The Jewish Theatre of Elgin Produces Rosenstrasse at CKI

The Jewish Theatre of Elgin is producing their first play, Rosenstrasse by Terry Lawrence, which opens on Nov 3  at Congregation Kneseth Israel.

Rosenstrasse, which translates to Rose Street, is based on the true story of the Rosenstrasse protests in Berlin, Germany in 1943. The protest began on February 27, when Jewish men married to non-Jewish women were arrested from factories, detained and prepared to be shipped off to Auschwitz. Around 1700 men were arrested and taken to a holding facility on Rosenstrasse. Their wives started coming to Rosenstrasse to try to get their husbands back. Each day more and more women arrived.  They began to unite.

It is an uplifting, inspiring, and even funny at times telling of an important part of Holocaust history and education. You will laugh, you will cry, you will cheer as women find their voices, and you most certainly won’t want to miss this show.

How this production came to Elgin is a long journey. “I saw Rosenstrasse in 2002 in Grand Rapids, MI,” explains Sarah Klein, the producer. “It’s a story of women learning their strength and power against seemingly insurmountable odds. I saw it with my mother and my grandmother: two strong, smart, and passionate women. It’s a play and a piece of history that stuck with me. Sitting at the Tony Awards this year, I decided I needed to use my strength, my power to make this history known and bring this beautiful play to Elgin.

Closing night is my grandmother’s Yahrzeit, the anniversary of her death. She would have been proud to see me in this play, which shows formidable female role models.”

From the minute Gareth Mann Sitz walked into Congregation Kneseth Israel many years ago, she knew it was the perfect location for theatre. She decided now was time for Jewish theatre in the Elgin area, and after talking to Klein, they resolved to bring Rosenstrasse to Congregation Kneseth Israel and  to Elgin.

The Jewish Theatre of Elgin is performing Rosenstrasse in remembrance of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, which took place on Nov 9-10 in 1938. Kristallnacht refers to the broken glass littering the streets after the Nazis attacked Jewish people and property.

“One of the things I love about performing this play at CKI is the audience will sit beneath the beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary,” Klein commented. “I think history like Rosenstrasse where Jews and non-Jews can help and protect each other and organizations like the Jewish Theatre of Elgin where Jews and non-Jews work together to create a show are similar to stained glass windows. We take something broken, this broken glass from Kristallnacht, and put it together into something beautiful.”

Klein explains that there is so much more special to her about performing in the sanctuary. The aisles are used extensively in this production as the streets. There is always motion, movement happening throughout the play and it puts the audience in the action.  Above the bimah, stage, there is a Ner Tamid, eternal light. “For me, I see the  Ner Tamid as the presence of God in the story. So much of this play is about the power of women and the power of love, the Ner Tamid becomes part of it for me.”

The Jewish Theatre of Elgin is proud there are many skilled people within the local Jewish community. Our director is Jewish, the producer, the stage manager, people creating music, sets, props, and costumes, as well as some of the cast are Jewish as well. But as the story of Rosenstrasse shows, so much can be accomplished when we work together, Jews and non-Jews. It enriches this piece to have diverse backgrounds. “We have a wonderfully talented cast that feels such a connection to this play, a need to tell this story. We have cast members who were born in Germany or had German parents. One cast member had a mother born in Poland in a German labor camp. Their experiences enhance the play,” remarked Mann Sitz.

“The moment I heard of the women’s protest at Rosenstrasse, I knew this story had to be told.  It’s about the power of women, the power of non-violent protest and the power of love itself.  Even today, women demand to be heard,” explains playwright, Terry Lawrence.

Performances are Nov 3 at 7:30 and Nov 4 at 3 and 7:30 at Congregation Kneseth Israel in Elgin. There will be a talk back after the 3:00 performance on the 4th with playwright Terry Lawrence, who  now resides in Vermont.  Any tickets for any of the performances gains access to the talkback. Tickets in advance are $15 for adults, $10 for students/seniors and at the door tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students/seniors.Tickets can be purchased online at or at Congregation Kneseth Israel.

Come see this story unfold of the power of love as women stand up to hate, to Nazis.

Upcoming at MCJC Week of October 16

For more information about any of these listings, please visit our website, either the provided links or the MCJC Calendar at

Wednesday, October 17
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:30 pm: Ritual Committee meeting at MCJC

Friday, October 19
6:30 pm: Shabbat Potluck Dinner CANCELLED
(See Saturday, October 20 Havdala program below.)

Saturday, October 20
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion
5:00 pm: Community Havdala Potluck Picnic & Bonfire at Ellen and Dale Morton’s Farm (See below, register through our website.)

Sunday, October 21
9:30 am: Religious School at MCJC
11:00 am: Adult Education with Rabbi Tom
1:00 pm: Diamonds Event  –  POSTPONED (watch for more info)
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:00-8:00 pm: MCJC-sponsored PADS Dinner, Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1320 Dean Street in Woodstock

Friday, October 26
6:30 pm: Shabbat Potluck Dinner

Saturday, October 27
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion

Sunday, October 28
8:00 am: MCJC Board Meeting at MCJC
9:30 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Education with Rabbi Tom
2:00 pm: Elgin Chapter of Hadassah Event at CKI

Wednesday, October 31
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
No Religious School

MEET SUNNY THE WONDER CHICKEN! — Saturday, October 20 (RSVP deadline Oct. 17)


Havdala Potluck Picnic & Bonfire
Saturday, October 20, 5 pm

Home of Ellen & Dale Morton
2321 S. Cherry Valley Road, Woodstock, IL.

All MCJC members and their family and friends are invited to spend an autumn evening at Ellendale, a small farm just three miles from MCJC. Come meet (or get reacquainted with) Sunny the Wonder Chicken and her sisters, walk the grounds, and enjoy a good meal, a Havdala service, and a bonfire.

Dress for the weather and the location—there’s plenty of room inside if the weather conspires against us.

Parking is available in a pasture if you bear to the left after pulling into the driveway.

Please bring a folding chair for each member of your party, and a veggie/dairy dish to pass.

Please RSVP to Ellen at or 815-353-0819 by October 17, and let her know what you plan to bring. You can also register on this site.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 20th! Don’t forget to RSVP so we know how many to plan for!

MCJC Collects Winter Coats for Those Who Need Them

MCJC is collecting winter coats, unused or in good condition, for adults and children. The coats will be distributed to low income families living in Woodstock and neighboring communities as part of the Woodstock Area Community Ministries 2018 Winter Coat Drive. 


Look for a can marked “2018 Winter Coat Drive” in the MCJC vestibule to place your unused or good condition winter coats that MCJC family members no longer wear.  


The 2018 Winter Coat Drive will end Monday, November 5. Please address questions regarding this community service project to MCJC social action chairperson, Bruce Weiss, at 815-338- 2721  or  

First PADS Dinner 2018-2019 season Wednesday, Oct. 24

Our first MCJC-sponsored PADS dinner of the 2018-2019 PADS season is Wednesday, October 24, 2018, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1320 Dean Street in Woodstock.

Five to six individuals are needed to help serve the meal (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm). Please contact Bruce Weiss or Amy Yoslov-Llanetta if you are able to help serve the meal. You can get in touch with us about preparing or serving via

For more information about PADS, Click Here. To find out about volunteering, please contact Bruce Weiss, MCJC Social Action Chairperson, at

Thanks so much for your help with this important community service project.

 Bruce Weiss, MCJC Social Action Committee Chairperson

MCJC Makes Book Club Selection

On Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:00 pm, MCJC will host a “One Book, One Community” discussion when it reviews Memento Park by Mark Savas.  Each year, in honor of Jewish Book Month, Spertus Institute selects a single book to be read and discussed throughout the Chicago area.

This year’s selection, Memento Park, is set in LA, NY, and Budapest (with a stop in Chicago) and begins with an unexpected call from the Australian consulate. Thus protagonist Mark Santos learns of a valuable painting believed to have been looted from his family during WWII. To recover it, he must repair his strained relationship with his father, unearth his family history, and restore his connection to his own Judaism.

The discussion at MCJC will be facilitated by Rachel Kamin.  For more information about the Book Club, contact Rita Janowitz.

Elgin Chapter of Hadassah Hosts “Double-Chai” Tea with Two Great Presenters

  • Are you currently a Hadassah member but not affiliated with any chapter?
  • Were you ever a Hadassah member in the past?
  • Are you interested in learning more about Hadassah and the benefits of membership?

The Elgin Chapter of Hadassah invites current & previous Hadassah members, associates and guests to attend our

‘Double-Chai’ Tea!
Sunday, October 28 at 2:00 pm
Congregation Kneseth Israel, 330 Division Street, Elgin, IL 60120

Our Featured Speaker is Bonnie Lipton, National Hadassah Past President. Bonnie is also an Honorary
Vice President and a five-generation Life Member.
She currently serves as National Building Chair for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and is a member of the Hadassah Medical Organization Board of Directors.

Our Guest Presentation is Marilyn Price, nationally renowned storyteller. Since the beginning of her career, Marilyn has been working with adults as a teacher and mentor, utilizing her skills as a storyteller and a personal fascination with her own Jewish roots. She also is known for her work with younger audiences by including her renowned puppetry skills.

It’s only $36.00/pp to attend. Refreshments catered by kosher caterer, Becky Albert. “Hats and gloves” are welcome and encouraged!

Reservations must be mailed by October 24, 2018 to:
Barbara Maring Kulefsky, 349 Wentworth Lane, Bloomingdale, IL 60108. Please make your checks payable to: Hadassah.

Questions? Please contact Debbie Sternfeld: 847-985-1122.

To learn more about Hadassah, please visit the Hadassah website.

Join your neighbors for FaithBridge’s 12th Annual Thanksgiving service

Join your Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Baha’i, Muslim, and (fill-in-your-affiliation) neighbors for FaithBridge’s 12th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Living in Unity; Within Diversity All are One.

This evening of song, drumming, and unifying words — to give thanks, enjoy fellowship and make an offering for the benefit of others — will be held at Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road, McHenry, at 7:00 pm on Sunday, November 18.

A drum circle will be led by Greg Rajsky, so bring your percussion instruments! The choir of Tree of Life will participate, and an offering will be requested for area food pantries, and for FaithBridge’s future programming.

FaithBridge Interfaith promotes mutual understanding and respectful relationships among diverse religious communities in McHenry County and surrounding areas.

For more information, contact M.E. Tanabe at, or Rabbi Maralee Gordon at

Torah: Living in the Paradox: Universalism vs. Particularism

Lech Lecha 2018

Please join us for Shabbat worship and Torah study, 9:30 am.

Throughout the Torah, in fact, throughout Hebrew scripture, there is this constant tension, an ongoing, irresolvable paradox between the universal and the particular. The Torah seems to be telling us that we are to live in this friction. This paradox. That one informs the other and visa versa.


Torah: Genesis 12:1 – 17:27 – Click here.
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16 – Click here.

This week our readings and Torah discussion focus on:


  1. Gen. 12:1-3, p. 69
  2. Gen. 12:4-6, p. 71
  3. Gen. 12:7-13, p. 72


Isaiah 40:27-41:16, p. 95

Upcoming at MCJC Week of October 9

For more information about any of these listings, please visit our website, either of the provided links, or the MCJC Calendar at

Wednesday, October 10
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School

Friday, October 12
6:30 pm: Shabbat Potluck Dinner

Saturday, October 13
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion

Sunday, October 14
9:30 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Education with Rabbi Tom
1:00 pm: Join your Shalom Group of friends and family for: Steen Metz My Story: Surviving the Holocaust (see below)

Monday, October 15
6:00 pm: Communications Committee Meeting, off-site

Wednesday, October 17
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:30 pm: Ritual Committee meeting at MCJC

Friday, October 19
6:30 pm: Shabbat Potluck Dinner CANCELLED
(See Saturday, October 20 Havdala program below.)

Saturday, October 20
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion
5:00 pm: Community Havdala Potluck Picnic & Bonfire at Ellen and Dale Morton’s Farm (See below.)

Sunday, October 21
10:00 am: Religious School (off-site at CKI Elgin for a special program – see below)
11:00 am: Adult Education with Rabbi Tom
1:00 pm: Diamonds Event

Sunday, October 28
8:00 am: MCJC Board Meeting at MCJC

The Jewish Heart of McHenry County

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