8th - 12th Grade

We are excited about our new approach to Jewish learning for 8th through 12th graders which offer choices in terms of content and structure to better match student interests and schedules. Students can come once, three times, part of the year or the whole year. Some offerings are at NSCI and others take participants around the community, the country and even to Israel.

Our goal is to offer opportunities for our students to experience Jewish education that speaks personally to them and their interests, enabling them to connect with other teens, our rabbis, cantor, education director, youth director and teachers along the way.

To model our commitment to lifelong learning, we are moving the culminating communal experience for teens from 10th grade Confirmation to 12th grade graduation as part of our Youth Celebration.

We encourage participants to bring a friend from NSCI or around the community to these courses. All of the 8th through 12th grade offerings are open to students from around our region, regardless of synagogue affiliation.

You can pay as you go or pay one flat fee for the year. (Travel experiences are not included and have a different fee process. For Ta’am Yisrael you must register through the CFJE.org website). Those from outside of NSCI pay at a higher rate.

Click HERE to view the 8th - 12th Grade Brochure.

8th  - 12th grade Fees:

Selah: $500
Machonik & Machonik Training: $65
All Other Offerings except Travel: $240
Single Class Only: $40



Arts & Culture

Selah: Prayer and Song Leaders - 6th-12th grade

Sundays, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, September 11 through May 2
Share your love for making music with the community by participating in Selah, and lead worship with Cantor Goldstein and noted song leader & composer Alan Goodis.

Visual Arts Studio: Exploring Jewish Themes through the Visual Arts - 7th-8th grade

Tuesdays, 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm, August 30 - May 2
Want to learn new art techniques as you explore Jewish topics and themes? Come apprentice with fashion designer, artist and art instructor Zoya Nudelman. The first hour is with Zoya learning new skills, using different media, and using the creative process to interpret Jewish themes. The second hour, students work on your own creations.

Jewish Soul Food: Cooking & Culture - 9th - 12th grade

Mondays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm, December 5 (Chanukah), March 6 (Purim), and April 3 (Passover)
Join Rabbi Greene to cook Jewish holiday and Israeli foods, things you’ve heard of, and some you have not. Nourish your body and soul, too, as we explore the origins of the foods and how they became “Jewish foods.” And we’ll eat!

Hebrew Prep for High School - 7th & 8th Grade

Tuesdays, 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm, August 30 – May 2
Thinking about taking Hebrew in high school? Want to get ready for that experience? Did you like Hebrew through Movement? Want to learn more about Israel through exploring its language? Join Mrs. Gordon for a fun packed two hours including learning modern, conversational Hebrew through games, songs, videos, and celebrations. Class is open to any interested student regardless of their level. The class is well suited to those who were in 5th/6th Conversational Hebrew or those who liked Hebrew through Movement. Students will have the option of strengthening their Hebrew knowledge and skills by serving as Jr. Machoniks for students enrolled in either Hebrew Plus (3rd/4th grade) or 5th/6th Grade Conversational Hebrew.

Advanced Cantillation: Chanting from the Book of Esther at Purim - 8th-12th grade

Wednesdays, 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm, October 19, November 2, 9, December 14, January 4, February 1, 15, and March 1, 8
Did you know the Book of Esther has its own chant? Join Cantor Goldstein to learn this special chant and perhaps chant part of the Megilah during our Purim Festivities.

Teen Topics

Why Be Jewish? Jewish Identity Exploration - 8th grade

Wednesdays, 6:15 pm - 7:30 pm, September 14, October 19, November 9, December 7, January 11, February 8, March 8
What matters to you? Mrs. Courtheoux invites you to explore Jewish traditions and ideas in a peer community. Sessions combine hands-on projects; fun, relevant, surprise activities; and substantive, non-judgmental discussions. Dinner included.

Make a Difference in Our World: Judaism in Real Life - 9th-10th grade

Wed, 6:15 pm -7:30 pm, February 8, 15, 22 and March 1
You can make a difference! Explore complex issues of our world today and jump into healthy debates. Examine world news and lessons from Judaism to find our social justice voices and see how Judaism can, in fact, help inform our opinions. Learn with Rabbi Greene and Lisa Kritz, who has over twenty years of professional activism experience.  Dinner included.

Election Year: Unpacking Hot Topics - 11th-12th grade

Tuesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Oct 18, 26, November 2 - Election Night, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, November 8, at the home of Neil Rigler
Explore how the elections can make a difference in your life. Join Neil Rigler to wrestle with some of this year’s hottest election topics rooted in Jewish texts and values.

So You Want to Go to College? Navigating College with a Jewish Lens, Part I - 12th grade

Wednesday, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, October 17 at Claim Company, Northbrook Court
Join Rabbi Geffen for dinner and conversation about navigating the college application process: an exciting, stressful, confusing, thrilling, frustrating, joyous time in your life! We’ll reflect on your experience and process through a Jewish lens. Dinner is on Rabbi Geffen!

So You’re Going to College! Navigating College with a Jewish Lens, Part II - 12th grade

Wednesday, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, April 19 at Claim Company, Northrbook Court
Yeah, you’re going to college! Now what happens? Join Rabbi Geffen for a dinner conversation about your joys and disappointments, hopes and fears as you prepare to start college. Dinner is on Rabbi Geffen!

Finding My Path: 12th Grade Culminating Conversations - 12th grade

Sundays, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, March 5 and April 23, 30
Seniors, explore with Rabbi Greene big questions of meaning and identity over good food as you finish high school and take your next steps. Where are you and what are you thinking about on the meaning front? We'll have some tools for the road, too.

Text Messages: In Depth Torah Study - 9th-12th grade

Sundays, 11:00 am-noon, September 18, November 13, December 11, January 22, Feb ruary 26, and March 19
Ask yourself: “What does this Torah portion have to do with my life?” Dive into Torah with Rabbi Daniels, uncovering what Torah teaches about relationships, sexuality and gender issues, body image, and responsibility.

Stress, Spirituality & Yoga - 9th-12th grade

Mondays, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm, December, 5, 12 and Mondays, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm, April 24 and May 1
High school can be really stressful! Join Rabbi Geffen and guest teachers to learn meditation and relaxation techniques rooted in Jewish tradition, and experience yoga from a Jewish frame.

Tikkun Olam/Social Justice

Feed the Hungry: Maot Chitim - 9th-12th grade

Sunday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm, September 18
Maot Chitim feeds 24,000 needy Chicagoland Jews, providing holiday meals for Rosh Hashanah and Passover. Join Maot Chitim to pack nonperishables for Rosh Hashanah packages in September. Yes, there are Jews in our community, who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Provide them with a holiday meal and the support of our Jewish community. We can make a difference!

Build and Be Built - 9th-12th grade

Date, time, location TBA. Space is limited.
Learn what Judaism says about housing and homelessness. Join Rabbi Greene as we put our values into action. Participate in a day of service at a home being rehabbed by Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) to provide affordable housing a family with modest income in Highland Park, Lake Forest or Evanston. These families are just like ours. Help make a house a home for a family who needs one!

Leadership Development

Machonik Training 101 - 8th-9th grade

Sundays, 10:15 am - 11:00 am, September 11, 18, 25, October 16, December 4, 11 with Neil Rigler (Required for 8th & 9th grade Machoniks)
Do you like working with younger kids? Do you want an opportunity to be a leader and role model? Dr. Goodman wants you! Gain knowledge, skills and work experience in the religious school on Sundays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Machonik Training 201 - 10th - 12th grade

Sundays, 11:00 am - noon, Sepembert 18, October 23, November 6, December 4, January 22, and Feberuary 12
Join Dr. Goodman for teacher training on classroom management, lesson planning, leading a discussion, asking questions while increasing your Jewish knowledge. You get paid your regular Machonik rate for these sessions and an increased rate next year for completing the program.

NSCI Teen Interns - 11th - 12th grade

Informational Meeting Required: Sunday, September 25, 11:00 am - noon
With Dr. Goodman, design your own paid 20-hour internship here at NSCI! Internships are a learning experience that taps your interests and/or skills and contributes to NSCI. Options include: creating a film, teaching a class, designing a website, coordinating a tikkun olam project. Application deadline: Oct 7.

Travel  and Learning

Ta’am Yisrael – “A Taste of Israel” - 8th grade

February 12 – 20, 2017 or March 26 - April 3, 2017
Join 200 Chicagoland 8th graders on a trip of a lifetime! Strengthen your connection to Judaism and Israel. Participate in an archaeological dig, trek through deserts, swim in the Dead Sea, visit historical sites, explore museums, meet Israelis, and most importantly, make lasting friendships! The trip is well-funded, safe and well-staffed! Click HERE for more information.

Ta’am Yisrael Prep for NSCI Participants - 8th grade

Wednesdays, 6:15 pm - 7:30 pm, January 25 and March 1
Join Rabbi Daniels for a 2 session seminar on Israel, Reform Judaism, our community and you. Meet other Ta’am participants and hear from past travelers about what the trip is like, what to bring, and how to prepare. After the trip, you get to relive the experience! Dinner included.

Southeast Civil Rights Journey - 9th-11th grade

February 2 – 5, 2017, Pre-trip: Monday, January 30, 2017, 6:00 pm, Send-off Dinner
Post-trip: February 13, 2017, 6:00 pm -7:30 pm, Reunion Dinner

Journey with Rabbi Daniels to America’s Deep South! Visit the Rosa Parks Museum, the Voter Rights Museum, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom Park, & The Civil Rights Institute. Learn about the struggles of African Americans in the 50s-60s, and discover how the Jewish community helped to shape the Civil Rights Movement. Walk away with a deeper appreciation for why we Jews, a people who has known oppression, must fight injustice in our neighborhoods and around the globe. Meet once prior to the trip to prepare for the experience and afterwards to debrief the journey.


For more information about course offerings, contact Dr. Roberta Goodman at [email protected]. To register please contact Jennifer McKeag at [email protected].

View the Goodman Center for Religious Education's Blog.