Nearly 1,000 people-and counting-have attended Chicago Loves Israel, a series of events spanning the summer and fall at three locations across the Chicagoland area, presented in partnership by JUF and JCC Chicago.
The festivities began on June 2 at Bernard Weinger JCC in Northbrook with a community-wide celebration of Chicago's connection to Israel with a day of events for adults, teens, and young families. The day started with a JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival screening of Good Morning Son , playing before a packed audience. The morning also included Cycle Israel rides in the spin studio at the Marvin Lustbader Health Club, powered by Midtown and a first look opening of the photography exhibition, Humans of Tel Aviv , by Israeli artist, Erez Kaganovitz.
The day continued with events just for teens including a DJ dance party, Krav Maga, a photobooth, graffiti wall, silk screening of specially-designed event T-shirts, and more. The Young Family Festival closed out the day with a colorful and vibrant Israeli Shuk, filled with tastes and treats representing Israel, an archeological dig, candle making, drum making, and a live, outdoor concert with Rick Recht and other local musicians.
Later in the month, on June 23 at Bernard Horwich JCC in West Rogers Park, more members of the community came together for another day of community, culture, and connection. This Chicago Loves Israel event featured interactive activities for children and families, presented by community partners including Keshet, Apachi Day Camp, and the Walder Science Center. The day concluded with a live concert, featuring Israeli singing star Ohad Moskowitz, who traveled from Israel to perform at the event.
"There truly is nothing like seeing our community come together as one to celebrate the culture and essence of Israel," said Ilene Uhlmann, Director of Arts and Ideas at JCC Chicago. "Our team loved working with our JUF colleagues, to create multi-faceted events with something for everyone."
Stay tuned for information about the third Chicago Loves Israel event, happening this fall in the South Suburbs. That event will include several Israel experiences including a middle eastern-inspired Shabbat dinner and service with a scholar-in-residence, a musical performance, and a family-friendly celebration.
Elizabeth Abrams is the Director of Program Marketing and Communications for JCC Chicago.