Greater Chicago Jewish Festival (

Sunday, June 10, 2018

11:00am To 6:00pm

St. Paul Woods, Cook County Forest Preserve

$5 Suggested Donation – Free Parking!

Enter the Festival grounds through free parking at Oakton Street west of Lehigh, in Morton Grove

Headliners for 2018:

Corky Siegel, Howard Levy, RebbeSoul, Rabbi Joe Black, Guy King, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Listen Up A Capella!

New for 2018:

ComedySportz: featuring improv with a Jewish twist

Chicago Kosher Barbecue Competition

Ahavas Israel Reading Group

Interested in joining a book group? Ahavas Israel will buy the first book for you and all members of your group, either a print copy or we'll reimburse you for the eBook. Contact Leah Sauer (616-805-3778) if you are interested. Here is one possibility:

The Secret Book of Kings: A Novel, by Yochi Brandes

“This volume, by Biblical scholar Yochi Brandes, is a riveting novel based on textual sources about the experiences of David and Solomon. Its lessons are also relevant for our turbulent times.” ―Elie Wiesel, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Night

Our first meeting will be Monday, June 11 at the synagogue at 6:30 PM. Subsequent dates will be Monday, October 10 and Monday, February 11 at the same times.

Future book titles under consideration are People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Walking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. These are tentative suggestions - the book group participants will make the final choice.

Leah Sauer has offered to facilitate this. Please contact her if you are interested. 616-805-3778, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kosher Meat in a Lab

A Start-Up Wants to Grow Kosher Meat in a Lab (The Atlantic, 9/16/16)

Is lab-grown meat kosher? From the point of view of kashrut, is it really meat? Can one eat a lab-grown meat cheeseburger? Is lab-grown pork kosher?

Explore these and other questions in a home learning program on Sunday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m., hosted by Buddy and Judy Joseph, 2609 Berwyck SE. RSVP to Rabbi Krishef to let him know that you are coming.


This is the second of our food technology-related studies of halakha, Jewish law. The first, in June, was an exploration of Genetically Modified Organisms. We thank Ken and Allyson Strauss for hosting, and Ken for covering the science behind GMOs. Here are some halakhic conclusions from the paper we studied regarding the genetic modification of plants and animals:

1) The Torah’s ban on kilayim, the physical blending of different species of plants or animals, does not extend to the modification of gene sequences. Jews may benefit from the fruits of hybridized plants and animals, but they should not intentionally create entirely new species. 

2) The health implications of genetically modified foods must be examined on an individual basis, without making broad assumptions that all GMOs are either salubrious or dangerous. The Torah’s command (Deut. 4:15) that we guard our health requires vigilant attention to the safety of our food supply. 

3) When considering the genetic modifications of organisms, Jews must, as informed and engaged citizens, seek to minimize animal suffering and to protect extant species.

And here are some halakhic conclusions regarding the genetic modification of humans:

4) The creation of dual species human/animal chimera is forbidden. 

5) Modifications of the human genome intended to combat illness are permitted, for they may promote human health and protect human dignity. 

6) Genetic modifications intended to enhance the aesthetics of otherwise healthy humans are forbidden, for they violate Jewish teachings about the sanctity of human life. Modifications to the human genome must be limited to changes needed to restore health. Because the line between therapy and enhancement is often ill-defined, consultation with a scholar versed in the halakhic, ethical and biological considerations is required before such therapy is commenced.

Torah Study Shabbat

Please join us for a Torah Study Shabbat/Abbreviated Shabbat service on the 4th Shabbat of the month. The schedule is:
  • 9:30 a.m. Torah study
  • 10:30 a.m. Service
  • 11:55 a.m. (approximately) Kiddush

Upcoming Torah study Shabbat services will be on June 23, July 28, August 25, September 22, October 27, November 24, and December 29. Mark your calendars!

A new feature this summer - pre-service chanting, led by David Reifler.

This past January, David Reifler completed an 18-month series of four chanting retreats with Rabbi Shefa Gold entitled Kol Zimra. On June 23, July 28 and August 25, beginning at 10:15 am, David will lead a guided chanting of Modeh Ani in the Chapel for fifteen minutes prior to the beginning of our shortened Shabbat morning service. 

Shiva Asar B’Tammuz

The Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, a minor sunrise to sundown fast commemorating the breaching of the city walls of Jerusalem, takes place on Sunday, July 1.

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B’Av -- A day of Lamentations, mourning, and fasting for the destruction of the Temple and subsequent exiles of the Jewish people. Join us on: 

Saturday night, July 9, at 10:15 p.m., for Ma’ariv and the reading of the Biblical book of Eikha (Lamentations);


Sunday morning, July 10, 9:00 a.m., for morning minyan with special inclusions for Tisha B’Av.  (Fast ends at approximately 9:00 p.m.)


Study Groups

Rabbi Krishef’s study groups:

• Thursday Tanakh study, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., Schuler Books and Music, 28th St. (either in the back of the store or in the café). We are studying the books of Kings. Exciting narrative! Intrigue! Politics! Backstabbing! Join us.

• Jewish mysticism/Zohar study group, Mondays, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Ahavas Israel library. We are reading through Daniel Matt’s translation and commentary of the Zohar.

Betzalel Art Group

BETZALEL ART GROUP, Thursdays, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m., room #1

Join the fun at the Betzalel Art Group and be inspired by others as you work on your own projects. Bring your fiber art project or oil painting or any other art or craft you enjoy doing. Everyone is welcome. This is an open and flexible group, so come as your schedule allows.

For more information, please contact Pat Weller, 453-2954 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Delving Into Our History

With the help of Peg Finkelstein from the Temple Emanuel Archives, significant progress has been made on Ahavas Israel's Gen and Jack Finkelstein Archives, generously funded by Mort and Peg Finkelstein and Raleigh Finkelstein in memory of their parents. Contributions to the Gen and Jack Archive Fund provide continued support. The committee is working at the synagogue Wednesday mornings from 10AM until noon.  If you are interested in being a part of this important project, please contact Toby Weiner Dolinka at 949-6528.
If you have materials (especially photographs) that would be valuable for the archives, please contact Toby.

Family Promise

We provide meals and support to our partner congregation in the Family Promise shelter program, Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 Fulton St E. Please help - we need volunteers to bring part of a meal and participate in organizing children’s activities. To help, contact Mort Hoffman, 616-949-6088 or 616-361-2738.

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