September 19, 2012 By
height=”100″ />Establishing an important new presence in the center of the country, American Friends of Tel Aviv University has named Rick Kruger as its Director, Midwest Region, effective August 6, 2012.
“Rick’s skills and experience will enhance our professional development team, and allow us to introduce our remarkable university to new friends and supporters,” said Gail Reiss, AFTAU’s President & CEO.
Rick joins AFTAU from Jewish National Fund where he served as Director of the Chicago Region. While at JNF, he worked closely with leadership to raise the profile of the organization, strengthen the board, and set new records for the annual campaign. Previously, he spent 14 years as a marketing consultant, primarily in the
food, automotive aftermarket,
and travel industries. He began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble, and rose through the ranks at companies including Sterling Drug, Beatrice Esmark, and Hinckley and Schmitt.
Rick is deeply involved in the Chicago Jewish community. He currently serves on the Chicago Board of the Anti-Defamation League. Rick served for many years on the board of North Shore Congregation Israel and was President of the synagogue’s Men of Reform Judaism. He has also served as Regional President of the Men of Reform Judaism and on the regional board of the Union of Reform Judaism. He was a member of the board of the Museum and Education Committee of the Holocaust Museum of Illinois, which was responsible for building the landmark museum. Rick also served many years as a Trustee of Wilbraham & Monson Academy, his alma mater in Wilbraham, MA.
He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Syracuse University.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University (www.aftau.org) supports Israel’s leading, most comprehensive and most sought-after center of higher learning. Independently ranked 94th among the world’s top universities for the impact of its research, TAU’s innovations and discoveries are cited more often by the global scientific community than all but 10 other universities. Internationally recognized for the scope and groundbreaking nature of its research and scholarship, Tel Aviv University consistently produces work with profound implications for the future.
August 28, 2012 By
width=”300″ height=”199″ />Here are just a few of the many Jewish learning opportunities during the lunch hour. Some do not list dates and places on their websites and others are taking a summer break, resuming in the fall. Check dates by phone or email.
Chicago Torah Network holds Lunch and
sessions at the
Northbrook JCC, directed by Rabbi Moshe Katz.
Jewish Education Team, founded by Rabbi Zev Kahn, offers JetNet
for young adults that includes downtown Lunch and Learn sessions
with guest speakers and networking. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Jewish United Fund occasionally holds a Lunch and Learn program,
co-sponsored by YLD and AIPAC young leaders. Although none are
currently scheduled, check for programs by visiting www.juf.org.
L’Chaim Center’s Rabbi David Begoun holds Executive Lunch and
Learn sessions at business offices upon request.
Torah Learning Center of Northbrook’s Rabbi Yehoshua Karsh leads
a topical discussion at noon at 1st Equity Bank, Buffalo Grove on
Mondays (no lunch) and sometimes conducts a lunch session at Mizrahi
Grill in Highland Park on Fridays. www.torahlearningcenter.com
Hebrew Theological College offers a Gourmet Torah at Shallots
Bistro, 7016 Carpenter Rd. in Skokie. Call Rabbi Joshua Zisook, 847-
982-2500, ext. 113. www.htc.edu/services/community-lectures.html
Komimiyus-North Shore Torah Center holds a Lunch and Learn
every other week at Much Shelist. Classes can be arranged in homes
and offices upon request. For more information, call 773-465-8183.
B’nai Joshua Beth Elohim (BJBE), Deerfield, holds a lunch program in
the Loop on last Wednesdays and in Northbrook on first Wednesdays.
Both sessions are led by Associate Rabbi Brian Stoller.
Chicago Loop Synagogue has a Kosher lunch, D’Var Torah learning
experience with a guest rabbi and Mincha service on Wednesdays.
Temple Jeremiah, Northfield, holds lunch sessions led by Rabbi Paul
F. Cohen at a downtown Chicago law office on last Wednesdays.
Rabbis from Anshe Emet Synagogue lead a discussion of Torah,
Jewish practice, and Jewish values every Friday at noon, hosted by
Levenfeld Pearlstein, 2 N. Lasalle, 13th Floor. Classes are open to all
and include a dairy lunch ($10/members, $12/nonmembers).
August 10, 2012 By
t=”152″ />Warning: This piece may be controversial. If you have trouble with an opinion that challenges conventional thinking about students’ learning full time well into their late 20’s and beyond, while being supported by the government through various welfare programs – stop reading.
My Bubby (grandmother) raised me from the day I was born until I made it through college and got married. She worked as a seamstress and at her peak, pulled in $110 per work (including overtime pay). With that income (our only source of income in the household), she paid off a mortgage, fed our family and put me through college. My Bubby never took a penny from the government or a dime of charity her entire life. Her work ethic was an example for me and all those who were fortunate to know her. I’m proud to say that I graduated from college with $50.50 to my name. I raised two children and now grandchildren and work very hard, without ever taking money from the government. My children also work hard to pay tuition, feed their children, etc. It feels good to know that my Bubby’s strong work ethic was not in vain.
My Bubby’s generation was just that way. It was considered a “shanda” disgrace to accept charity or not work to support your family. Men would go to Synagogue in the morning and then work 8-10 hours to earn a living. At night, they were home with their family. On the Sabbath, back to synagogue to hear the Rabbi speak. When possible, they would attend sudy sessions and special lectures by the Rabbi during the week.
Somehow today, things have really changed. Boys start out learning in Yeshiva (Religious School) and then go on to Kollel (advanced study) for married men. They learn for years, and at the same time, raise a family. At best, the mother may have a part time teaching job to bring in some money or the husband might give lessons to earn a few dollars. Most of the family “income” comes from the government in the form of public aid, food stamps, housing supplements, etc. In the secular world, some “college students” are on the 5-8 year program taking government PELL money to pay for their education, welfare and food stamps, etc. – all while living at home and pursuing a prized degree in some “hot” area of study that employers are clamoring for. “Students” in their 30’s have yet to earn enough to feed themselves and still believe their status as a “student” is acceptable.
How can we come to terms with the fact that we have generations of people who have never held down full time employment and who rely on government and
charities to sustain themselves and their children?
Our greatest Rabbis throughout the ages have made it clear that while nothing comes close to education and dedicated study – there is a time to combine that study with the pursuit of livelihood.
Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) (O.H.#156): After a session
of study, go to work.
Rambam (Maimonides) (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:10) Whoever decides that he will study and not have a job and therefore will be financed from charity causes a disgrace.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record. The rate of welfare dependence is growing at an alarming rate. Do the math and you can see that an economic model of less people working to support more people receiving government benefits cannot be sustained. What will become of these “educated,” but unemployable adults when the government can’t pay out welfare any longer? It’s frightening.
In my opinion, it’s time to get a job – any job.
As parents, we must teach our children the importance of working for a living and to provide for our needs from the fruits of our own labor. As educators, we need to teach our students that while an education is important, it’s a means to an end. The purpose of education is to learn to be a productive member of society and to make the world a better place, according to the will of our Creator. For the vast majority of us – a basic education in our chosen field combined with hard work and a lifelong commitment to a healthy mix of work/learning is the proper path.
July 5, 2012 By
Two years ago, Tziporah Gelman weighed almost 300 pounds and knew she needed to make a change, so she stepped into her first Zumba class at her local gym.
Today, Gelman is a Zumba instructor, in great shape and changing the lives of Jewish
women in the community for the better. It was love at first dance move, when Gelman took her first Zumba class.
“To me it didn’t feel like a workout, it really felt like a party,” she said. The Zumba program, which was created in 2001, is like a fitness dance party that uses Latin-themes and international music to create a fun, dance party vibe that gets people moving and burns calories.
Over the next year-and-a-half, Gelman lost more than 130 pounds. When her class at the gym no longer worked with her schedule, Gelman, a schoolteacher and rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife), hired her instructor to host private classes for Jewish women, many of whom didn’t feel comfortable exercising in front of men. When the response became overwhelming, her instructor encouraged Gelman to become the teacher.
“She kept telling me, ‘You have it, Tziporah, you’ve got the gift. You have it, your community needs it.” And when her instructor moved out of town, Gelman
thought seriously about becoming a Zumba instructor herself. “Maybe I really could do this for the Jewish community and get my community moving,” she said. “I know for myself I was so heavy and couldn’t get out of the rut, and maybe I could inspire other people to get in shape and to do it in a fashion that was actually really fun.”
So she became a licensed Zumba Instructor and AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) Certified Group Fitness Instructor and found a small space to open Frumba Chicago, LLC. Fifteen Jewish women came to her first class, 20 came to the next, and, within a month, she had 50 students. So she rented a bigger space at the Bernard Horwich JCC, and currently rents from the Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation on Touhy and Crawford. Eventually her classes got so large that she hired three of her students to get trained and become instructors as well. She now attracts some 300 students.
For people who didn’t have an active social life in the Jewish community, Frumba Chicago is their connection. “They can now be in Jewel or Hungarian [Kosher Foods] and see
somebody and they smile because they’re part of this secret club,” Gelman said.
And while many of her students are from the Orthodox community, there are other Jewish women with no affiliation and even women who are not Jewish.
“It’s just so beautiful because I could have 90 women in the room and there are just so many parts of the community that are represented,” Gelman said. “If we were sitting and talking Judaism, it would probably be a very heated debate, and yet here we come and we exercise and we just have an amazing and great time and it’s just pretty magical.”
Gelman has been described by women in the community as a crusader to improve the health and lifestyle choices of Jewish women. “I think a lot of women in the orthodox community very often have a lot of kids and they sort of get put on the back burner. Their health and their well-being very often [aren't prioritized] because life happens and it happens very quickly,” she said. “My mission and my dream have always been to get the Jewish community moving.”
While she says Zumba is not for everyone, she encourages women of all ages and backgrounds in the community to check out a class at least once. “You’ll never know unless you come and try.”
For more information and class schedules, email email@example.com, or visit the Frumba Chicago page on Facebook.
May 23, 2012 By
Not every community in America has a Keshet – a unique organization serving individuals with special needs throughout their entire lifespan. However, this Chicago based organization is now breaking out nationally with the launching of the Keshet Leventhal Professional Development Center
, providing full service consultations for communities across America that aspire to replicate the model Keshet has so successfully created in the Chicago area that include educational, recreational, vocational and social programming.
“After the consultations we’ve been invited to over the past few years, we understood that there is a real need outside Chicago to establish organizations like ours,” says Abbie Weisberg, CEO/Executive Director of Keshet. This year, Weisberg will represent Keshet as one of the featured speakers at the 2012 International Autism Conference in Jerusalem, alongside leading international autism researchers representing over 20 countries.
The areas of expertise of Keshet’s professional staff include structured teaching, effective inclusion, volunteer training, teacher mentorship, classroom support, ability awareness, peer/buddy training programs, home/school connection, structured recreation and leisure activities, etc.
To receive more information about the Keshet Leventhal Professional
Development Center, contact Abbie Weisberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.keshet.org.
Keshet: A Rainbow of Hope for Children and Adults with Special Needs is a
nationally recognized, state-of-the-art 501(C-3) non-profit organization, providing community based educational, recreational, and vocational programs for children, teens and young adults with varying and multiple developmental disabilities. Keshet’s goal is to enable children with disabilities to participate as fully as possible in the mainstream of community life.
May 5, 2012 By
height=”164″ />Steven Page, former lead singer of Canadian alternative rockers Barenaked Ladies, will headline an eclectic music mix Sunday, June 10, at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival in Morton Grove.
While Page has performed all over the world, winning fame and critical acclaim as the lead singer/songwriter of Toronto-based Barenaked Ladies, many fans don’t know that — since leaving the group in 2009 to pursue a solo career — Page has drawn from his Jewish heritage to write several songs that speak from this very important side of his personal life.
He will perform those songs along with selections from the Barenaked Ladies days and other music from his solo career, headlining a jam-packed and varied lineup showcasing various aspects of Judaism on four stages at the Cook County Forest Preserve on Oakton Street west of Lehigh Street in Morton Grove.
The Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, produced biannually since 1980, features Page and a panoply of Jewish performers, arts, crafts, dance, kosher food and kids activities. The festival will kick off at 11 a.m. June 10, running through 6 p.m.
“We offer what no other music festival can offer, “ said Michael Lorge, founder and chair of the Festival’s production group. “It’s an opportunity for mainstream performers to offer up their mainstream music. The ultimate crossover.”
Besides nonstop music, the festival will have a storytelling stage, a children’s activities area, dance performance, and a strictly kosher food fair featuring vendors offering kosher pizza, hot dogs, falafel and unusual food treats.
Frankel, the executive chef for Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at Chicago’s Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, will demonstrate how to make
the best, tastiest Jewish dishes.
The musical lineup at the Festival includes:
- Blue Fringe, a New York-based, hard-pounding band with a longstanding commitment to traditional Judaism
- Soul Aviv, a California band that has created its own Jewish “gospel” sound
- Rabbi Joe Black, a Colorado performer whose style ranges from liturgical music of the heart to humorous children’s music
- Moishe Skier, hard rockers from Milwaukee
- Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, Chicago’s premier Jewish concert band
- Well-known Chicago acts Stuart Rosenberg, Tracy Friend & Andy Dennon, Shakshuka, Ruby Harris, Listen Up!, Kol Sasson
- And many others
In between performances, attendees can walk the Festival grounds through a juried art show, where 100 artists from around the world will show and sell all manner of art, including paintings, soft sculpture, jewelry and other wearable art. Artists include Ketuba (marriage contract) calligraphers, weavers and ceramists.
The children’s activity area will include a family stage along with a variety of hands-on activities for kids.
“We create a kind of town square of Jewish Chicago, where people meet, sing and eat, and get to appreciate Jewish culture,” Lorge said. “It is just a kick to throw a party for 20,000 folks and know that for that day, everyone gets along and enjoys the music, dance and art.”
The Festival is produced by the Jewish POCET (Production Organization of Cultural Events and Theater), an all-volunteer, not-for-profit production group.
“We started the Festival in 1980, partially to explore evolving expressions in Jewish identity in America and partially to demonstrate that as a community we can gather not just when there is a need to respond to community crises,” Lorge explained.
The festival has become the largest event in Chicago’s Jewish community and is also the longest-running Jewish festival in America.
Plenty of free parking will be available. A free shuttle bus will bring festival-goers to the main gate. Entrance to the Festival is free, but a $5 donation can help the organizers defray costs.
For more information or to see the entire lineup, call the Festival at (847)-933-3000 or visit www.jewishfestival.org.