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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

Springboard Blog

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Becoming Part of A Jewish Community By Alex Newman

(Jewish Journey) Permanent link   All Posts

I was immersed in to the Jewish culture at a very young age. From ages three to eleven, I attended a Jewish elementary school. With Hebrew and Jewish studies classes every day, along with temple on weekends and being amongst like-minded Jewish individuals, my culture surrounded me. Unfortunately, aside from this privilege, I did not enjoy my time at that school, and left after fifth grade. From then on I had felt detached from my religion because it was no longer all around me. In some ways, no longer attending such a religiously affiliated school made me feel less Jewish. It wasn’t until two years later when one of my best friend’s, Sofia More, had her Bat Mitzvah that I rediscovered my love for my religion. Before that day, I had trouble connecting with one of the most important Jewish values, community, because I associated the Jewish parts of me with a place I felt no belonging in. Watching someone I cared so much about stand on the Bema made me realize that how I connected to my religion was up to me. I realized I was no less Jewish because I didn’t read Hebrew every day, or because I no longer attended a Jewish school.  I finally saw my religious community not as the one I had left, but the one I had joined. From then on I’ve been much more aware of how I bring Judaism into my own life, which is exactly why I became a Peer Ambassador. I’m excited to learn more about what being Jewish means to me, and how I can once again immerse myself into that culture.

Alex Newman is a Junior at Lane Tech High School where she’s on the Track and Field team, is the co-president and captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, and a member of the Omega program. Outside of school, Alex is the secretary of the Piece by Peace organization, a youth outreach program run but students. Alex’s work with these programs has been rooted in her Jewish values, specifically that of community.