Category Archives: Shabbat & Holidays

Faithbridge: 13th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Program

Lighting Up the Dark Times

Sunday, November 24, 2019 – 4:00 pm
At: Faith Community United Church of Christ, 2023 Rt. 176 at Bayview Beach Rd., Prairie Grove, IL – 815-479-1307

Join with neighbors, families and friends from various faith communities to celebrate together, acknowledging how hard it is to connect in dark times, as we move into winter. We will sing, drum and speak together about connections.

The program will be followed by refreshments and fellowship. An offering will benefit local food pantries and a water purification project in Central America.

A drum circle will be led by Greg Rajsky – bring your percussion instruments!

Singing will be led by Tricia Alexander – bring your voice!

An offering will be requested for area food pantries – bring your cash or check!

Refreshments will be served. Interaction will be led by our hearts.

This gathering is sponsored by FaithBridge Interfaith Association. For additional information, please contact: Rabbi Maralee Gordon,

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.

A Special Shabbat Service Friday evening, April 26

Paula Eskoz and Ilene Kaye are working with Rabbi Tom to create a special Friday evening service filled with beautiful and familiar melodies. Paula and Ilene are creating this service as they remember their fathers and say Kaddish for them on the occasion of their Yahrzeits.

At 6:30 pm on April 26, we will use our faithful friend and prayerbook, Siddur Sim Shalom, to welcome Shabbat with such wonderful prayers as Shalom Aleichem, Yedid Nefesh, Mizmor l’David, L’kha Dodi, Mourners’ Kaddish, the formal Barkhu, some beautiful English readings, Ahavat Olam, the Sh’ma, Hatzi Kaddish, Silent Amidah, Shalom Rav, the conclusion, Kaddish Shalem, Aleinu, and the Kaddish. We will end with Yigdal.

Ilene will work with Rabbi Tom to put together this beautiful service. Please come to share and help create an extra special evening. Services will begin at 6:30 pm.

We will enjoy a Kiddush after the service (If you can bring veggie or dairy food to share, please let us know what you’ll bring via

Sharing and 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 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 April:

Shabbat, April 13 is a very special day with both an Extended Kiddush and the Ari and Noah Shamash B’nai Mitzvah Service with a Community Havdala Program and Reception.

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

Shabbat Shalom . . . Join the Celebration

MCJC is taking another step toward Extending Shabbat, enriching this “Palace in Time” for every member of our congregation.

The top right column of our website will host videos from Rabbi Tom to enrich your Shabbat experience. Be sure to check these out. We will announce posting times in the weekly e-nouncements. If you’re not already signed up for these weekly emailings, please add your name to the email list via the sign-up in the right column of our website.

With videos like this and other tools technology provides, our MCJC Shabbat celebrations, in the synagogue or in our members’ homes, we hope every MCJC member and friend can share the light of Shabbat with us whether or not you can be physically present.

Visit our website often for ideas and inspiration . . . and plan to join us on a Friday evening.

We’d love to hear your responses to all the ways we are Extending Shabbat in our community and beyond — Friday Evening Community Potlucks, Shabbat Morning Extended Kiddush, Shabbat videos and more.

Please email Rabbi Tom if you would like to comment:

Extending Shabbat – Community Havdalah and Extended Kiddush

Our MCJC family likes to get together in different ways to extend Shabbat. Sometimes we share a Community Havdalah Program, and sometimes we share an Extended Kiddush. Except for some weeks in the coldest part of winter, we gather for a Community Shabbat Potluck Dinner. 

The Community Shabbat Potluck Dinner and the Community Havdalah Program have a family focus, and the Extended Kiddush has an adult focus. At all celebrations, we enjoy light fare, Zemirot, and Talmud Torah. We invite you to bring vegetarian items to share.

Please join your MCJC family for these Extended Shabbat experiences. There’s something for everyone at MCJC!

Important Winter Date Changes at MCJC

Following a decision of the Ritual Committee, please note the following winter program changes and additions:

MCJC COMMUNITY SHABBAT POTLUCK DINNERS will NOT meet on these dates (Winter Break):

  • Friday, December 21, 2018
  • Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Friday, January 11, 2019


Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 pm

We will join together following services for an extended Kiddush, Zemirot, and Talmud Torah. Our study time will have an adult focus. We welcome vegetarian dishes to share.

Friday, January 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Watch for additional information in your weekly e-nouncements.

Important Winter Program Date Changes

Following a decision of the Ritual Committee, please note the following winter program changes:


  • Friday, December 7, 2018
  • Friday, December 14, 2018
  • Friday, December 21, 2018
  • Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Friday, January 11, 2019


We will meet at 3:30 pm Shabbat afternoon for light fare, Zemirot and Talmud Torah. The program has an adult focus.
Saturday, December 15, 3:30 pm
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 3:30 pm


Friday, January 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Please note these date changes in your calendar and watch for additional information in your weekly e-nouncements.

Songs, Meditations and Prayers for Community Shabbat

Song: Halleluyah ~ (Leonard Cohen)
Well I’ve heard there was a secret chord,
That David played and it pleased the Lord,
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this: The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift,
The baffled king composing,

Maybe there’s a God above,
But all I’ve ever learned from love,
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya.
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night,
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken, Hallelujah.

From: Psalm 150
Hallelu El bekodsho halleluhu birkia uzo
Halleluhu bi-g’vurotav; halleluhu k’rov gudlo.
Halleluhu b’teika Shofar, halleluhu b’neivel v’chinor. 
Hallelu b’tof u’machol; halleluhu b’minim v’ugav.
Halleluhu b’tziltzilei shama; halleluhu b’tziltzilei t’ruah.
Kol ha-neshama tehallel Yah halleluyah.

הַלְלוּ-אֵל בְּקָדְשׁו;  הַלְלוּהוּ, בִּרְקִיעַ עֻזּוֹ
הַלְלוּהוּ בִגְבוּרֹתָיו;  הַלְלוּהוּ, כְּרֹב גֻּדְלוֹ
הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּתֵקַע שׁוֹפָר;  הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּנֵבֶל וְכִנּוֹר
הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּתֹף וּמָחוֹל;  הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּמִנִּים וְעֻגָב
הַלְלוּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי-שָׁמַע;  הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּצִלְצְלֵי תְרוּעָה
כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה, תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ:   הַלְלוּ-יָהּ

Song: The World is a Narrow Bridge 
(Gesher Tzar Meod ~ Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

The whole world is a very narrow bridge.
It is never too late,
To start over again,
To feel again,
To love again,
To hope again.
And the main thing is, do not to be afraid.

Kol ha-o-lam ku-lo gesher tzar me’od
V’ha-i-kar lo l’fached klal.

כל העולם כלו גשר צר מאד והעקר לא לפחד כלל

A Healing Prayer
Mi sheberach avoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’imoteinu

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵֽנוּ מְקוֹר הַבְּרָכָה לְאִמּוֹתֵֽנוּ

May the source of strength who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing
And let us say: Amen.

Mi sheberach imoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’avoteinu

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אִמּוֹתֵֽנוּ מְקוֹר הַבְּרָכָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽנוּ

Bless those in need of healing with refuah sh’leimah
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit
And let us say: Amen.

 Reading: We Remember Them
We remember them at the rising of the sun and at its going down; we remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
At the shining of the sun and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
At the beginning of the year and at its end, we remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now part of us, as we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.

When we have joy we crave to share, we remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make, we remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs, we remember them.
As long as we live, they, too, will live;
For they are now part of us, as we remember them. ~ (Rabbi Jack Reimer)

Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd 
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,  for You are with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Mizmor le’David, Adonai roi lo echsar.
Binot desheh yarbitzaini, al mei menuchot y’nahaleini.
Nafshi yeshovev yancheini bemag’lei tzedek l’maan shemo.
Gam ki elech be’gei tzalmavet, lo ira ra ki atah imadi,

Shivtecha u’mishantecha hema y’nachamuni.
Ta’aroch lefanai shulchan neged tzorirai dishanta vashemen roshi, cosi rivaya.
Ach tov va’chesed yirdifuni kol yemei chayai v’shavti b’veit haShem l’orech yamim.

מִזְמור לְדָוִד,
ה׳ רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר.
בִּנְאוֹת דֶשֶׁא יֵרְבִּיצֵנִי,
עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת
נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב, יַנְחֵנִי
בְמַעְגְלֵי-צֶדֶק לְמֵעֵן
גַם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא
צַלְמָוֶת לֹא-אִירָא רָע
כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָדִי, שִׁבְטְךָ
וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ הֵמָה
תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי
שֻׁלְחָן נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי,
דִשַנְתָּ בַשֶמֶן
רֹאשִי כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה.
אַךְ, טוֹב וָחֶסֶד
יִרְדְפוּנִי כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָי,
וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-ה׳
לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים

Children’s Blessings:
For sons, the introductory line is:
May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe.
Y’simcha Elohim k’Efraim v’chi-Menashe.
יְשִׂימְךָ אֱלהיִם כְּאֶפְרַיְם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה

For daughters, the introductory line is:
May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.
Y’simech Elohim k’Sarah Rivka Rachel v’Leah.
יְשִׂימֵךְ אֱלהיִם כְּשָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה

For both sons and daughters, the rest of the blessing is:
May God bless you and guard you.
Y’varechecha Adonai v’Yismerecha.
יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ

May the light of God shine upon you, and may God be gracious to you.
Ya’er Adonai Panav Elecha v’chuneka.
יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ

May the presence of God be with you and give you peace.
Yisa Adonai panav eleicha v’yasem lecha Shalom.
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלום

Song: Sanctuary
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. And with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living Sanctuary within You.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba b’alma di-v’ra
chirutei, v’yamlich malchutei b’chayeichon
uvyomeichon uvchayei d’chol beit yisrael, ba’agala
uvizman kariv, v’im’ru: “amen.”
Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach l’alam ul’almei almaya.
Yitbarach v’yishtabach, v’yitpa’ar v’yitromam
v’yitnaseh, v’yithadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal sh’mei
d’kud’sha, b’rich hu,
l’eila min-kol-birchata v’shirata, tushb’chata
v’nechemata da’amiran b’alma, v’im’ru: “amen.”
Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya v’chayim aleinu
v’al-kol-yisrael, v’im’ru: “amen.”
Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu

בל: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. [קהל: אמן]
בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכון וּבְיומֵיכון וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]
קהל ואבל: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא:
אבל: יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא. בְּרִיךְ הוּא. [קהל: בריך הוא:]
לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא בעשי”ת: לְעֵלָּא לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]
יְהֵא שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא וְחַיִּים עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשרָאֵל. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל:אמן]
עושה שָׁלום בעשי”ת: הַשָּׁלום בִּמְרומָיו הוּא יַעֲשה שָׁלום עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]

Mourners’ Kaddish (English Translation)

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world
which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;
and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored,
adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,
beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that
are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights,
may He create peace for us and for all Israel;
and say, Amen.

From Rabbi Tom: Shabbat — Fire & Light
The whole world has a connection and relationship with holiness. On Shabbat, the internal light of everything is revealed. And to see it, all that is required is to let the light in. (Rabbi Yehudi Aryeh Leib Alter, 1847-1905

Elie Wiesel told of a poet who was asked what he would save from his burning home. He could save only one thing. What would it be? The poet answered that he would save the fire itself, for without the fire, life would not be worth living.

In the first act of Creation, light is the source of all energy: fire. Soon afterwards comes the crowning event of Creation, the Shabbat. And when the first Shabbat is over, Adam watches as the sun sets for the first time. An ever-deepening gloom unfolds, and Adam’s heart is filled with terror, lost in the absolute monopoly of the darkness.

Then God takes pity on Adam and gives him two stones to rub together, to discover the fire. The name of one stone is afelah, darkness, and the other is mavet, death. As the spark of the fire emerges, out of the darkness and death, Adam exclaims, “Blessed be the Creator of The Lights of Fire.”

In the Jewish tradition, both light and fire are gifts of God. Both are integral parts of a symbiotic relationship where God and humanity – the infinite and the finite – collaborate, as co-creators, in the ongoing quest to complete Creation.

It is in that between space that we are presented with our most difficult challenges … to hold on to a deep commitment to our personal values while at the same time embracing a deep respect for people of different commitments … to dance with the unknown and the known, to become sacred skeptics and lifelong learners, and at the same time to strive for an absolute Truth, for Divine perfection … and to dwell in our dreams of what could be, even as we get our hands dirty with the everyday work of repairing our current realities.

We all yearn for those basic human needs that transcend time: the human need for meaning, for purposeful connection, for wonderment for being amazed. And each one of us, at some moment in life, has felt the Presence of God, even if we haven’t the words to describe it, or the concepts to explain it.

Shabbat is that reminder, that inspiration, to hold and to cherish those moments, no matter how few and how fleeting. To learn from them and to remain loyal to them, especially when they fade far and fast into our past.

Shabbat is where the light of grace and awareness, hesed, and the fire of creativity and power, gevurah, reside together. It is a time when we imagine a complete peace, human to human, and between all of Creation. The greatest revelation of Godliness, the holy book, the Zohar, teaches it is the light that emerges from darkness.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tom Samuels, MCJC


McHenry County Jewish Congregation
8617 Ridgefield Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60012