On Sunday, April 25th, the Chicago Jewish community
came together for the 2021 Celebration of Chicago’s Jewish Teen Community. This
annual event is the only one of its kind, bringing together Jewish teens of all
ages and backgrounds, professionals, volunteers, clergy, Jewish teen
stakeholders and community members. The celebration publicly recognized the 18
Under 18 Honorees, the Jewish teen community, and the youth professionals,
clergy, educators and families who make it all possible. The event kicked off
with Shout Outs submitted by people from across the community sharing
milestones and accomplishments from the past year.
The celebration was led by talented and hilarious teen
MCs, Sophia Fine, Noah Shapiro, and Jacob Zucker, who reflected that despite
the unexpected twists and turns of the past year, one constant was the
incredible support, creative programming and meaningful friendships that took
place in the context of Jewish teen programming. This point was underscored in
the Year In Review Video, featuring teens and professionals sharing highlights
and memories from the last year.
program each of the 18 honorees shared how they are making a difference in the
community and how being named an 18 Under 18 honoree enabled them to bring
attention to an issue that they were passionate about. In his welcome, Lonnie Nasatir, the President of JUF shared that these teens do not represent the leads of tomorrow because they are already leaders today. Check out: 18 Under 18 honoree speeches 1 and 18 under 18 honoree speeches 2 and the Recognition Book to learn more
about the honorees and their Impact Projects.
Event attendees enjoyed a performance by the comedy troupe, Shalom Collaboration, a live performance by the teen band, Six On Friday, and a video from Tik Tok star Michael Winner. Finally, we had a chance to celebrate this year’s LEAD Award for teen serving
professionals and volunteers. The LEAD Award is special because nominations and
the review process are teen led. View the LEAD Award Video to learn more about this year’s LEAD Award Nominees: Isaac
Freedman, Maia Volk, Kevin and Allisa Horwitz, Alana Ben Zeev, Mady Frischer,
Zoe Russek and the LEAD Award winner Jessie Morris.
The event was hosted by Springboard and JUF. Springboard
was created to empower teens to find and create meaningful Jewish experiences,
elevate teen voices in the Chicago area, and connect teens and their families
to fantastic experiences. The Community Celebration provided a change to
celebrate the teens, professionals, and organizations that make our community
Special thanks to JTAC, the Jewish Teen Alliance of
Chicago, a teen board with representatives from different youth groups and
organizations, who helped plan the event and were instrumental in selecting the
honorees and the LEAD Award winner.