New mini-grants keep South Suburban Jewish programs flourishing

Words and pictures, lyrics and silence – oh, and puppets, too – all will be part of the next season of cultural programming getting a boost from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s South Suburban Mini-Grant Program.

This fourth round of funding, which will provide a total of $16,000 to 13 widely varied projects, continues the Federation’s three-year-old effort to kick-start expanded cultural, religious and educational opportunities in Southland communities. Proposals from area Jewish organizations were reviewed by a group of local residents – the South Suburban Kehillah – who awarded the small grants that will help make the projects happen.

The newest programs range from biblical to contemporary, and include events on the Song of Songs, modern Israeli filmmaking, the opening of a new community school, Jewish law in the 21st century, and Jewish war veterans.

The full list of programs, which begin this summer, includes:

  • Biblical Literature Series – Focusing on the Book of Proverbs, Book of Daniel and the History of Bible Translations. Presented by: Congregation Am Echad
  • Halacha (Jewish law) in the 21st Century – A weekend exploration of the development of Jewish law over time, and Jews’ contemporary relationship with it. Presented by: Congregation Am Echad, B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Temple Anshe Sholom
  • Lazarus Straus Family History and the Straus’ Relationship with Anne Frank’s Family – From Germany to Georgia, then New York City. Through the generations. Presented by: B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Congregation Am Echad
  • Isaiah: A Prophet of the Past & Future. Presented by: B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom
  • Israeli Film/Discussion – Featuring three films by Israeli graduate film students. Presented by: Jewish Community Center
  • The Song of Songs – A four-session text study. Presented by:  Jewish Community Center
  • In Other Words: Miriam Talks Back – A fresh look at scriptures through poetry. Presented by: National Council of Jewish Women South Cook Section
  • Do Not Stand Idly By – A program on practices that could be employed by government and manufacturers to reduce gun violence. Presented by: National Council of Jewish Women South Cook Section, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom/Congregation Am Echad
  • The Sounds of Silence – A Shabbat evening service offering new understanding of the prayers, through music coupled with silent prayer. Presented by: Temple Anshe Sholom
  • Marilyn Price Puppets and Chanukah. Presented by: Beit AmiChai Community School
  • Beit AmiChai Community School Opening Day – A first-day program engaging families and students in the opening of the new school. Presented by: Beit AmiChai Community School
  • Jewish War Memorial Trip – Visits to a large Jewish memorial in Hillside and a museum in Winfield devoted to an infantry division that historically had many Jewish soldiers. Presented by: Jewish War Veterans
  • Purim Party – An expanded regional teen event celebrating the Jewish holiday. Presented by: BBYO

Mini-grant proposals are reviewed and selected by Janet Herbstman (co-chair), Gayla Cahan (co-chair), Mark Fine, David Lebowitz, Bonnie Ribet and Dr. David Gottlieb. The Kehillah is staffed by Alene Rutzky, Jewish Federation South Suburban Office coordinator.

For more information, contact Alene Rutzky at (708) 798-1884 or

Connect with us

Sign up for our weekly newsletter featuring issues and events in the Jewish world.