Monday, May 7, 2018

Summer events aside from Shabbat services

 Bnai Chai summer outings are as follows: watch for more details
Wednesday, June 13 at 7 PM on Skokie's Village Green  (5127 Oakton St.), the group “Spoken Four” performs songs from the 50s to today’s Top 40.  We may choose to gather at any number of nearby restaurants beforehand (see below) or picnic while we enjoy the concert.
On Sunday, July 15 at 4:30 at the Skokie Library (adjacent to Village Green), we will view and discuss  the documentary, “Whose Land Is It?” about conflicting rights and claims to Judea and Samaria. The Library closes at 6 PM, so there will be time for discussion as well as dinner for those who choose to participate at nearby downtown Skokie restaurants (or elsewhere).
Also, not a “formal” Bnai Chai event, since it occurs during working hours, the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band will perform at the Skokie Library on Tuesday, June 19 at 2 PM. We could precede that with lunch or just get together for the event. I realize that some people still work, but this event is set by the library.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

High Holiday Ticket information 2018 5779

Bnai Chai High Holidays in Deerfield 5779/2018
Dates and Times for Services

High Holidays 2018 /5779
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday night Sept. 9, 8 PM and Monday Sept. 10, 10 AM

Yom Kippur  Tuesday night Sept. 18, 7:30 PM
and Monday Sept. 19 10 AM and 4 PM

Spread the word to friends and family. Great services, very affordable tickets.  Below are High Holiday ticket and membership forms. Send them to anyone in the area you think might be interested.

            High Holiday Ticket Order Form

Dear Worshipper,

Congregation B’nai Chai invites you to celebrate the coming of the New Year 5779/2018 with Bnai Chai..  
The cost of tickets has remained the same as it was for the past several years, only $85 per person for those over 13 years of age. Members of the family, 12 years and younger, will be admitted at no charge but must have a ticket.
Or you can join the congregation and the annual fee includes the tickets for the members.

As in past, services will be held at Caruso Middle School, 
1801 Montgomery Rd, Deerfield (Northeast of 294 and Deerfield Road.) We use the 1996 edition of the New Union Prayer Book Gates of Repentance. Buy it at Rosenblums in Skokie on Gross Point Road or from their online store 
and copies can be borrowed at the door. 

L’Shana Tovah

You can cut and paste this form and mail it in.Congregation B’nai Chai North Shore OR PAY by PAYPAL with button on first page at

2018 High Holiday Ticket Order Form

Name  ______________________________________________________
Street Address  ______________________________________________
City____________________________________  Zip Code ___________
Email Address _______________________________________________

Everyone attending services must have a ticket.

Number of tickets at $85.00  ___________________________
Number of free tickets for children under 13 years of age  _______
Please enclose this form with your check, payable to: Congregation B’nai Chai
Mail in the enclosed envelope to: Congregation B’nai Chai
c/o  Donna Behm
5031 W Jerome Ave. Skokie 60077 
Questions:  email 773-401-2416.

Yizkor List
List names of family members whom you wish to be recognized during the Yom Kippur Service.  There is a $10 charge per name as a donation.
PAY by PAYPAL with button on first page at
Deceased’s Name                                          Relationship
___________________________________                   __________________         
___________________________________                   __________________         
___________________________________                   __________________         
___________________________________                   __________________         
Donation: $________________________

Application for membership

Name-Mr.        First Name             M.I.              Last Name
Name-Mrs.   _____________________________________
First Name                 M.I.                  Last Name
                                    City                             State               Zip Code
Phone __________________________________________________________
                             Home                                               Cell
Membership fees are $145.00 per person per year and include High Holiday Services.
Pay by check or paypal PAY by PAYPAL with button on first page at
Membership Contact
c/o  Donna Behm
5031 W Jerome Ave. Skokie 60077 
Questions:  email 773-401-2416.
 Membership is only $145 an adult. Most Congregations charge 10-20X more for membership.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our next Shabbat Service Friday June 1, 2018, 7:30 PM


June 1
July 6
August 3
No September Shabbat Service

High Holidays 2018 
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday night Sept. 9 and Monday Sept. 10
Yom Kippur  Tuesday Night Sept. 18 and Monday Sept. 19

Shabbat Service 
Oct. 5

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cantorial Soloist Paula Drues

Cantorial Soloist Paula Drues
for High Holidays 5778

            Cantorial Soloist, Paula Drues, is a graduate of Chicago Musical College/Roosevelt Univ., with B.Music/Vocal Concentration, & Graduate/Post/Graduate of Lawn Manor Hebrew Cong. She taught General Music @ Senn H.S./Chgo. Paula then combined her musical skills, love of Jewish music & knowledge of Hebrew & Torah, & proceeded to study Cantorial Music (Hazaanut & Nusach)  with and was Cantorial Soloist for Rabbi Mordecai Rosen(Cong. Mishpachah),  Hazaan Shlomo Shuster (Ezra Habonim/Niles Twnshp.) & Cantor Cory Winter (B.J.B.E.). She has sung w/Chicago Symphony Chorus, Roosevelt Univ. Chorus, Halevi Choir, & Shir Shirim. Paula currently solos & sings w/Kol Zimrah-The Jewish Community Choir, B.J.B.E. Choir, & Starlite Singers (Glenview Senior Chorus). She is a Jewish Service Leader for the Jewish elderly in many senior facilities.
Paula especially enjoys sharing her passion for Jewish music with her 'grandtwins' and the general Jewish community.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Annual Chanukah Party Dec.

Annual Chanukah party Sunday, December 10 at Max and Benny's, 461 Waukegan Rd1:00pm. This includes bringing a $15 wrapped gift. Men bring a man gift, ladies bring a lady gift. Please RSVP to Elaine, either by phone: 847-564-5295 or by e-mail: Looking forward to seeing everyone there!! 

Chanukkah (in Hebrew)

Significance: Remembers the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks
Observances: Lighting candles
Length: 8 days
Customs: eating fried foods; playing with a dreidel (top)
On the 25th of Kislev are the days of Chanukkah, which are eight... these were appointed a Festival with Hallel [prayers of praise] and thanksgiving. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud
Chanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.

The Story

The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.
More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known asChasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.


Our rabbis taught the rule of Chanukkah: ... on the first day one [candle] is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased ... [because] we increase in sanctity but do not reduce. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud

Chanukkah MenorahThe only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. The candles are arranged in a candelabrum called a menorah (or sometimes called a chanukkiah) that holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shammus (servant) at a different height. On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. The shammus candle is lit and threeberakhot (blessings) are recited: l'hadlik neir (a general prayer over candles), she-asah nisim (a prayer thanking G-d for performing miracles for our ancestors at this time), and she-hekhianu (a general prayer thanking G-d for allowing us to reach this time of year). SeeChanukkah Candle Lighting Blessings for the full text of these blessings. After reciting the blessings, the first candle is then lit using the shammus candle, and the shammus candle is placed in its holder. Candles can be lit any time after dark but before midnight. The candles are normally allowed to burn out on their own after a minimum of 1/2 hour, but if necessary they can be blown out at any time after that 1/2 hour. OnShabbat, Chanukkah candles are normally lit before the Shabbat candles, but may be lit any time before candlelighting time (18 minutes before sunset). Candles cannot be blown out on Shabbat (it's a violation of the sabbath rule against igniting or extinguishing a flame). 

Candlelighting ProcedureEach night, another candle is added from right to left (like the Hebrew language). Candles are lit from left to right (because you pay honor to the newer thing first). On the eighth night, all nine candles (the 8 Chanukkah candles and the shammus) are lit. See animation at right for the candlelighting procedure. On nights after the first, only the first two blessings are recited; the third blessing, she-hekhianu is only recited on the first night of holidays.

It is traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukkah because of the significance of oil to the holiday. AmongAshkenazic Jews, this usually includes latkes (pronounced "lot-kuhs" or "lot-keys" depending on where your grandmother comes from. Pronounced "potato pancakes" if you are a goy.) 

Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday, but has been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christians, as a way of dealing with our children's jealousy of their Christian friends. It is extremely unusual for Jews to give Chanukkah gifts to anyone other than their own young children. The only traditional gift of the holiday is "gelt," small amounts of money.
Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top. Most people play for matchsticks, pennies, M&Ms or chocolate coins. The traditional explanation of this game is that during the time of Antiochus' oppression, those who wanted to study Torah (an illegal activity) would conceal their activity by playing gambling games with a top (a common and legal activity) whenever an official or inspector was within sight.
DreidelsA dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters: Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin. These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham", a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of the oil.
The letters also stand for the Yiddish words nit (nothing), gantz (all), halb (half) and shtell (put), which are the rules of the game! There are some variations in the way people play the game, but the way I learned it, everyone puts in one coin. A person spins the dreidel. If it lands on Nun, nothing happens; on Gimel (or, as we called it as kids, "gimme!"), you get the whole pot; on Hei, you get half of the pot; and on Shin, you put one in. When the pot is empty, everybody puts one in. Keep playing until one person has everything. Then redivide it, because nobody likes a poor winner.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Join us for membership or just High Holidays

Want a friendly, warm, welcoming, Jewish fellowship group who meet monthly and High Holidays for services, study and noshing? The service utilizes the Reform prayer book/siddur. Hope you are interested in trying out this wonderful congregation. We meet, for Shabbat only,  at Jewett-park-community-center