Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, December 13 - Next ICJA boys' Night Seder, 8pm at the Skokie Kollel (This is a weekly event on Tuesday evenings.)

  • Thursday, December 15 - Next ICJA boys' Mishmar, 8pm at the Skokie Kollel (This is a weekly event on Thursday evenings.)

  • Sunday, December 11 - ICGC Bat Mitzvah 7:45pm (see flyer below)

  • Friday, December 16 - Pep Rally 9th period

  • Monday, December 19 - Sunday, January 1 - Winter Break - no classes (Chanukah begins the evening of Sunday, December 18 and concludes the evening of Monday, December 26.)

  • Monday, January 2 - Classes Resume

  • Tuesday, January 3 - Asara B'Tevet - early dismissal 2:30pm

Welcoming the Chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization to ICJA

Students heard a Hebrew-language speech by Mr. Yaakov Hagoel, who visited ICJA on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, December 6, Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), visited Chicago. On his itinerary were two schools: in the morning Mr. Hagoel visited the Herzl School on Douglas Blvd. (opposite ICJA's old location); in the afternoon, he visited ICJA, learning what a Modern Orthodox, Zionist school in America looks like.

After meeting with local rabbis, Mr. Hagoel gave a moving speech to ICJA students. Speaking entirely in Hebrew, he described the founding of the WZO and the role his organization plays in ensuring the vibrancy of Jewish life in Israel and around the world today.

Pictured above: students listening to Mr. Hagoel's speech in Hebrew

Pictured above: sophomore Coby Engel with Mr. Hagoel

Senior Shabbaton

Last Shabbat, our senior class enjoyed a meaningful, joyous Shabbat together, as well as pre-Shabbat chesed and a motzei Shabbat laser tag party.

Last Friday, ICJA seniors kicked off their Senior Shabbaton with a day of chesed at Cradles to Crayons, a national organization fighting clothing insecurity in children. After sorting and packing items, seniors travelled to a hotel in Northbrook, where they prepared to welcome Shabbat.

Shabbat was a wonderful experience full of ruach, togetherness and fun. Sam Gurvich, Adi Seruya, Moshe Osgood, Emma Felix and Charli Ernstein elevated the Shabbat with insightful divrei Torah.

Motzei Shabbat, the fun continued with a laser tag party. Thank you to Mrs. Alissa Zeffren for organizing this wonderful event, and to chaperones who helped make this event so successful.

Pictured above: seniors listening to instructions at Cradles to Crayons

Pictured above: the laser tag party

Mrs. Chavee Gottlieb's 10th Grade Chemistry Class

Students determined which chloride salts were present in compounds by burning them and observing the flames.

Sophomores in Mrs. Chavee Gottlieb's Chemistry class identified the presence of metal ions in various salt compound by burning them. Since ions of different elements have specific characteristics based on their emission spectrums, each element emits a different color flame when burned.

(See the Spotlight on Mrs. Gottlieb below for a fun fact about this lab.)

Pictured above: Toby Burstyn and Aiden Zukerman

Pictured above: Talia Linzer and Lilac Marcus

Erika's Lighthouse

Students created gratitude calendars to brighten the month of December.

On Monday, students participated in a special Erika's Lighthouse meeting during breakfast. While the group enjoyed doughnuts, sophomore Ella Perlman explained the morning's activity: creating a calendar where students can write down compliments to themselves every day of the month in order to proomote self esteem and positivity.

Photo credits: freshman Yaffa Hoberman and sophomore Tali Weiss.

Ms. Ruth Gleicher's and Mrs. Beth Pognitz's 9th Grade Biology Classes

Students performed an experiment using "elephant dung".

Which seeds will germinate first: seeds that were extracted from sand, or those that were extracted from "elephant dung"? Freshmen in Ms. Ruth Gleicher's and Mrs. Beth Pogonitz's Biology classes began a new experiment this week to answer this question: their hypothesis that the seeds extracted from a substance similar to elephant dung will germinate sooner because of the nutrients present in the "dung." Students extracted seeds from both media and placed them in Petri dishes to find out.

Pictured above: Benny Kalman and Aaron Katz extracting seeds

Pictured above: Dina Gottlieb and Ezra Mauer extracting seeds

Pictured above: Yaffa Hoberman and Esti Mora extracting seeds

Pictured above: Leah Jacobs and Macks Kroll extracting seeds

Ms. Sheri Goldstein's 12th Grade Creative Writing Class

Students are creating complete, original books aimed at children.

Seniors in Ms. Sheri Goldstein's English class are creating complete, original books.

After plotting out action and characters, students are each writing an entire children's book, complete with text and illustrations.

Pictured above: Mika Gabay with her book

Pictured above: Hersch Linzer with a page from his book

Pictured above: Adam Schwartz with a page from his book

Pictured above: Adi Seruya with his book

Rabbi Louis Fliegelman's 9th Grade Boys' Talmud Class

Students and fathers davened together at

Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Skokie.

On many Sunday mornings, students in Rabbi Fliegelman's freshmen boys' Talmud class, along with some fathers, meet at different Chicago-area synagogues to daven together, then share a breakfast and divrei Torah. Last Sunday, December 4, fathers and sons met at KCT in Skokie.

Pictured above: Aaron Katz, Mr. Lev Katz, Eli Gelb, Dr. Mike Gelb, Natan Rine, Mr. Jeremy Rine, Rabbi Gellman, Avi Rubin, Dr. Robert Rubin, Josh Miller, Mr. David Miller, Daniel Allswang and Rabbi Louis Fliegelman

Mrs. Rachel Polsky's 11th Grade Boys' Chumash Class

Students are learning וָאֵרָא.

Juniors in Mrs. Rachel Polsky's 11th grade boys' Chumash class are learning the laws regarding Jewish slaves in the Torah. This week, they worked on mastering some advanced vocabulary in Parshat וָאֵרָא.

Pictured above: Jacob Pick and Jakob Wortman learning b'chevruta

Mrs. Beth Pogonitz's 10 Grade Girls' Honors Chumash Class

Students are learning the laws of  נזיר using different perushim.

Sophomores in Mrs. Beth Pogonitz's Chumash class are learning the laws of Nazir in Parshat נָשֹׂא. A key question they're answering is why does the Nazirut of Shmuel and Shimshon seem to differ from the Nazirut described here? Students are reading the commentaries of Rashi, Kli Yakar, Sforno and Rambam to gain insights.

Pictured above: Tali Weiss and Lea Ackerman

Pictured above: Eliana Levine and Nava Dreytser

Pictured above: Lauren Fensterheim, Leah Brochin and Sarah Lipson

Pictured above: Daria Lennon and Aliza Shyovitz

Rabbi Menachem Rosenbaum's 9th Grade Boys' Navi Class

Students welcomed ATT's Rabbi Yoni Gold and learned a fun new way to take notes.

On Wednesday, freshmen in Rabbi Menachem Rosenbaum's Navi class welcomed Rabbi Yoni Gold, Director, Program Assessment and Quality Improvement at Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago - and the husband of ICJA teacher and mechanechet Mrs. Alise Gold.

Rabbi Gold taught a new form of taking notes in comic book form. As Rabbi Rosenbaum taught the class about midrashim and other views of Haman, students took notes, first in a traditional way and then using Rabbi Gold's example of pictures, arrows, captions and other comic book elements. The results were a surprisingly fun and engaging way to record information.

Pictured above: Natan Rine taking notes using comic book elements

Pictured above: Yair Bell taking notes in a new way

Wrestling Aces

The Wrestling Aces enjoyed a victory on Monday night.

On Monday evening, Ida Crown hosted New Trier and Rickover Naval Academy for the Wrestling Team's home opener. Junior Gabriel Klein (106) started the evening off against the Trevians with a first period pin. He was followed by Senior Captain Menachem Reed (113) who added his own first period pin to the proceedings. Junior Ari Klein (113) pinned his opponent in the third period, while Sophomore Aidan Zuckerman (132) earned a second period fall. Junior Millo Benmelech (170) needed only 1:26 to score a pin in his match. In the end, New Trier prevailed in the match, 42-24, but it was a fine showing by the Aces against a talented and veteran Trevian squad.


The Aces enjoyed better fortunes against Rickover. Gabriel Klein claimed a second first period fall on the evening. Reed tallied a major decision, 16-4, as he also won his second match of the evening. Senior Captain Sam Gurvich (145) pinned his opponent in the first period. Senior Captain Avi Zeller (145) followed Gurvich with a first period fall of his own. Benmelech added another first period pin to his season total. Senior Captain Moshe Osgood (126) and Ari Klein also added victories. The evening was capped off in fine fashion as Senior Gabe Simon (220) won his first career match with an emphatic first period pin. Ida Crown beat Rickover by a final score of 44-30.


The Aces return to action next Tuesday, December 13, when they host St. Viator. On Wednesday, December 14, the wrestlers travel into the city to take on DePaul College Prep and Phoenix Military Academy.

Student to Student

Last week, Student to Student delivered presentations to scores of students, putting a human face on Jewish life and helping battle anti-Semitism, one student at a time.

Last week, Student to Student gave presentations about Judaism and Jewish life to three World Studies classes who were about to learn about WWII and the Holocaust at Intrinsic Schools, Belmont Campus, and to two sociology classes which are learning about world religions at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville.

At Intrinsic, one student who responded in our survey that they had never met a Jewish person before said: "I really enjoyed how they had hands on examples of things from their religion this made it so much more interesting learning about such an important thing in our world." At Neuqua Valley, a student shared: "I didn’t know how prevalent antisemitism was in our society." 

Pictured above:junior Leeya Starck, senior Adi Seruya, junior Ben Baronofsky, and seniors Hadassah Bernstein and Emma Felix speaking at Intrinsic Schools

Pictured above: senior Chaya Laber and juniors Taly Benzaquen, Jacob Friedman and Evan Comrov speaking to students at Nequa Valley High School

ICJA Teacher Wins Prestigious Award

Yasher koach to Tanach and History teacher Mrs. Alissa Zeffren on winning a creative lesson plan award from the Rella Klepak Foundation for her JH artifact assignment.

Yasher koach to History and Tanach teacher Mrs. Alissa Zeffren for being one of ten winners of an award honoring creative lesson plans, awarded by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in Performing Arts.

Mrs. Zeffren's award-winning lesson plan asked her sophomore Jewish History (JH) students to create replicas of ancient artifacts for a virtual museum. (Click here to link to one of the projects, by sophomores Ella Kakon, Emily Darlow, Aliza Shyovitz and Simona Fridberg.)

"It's an honor to be recognized by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in Performing Arts for my lesson plan submission. My goal in the lesson plan was to give students a hands-on creative experience in analyzing ancient artifacts in connection with Tanach, and to make events in Tanach come to life in new ways for the students by viewing them through a historical lens. Students created exhibits to present their research about their assigned artifacts and Tanach texts, which enabled them to step into the role of educators themselves in sharing their research with their classmates. Finally, students created artifact replicas using any materials they chose as the centerpiece of their exhibits. The artifact replicas used a variety of artistic mediums including 3D printing, edible artifacts, clay, and Legos!" - Mrs. Zeffren

Spotlight on Mrs. Chavee Gottlieb

This week we caught up with ICJA's Chemistry teacher and Science Department Chair Mrs. Chavee Gottlieb and asked her a few questions about herself.

Where did you grow up? And where do you live now?

I grew up in West Roger Park, and I live in West Rogers Park today with my family: my husband, usually my four children (one is in Israel this year), and my dog named Riley. I actually live across the street from fellow ICJA teacher Mrs. Alise Gold.

What made you decide to become a Chemistry teacher?

I love Chemistry! After earning a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry at Loyola University, I completed a Master's in Chemistry at Northeastern, and a Master's in Education at Brandeis. I enjoy sharing my passion with students.

What is your favorite part of working at ICJA?

There is such a high level of support from the parents. Students here are really motivated to be successful. A lot of them are looking forward to using what they learn in a real practical way in their future college careers and beyond.

What is a favorite ICJA memory?

One fun memory is when Fox News came here during the 2017-8 school year and did a morning segment from our school! They filmed my students doing the very same fire test that's featured above in this week's newsletter, when students burned different salt compounds to identify what metal ions were present. That was a lot of fun.

Is there anything most people don’t know about you that you’d like to share?

I see the world through the lens of a scientist, and I see all of the wonderful things and the intricacies that G-d has created. One of the things I love to do is take scientific principles and see how they align with the ideas of Judaism.

Zaidy Robert Berezin, z"L Court Cam

Watch home games in ICJA's gym from the comfort of your own home with the "Zaidy Cam".

The Zaidy Robert Berezin, z"l Court Cam allows fans to watch games taking place in ICJA's gym. This week's Varsity Aces game against Crystal Rey was the first time that ICJA's new Media Club provided live commentary on the Zaidy Cam.

To watch the Zaidy Cam during game, click here.

ICJA Open House Video

Watch this year's Open House video

for prospective students - and share it with people you know who'd like to learn more about ICJA!

Upcoming Yeshiva Visits

  • Hakotel - December 12th, 5th/6th periods
  • Mechina Keshet Yehuda - December 14, breakfast

This Week's Learning Dedications

This week's sponsors included:

Thursday, the 14th of Kislev, 5783, December 8, 2022, by Yocheved and David Bechhofer & Family, with gratitude to Hakadosh Baruch Hu on the anniversary of multiple kindnesses shown to our family throughout the years.

Wednesday, the 13th of Kislev, 5783, December 7, 2022, by David and Laura Allswang and family, Elliot and Leah Allswang and family, and Shari and Azi Feifel and family, In loving memory of Harold Allswang, z"l, on the occasion of his 51st yahrzeit

Tuesday, the 12th of Tevet, 5783, December 6, 2022, by the Yellin Family, in loving memory of our beloved sister and aunt, Barbara Y. Rosenfield, z"l,

בריינא בת דבורה אסתר ,ז״ל

For more information or to sponsor a day of learning, please contact our Director of Development, Deva Zwelling, at (773) 973-1450 ext. 115, or

2022-2023 Learning Commons Passwords 

Be sure to pick up your updated ICJA Learning Commons passwords to access books and journals online!

In addition to many thousands of physical books and journals, ICJA's Learning Commons contains tens of thousands of online books, journal articles and other resources, including subscriptions to newspapers such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and more.  Students are able to access these resources through our portal.

Please stop by our librarian Mrs. Steinberg's desk in the Learning Commons or email her at her to pick up your updated passwords to access our online material. ICJA's subscriptions are available at

Send Your School News to the ICJA Newsletter!

Do you have school-related news you'd like to see in this newsletter? Let us know!

If you have exciting ICJA-related news to share about classes, sports, clubs, or other projects, please tell us! Send news tips and/or photos to Dr. Yvette Miller, Director of Communications at Your items can enhance our newsletter and ICJA's social media presence.

School Announcements

Charlotte's Web is funded by a grant from The Susan and Joseph Ament Fund.

Community Announcements

Student Internship Opportunities

The YU Torah Mitzion Kollel is looking to hire 2 interns: one to help with program logistics and general office work and one for technology.

Program Logistics Intern

Responsibilities include: grocery shopping for events, ordering food for events, and stuffing envelopes for mailings. The work will be on an as needed basis, generally requiring no more than 2 hours on any given week.

Intern will report directly to the Director of Operations, who will meet with the intern periodically to explain assignments.  

Intern must have access to a vehicle.

Technology intern

Responsibilities include: Editing Audio and video clips, uploading media to Youtube and Podcasts, possibly some data entry. This position will include approximately 1 hour of tasks per week.

Intern will report directly to the Director of Operations, who will meet with the intern periodically to explain assignments.  

Familiarity with any form of editing software a plus but not required.

For more information or to apply, please contact Tracy Schultz, Director of Operations,

Introducing ICJA Bar Association for Alumni

Introducing ICJA Bar Association: a way for ICJA alumni
who are lawyers to form informal connections.


Connecting ICJA Alumni in Israel

The first ICJA Israel Connect directory is out.

Last summer, ICJA gave its Class of '22 alumni the second edition of our directory listing ICJA alumni who live in Israel and have graciously offered to open their homes to recent ICJA grads who are currently spending a gap year in Israel.

Thank you to the many alumni who have reached out to us, offering to host.

The directory was sent out to the emails of '22 grads that we have on file. If you have any questions or would like to update our contact information to help recent ICJA grads obtain a copy, please contact Dr. Yvette Miller, ICJA Director of Communications, at

We are still taking submissions from alumni who are willing to host, to include in future copies of this directory. Please contact Dr. Miller to be included.

Support ICJA when you shop on Amazon - Here's How

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Inspiring bnei and bnot Torah to thrive in the modern world
ICJA is an affiliate of the Associated Talmud Torahs and a partner with JUF in serving our community.

Ida Crown Jewish Academy
8233 Central Park Avenue
Skokie, Illinois 60076

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