FVJN eNews Online!


  • Feb. 5: FVJS at Pushing the Envelope Farm
  • Feb. 25: FVJN Volunteering at NIFB!
  • Feb. 26: FVJS at FVJN
  • Feb. 26: FVJN Film Club

FVJS at The Farm: Feb. 5, 9:30 to 11:30

All FVJS students will spend a fun morning at Pushing the Envelope Farm in anticipation of Tu B’shvat. Please drop off and pick up your children at the front entrance to Continental Envelope: 1700 Averill Rd, Geneva.

FVJN Film Club: Feb. 26, 4 to 6 p.m.

FVJN is starting a documentary film and discussion group and we’d love to have your vote on films you’d like to see. Please click http://www.fvjn.org/fvjn-film-club/ for film suggestions and additional information.

FVJN SHABBAT FAMILY SERVICE & Potluck! March 9, 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for a family service especially for our FVJS students!

The evening will begin with a vegetarian potluck. Please bring non-meat dishes, only. Please let Rachel know what you will bring: mry98@aol.com.

  • If your last name begins with:
  • A – G: Salads or side dishes
  • H – N: Main dishes
  • O – T: Desserts
  • U – Z: Beverages

Service will continue throughout the year. Please see calendar at www.fvjn.org. Our services are always interfaith-friendly.

Our Volunteers Rock!

FVJN is very fortunate to have a number of volunteers who consistently give so much of their time and energy to our religious school, Fox Valley Jewish School (FVJS).

  • On the FVJS Committee:
  • Barb Anderson
  • Mim Evans
  • Julie Coller
  • Fred Margulies (who also volunteers as the B’nai Mitzvah/Hebrew teacher)

FVJN Volunteers at the Food Bank: Feb. 25, 9 – 11 a.m.

On Saturday, February 25, from 9 to 11 a.m., some FVJN families and individuals will have the opportunity to work a Youth Volunteer session at NIFB (Northern Illinois Food Bank).

If you wish to participate please let Rachel know, ASAP (mry98@aol.com). For this session, volunteers can be as young as 8 years of age. If you’ve done this with us before, you know how fun it is, and it’s a terrific way to help our greater community!

FVJN Lazarus House Volunteer Project

Bethany Kural has arranged with Lazarus House, a homeless shelter in St. Charles, for FVJN to provide dinner once a month. Please consider helping with this FVJN Volunteer Project!

What this entails is the following:

1. Go to Lazarus house some time the week before the 1st Wed of the month and “shop between 9am and 9pm” for donated items. Supplement from your own home as needed OR shop on your own at your own expense.

2. Prepare a dinner meal of your choice that will feed 85 guests.

3.  Deliver the prepared meal to Lazarus House on the Wednesday you signed up for.  The preferred time for drop off is between 6-6:45 p.m., but if needed can be dropped earlier and kept warm in their ovens.  Please specify to staff that your food is for the dinner meal.

  • Tips:
  • *Cook with others!
  • *Large casseroles as well as stews in large pots are good.
  • *Do the cooking a bit at a time and/or ahead of time
  • *Buy big casseroles (e.g. from Costco)

We still need volunteers to cover April 4 and May 2! Please respond to Bethany asap! bkural73@hotmail.com or 630-208-6301

Please Continue to Support FVJN

Thank you to all of you who donated to the annual FVJN Fundraiser! Your generosity will help fund programs, education, operating costs, and more, throughout the year.

FVJN gratefully accepts donations throughout the year. You can easily donate right on our website: www.fvjn.org, or by sending a check to: FVJN, PO Box 8, Geneva, 60134.

Jewish FAQ: Tu B’shvat!

(adapted from: www.chabad.org)

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar — celebrated this year on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 — is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue. The master kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, would eat fifteen types of fruit on this day!

Why do trees celebrate their New Year so much later than we do? It has to do with the rainy season in Israel, which begins with the festival of Sukkot. It takes four months for the rains to saturate the soil, nurture the trees and coax them into producing fruit.

Here are some traditional Tu B’shvat practices:

Eat some fruit on this day. Best if you can get some of those fruits for which Israel is famous: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates.

The blessing on fruit:

Baruch Atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech ha’Olam borei pri ha-etz.

[Blessed are You, our G‑d, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

If tasting a fruit for the first time in its season, recite the Shehecheyanu blessing before saying the fruit blessing:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.

[Blessed are You, our G‑d, ruler of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.]


Pledging for Friends

FVJN participant Kimberly Fivelson is walking in the Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer walk in June and could use your support. Please take this opportunity to honor the women you love by donating to the cause. Every donation really helps, big or small. Donations can be made online at www.avonwalk.org (click on “Join Us” à “Find a Walker/Team” and then type in her name) or email her at kimberlyfivelson@gmail.com with any questions.


Tu B’shvat Seder: Discover the Plant World Through Spices: Feb. 8, 6 – 9 p.m.

Head over to Pushing the Envelope Farm to learn about Tu B’shvat through exploring spices. This event includes a potluck, so bring fruit or a vegetarian dish to share.

For more information about this and other programs please visit http://www.pushingtheenvelopefarm.org/calendar.

Cost: $5 if you sign up at least a week in advance, $15 at the door. Please RSVP to GenevaFarm@gmail.com

Pushing the Envelope Farm is located at: 1700 Averill Road, in Geneva.


 Where Do You Give? 


American Jewish World Service is delighted to announce the arrival of Where Do You Give? a project designed to reimagine the future of tzedakah. Our national design competition officially opens today!

Enter this design competition at www.wheredoyougive.org/about and reimagine the traditional tzedakah box. You could win $2500 and a chance to travel with AJWS! The deadline to submit is March 1, 2012.


A Special Offering from www.InterfaithFamily.com

Love and Religion — Online is a four-session workshop for interfaith couples who are seriously dating or newly married, on exploring the issue of religion in their relationships. This workshop offers a safe environment for couples to work on creating religious lives together. The sessions will be each Wednesday for four weeks, starting February 1 in person, and then online February 8, 15 and 22. Each session runs 7:00-9:00pm and includes online resources, including facilitation via videoconferencing. The cost is $36 per couple.

Interested couples can learn more, and watch a short video, about the workshop and then find more details and register here.

Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family is a one-of-a-kind, eight-session class for interfaith parents thinking about whether and how to bring Judaism to their home, their lives and their parenting. This class runs February 27 through April 27. Participants will learn one session each week online, with two additional in-person meetings for the whole family: a Shabbat experience on March 23 and a wrap-up session on April 22.

Each of the eight sessions addresses a major parenting situation, looking at how Jewish teachings and traditions offer insights into making these times meaningful and spiritual. We will explore bedtime and meal-times, marking time with meaning on a weekly and yearly basis, doing good deeds, loving learning, spirituality and personal journeys. Class materials include: background essays and slide shows on Jewish teachings; “hear/read” resources to help participants learn how to say blessings; videos; family projects; bedtime book suggestions; personal stories written by other interfaith families; journaling questions and discussion prompts for talk between partners and with other parents; and more!

Interested parents can get more details and register for the class here.


Registration for Taglit-Birthrght Israel Chicago Community trips run by Shorashim Opens February 15!

Are your congregants ages 18-26?  Are they ready for an Israel experience?  Please share this exciting Birthright opportunity with them.

Travel to Israel with Israelis on a Chicago community trip through Shorashim, a partner of JUF. Registration for Taglit-Birthright Israel opens on Wednesday, February 15 at 10 am EST. Priority registration for returning applicants opens Tuesday, February 14 at Noon EST.

Check out http://www.israelwithisraelis.com/ for more information.