Writings Blog

Community, Spirituality, and YOU

Senior Staff Writings

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Rabbi Cosnowsky’s Message of Comfort

With the recent murders of people of color and the injustice our friends in the black community have had to endure all of their lives, lends to the feelings of outrage. This on top of a global pandemic and subsequent lock down, disruption to our economic well being and the social unrest in our community. We are faced with the question: How can these events happen in a country that was founded on basic principles that all are created equal and are given the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Rabbi Cosnowsky, Jewish Spirituality

Is there such a thing as Jewish Spirituality? What does it mean? It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “I am spiritual, but not religious.” However, what does that really mean. Come and explore with Rabbi Cosnowsky, the origins of spirituality in Judaism and how Jewish spiritual practice can become a part of your daily life. This program is sponsored by the Etz Chaim Foundation as part of their Sunday morning programs..

Pekuach Nefesh by Rabbi Kamil

There is an old story of five people in a boat. None of them like each other that much, so they mostly keep to themselves. Everyone is happy to allow the other to do their own thing. One day, the person in the corner begins to hack at the wood in the bottom of the boat. At first, everyone is fine with this. However, it’s not long before a small leak appears. The people say that the person in the corner should stop what they’re doing. The person in the corner argues that they’re doing their own thing and it doesn’t matter. The people respond, “When your actions affect all of us, it’s not just your thing.”

A Hanukkah Message from Rabbi Kamil

This month we will celebrate the holiday, Hanukkah. There are many rituals and festivities associated with this holiday. We kindle the Hanukkah candles each night to spread and increase light and warmth even in the darkest and coldest times of the year. We spin the dreidel with its four Hebrew letters, nun, gimel, hay, and shin, making the acronym, Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, meaning a “great miracle happened there.”

Love Your Neighbor

We don’t always associate August with the season of love. However, there is a little-known Jewish holiday which usually falls early to mid-August. This is the holiday Tu B’Av, translated to the not so inventive name of the 15th of the month of Av (occurring on August 16th this year).

President’s Pen, November 2019

September and October were busy months for our congregation. We kicked off with the beginning of religious school which included the Brotherhood’s picnic and games. That was followed by the family picnic celebrating our 60th year and the beginning of Selichot starting the High Holiday ‘season.’ And for both of these events the rainy weather let up so that we could enjoy our outside activities. The participants were grateful for the break in the weather.

President’s Pen, July 2019

Sixty years ago the seeds for Congregation Etz Chaim were sowed. A small number of Jewish families in DuPage County got together with the intent of establishing a Jewish synagogue to support them and their families. The core of this new synagogue was this group who wished to have a central place of Jewish worship and community. They had no building. They had no rabbi. They had themselves.

Summers at OSRUI

One of Etz Chaim’s own, Audrey Honig, was recently chosen as a Rosh Eidah, unit head, at OSRUI. Audrey is the daughter of Rob and Lisa Honig and is a junior at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. We are so proud of her and her many accomplishments! I asked Audrey to tell us about her love for all things OSRUI.

Principally Speaking, September 2019

Our entire religious school is learning W.O.W. What is W.O.W.? It’s the Hebrew Word of the Week that teaches us something Judaic. The primary grade students and their families have learned “Ah-rone Koe-desh”, Holy Ark, by means of a puppet show! The intermediate and upper grade teachers share the W.O.W. on Sundays with their classes.