teen Fellowship in 2019. She is passionate about Holocaust education and history.