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.

Associate Rabbi Frederick Kamil

Rabbi Kamil is a graduate of Michigan State University, where his Jewish life included membership in Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity and service as president of the campus Hillel. He also worked for local synagogues, where he taught in the religious school. During the summer of 2007, Rabbi Kamil completed a summer semester of study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

President Mike Sawyer

Mike Sawyer and his wife, Cynde, joined Congregation Etz Chaim in 1985. Their four children attended Etz Chaim’s religious school, and they had their B’nai Mitzvahs here. Three of their six, soon to be seven, grandchildren attend our religious school. Mike and Cynde grew up in Chicago’s south suburbs. They moved to Downers Grove in 1979, and in 2001 they moved to DeKalb County. Although they moved away from the immediate area, they did not move away from the congregation where they raised their children and made so many friends.

School Principal Marla Friedman

Marla Friedman recently became the principal of our religious school after teaching Hebrew to both children and adults in the school for eighteen years. Providing engaging, meaningful, and fun Jewish education has been Marla’s top priority since joining our staff.