Monthly ENews: January 2, 2013!

1/2 — FVJN-to-Lazarus Dinner
1/4 — Shabbat Evening
1/6 — FVJSchool
1/13 — Adult Social: Movie & Discussion
1/20 FVJN Board Meeting
1/26 — Adult Social Dinner
1/27 — FVJSchool (Field Trip!)

Plan ahead!
2/1 — Shabbat Evening
2/6 — FVJN-to-Lazarus Dinner
2/10 — FVJSchool
2/12 — FVJN Book Group
2/17 — Board Meeting
2/24 — FVJSchool (and Purim!)

Find a hidden Hebrew word below, and win a prize! Respond to:

President’s Corner
Happy New Year!

We at FVJN certainly hope you all had a lovely New Year’s celebration and are looking forward to 2013 as much as we are!

Before we detail all of the great upcoming activities, another reminder that we are still collecting donations for our annual fundraising drive, which helps fund so many of these events.  Please visit our website at to donate and support Fox Valley Jewish Neighbor’s programs.

Tonight we are cooking for Lazarus House in St. Charles, as we do the first Wednesday of each month.  Please consider joining us in this rewarding volunteer experience.  Email Lisa Garcia at: if you are interested or would like more information.

This Friday (the 4th) we have our monthly Shabbat Evening, which will now take place on the first Friday of each month.  Hopefully this consistent timing will make it easier for us all to remember and schedule around.  Please join us for an ICE CREAM sundae bar to celebrate the new year!

Please also mark your calendars for this month’s other great events: January 6th Sunday school resumes and on the 13th is the movie afternoon for adults!  We follow this with an adults-only dinner out on the town, later this month.

Please join us for these fun and enriching events to start the new year off right!

Warmest new year wishes,

What’s Happening

Shabbat Evening
Friday, Jan. 4, 6:30 p.m. at FVJN
Join us for a friendly Shabbat הערב, with prayers, a potluck supper, and friendship.
All ages welcome!
Please bring non-meat dishes, only.
RSVPs requested: Please email with what you will bring, so we can plan accordingly. Please RSVP asap!

If your last name begins with:
A – G: Salads or side dishes
H – N: Desserts
O – T: Beverages (apple and/or white grape juice), and set-up/clean-up
(*Please come 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes after.)
U – Z: Main dishes (non-meat)
*Please provide your own serving utensils. Paper products will be provided.

Adult Social: Movie & Discussion
Sunday, January13, 3:30pm-5:30 pm
Join us as we nosh and visit, view and discuss another interesting Jewish-themed film (TBA). Feel free to bring snacks and BYOB, if you like.
Please email to RSVP and for more information.

Adult Social Dinner!
Saturday, January 26
Location & Time TBA
Please join us for another fun FVJN dinner, out on the town!
Location TBA, but please RSVP at your soonest convenience to:

FVJN Monthly Volunteer Project
FVJN- to-Lazarus House Dinners
We at FVJN are happy to do the mitzvah of providing dinner for the guests at Lazarus House in St. Charles, on the first Wednesday of each month.

Volunteers prepare a main dish, a salad or two sides (including vegetables), and a dessert. These meals currently feed 60 to 75 men, women and children at Lazarus House.
Please contact coordinator Lisa Garcia to sign up to volunteer:

Volunteers are needed for these upcoming dates:
(Jan. 4 is filled)
February 6
March 6
April 3

Fox Valley Jewish Neighbors Annual Fundraiser
Please donate today to help FVJN continue its wide-variety of community offerings!
FVJN does not have dues. Instead, FVJN relies on donations that allow us to offer many activities to our broad constituency.

Your donations are essential for FVJN to continue its work!  Thank you for sending your tax-deductible* donation today to FVJN, P.O. Box 346, Geneva, IL  60134, or submitting it on-line at (by clicking on the “Donate” icon on the upper-right under the main banner).

Tell Us!
Survey Says…
We are seeking input from our FVJN member community to help us ensure that we continue to evolve to best meet your needs and desires for this organization. We are specifically looking for you to answer these questions as to what you personally (and your family, if applicable) want to see from FVJN. Please take the 7 minutes this survey will likely require to let us know what we can do for you! As a token of our thanks for your participation in helping us provide the services you most want, we will have a raffle among all survey responders for a $25 gift certificate.
Thank you in advance for your participation and thoughtful answers!
-The FVJN Board
PLease click on the link below to participate!

FVJN Book Group
Seven happy readers attended the Book Group gathering on Dec. 4. They all enjoyed reading All Other Nights, by Dara Horn,
and highly recommend it to all!
The next Book Group meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb 12, 7 p.m. at FVJN.
Please come for a discussion of The Book of Blood and Shadow, by Robin Wasserman.
Bring your favorite book suggestions for a future book group!
Newcomers are always welcome.


FVJS News and Notes:

Field Trip!
Sunday, Jan. 27

Dear FVJS Families:
We hope you are all enjoying your holiday break.  We are busy planning for 2013!  The first class of the new year will be on January 6.  The next FVJS field trip is scheduled for January 27.  We are very excited to be going to Schmaltz Delicatessen!  This will be a great opportunity for the children to learn about traditional Jewish food.
Please see the attachment for more information.
We will have room for some parents to join us on this trip.  Please reply to Barbara Anderson: asap and confirm if your children will be attending.  As soon as we have a count of students, we will begin taking reservations for other family members.
Have a great New Year and we’ll see you on January 6.
The FVJS Committee

It’s Never too Late to Register for FVJN!
The FVJSchool is set to open for its third school year this fall, with educational, engaging and exciting Jewish experiences for our students!

FVJSchool is held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every other Sunday, during the school year. Hebrew class will be offered from 11:30 to 12:30, on FVJS mornings.
This program has classes for children beginning
at age 3 and continuing through 8th grade.

FVJS welcomes children from those with no formal religious education or Jewish
knowledge, to those who have previously attended religious education
programs. The FVJS program provides a general Jewish education and does not
adhere to any one particular branch of Judaism.

Information and registration forms are available at
or email Barb Anderson:

Jewish FAQ
The World of Jewish Theater
There’s quite a lot of “Jewish Theater” happening in and around our community, these days. Check out the listings later in this eNews, under “Elsewhere,” where you will find opportunities to enjoy Jewish tales, productions, performances and more, such as: “Fiddler on the Roof”; “Everything is Illuminated”; an evening with Jewish comedienne Robert Klein; and a lively evening with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Quartet.

Judaism is rich with many wonderful traditions, one of which is theater!

Excerpts from:
American Jewish Theatre
A history of Jewish theatre in America.
By Menachem Wecker

Jewish theatre began in America as an attempt to preserve the culture of the shtetl, and as the old collided with the new, Jewish playwrights, actors and theatre owners resurrected it and helped it evolve into a distinctly American Jewish theatre.

In 1903, the Grand Theatre opened as the first place to specialize in Yiddish plays. Three years earlier, The Hebrew Actors Union was founded; Actors’ Equity, the major actors’ union still operative today, was only to arrive on the scene in 1920. Later theatres in New York included the Second Avenue Theater, the National, the Yiddish Art Theater, and the Public.

Avram Goldfadn (1840-1908), who arrived in New York in 1904, is generally regarded as the father of modern Yiddish theatre. The newspaper the Jewish Messenger calls an 1882 performance in New York of Goldfadn’s “The Witch” (1877) the first Yiddish play performed in America.

Jacob Adler (1855-1926) arrived in New York by way of Odessa and London, after Yiddish theatre was banned in Russia. An actor, Adler worked with writer Jacob Gordin (1853-1909) to Americanize Yiddish theatre. For example, whereas Shakespeare’s Shylock had traditionally been played as a madman, Adler chose to play the Jewish moneylender in the 1901 Yiddish performance of Merchant of Venice as a man “with high intellect, proud convictions, and grand character,” who was “governed by pride rather than courage.”

The New York-born Samson Raphaelson (1894-1983) wrote The Jazz Singer in 1925, and Al Jolson (1886-1950) played the lead in the 1927 movie version. In the play, Jakie Rabinowitz abandons his past, his father, and his love for cantorial music to become the American jazz singer Jack Robin.

While Clifford Odets’ (1906-1963) Till the Day I Die (1935) explored Nazi attacks on Communists rather than Jews, his play Awake and Sing! (1935) addressed more specifically Jewish themes, telling the story of a large New York Jewish family. Jewish musicians like Irving Berlin (1888-1989), George Gershwin (1898-1937), and Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) wrote lyrics and music for numerous shows.

Zero Mostel (1915-1977) famously played Tevye in Jerry Bock’s Fiddler on the Roof (1964), based on stories by Shalom Aleichem. He also portrayed Max Bialystock in Mel Brook’s Holocaust film, The Producers (1968).

Arthur Miller (1915-2000) often depicted Jews or crypto-Jews in his plays, as some critics have suggested of Willy Loman in Miller’s Death of a Salesman (1949). Miller’s The American Clock (1980),Playing for Time (1980), and Broken Glass (1994) all portray Jews and Jewish themes.

With many questioning what it means to be a Jew in a postmodern world, Jewish playwrights today are raising similar questions in their work. Gay Jewish playwright Tony Kushner (b. 1956) explores homophobia in his works, as in “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” which prominently features the gay Jewish character Louis Ironson.

Composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown (b. 1970) explores assimilation and intermarriage in The Last Five Years (2002), which features the song “Shiksa Goddess.” Brown became famous by writing the music for Parade(1998), which explored the lynching of Leo Frank.

A bit further from the beaten path, Lazarre Seymour Simckes found inspiration in Theatre of the Absurd when he wrote Nossig’s Antics (2004), based on the life of Alfred Nossig, a Jewish artist who many charge with collaborating with the Nazis.

With the decline of Yiddish, Jewish artists found ways to explore Judaism and their Jewish identities. In recent years, theatregoers interested in Jewish themes have enjoyed a variety of options of explicitly Jewish plays.


Donations Received
Linda Cohen, in honor of FVJN’s new Executive Director
Linda Cohen, in honor of Mike Simon winning the 2012 Geneva Mayor’s Choice Award
Thank you to all who have donated to the annual FVJN Fundraiser! We so appreciate your support!

Happenings Elsewhere

BBYO/BBYO Connect!
All Jewish 5 – 12 graders, come join the fun!
LazerMaxx – 941 S. Mc.Lean Blvd, Elgin, IL
Sunday, January 6
12:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Early Bird Discount if you RSVP and pay by Jan. 2: $25.00 per person
Regular Price: $30 per person
Includes two 30-minute laser games, 20 arcade tokens, Pizza and Soda!
(Bring extra money if you want to purchase additional arcade tokens)
Please RSVP to Liza at 847-622-8855,
Mail checks to: Liza Bachrach, 7 Clove Ct., South Elgin, IL, 60177

BBYO Great Midwest Regional Invite!
Hello All,
Throughout the year BBYO leaders plan large scale Regional events for the teens in the Region to partake in. On January 25-27 BBYO Great Midwest Region is hosting its Regional Invite.
The weekend long program includes service work, Shabbat activities, and educational programming. After Havdallah, the teens begin a competition portion, where chapters compete in events and earn points along the way.
Overall this is a great way for the Ma’ayan teens (and FVJN teens!) to meet other Jewish teens from around the Chicagoland region.
Registration for the event can be completed online at
Additional information about the event can be found at
If you have questions about the event please feel free to contact me or the BBYO Regional office (224-406-9261).
Thank you,
Jay Pliskow
Ma’ayan BBYO Chapter Advisor

Congregation Kneseth Israel Caps Off 120th with Robert Klein and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Quartet.
Elgin’s Congregation Kneseth Israel (CKI) completes its 120th Anniversary Celebration with two special events.  On Saturday, February 9th CKI, in cooperation with Elgin Community College, will be welcoming comedian Robert Klein at 7:30 p.m. in the Blizzard Theater of the College. An alumni of Second City, Klein was the first comedian to film an HBO special and has made nine specials for the network. He’s appeared on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman over 100 times, and can be seen in films like The Owl and the Pussycat, Primary Colors, and Radioland Murders. You may purchase tickets to the Robert Klein Show through the CKI website at, or by contacting Elgin Community College at 847-622-0300.

Then on Sunday, February 10th CKI will be hosting a Celebratory Brunch at 11:30 a.m. featuring the Maxwell Street Klezmer Quartet. Founded in 1983 by Lori Lippitz the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band reintroduced traditional dance music to weddings and other Jewish celebrations. Over the years, the band has performed on stages across the country (including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center) and played nine tours in Europe. Their third CD, You Should Be So Lucky!, is one of the ten best-selling klezmer recordings in America. You may purchase tickets to the Brunch by contacting Zahava Raz at the CKI office. The phone number is 847-741-5656.

According to the 120th Anniversary Chairperson Richard Kruth, “Robert Klein is a legendary veteran funny-man entertainer who will not only make you smile, but laugh with his comedy act. Plus you can’t go wrong with klezmer music whenever there is a celebration. We are very pleased to have reached this milestone. Join us for one or both events as we in celebrate CKI’s 120 years in Elgin.”

Congregation Kneseth Israel serves the diverse Jewish Community of the Greater Fox Valley area. We offer weekly services, a religious school, observance of all lifecycle events, and a variety of additional programming. For regular updates or more information, please visit our website at

MARCH 6 – 24, 2013
The unmistakable image of a Fiddler on the Roof…a metaphor for balancing life, for survival and for tradition. This is the story of Tevye, a simple and loving milkman, who does everything he can to maintain his family and their religious traditions. But despite his best efforts, with five strong-willed daughters, a loyal yet independent wife and an ever-changing society, the safety and stability of his old world is disappearing.
A journey of love, loss, beliefs and family, Fiddler on the Roof is a celebration of life and all its challenges. From the rich orchestrations and lyrics, to the powerful full-company numbers to the emotionally charged story, this is the show everyone should experience.
This show is Rated G.
Paramount Theatre
23 East Galena Boulevard
Aurora, IL 60506
Box Office – 630-896-6666

February 21 – March 31, 2013 
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man, Jonathan, sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely-butchered English; Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape into an unexpected past.
Next Theatre Company
Noyes Cultural Arts Center
927 Noyes Street, Suite 108
Evanston, IL 60201