Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County

Rabbi Bob's blog

Rabbi Bob

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 3:08pm -- Rabbi Bob

Rabbi Steven M. Bob has served as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim since 1981 and has played a key role in making Congregation Etz Chaim the warm welcoming community that it is. His delight in Torah, his sense of humor and fun, his love of teaching and learning, and his ability to connect with congregants of all ages are some of the gifts he brings to his role.

Farewell Words from Rabbi Bob

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 2:41pm -- Rabbi Bob


This week I will conclude my work as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim. The Erev Shavuot service Saturday evening will be my last event. My books are already packed and I am in the process of cleaning out my desk. This will give the congregation time to prepare the office for Rabbi Cosnowsky.

Rabbi Bob Retirement Weekend Speakers

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 3:51pm -- Rabbi Bob

This coming weekend we will be celebrating my retirement from the position of Senior Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim. The details of the program for the Saturday evening dinner have not been shared with me. I am looking forward to being surprised. I can tell you about the Friday, May 6th evening service and the Saturday, May 7th morning study program.

Purim is Coming

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 2:44pm -- Rabbi Bob

Purim is coming. Purim is coming. Congregation Etz Chaim has long been praised as the Purim Capital of North America. As this will be my last Purim as Senior Rabbi of the congregation, I felt a need to create an extra special Purim celebration for my farewell year. In past years Rabbi Cosnowsky and I have kept our costumes a state secret and invited you to dress in any costume you liked.

JUF Sermon

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 2:22pm -- Rabbi Bob

I recently returned home from our annual JUF Rabbis Mission to Paris and Israel. At
services on Friday night I spoke about our experiences in Paris. You can read the
sermon by clicking here. In Israel we studied Midrash with Professor Avigdor Shinan of the Hebrew University.  Professor Oren Gutfeld took us to see the excavation he has just completed under the Tifferet
Israel synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. We visited poet Rivka Miriam in her home.

JUF Sermon

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 9:12am -- Rabbi Bob

The Jews of Paris
February 5, 2016
Rabbi Steven M. Bob


I recently returned home from our annual JUF Rabbis Mission. Annually Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis travel together.

Hidden Dreidel Messages

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 3:19pm -- Rabbi Bob

The dreidel grew out of a Medieval German gambling game. The word dreidel comes from the German
dreihen-to spin. The Medieval German gambling game used with Latin letters

                 N              Nisht                        Nothing

A Special Time to Learn with Rabbi Bob

Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Bob

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit

Saturday, November 21
9:30 AM-11:00 AM, Social Hall

An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today, My Promised Land has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years.”



Wed, 10/14/2015 - 4:32pm -- Rabbi Bob

This weeks Torah portion, Noah, includes a featured role for a dove. Noah sends out the dove to see if the flood is ending. Dove in Hebrew is Yonah. My favorite prophet, Jonah, is known in Hebrew as Yonah. The word Yonah is only used in two stories in the Hebrew Bible.

Rabbi Bob Kol Nidre Speech 5776

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 2:27pm -- Rabbi Bob

When I was a child I identified myself as: “one of the children.” We were “the children” and they were “the adults.” It seemed to me that we would always be “the children.”

When I became a college student I entered a new category. I identified myself as “a student” That is who I was I was “one of the students” and they were “the adults.” It seemed to me that I would always be “a student.”


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