Inclusion at the Chava Center

This year we started a unique collaboration between a preschool classroom at BJBE's Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center and 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.

Youth Groups

BJBE is committed to meeting the needs of our children of all ages. To keep our tweens and teens engaged with Judaism throughout their middle and high school years, we offer opportunities for sacred friendship, connection, learning, social action, leadership, and fun. While our young adults enjoy these activities with their friends, they strengthen the Jewish identities that will carry them to college and beyond.

BJBE has 3 youth groups:

SYG (Senior Youth Group) for grades 9-12

Contact: Eddie Simon, SYG Advisor,

JYG (Junior Youth Group) for grades 6-8

Contact: Eddie Simon, JYG Advisor,

KYG (K'tanim Youth Group) for grades 3-5

Contact: Lauren Sandoval, KYG Advisor,

NFTY-CAR (National Federation for Temple Youth in the Chicago Area Region)

BJBE is part of NFTY, The National Federation of Temple Youth. NFTY is the Reform Jewish religious youth movement that fosters leadership at the national, regional and congregational levels. NFTY-CAR brings together Reform Jewish high schoolers from the suburbs and surrounding cities of Chicago, as well as northwestern Indiana.

Inclusion at the JLC

New this year to the Jewish Learning Center is the addition of a KESHET sponsored Special Needs Coordinator. The goal of this program is to provide a safe and nurturing Jewish education within the general BJBE classroom for students possibly requiring additional supports or accommodations. Diana Slatopolsky, long time BJBE member, Sunday School teacher, and School Psychologist will be providing guidance to our classroom teachers, students and parents. If you are interested in exploring options for your child please contact Diana at

The Beit Cafe

We are pleased to once again be partnering with Glenkirk to run the Beit Cafe on Sunday mornings. Glenkirk provides job training to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully in community life. Stop by the Beit Cafe for a cup of coffee, pastry or some tasty home-baked items. You will enjoy getting to know the Glenkirk individuals and will be supporting this outstanding organization.

Beit Cafe

Beit Cafe



-Isaiah 56:7

BJBE’s inclusion committee is dedicated to providing inclusive worship, educational and social experiences for people with disabilities and their families.


In connection with our Jewish values and Congregation BJBE’s mission, the newly formed inclusion committee is dedicated to creating a welcoming and accessible community for people with disabilities and their families. The purpose of this group is to provide an inclusive worship, educational, and social experience in a supportive environment. The committee is open to all who are interested.

To learn more or get involved in the Inclusion Committee, please contact Jennifer Gendel.


Upcoming programs related to Inclusion:

“In God’s Image”: Including People with Disabilities in Jewish Life

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Gendel, Keshet Inspire Center Director & Chairman of the BJBE Inclusion Task Force

Inclusion is about enabling all Jews to feel that they belong, contribute, and can participate fully in Jewish life. Inclusion expert Dr. Jennifer Gendel will lead a panel of individuals with disabilities and their parents in a discussion about their experiences with synagogue life, Jewish summer camp, and the B’nai Mitzvah social scene. Together we will explore the success and challenges of Jewish communal inclusion efforts, and think about how we can continue to make BJBE an ever-more welcoming and accessible community for people with disabilities and their families.

Get Involved

BJBE's committees provide an opportunity for those who wish to get involved, whether in a specific project or the day-to-day activities of synagogue life. Please call Executive Director Arlene Mayzel in the BJBE office at 847-940-7575 for additional information or to join one of our committees.

Adult Education

Creates our adult education program, from ongoing classes to Scholars in Residence, with a focus on life-long learning.


Prepares the annual budget and assists in overseeing the financial transactions of the congregation.

Building & Grounds

Oversees the design, care and maintenance of the real and personal properties of the congregation.

Congregational Development

Develops and oversees all fundraising activities for the congregation, including the Endowment Fund, Restricted Funds, General Fund and our Sustaining Gifts Program.

Congregational Public Relations

Coordinates the promotion of BJBE to the public, maintains the congregational Web site, and oversees the bulletin and other communications.


Responsible for the youth and family education of the congregation.


Develops and implements programs and activities to promote knowledge, awareness of and support for the State of Israel.

Caring Community

Fosters a sense of community and wholeness within BJBE. Coordinates programs to address the needs of various groups within the congregation.

Leadership Development

Creates programs to identify and develop future congregational leadership, including programs to educate and further develop the Board of Trustees.


Responsible for the recruitment, integration and retention of the BJBE membership.


Helps to formulate the ritual policies and practices of BJBE in accordance with the tenants of Reform Judaism. Works closely with the clergy to ensure our services meet the spiritual needs of our congregation.

Social Action

Develops and implements Social Action projects for the congregation with a focus on Mitzvot and G'milut Chasadim (deeds of loving kindness).


Creates and executes programs for the enrichment and benefit of the congregation's youth.

Caring Community

Support for Members in Need -- Caregivers Support Information

Partnership of Clergy and Caring Community Volunteer Support

Clergy Support: Leslie Block 847-940-7575

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. Please remember that the clergy cannot support you if they do not know about your situation, so please do call and let us know.

Volunteer Support:

BJBE Caring Community Leadership Team 2015-2016 (October 2015)

On-Board Chair: Dale Busch, 847-780-4649
Off-Board Chair: Ted Busch, 847-780-4649
Secretary: Faith Keidan, 847-945-1928

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

  • Bags of Hope ProjectRenee 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 CallsSharon 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 847-972-1771. 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.

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.

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

New Parent/Grandparent Coordinator: Elaine Wexler, 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: Sarah Duffin, 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 Coordinator: Cathy Horwitz, Marilyn Mages, 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


What is a Chavurah?

The word Chavurah comes from the Hebrew word "chaver," meaning friend. A Chavurah is a group of BJBE members who gather regularly throughout the year to enrich their lives by socializing, learning and celebrating Jewish life together. Participating in a Chavurah is one way to meet other temple members in a smaller, more personal setting, in which new relationships and friendships can be developed from within the congregation.

What does a Chavurah do?

Chavurah members plan activities of their own choosing. It could be a pot-luck dinner, building a Sukkah, attending a BJBE Shabbat service together, studying a text, going apple picking, attending a concert or play,'s your choice! Among the joys of Chavurah are sharing Shabbat, life cycle events, and the Jewish holidays.

How large is a Chavurah, how often does it meet?

A BJBE Chavurah is usually made up of 6-8 families, or 15-20 individuals. The number, frequency, and day and time of meetings is entirely decided by the members of the Chavurah. Most groups meet monthly or semi-monthly, in homes of their members or wherever they choose for an activity.

Why NOW?

Joining a Chavurah gives you a more intimate sense of community, within the larger BJBE community. Building and maintaining community is an integral part of the vision for our future as BJBE grows. The Chavurah experience gives you the feeling of an "extended family" within our congregation.

Questions or interested in joining?

Feel free to contact the BJBE office or 847-940-7575.

BJBE Community

Community is our central value. We aspire to build a center for Jewish life, a place for laughter and joy, for meaningful conversation and friendship.

BJBE offers dynamic, innovative programming for our members and guests. We provide an active community to those who wish to make a difference, a caring community to those less fortunate, and a nurturing community to those seeking connection. This includes BJBE's award-winning Sisterhood, the Post-Carpool Club, and other programs and events.