Lynda Gutcheon began the Jewish Education Interim program a year ago. She has spent the year at Congregation Kol Haverim after having served The Temple in Nashville, TN, as their Director of Education for 30 years. She now joins Etz Chaim as our Interim Director of Education.
Jacob Margulies has been a member of Congregation Etz Chaim since 2002. He is married to Ellyn and they have three children who all became b’nai mitzvah here. Jacob is president of Continental Envelope, a family business located in nearby Geneva. He is involved with the JUF, having been chair of Israel Solidarity Day (ISD) - Western Suburbs as well as serving on the TOV Board.
Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky, Senior Rabbi, came to Congregation Etz Chaim in 2005 from Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland, Ohio. Ordained in 2004 at the Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Cosnowsky had been the Student Leader Intern for URJ Outreach Fellows Program for Conversion Certification HUC, and continues her outreach work with the larger community through her work with DuPage United.
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.
Anne Stein is the full-time Director of Education at Congregation Etz Chaim, overseeing our religious schoolprograms from pre-school through Confirmation. Before coming to Etz Chaim in 1991, Anne was the Director of Education at synagogues in Skokie and St. Louis. At the Mayer Kaplan JCC, she started the Shalom Sunday religious school program for newly arrived Russian children and their parents. In Dayton, Ohio, she developed the educational resource center at Temple Israel.
“What’s going through his head?” This is a question I, and many others, have often asked of our patriarch Abraham during the story we will read tomorrow, the Akedah, or the binding of Isaac. How can Abraham be so willing to sacrifice his son? There is not much dialogue in this story, so we don’t get Abraham’s perspective. What we do know, though, is that Abraham argued earlier with G-d about preserving life.
During my first year in rabbinical school, my classmates and I examined our connections to Judaism. I heard many wonderful answers.
When I was seven years old, my Congregation, Greenburgh Hebrew Center, took us to my first march to support the State of Israel. The photo of me holding one end of my congregation’s banner that came out in our regional newspaper, the Reporter Dispatch, sits proudly in my scrap book. At a young age, I marched in support of Israel.
It is hard to believe that this will be my final article as President of Congregation Etz Chaim. Boy, two years have certainly flown by quickly! At first I was quite hesitant about what my tenure would hold and if I was up for the challenge and responsibility of leading our congregation. I had a productive two years because I received great support from so many. Rabbis Bob, Cosnowsky and Kamil, members of the Executive committee, the Board, Carol and her staff, and of course many of you. It takes a village, as the saying goes and that was certainly the case for me.
The holiday of Shavuot is quickly approaching. On Shavuot, we say the words, "Z'man matan Torateinu," “time time of the giving of our Torah.” We say we were given Torah at Mt. Sinai, rather than it was received. That is, the Torah was a gift or a Matana in Hebrew. All we have to do on Shavuot is eat blintzes and other dairy foods and receive this holy gift from God. However, the name of the holiday sheds light on what our job is during the weeks that preceded it.