Sunday, November 18th was the Beth El Annual Family-to-Family Thanksgiving Mitzvah Project, where Beth El families shop for food supplies and create baskets that are donated to families at the Glenwood school. Each year the goal is to create at least 100 baskets. This year however, exceeded that goal with 128 baskets total! Our social action committee did an amazing job of coordinating and running the event. They supplied all of the basket celophane, tissue paper and ribbon, maintained stations throughout the project, and had a team of “car packers” moving all of the finished baskets into cars for delivery. A special shout out to Mary Channon, Social Action Chair, and Fran Pine, Thanksgiving Mitzvah Project Chair for their hard work and team coordination.
On Friday, November 16, Over three hundred Steinberg Pre-School children, parents and grandparents attended our special annual shabbat event. Together, led by Rabbis Schwab and Freedman, along with Pre-School Director Kory Goldenberg, they lit shabbat candles, recited prayers, and blessed the challah and wine. Hazzan Tisser led everyone everyone in song and shared treasured shabbat favorites.
If you were lucky enough to find the Shed last night (the location of the Beth El Open Mic Night), it was well worth the effort! Over 70 members of the Beth El Men’s Club and Sisterhood, their spouses and guests (and a few children) turned out for some great entertainment! Mike Melinger started off the event with some great blues tunes. Next up were Beth El’s own band members, including Rod and Marilyn Slutzky, Ron and Eileen Goldberg, and Jeff Baden. Their set included some wonderful folk songs, including a rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend,” sung by Rabbi Kurtz. Their finale was an eight-minute rendition of “The Beth El Blues,” written by Ron Goldberg, including a chorus sung by Rabbi Kurtz. The last set of the evening was provided by Mike Ezgur’s band, which played some terrific bluegrass and rock songs. Hazzan Tisser joined the band with the Billy Joel song, “New York State of Mind.” Special thanks go out to Karen Weiss, Jodi Eisenstadt, Sue Cohen, Marc Richards, Matt Pestine, Jamie Glass Pestine, Dan Gross, and Mike Ezgur for arranging all of the food, drinks, entertainment, seating, and fun! Thanks to all who attended and donated a toy for the Chicago Chesed Fund. Y’all come back next year!
The NSSBE 70th Anniversary Weekend Celebration Honoring Rabbi Vernon and Bryna Kurtz was a resounding success! Beginning with the Friday night Shabbat Dinner, continuing with scholar in residence Rabbi Golinkin, and concluding with the gala dinner, our congregation turned out in force! Nearly 1,500 members participated in the weekend festivities that celebrated our milestone anniversary as well as our beloved Rabbi Kurtz and his wife Bryna. Kol Hakavod to the staff and lay leadership that worked tirelessly to make this weekend so special. Below are remarks by Rabbi Kurtz and Rabbi Golinkin expressing their gratitude.
On Friday, October 19th, Beth El held its Jeans and Jammies Shabbat Program for pre-school aged children and their parents. Elephant & Piggie, two very special characters from the book series by Mo Willems, made a guest appearance! Elephant & Piggie, along with their friends Ali Drumm, Jeff Baden, Rachel Kamin, Rabbi Schwab and Rabbi Freedman helped bring in Shabbat with songs and stories.
This year’s Preschool Sukkah Decorating Party was a fun-filled evening that included creating sukkah decorations, hanging them in the sukkah, having a delicious pasta dinner, hearing a story from Rachel Kamin, and singing songs with Hazzan Tisser. Rabbi Schwab taught a mini-course to some mini-students on how to shake a lulav and etrog! If you haven’t been to the Beth El Sukkah, please stop by and admire the handiwork of our smallest hands!
On Thursday, August 30, nearly 100 Men’s Club members and guests, attended the annual “Steak and Scotch” dinner. Nearly a dozen brands of scotch were available for tasting, along with a robust collection of Bourbons. Dinner included large ribeye steaks, potatoes and vegetables. All of our clergy was present for this not-to-be-missed event! Special thanks to our Men’s Club board for organizing, grilling, and hosting this favorite annual program.
On Friday, August 24, over 150 congregants gathered to celebrate the “happiest shabbat of all!” Members enjoyed appetizers and schmoozing along with music provided by Hazzan Tisser and friends. After shabbat services, guests were greeted by smiling emoji balloons and decor as they enjoyed a summer-time dinner straight from the grill. Our youngest members and their parents brought in shabbat “emo-jew” style with Ali Drumm, Marah Altenberg and Jeff Baden.
A special shout out to all who helped out on this event: Pam Schlosberg, Holly Reinsdorf, Rebecca Jacobson, Debbie Fox, Jackie Mellinger, Melissa Halperin, Hazzan Tisser, Abby Lasky, and Avram Pachter.
It was a beautiful summer night to enjoy food and cocktails on the Beth El patio. Members noshed and mingled before heading into the Blumberg for a fabulous performance by the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band! Hazzan Tisser joined the band to sing several songs, before the band switched to dance music and brought the crowd to the dance floor. Click HERE if you would like to watch the entire concert.
On July 26, Beth El members and friends of all ages were treated to an exciting and energetic performance from the Israeli Scouts Tzofim Friendship Caravan. Ten Israeli scouts from all over Israel danced and sang to new and familiar tunes. They shared their personal stories, as well as pride for their birthplace and its 70 year history. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to host these amazing young people. If you missed them this year, be sure to catch them next year!