Purim Carnival Experience

We are proud to open our Purim Carnival early between 9:00-10:00 a.m. for families who have a child with special needs and would benefit from a quieter, lower-stimulating carnival experience. No charge, but registration is required by email to Dani Glass. For more information, contact Cantor Green.

Post-Carpool Club

The BJBE Post Carpool Club, also known as PCP, is a group of fun-loving empty nesters. We enjoy a variety of activities together including speakers, theater, Shabbat dinners, and outings as a community of BJBE friends. Ideas for future programs always welcome! 
Contact: Carol Berger

A trip to Rockefeller Chapel (Hyde Park)
Sunday, January 28, 2018, afternoon concert
Join us for a special Jewish concert celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday, featuring Cantor David Berger and friends, the Kol Zimrah Choir (accompanied by our own Margo Schwartz-Newton), and special guest Matthew Lazar, a leading force in the Jewish choral movement. His superior talents as a conductor and interpreter of music have elevated the standards of Jewish musical performance and educated audiences across North America. Full details to be determined, but bus transportation will be offered.  There will be a cost associated with this program.  

The Best of Bette, Barbara, Sammy, Tony and more
Sunday, March 11, 2018, 4:30 p.m. at BJBE.
We welcome back one of our favorite presenters, Hy Speck, who has delighted us with his informative programs. Included in this new presentation are clips from movies, television, and stage appearances of your favorite performers. Join us for a welcome reception followed by the program and dinner. There will be a cost associated with this program.

Brunch & a Movie 
Sunday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. at BJBE.
We invite you to join us for a delicious brunch and a movie, followed by discussion. Movie choice to follow. Enjoy good food, a lively discussion, and community. There will be a cost associated with this program.


Membership Circle

Community is BJBE’s central value. Membership Circle finds and welcomes new members, creating opportunities for them to meet other members of the BJBE community and form lasting friendships. 

Membership Circle
Working on an event or a program is a great way to get involved in BJBE and to get to know new people in a small group setting. Volunteer for an event, for particular programs, or help out with ongoing initiatives. Small commitments are welcome!
Contact: Abby Agnew

Annual Membership Events

Recent Member Shabbat Dinner 
Friday, November 10, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
This Shabbat dinner is an opportunity for members who have joined BJBE in the last two years to get to know each other, meet our lay leadership, and feel the warmth of their new extended family. Want to help? Contact: Abby Agnew

Recent Member Brunch 
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 9:45 a.m.
This brunch is an opportunity for new-ish members to continue to deepen their connections within BJBE and to learn more about how to get involved in all that BJBE has to offer.
Contact: Abby Agnew

Prospective Member Open Houses
Several times a year, we host gatherings at BJBE, in congregants’ homes, or at local restaurants for prospective members. This is an excellent opportunity for your friends and family who are searching for a spiritual home to meet BJBE clergy, our Education Director, lay leadership, and other temple members in a casual and intimate setting. 
Contact: Abby Agnew

Shabbat in the Park 
Occasionally over the summer, we move outside for a musical Shabbat service in the park, followed by a special oneg treat from the ice cream truck.
Contact: Anne Robbin

Dessert Under the Stars
While prospective members are welcome to attend BJBE services any time, several times a year we hold special prospective member outreach services, where people who are searching for a spiritual home can get a taste of BJBE.
Contact: Anne Robbin

Torah on Tap
Throughout the year, we host gatherings for both members and prospective members at a bar/restaurant. This is a great opportunity to connect with our clergy with lively conversation and a drink in a casual setting.
Contact: Anne Robbin 

Shabbat in the Home
These Shabbat dinners, held in congregants’ homes, give our members a chance to gather for intimate, casual Shabbat dinners to build community, share a beautiful meal, and connect with our clergy.
Contact: Anne Robbin

Families with Young Children

Mitzvah Playdate in the JLC
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Bring a picnic dinner, have fun with friends, & make the world a better place.
Learn more >>

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Monday, January 22, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!

Havdalah in Pajamas
Saturday, January 27, 2018, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Wear your pajamas and join us as we celebrate Havdalah with a special story and snack.

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!

Playdate in the JLC
Sunday, March 11, 2018, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Bring a picnic dinner and join us for games, fun, and friends in the BJBE Jewish Learning Center.

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!

Pajama Shavuot Tikun
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Adults stay up all night studying Torah; the kids will have an “undernighter.” Wear your pajamas and come for stories, crafts and a special snack.

Family Night at Max & Benny's
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Make dinner time easy! Join us in the back room, which will be reserved just for us, anytime between 5-7pm! Feel free to bring a friend for crafts, games, and $5 kids meals!
Bring in this flyer, and Max & Benny's will donate 15% back to BJBE!


Family & Parenting at Every Stage
Sundays, January 21 & 28, February 4 & 11, 2018, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Each stage of children’s lives brings new challenges and opportunities requiring us to adapt to changing circumstances and recalibrate our role as parents. We will explore some of the Jewish principles and practical strategies that can guide us as we strive to make values-based choices that support and nurture the young people we love.

January 21 - Nurturing the Wow: Parenting as Spiritual Practice, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
The work of parenting, and living in connection with others in general, can be glorious and amazing. And it can be, at least as often, frustrating, crazy-making, and mind-numbingly boring. How can the riches of the Jewish tradition help us to transform the most difficult moments with our children and the people in our lives? How can it illuminate the beautiful moments in powerful, new ways? But not only that, what do parents who are deep in the trenches of this labor of love have to teach Judaism about what spirituality is and can be? And, most critically, what might happen if we regard the work of raising children, and being in loving connection with other people as a whole, as a legitimate spiritual practice in its own right?

January 28 - Making Green Choices with Our Kids, Eli Green
Environmental justice is a Jewish value, and yet, it can be hard to fully understand environmental issues and the impact of our choices, both big and small. With sustainability expert, Eli Green, we will explore the underlying principles of the environmental issues facing us today. We will enable you to make knowledgeable choices, become role models for your children, and learn some tips and tricks for living an environmentally responsible life at home and in the world.

February 4 - Navigating the Halls of Middle School, Kelly Goldberg
The years of middle school are challenging as young people try to find their place in an ever-changing social world. Drawing on her 30 years of teaching and guiding teens through these years using Jewish wisdom, Chai School Principal Kelly Goldberg will lead us in discussion about the social challenges our children face today and the spiritual principles that guide us. We will explore practical strategies to help our middle schoolers survive and thrive on their path to high school. 

February 11 - Your Child, The Internet, and You, Sarah Casper, Outreach Coordinator, Response Center
Bullying is no longer as easy to see as it once was, and parenting adolescents is hard enough without having to keep up on the latest and greatest social media and technological advancements. This session will inform parents about the key role that technology and social media websites play in students’ feelings of connection and disconnection with their friends, family, community, and themselves. We also provide parents with important information about the latest apps and helpful conversation starters to engage their teens around this pressing issue. Parents will leave the program with the tools to support their teen in navigating the digital world.


G’milut Chasadim Programs for Families with Young Children
Getting our children involved in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and G'milut Chasadim (acts of kindness) at a young age is a primary goal of our programming. Making connections and growing friendships with other young families is another. Join us once or on an ongoing basis for multi-generational programming as we bake cookies for Project Nourish, collect food for the Ark, participate in a “food stamp shopping challenge,” create “charity chests” for the home, fill activity bags for local children’s hospitals, and much more.
Contacts: Melanie Berkowitz and Carrie Cohan

Caring Community

As BJBE’s Extended Family, Caring Community provides spiritual, emotional, and healing support to our member families in times of joy and in times of need. Our goal is for all members to feel valued, included, and welcome. To become an active part of the Caring Community, contact Dale Busch or Michael Erdman.

For information on Support for Caregivers, click here >>

Clergy Support for Members in Need

Clergy Pastoral Care
The Rabbis and Cantors want to know when your family or loved ones experience illness or death so that they can support you in your times of need. Contact the BJBE office at 847-940-7575 to speak with one of the clergy’s assistants. Be sure to provide all relevant information and where you can be reached. 

JCARES Partnership for Safer Synagogues
For more information on JCARES, click here >>

Virtual Food Pantry
In emergency situations when a member has no other source of obtaining food, short-term food assistance can be provided. The clergy handles this concern confidentially. Contact the BJBE office at 847-940-7575 to speak with one of the clergy’s assistants.

Volunteer Support for Members in Need

BJBE Caring Community Leadership Team 2017-2018

On-Board Chair: Dale Busch, 847-780-4649
Off-Board Chair: Michael Erdman, 773-972-1771

Intake Coordinator: Gloria Kaiz, 847-945-3741. When we learn that someone is in need, this person will be responsible for making contact with that member to assess the member’s needs and will make referrals to the appropriate project coordinators to provide the assistance the family needs.

Bereavement Coordinator: Sharon Krivitzky, 847-564-4782. Coordinates all bereavement support for our members.

  • Bags of Hope Project: Renee Busch 847-414-5078 and Rachel Tzinberg, 847-400-5236. Manages the purchase, assembly and delivery of the Bags of Hope to members who lost a loved one over the past year.
  • Grief Support Phone Calls: Sharon Krivitzky, Calls members who have recently lost a loved one to provide support.
  • Volunteer Shiva Minyan Corps: Irwin Goldfine, 847-724-1850. Provides a volunteer Shiva Minyan Leader to members who have lost a loved one, when requested.

Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick; body, mind, or spirit) Coordinators: Michael Erdman, 773-972-1771. When a member is in need of support in the form of a phone call and/or a visit at home, nursing home, assisted living facility or rehab center it will be provided to this member in need.

Caregiver Support & Life Transition Education Coordinator: Carol Berger, 847-205-9793, this person is responsible for providing resources for adult members who are providing care for adults with chronic conditions as well as coordinating Life Transition Education Programs.

Caring Card Coordinators: Dolly DeCaro, 847-296-5902 and Jeanie Pearlman, 847-831-1442. When a member has a life event that requires support or calls for celebration this person will generate a hand written note from the Caring Community to that member. In addition, thank you notes will be generated for volunteers who provide prepared meals and rides to/from Temple and to/from medical appointments.

Healing List Coordinator: Leslie Block, 847-940-7575, This person maintains a confidential list of members in need, in coordination with the Clergy.

High Holy Day Calls Coordinator: Gail Ostach, 847-564-2339. This person is responsible for planning and implementing the High Holy Day calling that takes place in the fall.

Medical Lending Closet: Sisterhood maintains a list of medical supplies available for loan within the congregation.

New Parent/Grandparent Coordinator: Phyllis Pearlman, Temple Office 847-940-7575. When a member has a new child or grandchild this person will send a book with a note from the Caring Community.

Prepared Meal Volunteer Coordinators: Karyn Benson, 847-579-8901 and Stephanie Engelman, 847-945-2350.  When a member is in need of a prepared meal these people will make arrangements for a meal to be delivered.

Safer Synagogue Coordinator: Sherry Rundell, and Margot Andersen, 847-525-1710. This person is responsible for the development, implementation and management of the BJBE Safer Synagogue Action Plan.

Self Help Guides to Family Issues Coordinator: Phyllis Pearlman, Temple Office, 847-940-7575. There are Self Help brochures stored in the Village Center and this person is responsible for keeping the supply stocked.

Transportation Coordinator: Dolly DeCaro, 847-296-5902. When a member needs either a ride to/from temple or to/from medical appointments this person will arrange for the transportation.

Virtual Food Pantry: Temple Office 847-940-7575. In emergency situations, when a member has no other source of obtaining food, short term food assistance can be provided. This is handled confidentially by the clergy only.

Zip Code CoordinatorsCathy Horwitz, Tanya Paler. These people are responsible for initiating and managing requests for volunteers by zip code for meal and ride support. These people will work very closely with the Prepared Meal Volunteer Coordinators, the Transportation Coordinators and the Cemetery Connection Coordinators.

Health Fair Coordinator: Terry Sachsel, 847-296-8840.  This person brings in vendors from the community and partners with CJE to sponsor various health screenings, provide health information, flu shots and mental health information.

Sacred Aging Coordinator: Julie Webb, 847-607-8406

Liason to Sedgebrook: Lynn Wax, 847-767-7701

Inclusion Committee Chair: Jennifer Gendel - 224-515-833


BJBE is a safe space for the LGBTQ community, and we welcome you with love and open arms.

Click here to listen to Rabbi Kedar's beautiful words (from 2/17/17) on how the Torah portion Mishpatim obligates us to have compassion and empathy for one another.

BJBE has 5 gender neutral bathrooms, and our clergy is dedicated to welcoming all into our community, including officiating at same-sex weddings and other lifecycle events.

safe zone

BJBE hosts the following support group in our building. Although not sponsored by our congregation, it is open and available to our members.

Second Thursday of the Month, 7:15-9:10 p.m.
PFLAG promotes the well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, and their families and friends. All meetings are confidential; PFLAG is a safe place to talk, listen and learn. Membership is not required and there is no charge to attend. Walk-ins are always welcome. 
Contact: Sue Ginsburg, PFLAG President Deerfield Chapter, click here for email, 630-415-0622

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

As we learn from Proverbs, “Teach a child according to his or her own way.” At BJBE, we understand that every child is unique and comes to us with different strengths and challenges. We believe that every child is capable of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in their own way. We look forward to working in partnership with you and your child. We are confident that together we can meet the needs of each student and make the Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience meaningful.


HUGS - Healthy Understanding Growth Spaces

HUGS logoHUGS is a collaborative effort of Chicago north suburban synagogues. HUGS values welcoming people of all abilities and strives to offer meaningful holiday celebrations for children and adults of all ages with special needs. Programs take place in synagogues around the Chicago north suburban area and are always held in spaces that are accessible to all. Family members or caregivers are welcome at all events. Most of our programs are free of charge. Visit the HUGS website >>

HUGS Purim at BJBE
Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
BJBE is proud to host the Purim Hamantashen Making event for adults with disabilities. There will be a special musical presentation and telling of the story of Queen Esther, a craft project, and of course, hamantashen making and eating! This event is free and open to the community. Family members and caretakers are welcome to attend. BJBE is fully accessible.
To RSVP, contact Dani Glass

HUGS Holiday Calendar 2017-2018:

December 13, 2017, 4:30-6:30 p.m
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, 1175 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park

Klezmer Dance Party
February  2018 – Date and time TBD
Beth Hillel Congregation B’nai Emunah, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette

Purim Hamantashen Making for Adults
Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Congregation BJBE 

Passover Chocolate Seder
March 25, 2018, 2:00-3:30 p.m. 
Congregation Beth Shalom, 3433 Walters Avenue, Northbrook

Jewish Choir for Adults with Disabilities

Selah is a brand new choral group for Jewish Young Adults who identify with the Special Needs Community. This choir is led by Cantors Faryn Rudnick, Steven Stoehr, and Amy Zussman. Rehearsals will be Sundays from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom, 3433 Walters Avenue, Northbrook. 
Contact: Cantor Steven Stoehr

Inclusion at the Chava Center

BJBE's Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center collaborates with Keshet, an agency that works to integrate individuals with disabilities into their communities. One of the core beliefs of Keshet is to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy life along-side typically developing peers, in settings that enable their efforts and reward the community for their acceptance. This exciting partnership has enabled a young girl with Down syndrome to attend preschool, with the support of staff from Keshet, in the Jewish environment her parents chose for her.

The experiences in a Jewish preschool are a wonderful time to begin to share the Jewish rituals and create memorable experiences for young children. Making this environment accessible to all families is important. The inclusive environment created at the Chava Center gives a student with a disability the opportunity to participate in an inclusive Jewish preschool environment. Inclusive classes offer benefits to all children learning together. Children with disabilities experience positive peer modeling from their typically developing peers. Equally important, typically developing children gain an understanding and acceptance of differences among people.