Chai Lights

Words matter

The Torah instructs us to speak words that ease, not words that hurt, for every human being is created in the image of God and everyone is precious and unique.

6/22/2018 12:10:17 PM

In tribute to menschy dads everywhere

The Talmud tells us that “a father is obligated to teach his son (and daughter) how to swim."

5/29/2018 3:43:56 PM

Hey, Judy

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I encourage you to give thanks for your mom, living or not, and think about what makes her special to you.

5/1/2018 8:44:59 AM

A conversation with an Israeli hero

Many of us have only read about the creation of the Jewish state in history books. But Nehemiah didn’t just read about Israel’s founding—he was there to witness it.

3/27/2018 5:04:01 PM

What do you wish to be free from?

In this season of Passover, what do we wish to free ourselves from spiritually ? What -- far from Mizrayim, or Egypt -- still shackles us?

2/28/2018 3:19:31 PM

Putting the wedding day, and marriage, in perspective

The Garden of paradise may be gone, but our hopes for happy marriages endure.

1/30/2018 9:42:38 AM

Making the world--and the workplace--better for our daughters

Now, the cultural conversation around sexual harassment and assault in the workplace takes centerstage as almost every day, more women (and some men) call out their aggressors for bad behavior. 

1/2/2018 3:40:17 PM

Great miracles

December in the Chicago Jewish community means two events are fast approaching--Chanukah and YLD's Big Event Fundraiser.

11/28/2017 4:25:35 PM

Seeking out blessings

Every night before my head hits the pillow, I record one blessing from the day on my iPhone notepad.

10/30/2017 10:54:14 AM

Letters to Our Children

During this past summer's tumultuous news of hate rallies, terrorism, and hurricanes, I was lucky enough to get lost in a world of letters--love letters, that is, written from Jewish adults to children.

9/29/2017 11:55:46 AM

Wake-up call

Did you live a year that mattered, and did you fill it with meaning?

9/6/2017 9:17:40 AM

Owning every candle on our cake

I've been contemplating age a lot this year because I'm turning a number ending in "0"--and starting with "4"--at the end of the year.

7/31/2017 12:06:43 PM

Rare friends

In the middle of our country, I was able to witness something beautiful.

6/28/2017 12:04:36 PM

Stepping forward

  Have you had the joy of watching a baby walk for the first time?

6/7/2017 11:55:13 AM

The memory file

 There's just something about our grandparents.

5/2/2017 9:25:08 AM

Four (other) questions

While the youngest at your seder will ask the four traditional questions, here are four other big questions for us to think about while breaking matzah.    

3/28/2017 4:48:55 PM

Carving out space for quiet

The discord sweeping the country has inspired many of us to speak out. Staying silent, as the Jewish people know all too well, can lead to danger. And thank God, we--both as Jews and as Americans--have the right to make our voices heard.  But all the unrest has led

2/28/2017 3:31:37 PM

Just around the corner

You don't know when or where you're going to meet; you simply need to have faith you will find each other.

2/2/2017 3:45:37 PM

Healing the world

Six-year-old Shahed and 4-year-old Inas were severely injured when a tank destroyed their Syrian home.

12/29/2016 2:58:05 PM

Glimmer of light

I cannot remember living through a more divisive time in our country than right now.

11/28/2016 3:33:42 PM


During Rosh Hashanah—in my usual reflective holiday headspace—I wondered how the year could have flown by so quickly.

11/3/2016 11:50:26 AM


There’s no quality I admire more than courage, people who have the chutzpah to stand up for what they believe in, what they know to be right, no matter how much external forces try to sway them in the other direction.

9/28/2016 2:54:01 PM

Your guide to a sweeter new year in 5777

Back by popular demand—at least according to my mom—is my (sometimes) annual guide to a sweeter new year. 

8/29/2016 4:37:59 PM

‘You are beautiful’

Long before students ever reach their college years, our community strives to teach young Jews what it means to be a real man or woman.

7/26/2016 2:48:41 PM

My friend Gregory

We sure don’t have the power to stop all the evil people. But we do have the power to nurture the good people; and thank goodness the world is filled with so much more good than evil.  

6/24/2016 2:01:14 PM

Tuesdays with Torah

It was a day and time circled on my calendar for the past two academic years.

6/6/2016 2:19:40 PM

Mission complete

My Grandpa Max passed away this spring—on his 93rd birthday. 

4/25/2016 3:18:00 PM

‘What’s the deal with…?’

Our tradition allows space for us to ask the tough questions, and to be okay with uncertainty in life, faith, and, yes, even God. 

3/29/2016 12:11:49 PM

Get real

In the world’s biggest group therapy session, we’re electronically sharing our emotional, mental, and physical struggles with each other more than ever before.

2/29/2016 12:24:27 PM

Having each other’s backs

As Jews in America, particularly in Chicago, one of the strongest Jewish communities in the country, we’re blessed with the resources and tools to make forging connections easier.

2/1/2016 3:49:45 PM


Even life’s hardest parts can turn out to be beautiful.

12/21/2015 10:55:46 AM

When do I add paprika?—and other questions for a Jewish mother

While cleaning out the closet of my childhood home over the fall holidays, I dug up a tattered cookbook made from construction paper and crayon. 

11/23/2015 12:06:01 PM

‘Be still, my love’

“Who is happy? He who is happy with what he has.”

10/26/2015 11:06:28 AM

Moment of Zen

I've been waking up early in the morning a few times a week to make it to the lake to watch the sunrise.

9/24/2015 4:15:21 PM

Wakeup call

Did you live a year that mattered, and did you fill it with meaning? 

9/1/2015 2:58:13 PM

Advice to my 13-year-old self

One of the best thingsabout getting older is growing more confident in who we are and more comfortable in our own skin.

7/28/2015 4:18:07 PM

Lighting up a room

Every now and then,I think about a little girl I was lucky enough to meet when I first started working at JUF News.

7/6/2015 10:42:50 AM

Graduation season

I just love graduation season and all its hopefulness.

5/26/2015 4:52:33 PM

Culture of kindness

When I was in junior high, I learned the hard way what it felt like to be bullied.

4/27/2015 12:11:37 PM

Path of love

It's hard not to get worn down by the steady stream of hate flooding our newsfeeds.

3/23/2015 3:55:20 PM

Love at first sight

I’m in love, and have been for a long time.

2/19/2015 2:07:21 PM

Nous sommes Juifs

It took the recent attack at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to galvanize the world.  

1/14/2015 2:30:17 PM


It's a new year, full of hopes and dreams—dreams like the one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about all those years ago.

12/22/2014 12:34:07 PM


Our light—the light of the Jewish people—shines brighter than ever. That’s the real miracle of Chanukah. 

11/25/2014 2:21:29 PM

The extra-ordinary

A year ago, for the month of Thanksgiving, every night before I went to bed I jotted down one thing I was grateful for each day.

10/30/2014 3:19:07 PM

Shalom bayit

As news of domestic violence captures our attention in the media, we know not all homes are peaceful.

9/29/2014 3:55:18 PM

Into the light

Only once do I recall someone saying something anti-Semitic in my presence.

8/26/2014 12:05:00 PM


I’m a big believer in beshert and I think we were destined to be in Israel that week.

8/13/2014 4:52:41 PM

A place to buy apples—the non-texting, edible kind

Our connection to the earth and core to Judaism.  

7/7/2014 2:28:34 PM

Pomp and circumstance

I love graduation season. 

5/28/2014 11:58:41 AM

Some day

The Columbines. The Sandy Hooks. The Overland Parks... they're wake up calls to remind us to hold our children, to hold all of our loved ones, a little closer. 

5/2/2014 9:26:28 AM

The power of the jester

There's this scene in National Lampoon's Vacation that gets me every time I see it.

4/3/2014 2:27:53 PM


"There’s no quality I admire more than courage, possessing the chutzpah to stand up for what you believe in..."

2/26/2014 2:36:43 PM


My Jewish friends and I have had more good times than I could ever count or even recall--and that's icing on a really delicious Manischewitz cake.

2/3/2014 12:01:45 PM

An ‘aha’ moment

As the snow blankets the streets and we don a zillion layers to keep warm, I'm reminded of a girl named Taylor.

1/2/2014 11:16:46 AM

One Thing

Spoiler alert: I'm about to reveal the meaning of life. Great, now I have your attention--read on if you want the answer.

12/12/2013 9:28:10 AM

Giving thanks this Thanksgiving—and Chanukah

If you've visited any water cooler frequented by Members of the Tribe lately, the subject of the first day of Chanukah landing on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 1888--and the last time for another 70,000 years--was bound to come up.

11/29/2013 7:33:30 AM

A place for my stuff

During my nomadic journey these last couple months, I’ve learned three valuable lessons about people.

10/1/2013 8:52:15 AM

Your guide to a sweeter new year in 5774

Ready for a fresh start? We Jews are lucky to get a chance to start over every fall as the shofar sounds a wakeup call in each of our lives.

8/26/2013 5:08:18 PM

525,600 minutes

Giving thanks is at the heart of who we are as Jews. 

8/7/2013 12:11:31 PM

From sea to shining sea

Jews have helped shape this country of hope and promise.

6/24/2013 3:59:17 PM

Thank you for being you

A letter to my three nephews, ages 8, 5, and 2.  

5/28/2013 5:11:09 PM

The packing list

I'm packing up, getting ready to move on out after more than a decade of living in the same building. 

3/28/2013 11:30:06 AM

Freedom, matzoh brei, and that little goat too

Why we love Pesach

3/5/2013 10:51:07 AM

Secrets to a happy Jewish marriage—toothpaste and all

In honor of this month’s love issue, I wanted to gain some new insights about love and marriage. 

2/5/2013 10:27:23 AM

The Optimists

My late grandma Tessie was the ultimate optimist. 

12/28/2012 10:51:48 AM

‘Let there be light’

We as a people recognize that light, in the end, vanquishes the dark.

11/29/2012 11:36:01 AM


Remember when we were kids and we looked forward to our birthdays with gusto?

11/1/2012 2:39:17 PM

Must See TV

I thought this month we could grab some popcorn, kick back in our La-Z-Boys, and point the clicker at my top picks—in no particular order—of funny Jewish characters that have graced the small screen.

10/4/2012 3:26:06 PM

Your guide to a sweeter new year in 5773

L'shana tovah tikatevu!

8/31/2012 10:35:40 AM

Holy moments in the holy land

It’s no accident that it was on this visit that I felt most connected to the fabric of Israeli society.

8/2/2012 3:16:33 PM

JUF New(s)!

As part of our evolution, this month, we're thrilled to launch a brand new look to JUF News.

6/29/2012 11:24:52 AM

Bully pulpit: Standing up against bullying

It was an awkward time when we hadn't yet figured out who we were, caught somewhere between childhood and adulthood.

6/4/2012 3:15:04 PM

Members of the tribe

We're members of a tribe who know that it's how we treat each other that's core—and all the rest is commentary.

5/1/2012 11:21:05 AM

A hero’s story

There are certain people who come into our lives who are etched in our memory forever. Irene, for me, is one of those people.

3/28/2012 1:43:29 PM


Sometimes being an adult isn't fair. 

2/27/2012 3:22:15 PM

Nine dresses

In February, I'll be a bridesmaid for the ninth time.

1/31/2012 11:15:07 AM

Just give

Now that Chanukah is over, and the gift exchanging is too, it seems like the right time to “invite more abundance into your life” by finding ways to give back to the community.

12/29/2011 1:51:23 PM

The joy of cooking (kugel)

There's a loose leaf sheet of paper in my apartment I reference so often I probably know it by heart.

11/29/2011 11:30:00 AM


Take a moment each day to reflect on all you have.

10/31/2011 1:52:12 PM

The good guy

Through my glass-half-full worldview, I actually believe the number of good people far outweigh the bad.

10/5/2011 1:25:06 PM

Days of Awe

When I was a freshman in high school, a fellow Jewish kid in my class approached me. “I’m sorry, Cindy, for anything mean I did or said to you last year,” he told me. 

9/1/2011 3:05:59 PM

Sliding doors

It’s been two decades since my bat mitzvah.

8/1/2011 4:29:05 PM

The most important lessons

I love graduation season.   

7/5/2011 5:45:12 PM


My Inaugural Column.

6/2/2011 3:18:26 PM


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IL Holocaust Museum Docent
Chicago Loop Dudu Fisher 2016

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