Shabbat Chaverim meets on Friday mornings from 10:00 - 11:30 AM in the pre-school room. Jewish education and a whole lotta fun for the little ones, as well as a chance for the adults who bring them two Friday mornings each month an opportunity to get to know each other.
Carrie Barrera guides the group in a simple Jewish themed craft, often related to a holiday. These have included making edible Torahs out of pretzel sticks and fruit roll ups, colorful bookmarks with stick-on stars of David, delicious hamentashen, Hebrew alphabet snowflakes, dried orange slice pendants, and matzoh s’mores, to name a few. This period of creativity and open play also gives moms and/or other significant adults in their life to meet each other and build new relationships, as some of these children will be in Sunday school classes together for years to come.
After about half an hour or so, Cindy Michelassi leads a parade of children into a spacious classroom where everyone sits on the floor, while she tells a story relevant to the parsha of the week or current holiday and leads everyone in song. Some involve a little dancing, and others offer each child the opportunity to keep time with one of a variety of percussion instruments. This session opens with Shabbat Shalom and ends with Bim Bom.
Following this, everyone returns to the playroom where the table has been set for a festive oneg. Everyone blesses the candles, and with great flourish, one of the children uncovers the challah. Following blessings over the grape juice and challah, a variety of tasty snacks and conversation are enjoyed around the table..
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.