McHenry County Jewish Congregation Open House

Sunday, August 25, 2019
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

The McHenry County Jewish Congregation (MCJC) Membership Committee invites you to an Open House and New Member Brunch, in conjunction with the Opening Day of the MCJC Religious School 2019/2020.

The event is Sunday, August 25, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at 8617 Ridgefield Rd. in unincorporated Crystal Lake.  It is accessible from Route 14.

View our Religious School in action, tour the building, and meet members, teachers, and Rabbi Tom Samuels. A community brunch starts at 11:30 am, with kosher hot dogs and veggie/pareve foods prepared by congregants.

RSVPs are required by August 20 at

MCJC is the heart of Jewish life in the greater McHenry County area. We offer

  • a full schedule of weekly worship services
  • holiday services (the High Holy Days begin this year September 29, and include children’s services)
  • Friday evening potluck dinners
  • social events
  • social action programs
  • a Religious School and Hebrew program that meets one weekday afternoon and Sunday mornings
  • a growing library of educational videos from Rabbi Tom for Torah study, Shabbat celebrations, songs, and more

If you would like to find out more about membership in our vibrant MCJC community, please email

Thanks for the 1st Clean up Day Help – Please Join Us August 21 for the next one!

Thanks to all who showed up on Sunday for the first of two MCJC clean up days this summer.

With the help of Lou Dolmon, Leslie Cook and Andy Andrick, Bruce Weiss, Karen Koenig, Dara, Seth and Eli Turnball, and Ellen and Dale Morton, we got a lot accomplished!  Next time you’re at MCJC, take time to appreciate the cleaned beds in the front, the planted flowers and the newly painted swing set.

There’s still plenty to do at the next clean up day on Sunday, August 18. Join us if you can!

Erev Tisha B’Av Service & Study Session, August 10, 2019

On Saturday, August 10, at 7:00 pm, at MCJC, members Gene Lindow and Muriel Pick will co-lead a special Tisha B’Av program.

The evening includes Havdala, readings from the Book of Lamentations / Eicha, and a discussion group titled: “From Victimhood to Victory – The Dilemma of Suffering and Forgiveness.” 

We look forward to sharing this time together the evening of Saturday, August 10.

About the Discussion Topic: 
From Victimhood to Victory – The Dilemma of Suffering and Forgiveness

  • The benefits of staying victimized (why do we whine so much?)
  • The rewards of moving toward healing
  • The power of spiritual strength
  • Lessons from our Jewish resources
  • How do we get past anger and fear from those who have hurt us?
  • A practical home exercise: Can we control others behaviors? Who can we control?

About Tisha b’Av:
Tisha B’Av culminates the Three Weeks, an annual mourning period for the destruction of the Holy Temple, an event that launched us into a still-ongoing exile. It is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that many other tragedies befell the Jewish people.

Tisha B’Av is the time we begin, as individuals and as a community, to do a Heshbon HaNefesh, an Accounting of the Soul, as we prepare for the High Holy Days.

“Prayers”by chaim zvi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Upcoming at MCJC Week of June 18, 2019

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

Wednesday, June 19
2:00 pm: Lunch and Learn at Panera Bread, 6000 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Ethics of our Fathers Series, Part 3 of 4 (How to Live a Life of Meaning and Purpose) – please follow the link to register.
6:15 pm: Ritual Committee

Friday, June 21
6:30: Community Shabbat Service & Potluck Dinner (If you can bring veggie or dairy food to share, please let us know what you’ll bring at

Saturday, June 22
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion. Extended Kiddush following morning service to include light fare, Zemirot, Talmud Torah (If you can bring veggie or dairy food to share, please let us know what you’ll bring at

Sunday, June 23
MCJC Clean-Up Day (Please see article for details.)

Wednesday, June 26
2:00 pm: Lunch and Learn at Panera Bread, 6000 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Ethics of our Fathers Series, Part 4 of 4 (How to Live a Life of Meaning and Purpose) – please follow the link to register.

Thursday, June 27
6:00 pm: Communications Committee Meeting, Panera Bread, 6000 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake, IL 60014.

Friday, June 28
6:30 pm: Friday Night Shabbat at Rabbi Tom’s Table – Please visit our website at, the upper right column, for a beautiful video welcoming you to this “Palace in Time.”

Saturday, June 28
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion

Sunday, June 30
8:00 am: Board Meeting

Torah: Beha’alotcha

Please join us on Saturday morning at 9:30 am for Shabbat worship and Torah study.


Moses lives fully embracing his complicated human self. For this we say, לֹא קָם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶה עוֹד. No one human can replace, replicate, the greatness of Moses. לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת-פָּנָי: כִּי לֹא-יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם, וָחָי
I, God, will not allow you human beings, to see My face and to live. The prophet is human, after all.

Please note: These trope links connect to the beginning of the whole Torah portion / Haftarah. Find a specific reading with the drop-down box at the top, right of the page, and/or by using chapter and verse.

Torah: Numbers 8:1 – 12:16  Click here.

Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7 – Click here.

This is the week! MCJC Needs a Little Help from our Friends

Dale Morton, Chair of our MCJC Building and Grounds Committee, has set two dates for summer outdoor cleanup and maintenance work: 

Sundays, June 23 and August 18, 8 am – noon

All materials are provided, and you don’t need special skills. We just need you in work clothes joining your MCJC friends. The major areas where we need help are: 

  • Paint the playground equipment
  • Weeding in flower beds
  • Reduce the burn pile out back
  • Plant flowers
  • Paint the benches and back stairs.  

Please let Dale know if you can help out on one of those days

Let’s Have Fun Together at the Woodstock Folk Festival, Sunday, July 21

The next MCJC “Let’s Have Fun together” program is the Woodstock Folk Festival, Sunday, July 21, Noon-6:00 pm in the park on the historic Woodstock City Square.

MCJC members and friends should bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs and meet at 11:30 am on the Woodstock Square in the park and get ready to enjoy an afternoon of soulful music and wonderful fellowship.

This is the 34th consecutive year for this outstanding musical festival. An eclectic mix of performers from the U.S., Canada, and the UK will perform blues, country,  Americana, a cappella, international, traditional, and contemporary folk songs. The afternoon’s music program will also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Lunar Landing and Moonwalk which took place July 20-21, 1969!

The Festival features a Main Stage, Open Mic Stage, Children’s Area, and a Blues Workshop. With a diverse musical line-up and an array of activities for people of all ages, the Festival will offer something for everyone.

The suggested donation for the event is $15 for seniors and students and $20 for adults. Please RSVP at so that MCJC “Let’s Have Fun Together” Committee Co-Chairs, Burl Cohn and Bruce Weiss, will know how large a space to reserve in the park.

MCJC Book Club wraps up the 2018/19 Season and plans for 2019/20

Over the past year, discussions among MCJC Book Club book choices ranged from a novella based in Israel, to historical fiction rooted in ancient Christianity, to an autobiographical account of what it means to be Jewish in modern day New York. 

The group met four times from fall through spring, and each time, the discussions were enhanced by the skilled guidance of our facilitator, Rachel Kamin, a recognized authority on Jewish literature and director of the cultural and learning center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth-El.  

The Book Club is taking the summer off and will meet next at 7 pm on Thursday, Sept. 12, to discuss The Weight of Ink, a novel by Rachel Kadish.  An intellectual, suspenseful, and entertaining page-turner, The Weight of Ink tells the story of two remarkable women separated by three centuries, the ambition that connects them, and the power of the written word.

Anyone can join the ‘club’ at any time…if a particular book piques your interest, please come!  For more information, contact Rita Janowitz at

Sharing & Extending Shabbat, Friday Evenings, Shabbat Mornings & Afternoons

Welcome Shabbat and share its first hours with our Friday Night Shabbat at Rabbi Tom’s Table video series, and also at our MCJC Community Shabbat Potluck Dinners.

Our Friday evenings begin at 6:30 pm. The upcoming schedule is:

In addition, although we gather for services and Kiddush each Saturday, we enjoy two Extended Kiddushes each month, on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays. Members share veggie/dairy foods, we talk, we sing, and we learn Torah together.

Coming up in June:

We hope you will join us in creating our “Palace in Time,” Shabbat.

Annual Meeting Report from “Let’s Have Fun Together” Group

MAY 2018 – MAY 2019

​The goal of the MCJC “Let’s Have Fun Together” initiative is to enhance the social program offerings at MCJC in an effort to help build community. These are events we shared during the past year:

1) Saturday June 9, 2018: attended the Green Room Productions family-friendly improv show at the Cosman Theater in Huntley. Prior to the program, we had dinner at the Kosta’s Restaurant in Algonquin.

2) Saturday July 15, 2018: attended the Woodstock Folk Festival and had a picnic lunch in the park on the Woodstock City Square.

3) Monday December 24, 2018: annual Christmas Eve Chinese Dinner at the New China Restaurant in Carpentersville.

4) Sunday March 10, 2019: Charles Troy’s presentation of “The Creation of West Side Story” at MCJC, followed by a dessert social.

IDEAS FOR MAY 2019 – MAY 2020

1) Attend the Woodstock Folk Festival on Sunday July 21 on the Woodstock City Square park, and have a picnic lunch.

2) Attend a performance of the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team on Friday night, August 2, at Wonder Lake Beach, and have a picnic dinner.

3) Invite Charles Troy to present the following shows at MCJC: “Irving Berlin: The Ultimate Jewish Immigrant,” “The Creation of The Sound of Music,” and “The Creation of The Wizard of Oz” and have either a dessert social or a pizza dinner.

4) Invite someone to come to MCJC late afternoon on a Saturday to teach Israeli folk dancing, and have a Havdalah service and pizza dinner.

5) Hold the annual Christmas Eve Chinese Dinner at the New China Restaurant in Carpentersville.

6) Hold a Jewish Bingo Night at MCJC on a Saturday and include a Havdalah service and pizza dinner (note: each bingo game would have prizes for an adult winner and a child winner.)

7) Carpool day trip on a Sunday to visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie and have lunch at a Jewish deli.

IMPORTANT: please contact Burl Cohn and Bruce Weiss at and let them know which of the above listed program ideas interest you.

The Jewish Heart of McHenry County