All posts by MCJC Leslie

Torah: Living Like God

Vaetchanan 2018

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

On Shabbat, we actualize the Jewish tradition’s idea of holiness, kedusha. That what constitutes holiness is not a sacred object, place, person, ritual or practice. But rather, we make the distinction between the things that are ours and the things that belong to God.


Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11 – Click here.
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1 – 40:26 – Click here.

This week our readings and Torah discussion focus on:


  • Deuteronomy 3: 23-25 PAGE 1005
  • Deuteronomy 3: 26-29 PAGE 1005
  • Deuteronomy 4: 1-4 PAGE 1006
  • Isaiah 40: 1-26  PAGE 1033

MCJC School Schedule 2018-2019


Sunday Wednesday
26: Opening Day 29: School


Sunday Wednesday
2: No School 5: School
9: No School 12: School
16: School 19: No School
23: School 26: Pizza in the Hut
30: School Simchat Torah


Sunday Wednesday
3: School
7: No school 12: School
14: School 17: School
21: Family Event Offsite 24: School
28: School 31: No School


Sunday Wednesday
4: School (Daylight Savings Ends) 7: School
11: School 14: School
18: No School Teacher Inservice 21: No School Thanksgiving Break
25: No School Thanksgiving Break 28: School


Sunday Wednesday
2: School: Hannukah Party 5: School
9: School 12: School
16: School 19: School
23: No School Winter Break 26: No School Winter Break
30: No School Winter Break


Sunday Wednesday
2: No School Winter Break
6: No School Winter Break/Teacher Inservice 9: School
13: School 16: School
20: School 23: School
27: School 30: School


Sunday Wednesday
3: School 6:School
10: School 13: School
17: School 20: School
24: School 27: School


Sunday Wednesday
3: School 6: School
10: School (Daylight Savings) 13: School
17: School Purim Carnival 20: School
24: No School Spring Break 27: No School Spring Break
31: No School Spring Break


Sunday Wednesday
3: School
7: School 10: School
14: School 17: School
21: No School 24: School
28: School


Sunday Wednesday
1: School
5: School Israel Day Celebration 8: School
12: No School Mother’s Day 15: School
19: School Closing Day

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.

Upcoming at MCJC Week of July 17

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

Wednesday, July 18
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom

Friday, July 20
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat Potluck

Saturday, July 21
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion
6:00 pm: Erev Tisha B’Av Services & Study 

Sunday, July 22
9:00 am – noon: Help the Building & Grounds Committee with some outdoor tasks, light painting, etc. – lunch at noon

Tuesday, July 24
7:00 pm: Communications Committee Meeting, location off-site

Wednesday, July 25
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
6:30 pm: Ritual Committee Meeting

Bnai Mitzvah Families Meet & Greet at MCJC
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Special Shabbat Picnic at Wonder Lake Water Ski Show
Friday, August 17, 2018

Community Shabbat Potluck Picnic Dinner at the Wonder Lake National Champion Water Ski Team Show. We’ll light Shabbat candles, say Kiddish, and sing some Shabbat songs around 6:30 pm. The show is from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Sunday, August 26
9:30 am – 12:30 pm: McHenry County Jewish Congregation OPEN HOUSE – tour the building, meet members, teachers, and Rabbi Tom, enjoy a community picnic.

Torah: Completing the Missing Pieces

Devarim 2018

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

Rabbi David Hartman wrote that the Torah is not a “static, immutable inheritance passed down through an unbroken chain of transmission.” That just as we humans are in an ever-evolving relationship with God to perfect our imperfect world, we are also co-creators with God in completing the Torah.

Imagine that! God gave us His Torah with missing pieces. And God created within each of us the ability re-express His Torah throughout the generations. Our Covenant didn’t end at Sinai and with Revelation. We are in a Covenant to create, to complete the Torah as well.


Torah: Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22 – Click here.
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1 – 1:27 – Click here.

This week our readings and Torah discussion focus on:


  • Devarim 1:1-5 – P981
  • Devarim 1:6-8 – P982
  • Devarim 1:9-10 – P983

Erev Tisha B’Av Services & Study

Tisha B’Av is culminates the Three Weeks, an annual mourning period when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our launch into a still-ongoing exile.

Tisha b’Av is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that many other tragedies befell the Jewish people.

And it is the time when we start, as individuals and as a community, to do a Heshbon HaNefesh, an Accounting of our Souls leading up to the High Hoy Days.

Our sages taught: “It is the great dreams that are the foundation of the world.” That the whole world stands only because some people have the courage, the audacity, the Chutzpah, to dream great dreams. So, what is our dream? The Jewish dream?

Please join us for an evening of reflection, meditation, and of study, Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 6:00 pm.

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.

MCJC Open House Sunday, August 26, 9:15 am to 12:30 pm

We welcome you to visit MCJC to see if our Jewish community is right for you.  Get a taste of Religious School at 9:15 a.m., tour the building at 11:00 a.m., and meet members, teachers, and Rabbi Tom. The community picnic starts at 11:30. Hot dogs and veggie/pareve food selections will be served.

We’ve had a great response to this event. It promises to be a wonderful day and an opportunity to meet with and experience what a special place our MCJC community is.

If you’re among those who have already RSVP’d, thank you! If you haven’t yet let us know you’ll be there, please RSVP today at