About Us

Community, Spirituality, and YOU

Congregation Etz Chaim

Community, Spirituality, and YOU

Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County, a Reform synagogue, is a growing, thriving center of Reform Judaism that serves almost 500 families in the western suburbs of Chicago. The synagogue is conveniently located near I-88 and I-355 between Roosevelt and Butterfield Roads, at 1710 South Highland Avenue in Lombard, Illinois.

The congregation was founded in 1960 as Tree Towns Congregation in Elmhurst by eight local families.

In 1970 the congregation was renamed Etz Chaim and in 1972 hired its first full-time rabbi. In 1973 the congregation moved to its present location in Lombard. Rabbi Steven Bob came to Etz Chaim in 1981 as the congregation’s fourth full-time rabbi, retiring and becoming Rabbi Emeritus in June 2016 after 35 years. Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky came to our congregational family in July 2005 as Assistant Rabbi and in June 2016 became our Senior Rabbi. At the same time, Rabbi Frederick (Ricky) Kamil became Assistant Rabbi, coming from Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2019 Rabbi Kamil became the Associate Rabbi. Anne Stein, Educator Emerita, retired in 2015 after 24 years. Marla Friedman became our Religious School Principal in July 2018.

The congregation prides itself on being a congregation where both young and old are welcomed and cherished. Etz Chaim depends on its members to shape its character through involvement in programming and committees.

Congregation Etz Chaim is to be that place of compassion, growth and welcome that spiritual seekers crave. We endeavor to support the passions of Jews and those who align themselves with the Jewish community and to nurture the well-being of all peoples.

Founded 1960

Congregation Etz Chaim (originally Tree Towns Congregation) was started by 8 Elmhurst families: Barbara & David Baruch, Ruth & Jack Epstein, Zelda & Lee Fisher, Jeanette & Harry Flyer, Marion & Emanuel Myers, Bea & Ernest Partos, Shirley Suconik, Bernadette & Nate Winter.

Over 60 Communities

Our families come from over 60 different communities including: Addison, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Batavia, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Broadview, Buffalo Grove, Burr Ridge, Carol Stream, Chicago, Clarendon Hills, Crest Hill, Darien, DeKalb, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, Elgin, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Hinsdale, Indian Head Park, Itasca, Joliet, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Lake Forest, Lemont, Lisle, Lockport, Lombard, Morton Grove, Naperville, North Aurora, Northbrook, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Oak Park, Olympia Fields, Orland Park, Oswego, Park Ridge, Riverside, Romeoville, Roselle, Schaumburg, South Elgin, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Westchester, West Chicago, Western Springs, Westmont, Wheaton, Willowbrook, Willow Springs, Wood Dale, Woodridge, Yorkville

475 Families

With 475 families belonging to Congregation Etz Chaim, our congregation is truly diverse in its make-up. We are made up of singles, couples, with children, without children, baby boomers, , gen X, millennials (gen Y), gen Z, empty nesters (midlife adventurers), seniors, LGBTQIA2+, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Jew by birth, Jew by choice, non-Jew, autistic, downs syndrome, deaf, and the list goes on, as we welcome all who want to be part of the Etz Chaim family.

Prospective Members

Our door is open to all seeking a spiritual Jewish home.

Congregation Etz Chaim warmly welcomes new members to our congregational family. We encourage you to visit us, tour the synagogue and school facilities, meet our rabbis and members, and worship with us. Our membership dues structure is based on a "fair share" of income; however, no one is turned away because of financial circumstances.

We hope that you will choose to join us and share in our unique and vibrant community!

If you would like to visit our synagogue or religious school, or if you have questions about membership, please call us at 630-627-3912

History

The congregation was founded in 1960 as Tree Towns Congregation in Elmhurst by eight local families.

The 2002 confirmation class created this "Living History" video
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View the 50th Anniversary Book

In 1960, 8 Jewish families banded together in a strange county (DuPage) to create a house of worship. A charter was applied for in the name of Tree Towns Congregation and officers were elected to the new 30-member Synagogue.

The congregation and its religious school wandered the western suburbs renting space and looking for a home. Land was purchased in Lombard on Meyers rd. to build our new home and a building fund was created.

In 1970 the congregation officially changed its name to Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County. By 1973 the land on Meyers rd had greatly appreciated and was sold to purchase our current home the former cavalry Methodist church.

In 1981, Rabbi Steven Bob became our Rabbi. Our congregation and school continued to grow creating the necessity of again turning to rented space for our religious school of 350 students and the start of another building fund campaign to expand our home. In 1982 the first building addition added five new classrooms, a social hall, and all new kitchen facilities. Rabbi Steven Bob was the congregation’s fourth full-time rabbi, retiring and becoming Rabbi Emeritus in June 2016 after 35 years.

In 2016, Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky became our Senior Rabbi. At the same time, Rabbi Frederick (Ricky) Kamil became Assistant Rabbi, coming from Cincinnati, Ohio. Anne Stein, Educator Emerita, retired in 2015 after 24 years. Marla Friedman became our Religious School Principal in July of 2018.

The congregation prides itself on being a growing, thriving center of Reform Judaism where both young and old are welcomed and cherished. Etz Chaim depends on the members to shape its character through involvement in programming and committees.

Leadership

Rabbi Cosnowsky is committed to strengthening Etz Chaim’s presence as the center of Jewish life in the Western Suburbs. She believes strongly in building community by connecting people to each other and to the traditions of Judaism, as well as participating in outreach activities in the larger community. Rabbi Cosnowsky actively works to build bridges between people of all faiths.

Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky

Senior Rabbi
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Rabbi Jessica Wainer

Associate Rabbi

Rabbi Wainer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim. She previously served as the Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning for Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, VA. Rabbi Wainer loves working with community members of all ages, developing creative worship experiences, walking with families through their times of sorrow and joy, and bringing Torah to life for people of all ages.

Congregation Etz Chaim

Community, Spirituality, and YOU

OFFICE HOURS

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday - Closed
Friday - 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday - Closed for Shabbat

During the school year the office will remain open on Wednesdays until 6:45PM and Sunday will be open from 8:30AM - 12:00PM

SYNAGOGUE OFFICE STAFF

Carol Meyer, Interim Executive Director
Michele Miller, Bookkeeper
Adrienne Mintz, Administrative Assistant
Nicole Coover-Thompson, Librarian

PROFESSIONAL STAFF

Andrea Cosnowsky, Senior Rabbi
Jessica Wainer, Associate Rabbi
Marla Friedman, Religious School Principal

LOCATION

1710 S Highland Ave, Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 630.627.3912
Fax: 630.627.9123

cec.info@congetzchaim.org