A Jewish Joke
July 6th-July 31st, Various Times, Victory Gardens Theatre
Set In 1950’s Hollywood, at the height of the Communist Blacklist, we meet irascible comedy screenwriter Bernie Lutz. Played with flair by the wonderful West Coast actor Phil Johnson (originally from Chicago), he is funny, lovable, and has made his way up the ladder by being a spineless Hollywood sellout. Now he has been asked to name names and give up his friend. He has one day to decide if he will accede to government demands or protect his friend and save his soul. Experience one man’s journey, simultaneously through a historical reality and into the depths of his own being, is at the heart of this multi-layered, compelling, and relevant play about anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia. Get your tickets here. Use the code JOKE at checkout to get your tickets for $22!
Tahara Training Workshop
July 24th, 4:00-6:00pm, Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd
One of the most powerful mitzvot can only be done for a person who can’t return the favor: preparing the dead for burial. The Progressive Chevra Kadisha (led by Mishkanites Liz Feldman and Rabbi Suzanne Griffel) will offer a tahara training on July 24 from 4-6 pm at Chicago Jewish Funerals. All are invited to attend. The training will be geared to those with no prior tahara experience and will include an introductory presentation and discussion of the origins and purposes of tahara in Judaism, followed by a step-by-step demonstration of the tahara process. Attendees do not have to commit to participating in taharot to attend. But there will be information at the training about volunteering. Several Mishkanites are already planning to be there! Come learn why the performance of tahara is a radical Jewish act. Email Liz if you wish to attend or if you have questions.
Shabbat on the Lake
Friday August 5th, 5:30-10:00pm, Waveland Clock Tower, Addison & the Lake
Join JCC Chicago for the 6th Annual Shabbat on the Lake – the premiere lakefront event of the summer for young adults. In its sixth year, Shabbat on the Lake is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. With over 500 people celebrating on our city’s beautiful lakefront, you’ll mingle with friends new and old. Enjoy drinks, kosher eats, music, activities, interactive workshops, Shabbat services (Egalitarian & Orthodox) and so much more. More information and registration here.
JCUA Interfaith Dinner and Shabbathon
Friday August 5th, 6:30pm, Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken, 6601 S. Kedzie
This summer, Chicago will commemorate 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic march through Marquette Park. In honoring Dr. King’s legacy and inspiring us to continue fighting injustice in our city today, there will be an unveiling of the MLK Living Memorial on Friday, August 5 and a commemorative march and festival on Saturday, August 6. As part of this celebration, JCUA will be holding an Interfaith Dinner and Shabbaton. This is an opportunity for JCUA members and Chicago’s Jewish community to commemorate Martin Luther King’s legacy, and be inspired to take action with JCUA on today’s pressing social justice issues. More information and registration available here.
KAM Isaiah Israel Farm & Food Forest School
July & August, KAM Isaiah Micro-farm and Food Forest, 1100 East Hyde Park Boulevard
Interested in learning about urban agriculture? How to design and install a food forest? Join KAM Isaiah for any or all of their eight free workshops this July and August at their award winning micro-farm and food forest in Hyde Park.
Hosted by KAM Isaiah Israel’s nationally recognized Food Justice and Sustainability program, this dynamic, hands on summer program is an intergenerational learning experience open to teens and adults and is free of charge. Beginning and experienced growers are welcome to attend any or all of the eight topic-focused sessions, which are designed to complement each other as stand alone classes or be taken as a full course. Enrollment is limited & certificates will be awarded. To sign up and secure a space or if you have questions, please email FarmSchoolDirector@kamii.org. For updates and additional information please visit www.kamii.org/farmschool
Deep words from fellow Jen Network Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar:
Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was established on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on the first night of Passover, 1943. Today we mark the day with reflection, the recounting of survivor testimonies, and, in Israel, a two-minute siren that stops commerce and conversation across the State. These observances are designed to keep the tragedy of the Holocaust in our active memory.
This year, I’d like to reflect on the choices we make as we remember, sharing a teaching of our beloved teacher Rabbi Harold Schulweis. In 1988, Schulweis described the centrality of the Holocaust in Jewish collective memory:
“The Holocaust is the nightmare from which we struggle to awake. It intrudes on our sleep and spills over into our waking moments. The Holocaust is the dominant psychic reality in our lives… [It] shapes our stance towards the world and our self-understanding. How could it be otherwise? Who could expect that a people that lost two out of every five of its members – 40 % of its community – should emerge unscathed, unscarred, fully normal?”
How we work through that trauma, how we extract meaning from the madness, Schulweis argued, would be the most critical question of post-Holocaust generations.
And here is where the question of choice in memory becomes utterly essential.
“There is something tragically wrong when our children know the names of Eichmann, Himmler and Klaus Barbie, but not the names of the Christian families who hid Anne Frank and her family in an attic for two and a half years.”
That is a choice – a choice that reinforces a narrative of good vs evil, perpetual enemy and eternal victim. That is not only alienating, but increasingly self-destructive.
Again, in Schulweis’s words:
“The reiterated myth that the whole world wants us dead – always wanted us dead and will always want us dead – is pernicious and false. We are never so alone as when we act on that belief. There are friends out there and potential friends, friends to be cultivated. Remember the evil, but do not forget the good.”
On this Yom HaShoah, let’s tell stories not only of victimization, but of survival. Not only of human cruelty, but also of courage and compassion. Because we owe the victims and the survivors more than the memory of the horrid places where they and their loved ones were murdered and the names of those who oversaw the slaughter. We owe our children – further and further each year from the fires of Europe – to know that their inheritance is more than accidental survival. We honor the memory of those whose lives were tragically cut short when we remember that every day brings the opportunity to infuse love, humanity and moral courage into a landscape of increasing incivility and cruelty.
Today, I hope that we’ll choose to remember in a way that elevates our pain – for the sake of those who perished and those who survived, and for all of our sakes.
Rabbi Sharon Brous
You may recall in January when we introduced you to the Jewish Emergent Network, a groundbreaking national collaboration between seven independent spiritual communities, including Mishkan Chicago. Along with the amazing communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and New York, our first project together is a national rabbinic fellowship- funded by visionary philanthropies across the country who are excited to train the next generation of Jewish leaders… and guess what? The fellows are here! Check out the full press release about this initiative here. Allow us to introduce you to ours:
Rabbi Lauren Henderson
Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellow @ Mishkan
Lauren is finishing up rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, with a Masters in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care, and is thrilled to be joining the Mishkan Chicago team as the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellow this summer. She will stay with us for two years, and then will take her training from Mishkan put it work inspiring and energizing Jewish life wherever she goes next.
About Lauren: Lauren grew up in a small but mighty Jewish community in Spartanburg, South Carolina as part of an interfaith family and went from there to Rice University in Houston, where she graduated cum laude in Religious Studies and History and was very involved with Houston Hillel. After a year at Pardes in Jerusalem, Lauren began her rabbinic studies at the Ziegler School in Los Angeles (connecting with Rabbi Lizzi along the way) and then moved to New York to continue studying at JTS. She’s taught Torah and led prayer in a wide variety of settings such as IKAR in Los Angeles, the Pelham Jewish Center in New York, and Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Cleveland, and also served as a chaplain with DOROT and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Last summer, Lauren worked with 5th and 6th graders at Camp Ramah in the Rockies as their Rosh Edah (unit head) and is particularly pumped about working with Mishkan’s littlest Mishkanites and their families.
When she’s not doing Jewey things, Lauren loves running, baking, spontaneous dance parties, and can’t wait to rock out to all the Mishkan davening tunes with the rest of the community on a regular basis when she lands in Chicago this summer.
Want to send some love her way? Write her an email to welcome her!
ONE Northside’s Community Convention
Sunday April 10, Doors open at 2pm, Lake View High School 4015 N. Ashland
Join this gathering of 1,200 north side residents united by shared values of racial, social and economic justice. We will celebrate our organization’s victories over the past two years and hold key decision makers accountable to our communities’ priorities. More information available here.
Email Amir:email@example.com with questions and to RSVP.
TOV Good Deeds Day
Sunday April 10th, All Day, Various Locations
TOV Good Deeds Day is an annual tradition of good deeds. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to volunteer and help others, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world.
JUF states the following, “Chicago’s inaugural participation is Good Deeds Day is planned for Sunday, April 10, 2016 and we hope to engage hundreds of Jews across the Chicagoland area. The day will consist of two parts. We will be partnering with agencies across Chicagoland to offer a variety of hands-on volunteer projects for people of all ages and demographics. We will also host a volunteer open house, where people can stop by the Weinger JCC in Northbrook anytime throughout the afternoon to volunteer for a variety of projects. This will be a great opportunity for families with young children or large groups of people looking to volunteer together.”
Check out all the various activities!
Read more about this global initiative here & Register here.
JCUA’s Annual Freedom & Justice Sedar
Monday April 11th, 6:30 – 8:30pm, Beth Emet Synagogue 1224 Dempster, Evanston
Every year during Passover, we recall our Jewish story of being oppressed as strangers in Egypt. As we honor and remember this story, JCUA believes we must make the connection between our history of oppression as a people, and the importance of standing with those who face oppression today. At this year’s Seder, we will come together as a Jewish community to stand against Islamophobia and hate in Chicago. It is imperative that now, more than ever, we decry this kind of senseless discrimination, and take action to ensure that everyone in our city is treated with respect. Remembering that “we were slaves in Egypt”, means upholding the dignity, safety, and inclusion of vulnerable communities today. More information and registration here.
We know going from work to rest on Shabbos can be a little hectic, and that potlucks can feel a little daunting, so let’s try something new. To help build a diverse potluck table we’re going to try a potluck theme for this month. (Please note: these are not mandatory, and if you are not able that’s cool, too. You do you.)
This (March) Potluck @ AES:
Bring something that begins with the same letter as your last name. [Ex: A-Apple pie, B-Broccoli casserole, C-Carrot Salad…Q-Quinoa] If your last name stumps you try your first name.
Just remember to make sure its vegetarian and nut free!
More Light, More Joy.
For the third year in a row, Mishkan Chicago made the Slingshot Guide, highlighting innovation and creativity on the Jewish landscape (both the national and Chicago editions) and we could not be more proud of this community we’ve built together, or more grateful.
The Guide writes, “The mission — to inject traditional Jewish values with a dose of modernity—shines through Mishkan’s classes, leadership teams and one-on-one learning sessions that bring together Jewish young adults and leaders in the community for mutual inspiration….all with a touch of cool that has given Mishkan a reputation for being very 21st century with a deeply spiritual Jewish heart.“ Download the full guides here.
This year, we also share this recognition with our Jewish Emergent Network family:Ikar, Lab/Shul, Sixth & I, Kavana Collaborative AND our Chicago partners:SVARA, Avodah, Moishe House Chicago, Orot, Interfaith Family, JCUA & Jbaby. Mazels all around!
As we grow into 2016, we’ll be continuing to innovate and build Mishkan– we’re launching The Mensch Academy, hiring a Rabbinic Fellow, growing our Space at 4001 N. Ravenswood for more classes, workshops and programs, connecting more neighborhoods with Locals-based Jewish social and learning events, recording and sharing more music and DIY Judaism videos online, launching a new website, and design-thinking our way through the Jewish calendar to create authentic, DEEP and FUN celebrations of holidays from Purim to Yom Kippur. And so much more.
There is so much thirst out there for meaning, community, purpose and inspiration, and we continue to be inspired by YOU as we work every day to create all that here in Chicago, and the reverberations are reaching far beyond our city. Thank you for being part of this remarkable journey with us.
We want your gently used bras! No, seriously. This Purim, Mishkan has partnered with Free the Girls, an organization working to provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking overseas. What’s a bra got to do with it? Well, your donated bra, will journey across the sea (to Mozambique, Uganda or El Salvador) where it will be used as a commodity for micro enterprises run by female victims of sex trafficking. Pretty amazing right? So dig deep (through your drawers) and bring your gently used bras of all shapes, sizes and styles to Purim this year. Vashti would be proud of you. Oh, and if you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, do that here!
The Dreamcatcher Foundation travels Chicago streets 4 nights a week to make contact with and offer support to victims of sex trafficking. Mishkan will be collecting the following items and creating mishloach manot bags out of them to donate to the foundation during Purim. These items can be easily ordered on amazon or purchased from your local drug store (only travel sized, new & unopened items please):
Toothbrushes • Toothpaste • Hand Sanitizers
Hand Lotions • Granola Bars • Tissues
We’ll be packing bags from 5:45 onward before the megilah reading at RIGHTEOUS DEBAUCHERY. So come, bra, hand sanitizer and toothbrush in hand… grab a drink and a grogger for your other hand, and let’s make a difference in someone’s life this Purim.
Mishkan is thrilled to introduce you to the Jewish Emergent Network, a groundbreaking national collaboration between seven independent spiritual communities, including Mishkan Chicago! Our first project together will be a national rabbinic fellowship, training the next generation of visionary Jewish leaders. What this means is that a recent or soon-to-be graduate of rabbinical school may be joining our staff as full-time clergy for two years, learning about prayer leadership, music, community-building, pastoral care, connecting with young adults, our various volunteer teams and families…and we couldn’t be more excited!
Read The Official Press Release Here!