It's not spring, but Jewish programming in the South Suburbs is blossoming.
In the second round of funding through the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's South Suburban Mini-Grant Program, an array of 15 projects received support, up from 11 in the initial round in early 2012. The programs range from yoga and kaballah to an intergenerational history project to a women's seder to a matzoh-making workshop, and also include movie screenings, musical events, and more.
The mini-grant program was launched to kick-start expanded cultural, religious, and educational opportunities in Southland communities. Proposals, solicited from Jewish organizations throughout the area, are reviewed by a group of local residents-the South Suburban Kehillah-and the selected projects receive small grants to help make them happen.
The latest review occurred in September, with the selected programs taking place between this past October and next June. Upcoming events include:
- Joys of Jewish Learning - Teens and their parents learn conversational Hebrew, Jewish cooking, and what defines the Jewish home in the 21st century. United Religious School at B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom. 1424 W. 183rd St., Homewood. Hebrew and cooking programs were held in in January. Jewish Home will be in February.
- Redefining Diversity - Challenging old ways of thinking and providing new insights on diversity. At B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom. Feb. 3.
- Sunday Morning Series - Men's Club at Temple Anshe Sholom. Programs on men's health, retirement as a realistic goal for baby-boomers, and dealing with aging parents. 20820 Western Ave., Olympia Fields. Feb. 17, May 5 and June 2.
- Matzah Making Workshop for Children - Temple Anshe Sholom Religious School. Date TBD.
- Women's Seder - Jewish Community Center Chicago. Led by Anita Silvert. 7-9 p.m. Monday, March 11. Temple Anshe Sholom.
- L'Dor V'Dor: An Intergenerational Approach to Recording BYBS Members' History. Ongoing.
- There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream - A program weaving cultural, political, musical and economic history, presented in a café setting. At Temple Anshe Sholom. April 20.
- South Suburban Rosh Chodesh Group - JCC Chicago. An opportunity for Jewish women to come together to enrich themselves through study, spirituality and social engagement. Date and location TBD.
- South Suburban Jewish Film Festival and Discussion - JCC Chicago. Holiday Star Theatre, 340 Main St., Park Forest. Date TBD.
- Stepping Up for Israel - Zahavah-Deborah Hadassah. A film about changes happening in Israel, promoting Israel as a start-up nation. Date and location TBD.
- Trip to the Pritzker Library - Jewish War Veterans. With an emphasis on Jewish war heroes, Medal of Honor recipients. Date TBD.
Among events that already have taken place are:
- Yoga and Kabbalah, covering specific teachings of Kabbalah and techniques of Yoga. At B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom.
- Interfaith Hanukkah Program - Chaverim BBG. Bringing together teens of various faiths to better understand Hanukkah.
- Film Screening of Torn - The story of a Catholic priest who discovers he was born a Jew, and his parents died in the Holocaust. At Temple Anshe Sholom.
- More, Much More Than Fiddlers on the Roof! - Illiana Genealogy Society at B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom. An overview of modern (1552-1942) Eastern European Jewish history.
Mini-grant proposals are reviewed and selected by David Lebowitz, Gayla Cahan, Stan Dreyfuss, Janet Herbstman, Mark Fine, and Bob Zitter. The Kehillah is staffed by Alene Rutzky, Jewish Federation South Suburban Office coordinator.
For more information, contact Alene Rutzky at (708) 798-1884 or email@example.com.
Joel Schatz is director of News & Information for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.