Corners of Our Field Food Drive 5779

As is our custom at MCJC, the High Holy Days will mark the start of our “Corners of Our Fields” food drive, in conjunction with Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

This year we will collect food for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry, and personal care items for the Old Firehouse Assistance Center in Woodstock.

Please pick up a grocery bag or two as you leave services on Rosh Hashanah, and return the bag(s) on or shortly after Yom Kippur. These community agencies will be grateful for all donations.

Below are typical items the pantry would appreciate. Please check to be sure items are not near expiration dates. A list of highest need items will be stapled to the grocery bag, and we’ll update that list, if necessary, in the weekly E-Announcements.

Toddah Rabbah for your donations.

Peanut Butter
Ground Coffee
Macaroni & Cheese
Canned Tuna Fish
Canned Chicken Soups
Canned Fruits
Canned Vegetables
Gallon Size Storage Bags
39-gallon Garbage Bags
Pasta Sauces & Pasta Noodles
Boxed Dinners (Hamburger Helper, etc.)
Pet Food of all kinds and cat litter
In a separate bag, please bring
Personal Care Products:
Shampoo, Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Deodorants, Shaving Supplies,
Feminine Hygiene Products, Toilet
Paper & Paper Towels,
Laundry Care Items


The MCJC Social Action Committee is partnering with the MCJC (religious) School in this year’s McHenry County Crop Hunger Walk.

The Walk is scheduled for 1:00 pm Sunday, September 30 at the First Methodist Church, 236 W. Crystal Lake Avenue in Crystal Lake. There are two walks: one is a four-mile walk, and the other is a one-mile family fun walk. There will be family activities along the one-mile route and at the church after the walk. Beverages and snacks will be provided.

25% of the money raised from the McHenry County Crop Hunger Walk will go to designated local food pantries and 75% of the proceeds raised benefit hunger, clean water, and emergency relief worldwide.

More details as to how to participate will be forthcoming in August.


From April 1 until the first snowfall, MCJC is responsible for picking up litter twice a month along Ridgefield Road, from  Country Club Road to U.S. Route 14, and along the U.S. Route bike trail between Ridgefield Road and Lucas Road.

Usually three to four five-gallon cans of litter are picked up along Ridgefield Road, and about one five-gallon can is picked up along the bike trail.

Bruce Weiss is looking for volunteers to help him with this community service project. If you are able to help, please contact Bruce at either 815-338- 2721 or

MCJC-sponsored PADS dinners for 2017-2018 an amazing success

The MCJC-sponsored PADS dinners for the 2017-2018 winter season at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Woodstock were an amazing success. They were a success because of all the hard work put in by the following MCJC members: Gene Lindow, Amy, Ben, & BJ Llaneta, Marian & Bruce Weiss, Leslie Cook, Esther Kaplan, Ellen Morton, Brian Silver, Lisa Chiodo, Iza Celewicz, Briana & Elsa Salgado, Kim Solomon Dooley, Rachel Bailenson, Eileen Franks, and Elli Emmons.

The Woodstock Area Community Ministries (WACM,) which oversees the PADS dinner program for the McHenry County homeless, is very grateful for MCJC’s participation in this important community service project. MCJC has an outstanding reputation as a caring congregation among the members of the WACM  community.

Religious School News: Endings and Beginnings

Religious school concluded in early May with teacher recaps from the year, speeches, and thank you comments from Rob Perbohner to Brian Horn and Zach for ALL THEY DO (Zach moved to Tennessee). Paula Eskoz was also recognized because she will not be returning on Sundays in the fall but will remain as a teacher on Wednesday afternoons. A thank you was made to our aides, Sienna and Kayla, who helped us out so much.

This was followed by a rousing game of JEWpardy led by Paula and Davina. We matched adults against the children, and though it was a very tight and exciting game, the kids pulled out the win! Fun was had by all.

Hopefully everybody is enjoying their summer break so far . . . having fun and staying safe. Calendars will be announced, but school will resume in late August this year.

We will have some staff changes this fall as follows:

  • Sundays: K-1: TBA
  • 2-3: Davina Kelly
  • 4-7: Dara Turnball and Rita Janowitz (Judaica)
  • 2-7: Paula Eskoz (Hebrew, Wednesdays)
  • 4-7: Rabbi Tom (Hebrew B’nai Mitzvah Club)
  • Computer Lab: Rachel Bailenson

Wednesdays will see changes as well. All grades will be together in the sanctuary with different Hebrew stations: Rabbi’s B’nai Mitzvah Hebrew, Computer Lab, Hebrew games, and ESPECIALLY individual Hebrew reading with the students at their own levels. Our intent is to “beef up” our Hebrew program this year.

Finally, new school-wide curriculum is being decided upon and purchased this summer as teachers continue to have meetings. We will use a program which will have consistency, building upon Hebrew reading skills and prayers throughout the grades. This also will have an online component, and can be used at home as well for reinforcement and enrichment.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. We build and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations.

To aid in this, the MCJC Social Action Committee coordinates volunteer efforts with the local McHenry County Habitat for Humanity group. We volunteer on Wednesdays at the work site (locations change depending on build schedules). No construction experience is required, only the desire to help.

We are supervised by experienced personnel. All tools and safety equipment are supplied by Habitat. For a look at some of the projects we are currently involved in, please Click Here.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Howard Frank at

Habitat For Humanity, McHenry County accepts monetary donations of new and gently used building materials and household goods at their ReStore resale store located at 2205 S. Eastwood Drive in Woodstock.

B’nai Mitzvah Meet and Greet

All MCJC families whose children are entering B’nai Mitzvah age are invited to meet-up at MCJC on Sunday, August 12, 2018, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

This Meet and Greet will be a great opportunity to meet other B’nai Mitzvah parents, talk with B’nai Mitzvah veterans (MCJC parents whose children were already Bar or Bat Mitzvah), to ask questions, and to find out best practices to make the entire process less stressful — meaningful and with wonderful memories.

A dairy nosh will be provided. Please RSVP to Rabbi Tom at:

Learn with Rabbi Tom Wednesdays, Sundays

Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
Wednesdays, 1:00 pm

Explore Jewish history through the lens of the erratic, the unpredictable, the fascinating, and the truly inspiring.

Drop in whenever your schedule permits: for a single session or every week. Please bring your own veggie/dairy lunch.

The Jewish Way with Rabbi Tom
Sundays, 11:00 am

For almost four thousand years, Jews have influenced and inspired radial ideas, theologies, philosophies, and entire cultures throughout the world. And we have only just begun!

Learn about and experience the many faces of Judaism with Rabbi Tom on Sunday mornings at MCJC. Find those touchpoints of meaning and memory-making that Judaism offers.

Drop in whenever your schedule permits: for a single session or every week.

For more information on either of these classes, please contact Rabbi Tom at: or 815.455.1810.

Check MCJC’s calendar on this site for any schedule changes.

Everything You Need to Know: MCJC High Holy Days, Sukkot, Simchat Torah 5779/2018

Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast Payments

Join the entire MCJC community to Break-the-Fast
after Yom Kippur Services

Wednesday, September 19, at 7:15 pm
$10 per person, $5 per child, $30 max per family
To register, please contact the MCJC office:
815-455-1810 or
or submit your payment below:

Amount: USD

For other High Holidays 2018 Payments and
Volunteer Opportunities


 Schedule for
High Holy Days, Sukkot, Simchat Torah

Erev Rosh HaShanah
Sunday, September 9, 7:30 pm

Rosh HaShanah Morning Service – Day I
Monday, September 10, 9:00 am
Children’s Service (ages 4-8): 10:15 am
Tashlich Service: 1:45 pm
(Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Dr,
Crystal Lake, IL 60014)
Family Service with Tashlich: 4:30 pm
(Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Dr,
Crystal Lake, IL 60014)

Rosh HaShanah Morning Service – Day II
Tuesday, September 11, 9:00 am

Kol Nidre
Tuesday, September 18, 7:00 pm

Yom Kippur Services
Wednesday, September 19, 9:00 am
9:00 am: Yom Kippur Morning Service
Children’s Service (ages 4-8): 10:15 am
Mincha Service: 4:30 pm
Neila Service: 6:00 pm
Break-the-Fast: 7:15 pm

Sunday, September 23, 9:15 am
Sukkot Services with the Religious School

Monday, September 24, 8:30 am
Sukkot Morning Services with Lulav & Etrog

Wednesday, September 26, 4:30 pm
Pizza in the Hut – Sukkot Program with the Religious School

Saturday, September 29, 9:30 am
Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion with Yizkor

Simchat Torah
Sunday, September 30, 9:15 am
Simchat Torah Celebrations with
Religious School


Schedule for
High Holy Day Children & Family Services

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur Children’s Services
Monday, September 10 & Wednesday, September 19 at 10:15 am

Bring your family to our High Holiday Children’s Services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah as well as on Yom Kippur. These are wonderfully engaging, musical and fun services, geared to younger children ages 4 through 8.  

Family & Community-Wide High Holiday Service with Tashlich
Monday, September 10 at 4:30 pm

MCJC will host a musical, family-friendly, High Holiday service at the Main Beach in Crystal Lake (300 Lakeshore Dr, Crystal Lake, IL 60014). We’ll share songs, stories, a shofar blowing Shofar-Palooza, and much more. This program is open to the public, so bring friends and family, Jewish or not.

Simchat Torah Celebration
Sunday, September 30 at 9:15 am

Simchat Torah is a joyous celebration when we end the last book of the Torah and start again from the beginning. Young and old, generation-to-generation, we’ll sing and dance, together with the Torahs.

Kavanot: Intentional Meditations
for the 10 Days of Turning

A Journey to Peace 5779

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are imbued with a special light that gives us the chance to make changes in our lives that seemed out of our reach during the rest of the year.

Day 1 Rosh Hashanah – Asking the Big Questions
Looking Within:  Renewal of our Relationships
How am I doing with friends, family, community, and work?
Do I owe anyone an apology?
Do I need to return a borrowed item?
Can I mend a broken connection?
Have I left a promise undone?
Make a list.

Day 2 – More Looking: Self Care
Am I taking care of my physical body?
Have I had doctor and dental check-ups?
Have I listened to my body’s needs?
Am I getting enough rest and quiet time?
Am I caring for my changing challenges?
Do I pay attention to my diet?
How can I do better?

Day 3 – Much More Looking Within
What am I doing to grow spiritually?
What new activity have I tried or re-introduced into my routine?
Is there a comforting routine in my daily, weekly, or monthly schedule?
Do I have someone in my circle to guide me? (If not, seek advice.)

Day 4 – Am I Angry?
Is there someone in my life that has hurt me? Have I retaliated?
What is MY part?
Can I forgive or start to forgive?
Can I ask for forgiveness?
Do I need help with this?

Day 5 – Am I Afraid?
What/who frightens me?
Why am I fearful?  
Are they real or imagined fears?
Are there things I do in my life to reduce those fears?
Are my attempts to reduce those fears healthy?
Yes, I am human; we all have fears.

Day 6  – Am I Honest?
Do I practice honesty with myself and with others?
Do I justify “exceptions from the truth” to justify a perceived positive result?
Am I more concerned with seeking approval than being truthful?
Do I avoid making changes when I am not being honest with how I feel about a relationship, decision, or lifestyle?

Day 7 – Balance: Where is the Joy, Love, and Play in my Life?
Does my life have real fun space?
Is it enough?
Do I actively seek enriching experiences, entertainment, and generosity?
Can I turn off my social media and electronic devices for a part of my day or week?
Do I honor and spend time in nature?
Do I listen?
Can I say, “Not now”?

Day 8 – Patience: Tell me Yes, Tell me No, But Please Don’t Tell me to Wait.
Is time always a commodity, or can I slow down?
Does my agenda supersede all others?
Can I stay in the moment, or do I live in the past and future?
How can I do better?

Day 9 – Hope and Gratitude: Every Day is a New Beginning.
We can start over any time.
Prayer and meditation can take us to a place of unselfish and focused spiritual growth.
Even something very, very small makes a difference.
Am I willing to add just one tiny, new practice to my daily routine or more?
Do I need help with this?

Day 10 – Service: Giving Without Reward – the Greatest Gift of All.
The path to peace and joy lies in the ability to do for others, when our motives are not self-serving.
Even the smallest token or act of kindness is enough each day.

Taking Action:
“Thank you.”
An anonymous gift or gesture
A kind word to a stranger
Comforting the sick
Supporting the grieving
Sharing a talent
Protecting the natural world


Minhag haMakom   מנהג המקום
MCJC Traditions for High Holiday Services

Entering/Exiting the Sanctuary
Integral to MCJC is the Jewish ethic of Hachnasat Orchim, “the welcoming of guests.” With this in mind, please feel free to enter and exit the sanctuary as you wish, knowing that you are always welcome. However, there are certain parts of the services during which entering could disrupt your fellow worshipers. Our ushers will let people know when these moments are and might ask you to wait before entering the sanctuary.

Tallit and Kippah
Our custom at MCJC is for male congregants to wear a kippah (head covering) and tallit (prayer shawl) during services. In our egalitarian community, women are welcome to wear these as well. Both are readily available in the foyer just outside of the sanctuary’s door.

Electronic Devices
Please turn off or mute any electronic devices before entering the building.  We ask that you respect our tradition not to use any electronic device in the building during the High Holiday services.

While there are times during services when the congregation is asked to sit or stand, the priority is that you are physically comfortable. At any point during services, if you need to sit or stand, regardless of what the larger congregation is doing, please honor what your body is telling you.

Yom Kippur Fasting
While most Jews fast on Yom Kippur, you are never allowed to jeopardize your health. See an usher if you need a snack.

“Let’s Have Fun Together,” MCJC! Picnic & 33rd Annual Woodstock Folk Festival

The MCJC Diamond’s Group invites the entire MCJC membership and friends to another great “Let’s Have Fun Together ” event:

Picnic Lunch In The Park 11 AM
Historic Woodstock City Square
(Opera House Side)

Followed By
The 33rd Annual Woodstock Folk Festival
Noon – 6:00 PM

Audiences have come to the annual Woodstock Folk Festival from near and far since 1986.

Local, national, and international folk music artists will perform a variety of styles of folk music at the festival, which features a Main Stage, an Open Mic Stage, a Children’s Area, a Workshop, and an All-Sing Finale.

This is a free admission event, though organizers of the event welcome donations. For more detailed information about the event, see the flyer below.

Bring folding chairs and a picnic lunch.  If you like folk music, you will love this event!

Please RSVP so we know how large a space in the park we need to reserve for the MCJC group.

RSVP & Questions: Bruce Weiss 815-338-2721 or

The purpose of the MCJC “Let’s Have Fun Together” initiative is to enhance the social program offerings at MCJC.

The Jewish Heart of McHenry County

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