Jewish Person of the Week – Adam Mogilevsky
Let’s Meet Jewish Person of the Week – Adam Mogilevsky
I grew up on the Northside of Chicago in Uptown. It was such a unique place to live around at the time. The individuals I grew up were primarily Holocaust survivors, Russian Jewish refugees, and other individuals living under section eight housing. Looking back, it had such a huge impact upon my heritage and understanding of where my people came from in regards to this small community.
What did you do Jewish growing up?
Since my family came from the former USSR, religious holidays weren’t really celebrated as much. My family was pretty secular, however, from time to time we did celebrate Channukah and Russian “Christmas” or also known as New Years which is something that many individuals who grew up with families like mine celebrated. Originally, it stemmed from Stalin who wanted to bring up Soviet morale and productivity (after his ban of all religious holidays) in the 1930s.
What do you do now?
I will say I gained such an appreciation of my Judaism within my college days with Hillel and AEPi – as of right now, I do my best to do holidays with my family when we have the time. My goal for the upcoming year is to possibly find a community similar to mine (LGBTQ+ and Jewish) so I can begin digging deeper into my own Judaism as it pertains to my intersectional identities.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Loyola University Chicago in 2015 for my undergraduate degree in History, and received my Masters in Science of Educational Studies with a concentration in Secondary Education at Johns Hopkins University.
What do you do for work?
After doing 3 years with Teach For America in Eastern North Carolina, I returned to Chicago to continue my work in ending educational inequity within CPS – after a year of working in CPS, I was given the opportunity to work at Ryan Banks Academy (Chicago’s first urban boarding school for at-risk youth on the south side of the city) where I am starting off the year being the founding 7th and 8th grade Lead Humanities Teacher; which, truly excites me as I will be following my children to the 9th grade and possibly on-ward.
Tell us more about The Ryan Banks Academy
Ryan Banks Academy, Chicago’s first tuition-free co-educational urban boarding school, propels students from all socioeconomic backgrounds into the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and world-changers. Agile, learning- based, and committed, RBA meets students and families where they are with the investment required to help each student thrive. —- you can find more information about our commitment to SEL, STEAM, and Family Engagement here.
What have you done throughout your career and how did you end up in your current role?
My career is focused around social justice, and equity, and dedication for the LGBTQ+ community. In High School, I began my journey and created a lunch and learn for teachers to professional develop their skills on how to properly support LGBTQ+ students in the classroom. Throughout my time in TFA, I continued to pursue social justice and helped create the first LGBTQ+ alumni board within Eastern North Carolina’s Teach For America region (and now Chicago).
Tell us more about your experience participating in Teach for America
One of my biggest achievements was when I began my work with Teach For America and was placed in a small school called Warren Early College. The amount of academic growth, commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL), and complete conceptualization of social and political consciousness that took place in that school within my three years there demonstrated the impact I had during my time there. The children that I served really made me the teacher I am today and I thank them for it constantly through my recommendations for them.
I have worked with training new TFA teachers and building curriculum throughout Teach For America on the regional level (Eastern North Carolina and Chicago) and was given the opportunity to work within CPS through the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in their first-ever TFA-AUSL leadership cohort through a turnaround school. I am so incredibly blessed to be doing this work within my hometown, but also recognize that the work is hardly ever over because I am actively trying to disrupt the systemic inequity that disguises itself to be the equilibrium.
What do you do for fun/to relax?
I genuinely enjoy spending time with people (that’s where I get my most energy from) but when I am feeling introverted I also indulge in self-care which is just relaxing with my dog, watching Rupauls Drag Race or Netflix.
What is your favorite Jewish event in Chicago?
While I don’t know of many events going on in the city – I do know that I went to an intergenerational LGBTQ+ Shabbat that Shaily Hakimian hosted back last fall. That experience had me thinking about the individuals who have lived lives before us. I got to really see people for who they were at that Shabbat and while I know it was somewhat unorthodox in nature, it was truly a blessing getting to meet people and hear their inspiring stories of what life was like back in the day in Chicago – we don’t hear much about the historical inequity amongst the LGBTQ+ community in the ’60s and ’70s.
What is your favorite hidden gem in Chicago?
For me, always the Berlin nightclub – they have these amazing Drag performances that I really enjoy. It just opens the door for new and creative forms of living art.
What is your favorite way to spend shabbat?
I truly thrive off of my village, so to speak, I enjoy hearing how people are doing and just digging deep in conversations. I think we live in a city that is powered by urgency and ultimately we are always in a rush. I like sitting down and just getting to know the people around me at a deeper level. We are all living this amazing experience and my life isn’t the only one living so I want to see the human experience through others as well.
Top three things on your Chicago bucket list?
1. I still need to go to the Willis Tower
2. Ride on a Yacht on Lake Michigan
3. be able to go out during the wintertime with the weather being at 40 degrees and not -50
When the tribe gathers – the vibe matters!