Jewish education is the shared responsibility of the family, the school and our congregation. Congregation Etz Chaim offers many ongoing and special programs to help our congregants be knowledgeable, active and competent members of the Jewish community.
Adult education programs are offered for members who wish to expand their knowledge of Hebrew, Judaism, current events, and Torah. Programs may be led by the congregation’s rabbis or members, or by visiting rabbis or other outside experts.
During the school year, Sunday mornings at Etz Chaim are a beehive of activity when the Religious School, serving students in preschool through 10th grade, is in session. Children in grades 3-7 also attend midweek Hebrew classes on Wednesdays.
Our nationally accredited religious school offers a variety of dynamic educational opportunities from birth through 12th grade. Our students experience Judaism and Hebrew in tangible ways. Etz Chaim’s skilled faculty of clergy, teachers, and madrichim, (high school teaching assistants), guide our students on their unique Jewish journeys by giving our students the tools to lead meaningful Jewish lives and make our vibrant and holy traditions come alive.
Each week we read and discuss. We look at the text in the context of our lives and our ideas. Our explorations of the text always touch on what is going on in the large world and in our Etz Chaim world. While we avoid fancy scholarly vocabulary, our conversations regularly return to big themes, such as; leading Jewish lives in the modern world, our relationship with God, our understanding of truth and truths and our connection to the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. This is a wonderful group and we have a great time.
You do not have to commit to attending every Saturday. You can come every week, most of the weeks, or drop in from time to time. We meet Saturdays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. During the summer, Torah Study begins at 9:30A AM and is led by lay leaders.
Programs and Classes
We express our value of lifelong education, by offering various programs to those who wish to expand their knowledge of Hebrew, Judaism, current events, and Torah. Our learning opportunities are led by the congregation’s rabbis, fellow members, visiting rabbis or other outside experts.
Spend an entire weekend experiencing Shabbat, having fun and participating in Jewish learning with other members of our congregational family. Congregation Etz Chaim family retreats are held on the grounds of OSRUI (Olin-Sang-Ruby-Union Institute) located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin approximately 125 miles from the synagogue. This year plan to join us at OSRUI from April 17-19, 2020.
A Summer That Lasts A Lifetime
Since 1952, OSRUI has provided campers a place to build lifelong friendships, explore Judaism, and have the time of their lives.
Many of our children attend summer sleepaway camp at OSRUI (Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute), the Reform Movement camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Many different sessions are offered to meet the needs and interests of our children. Students entering third grade through high-schoolers will find something to love at OSRUI. Sessions can last from 5 days to as long as seven weeks for Chalutzim, the intensive Hebrew session. Campers live in cabins or tents, depending on the unit and session they choose.
OSRUI provides a fun-filled camping experience within the context of Jewish living and learning. Nothing beats the Shabbat songfest and Israeli dancing at camp! Lifelong friendships grow and each child’s connection to Judaism is strengthened at OSRUI. Music, sports, worship, and many opportunities for fun fill the days and nights at camp.
Etz Chaim is proud to regularly send the largest contingent of campers to OSRUI from a mid-size congregation and one of the largest contingents from a congregation of any size!
Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County, a Reform synagogue in Lombard, serves almost 500 families in the western suburbs of Chicago. We have a tradition of having an inclusive community which welcomes everyone- Jews by birth, Jews by choice, non-Jewish family members, singles, LGBTQIA2+ and people of all ages and abilities. We are a caring community that draws strength on our commitment to honor and respect the diversity of our membership.