All posts by MCJC Leslie

Bring Music of the Jewish Soul Home

Jewish Music, Memory and Identity
All music is soul music, an expression of someone’s soul, and Jewish music is no exception. It expresses the Jewish soul, the joy, sadness, hope, longing, aspiration, anticipation, fun, excitement and love that flows from a Jewish life.

Music is one of those things that like the aromas of food stimulates emotion and memory, as Stuart Stott expresses in his song, Music in My Mother’s House:

“There were wind chimes in the window. Bells inside the clock.
An organ in the corner and tunes on a music box.
We sang while we were cooking or working in the yard.
We sang because our lives were really hard.

“There was music in my mother’s house.
There was music all around.
There was music in my mother’s house.
And my heart’s still full with the sound…”

One of the best ways to create warm Jewish memories with your children is to fill your home with Jewish music in all its variety. For children, the simple words and melodies of songs are a key: sing your children to sleep, sing with them, sing while you’re cooking or working in the yard. Sing at Shabbat dinner — sing at any meal! Sing in the shower, sing while you’re carpooling, sing while you’re cleaning the house, stop for a song break while you’re helping with homework. If someone plays piano or guitar or another instrument, try learning a Jewish song to share with the family.

Jewish Song-of-the-Week (or month)
Here’s a good way to get started: choose a Jewish Song-of-the-Week (or month) to learn and sing to each other or sing together any chance you have.

Decide how you’ll choose a song. Will each person in the family take a turn finding something to share with the others? Will each person bring a suggestion to the table and the family vote on one for the current choice?

Jewish Music Resources
Rabbi Tom offers a growing library of Jewish songs (https://mcjconline.org/category/jewishmusic/) to help you choose. Visit often to check out new videos.

The Chicago area is home to some wonderful Jewish musicians, and you’ll have a chance to hear and learn from many of them at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival this summer, Sunday, June 10, 11 am – 6 pm at St. Paul Woods, Cook County Forest Preserve.

In the meantime, you can check out some of our own Chicago Jewish musicians on their websites: Listen Up! Jewish A CappellaThe Maxwell St. Klezmer Band and Tum BalalaikaShakshuka and Kol Sasson  just to name a very few.

Be sure to check out Jewish Rock Radio for contemporary and up-and-coming Jewish music for all ages.

The Klezmer Music Foundation, created by Chicagoan Lori Lippitz, encourages young people to engage through their outreach program to schools and other venues. The Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago offers performances and programs on aspects of Jewish music, and for any who really want to get into it (or have a school paper to write and want an interesting topic), the Asher Library is an extraordinary local resource.

Did you know The Chicago Public Library has a Jewish Music Archive? And it’s a cool place to visit as a family as well!

Of course we all know about resources like iTunes and Pandora.

YouTube features lots of videos when you search on things like “Jewish songs,” “Israeli songs,” “Jewish children’s songs,” “Jewish holiday songs,” “Jewish songs in English,” or “Shabbat songs.”

Make searching and learning a fun family activity as you discover ways to enrich the Jewish soul of your home.

When you sensitize your ears, you’ll start to find music coming from so many places. Don’t be surprised if your kids start to sing snippets of tunes they hear in synagogue alongside your Jewish-Song-of-the-Week (or month). You can be sure they’ll remember the Jewish songs you sing together as warmly as the aromas of Jewish foods you share.

Please join MCJC at The Greater Chicago Jewish Festival June 10, 2018

The Membership Committee needs YOU!

We are looking for 4-6 volunteers to staff our table in shifts at the GREATER CHICAGO JEWISH FESTIVAL Sunday, June 10, 2018, in St. Paul Woods, Cook County Forest Preserve, 11 am – 6 pm. (Oakton St. West of LeHigh, Skokie)

Never been to the Festival? It’s a great event, and we are excited to represent MCJC to 50,000 attendees.

Read more here: https://jewishfestival.org/ – or see the flyer below.

Please contact Steve Danzig via membership@mcjconline.org if you can help out!

Upcoming at MCJC Week of April 17

Upcoming at MCJC
Week of April 17

Please see the MCJC CALENDAR on our website for more information on any of these dates: 

Wednesday, April 18
1:00 pm: Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School

Friday, April 20
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat & Potluck Dinner

Saturday, April 21
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services with Torah Discussion

Sunday, April 22
8:00 am: Board Meeting
9:15 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Ed with Rabbi Tom

Wednesday, April 23
1:00 pm: Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:00 pm: PADS Dinner (See Below)

Friday, April 27
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat & Potluck Dinner

Saturday, April 28
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services with Torah Discussion
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm: MCJC Night of Casino Entertainment & Silent Auction, McHenry VFW

Sunday, April 29
9:15 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Ed with Rabbi Tom

Save the Dates:

May 6
9:15 am: Last Day of Religious School, Closing Day, Community Picnic
10:30 am: MCJC Annual Meeting (see below)

May 19
7:00 pm Community Shavuot Learning Program (Tikuun Leil Shavuot)

Upcoming at MCJC Week of April 10

Week of April 10

Please see the MCJC CALENDAR for more information on any of these dates: 

Wednesday, April 11
1:00 pm: Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School

Friday, April 13
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat & Potluck Dinner. We will be joined by members of Pastor Community Church, Barrington, IL

Saturday, April 14
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services with Torah Discussion

Sunday, April 15 – CANCELLED DUE TO BAD WEATHER
9:15 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Ed with Rabbi Tom

Wednesday, April 18
1:00 pm: Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School

Friday, April 20
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat & Potluck Dinner

Saturday, April 21
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services with Torah Discussion

Sunday, April 22
8:00 am: Board Meeting
9:15 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Ed with Rabbi Tom

Wednesday, April 55
1:00 pm: Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:00 pm: PADS Dinner (See Below)

Friday, April 27
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat & Potluck Dinner

Saturday, April 28
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services with Torah Discussion

Sunday, April 29
9:15 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Ed with Rabbi Tom

Searching for Your Jewish Treasures

Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? You never know what you might discover on the way to locating “the” treasure. What if you discover more treasures in your life than you ever imagined possible?

So try searching for your Jewish treasures. There are no rules about what a “Jewish” treasure is. The only rule is that you tell the rest of your family why the treasures you find are Jewish for you. Of course some of us will immediately find a kiddush cup and think of Shabbat meals. Or a picture that reminds us of a trip to Israel. But what if a pitcher’s glove immediately makes you think and feel, “Jewish?” That’s great! Just tell us why. Why does that pitcher’s glove make you think…”Jewish?”

So here’s one way you can search for your Jewish treasures. At a family dinner, let everyone in your home know they have a week to find their Jewish treasures. Plan to share your treasures with each other at a family dinner a week later and tell each other why these items feel or say “Jewish” to you, the memories or thoughts you associate with them.

What about centering your search around Shabbat meals, sharing your treasures around a Shabbat table at home or Friday evening at MCJC?

If you’d like to share your discoveries with your MCJC community, we’d love to publish them in our MCJC blog. Write up everyone’s contributions and email them to webmaster@mcjconline.org.

MCJC-sponsored PADS dinner March 28

By Bruce Weiss, Social Action Committee Chair

The next MCJC-sponsored PADS dinner is this week, Wednesday March 28 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1320 Dean Street in Woodstock. There are only two more MCJC-sponsored PADS dinners for the October 2017-April 2018 PADS winter season (March 28 and April 25).

The menu for our upcoming dinner is soup, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls, and dessert. Our wonderful MCJC volunteers are providing the meal.

Please contact me, Amy,and Ben Llanetta if you are able to help out for the next (and last) dinner via socialaction@mcjconline.org. Sixty-five portions of each item are needed, but you can contribute an amount of an item that your time and energy will allow.

Five to six individuals will be needed to help serve the meal (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm). Please contact me or Amy Llanetta if you are able to help serve the meal. You can get in touch with us about preparing or serving via socialaction@mcjconline.org.

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

Bruce Weiss, MCJC Social Action Committee Chairperson

PADS DINNER IN APRIL

Bruce Weiss, MCJC Social Action Committee Chairperson

The next MCJC-sponsored PADS dinner is April 25, 2018, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Redeemer Lutheran Church 1320 Dean Street in Woodstock. This PADS dinner is our last of the season.

If you would like to help with food or serving the night of the April 25 MCJC-sponsored PADS dinner,  please contact Bruce Weiss via socialaction@mcjconline.org.

Your help with this MCJC community service project will be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

A Message from Howard Frank, MCJC’s Habitat Coordinator

From Howard Frank, MCJC’s Representative to Habitat for Humanity

On Feb. 24 I went to my first Home Dedication for Habitat for Humanity. The new owners of the home in McHenry are a single father Matt and his five-year-old son. It was a wonderful occasion, seeing the son running around and proudly showing the house off to anyone that he could.

I have attached photos of the key handoff from Kathy Haupt of Habitat to Matt and one of Matt and his son. I didn’t realize it until I met Matt at the dedication, but Matt has been volunteering with me for a number of weeks on another build for another family.

* * * * * *

On another note, I spoke to one of the managers of the new Restore Center for Habitat (2205 S. Eastwood) regarding volunteer opportunities. He indicated that they are always looking for helping hands to do a myriad of jobs at the center. They range from a cashier, shelf stocker, product tester, material sorter and any other task that might be required for any retail operation. Anyone interested should contact Mark or Dan (managers) at (815) 334-0500.

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 is coordinating 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@mcjconline.org.