JLC Campus

When entering our new Jewish Learning Center building, you will walk down a vibrant, pictorial "Hall of History," 200 feet of wall murals displaying hundreds of archival, museum quality photos, maps, and documents - teachable moments that spark curiosity and interest. The school features five distinct learning Centers that each embody one of BJBE's five core values; each is unique in design, decor and theme. In addition, a state-of-the-art Creative Studio provides a home for art, crafts, and technology, and a second studio supports performance, dance, and movement activities. The 20,000 square foot JLC is connected to the main building by an enclosed link, the Rabbi Mark S. Shapiro Gateway, creating a campus environment.

Click below to see a video of our new building! (Link opens in a new window.)

jlc campus video still

Holocaust Torah Scrolls

The old Jewish Cemetery of Kolin is on the west of the historic city square of Kolin. It is an irregular polygon boardered by the streets Na Petrine, Slunecni, Prazska, Kmochova and Nad Zastavkou. A path going from east to west and tranversing the entire cemetery, joins the gate on Kmochova Street to that of Slunecni Street. The cemetery is locked with a key which according to the instructions written on the gates, is at the disposal of visitors in the Regional Museum in the City Square. This museum also organizes the maintenance of the cemetery by volunteers.

The tombs are grouped in irregular rows in a north-south direction. Inscriptions in general are towards the east. In the eastern part are those generally dating from the 15th to the 19th century, not in chronological order. In the western part are tombs primarily from the second half of the 19th century.

The old cemetery at Kolin is among the oldest and most important in Bohemia, with the settlement of Jews in Kolin going back to 1410. The cemetery was founded in the middle of the 15th century and was in use until 1887, when a new cemetery was founded at Kolin-Zalabi.

Click here for access to the Memorial Scrolls Trust website.

Map of Kolin

Chava Center Registration

2017–2018 Registration Is Open

Chava Center Brochure

Dear Friends,

Registration for the 2017-18 School Year and 2017 Summer Camp at  the Chava Center is now open!

It's easy to register on-line!  Paper registrations are available from Susie Wexler.

Families have the option to register their 2 year old child to attend either 2 days/week or 3 days/week.  Families of 3 year old children can enroll for 3, 4 or 5 days/week of attendance.

Summer Camp families have the option to register their 2 year old child to attend either 2 days/week or 3 days/week.  Families of 3-5 year old children can enroll for 3,4 or 5 days/week of attendance.

All registrations must be accompanied by a $250 non-refundable deposit.

Classes fill quickly, register now:

  • Click here to register for School! 
  • Click here to register for Summer Camp!

For more information, contact Susie Wexler, Early Childhood Director.


Susie Wexler

Congregation BJBE Chava Center

Early Childhood Program

BJBE's Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center fosters a vibrant and innovative Jewish learning community where child-focused exploration, creativity, and collaboration inspire our activities and curriculum. Our professional staff creates a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment designed to facilitate social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and Judaic growth and development. The Chava Center offers programs year-round, including: preschool, summer camp, on-site enrichment programming, and tot-adult classes.

Register for the 2017-2018 Year Now!

Program Offerings

Summer Camp

Tot-Adult Programs

View the 2016-17 Calendar of Events

Chava Center in the News

JUF Right Start Program

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Learning Together... Wherever

Spiritual Seekers Discussion Groups
Day & Time TBD

Omer Study Group
Spring 2017 Dates TBD
Spiritual seekers will meet weekly during the period known as the Omer to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. We will explore the Jewish principles involved in preparing to receive Torah. Omer, A Counting by Rabbi Karyn Kedar will be used as one of the texts for discussion, as well as other sources. Join us as we make these 49 days count!
Contact: Stellie Friedman or 847-912-9627

Searchers Groups
Searchers is the ultimate in Jewish learning as spiritual practice. In a Searchers group, sacred text becomes the vehicle for exploring your own spirituality, for making new friends, and for sharing new ideas and contemplating life's experiences in the safety of a caring community. Groups are lay led and meet on a monthly basis. All of us are searching.
Contact: Beth Kon

Learners' Circles
Learners' Circles are the hottest new thing in 21st century adult study. Gather your own group of 7-10 friends, pick a Jewish topic you're interested in studying, and one of our clergy will teach 3-4 sessions at a time and place that is convenient for you.
Contact: Andrew Abrams

Hebrew Classes

Hebrew classes for adults are taught by Ezra Kedar at BJBE. For a list of schedules and fees, please contact the temple office: 847-940-7575.

Advanced Beginning Conversational Hebrew
This class is for adults who have mastered Hebrew reading and are ready to learn how to comfortably carry on a simple Hebrew conversation.

Intermediate Conversational Hebrew
Amaze yourself with how much fun you'll have speaking Hebrew! Prerequisites: Prior knowledge of basic conversational Hebrew and ability to write Hebrew script.

Advanced Conversational Hebrew
This class is for people who can begin to hold a full conversation in Hebrew and who write Hebrew script competently. Prerequisite: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew.

The Symposium

The Symposium: Jewish Heroes, Heroines, & Personalities

Through study of their writings, speeches, and music, along with biblical and historical sources, we will learn about some of the most fascinating personalities who have shaped the Jewish experience from ancient times to the modern day. As always, our Symposium will be taught by some of Chicagoland's leading rabbis and teachers, along with our own BJBE clergy.

Bialik, Rachel, Zelda & Amichai: Modern Hebrew Poets
Tuesdays, March 7 & 14, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin, Am Yisrael Congregation

Molly Picon & Debbie Friedman: Musical Pioneers
Tuesdays, March 21 & 28, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Cantor Rayna Green

Beruriah: Talmudic Heroine
Tuesdays, April 18 & 25, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Rabbi Wendi Geffen, North Shore Congregation Israel

Miriam: The Prophetess
Tuesdays, May 2 & 9, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Cantor Jennifer Frost

King Solomon
Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Instructor: Rabbi Seth Limmer, Chicago Sinai Congregation

Sunday Morning Adult Learning

Jewish Ethical Wills: Crafting a Values-Based Legacy for Yourself & Your Family

Sundays, February 5 & 19, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Rabbi Karyn Kedar
What are the core values that define who you are, how you want your children to live, and how you want to be remembered? Rabbi Kedar will lead us in exploring our most deeply held convictions and aspirations and, drawing on the wisdom of Jewish tradition, help us think about the legacy we want to transmit to the next generation.

"In God's Image": Including People with Disabilities in Jewish Life

Sunday, February 12, 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.

Defining the Line Between Parenthood & Friendship

Sundays, February 26 & March 5, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Instructors: Amy Hertzberg & Kelly Goldberg
We may enjoy the same music, use the same social media, and wear the same clothes, but how do we remain our children's parent and not their BFF? Parenting experts Amy Hertzberg and Kelly Goldberg will talk to us about how to establish appropriate and enforceable boundaries while maintaining a healthy relationship with our children, how to maintain open but appropriate communication, and how to guide children in a firm but loving way that promotes independence and confidence. We will also explore the philosophies and impacts of "Helicopter Parenting" and "Tiger Parenting."

Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Julie Webb
At each new stage of maturity, changing life situations present different challenges and opportunities. We will explore growing older from both practical and spiritual perspectives, and learn to live each day with intention. Jewish wisdom, guided exercises, and engaging discussion will help us mindfully reflect on the past, better understand present needs and interests, and re-envision the next stage of the journey.

Passover & Easter: Two Stories of Redemption

Sunday, April 9, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Rabbi Brian Stoller
Passover and Easter are, in many ways, Judaism's and Christianity's most theologically important holidays. Both tell stories of redemption: the redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery by God, and the redemption of believers from sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Looking at passages from the Torah and from the New Testament, we will examine the meaning of redemption in the Jewish and Christian traditions and apply insights from both faiths to our own lives.

Holocaust Survivor Stories, In Their Own Words

Sundays, April 23 & 30 and May 7, 2017, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
As the world commemorates Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), BJBE is honored to welcome survivors of the Holocaust to share their stories of heroism, survival, and renewal. It is a privilege and a sacred duty to bear witness to their stories.

April 23, 2017 – SCREENING OF "REGINA: THE WORLD'S FIRST FEMALE RABBI" – This documentary film tells the story of Regina Jonas (1902-1944), a strong woman who made history by becoming the first properly ordained woman rabbi in the world. During the Nazi era, her sermons and her unparalleled dedication brought encouragement to the persecuted German Jews. Regina Jonas was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. Using amazing archival footage, this remarkable film paints a vivid picture of early-20th-century Jewish life in Berlin and brings us a story of a person whose image is known through one photograph alone.

April 30, 2017 – FRITZIE FRITZSHALL – Born in Czecholslovakia, Fritzie was taken at age 13 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she lost her mother, her brothers, and her aunt. She has vivid memories of the notorious Dr. Joseph Mengele, known as "The Angel of Death," surveying prisoners and choosing some for his diabolical human experiments. Fritzie has been an active voice against anti-semitism in the Chicago area for many years and currently serves as president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie.

May 7, 2017 – BARNEY SIDLER – After the Nazis conquered Poland when Barney was a child, he spent years moving from Jewish ghettos to labor camps before being liberated in 1945. Arriving in the U.S. with virtually no education, Barney worked hard and eventually became a successful, self-made businessman. He speaks frequently to children around Chicagoland, encouraging them to take advantage of the amazing educational opportunities available to them.

Sisterhood YES Fund Event

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Sisterhood's annual brunch to raise funds for the Women of Reform Judaism's YES Fund. This fund supports our youth, the education of our clergy and Jewish professionals, and worldwide special projects.
Contact: Carol Berger

Special Programs

Resolving Fears About The Future

Monday, March 27, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
This talk is intended to truly help audience members understand the big Why. Why is it so important to plan for the future instead of just reacting to it? Learn how to have these often-difficult conversations with tips including generational communication differences to using humor and stories to convey concerns.
Presented by Erin Marcus, who has spent more than 15 years working with families as they navigate the different aspects and unique challenges faced by aging loved ones. She is the author of Talking about the End is Only the Beginning. Conversations Every Child Must Have With Their Aging Parents, and her business, Caring Transitions, has assisted families with senior relocation and estate liquidation.

Wise Aging – Living with Joy, Resilience & Spirit

7-Week Session
In Fall and Winter 2016, trained BJBE lay leaders will facilitate small peer groups on a thought-provoking, seven-session journey to discern the unique opportunities for personal and spiritual growth in the years beyond mid-life. Developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, the program is geared to those in their 50s through active aging. The series will focus on topics including becoming your authentic self, cultivating spiritual qualities for well-being, changing bodies and body images, revitalizing relationships, leaving a legacy, and living with loss, change and death. Wise Aging will be offered at no charge to BJBE members, and space in each group is limited.
Contact: Julie Webb

Tikkun Leil Shavuot – Shavuot Late-Night Learning

Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 7:00-11:00 p.m.

Participate in the tradition of studying Torah on Erev Shavuot, in celebration of receiving Torah at Mt. Sinai. A set of late-night study sessions will be offered by our BJBE clergy and volunteer teachers. 

Contact: Phyllis Steiner