Events coming up in Jewish Chicago

Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob presents Malka Simkovich speaking on “Real Messiahs, False Messiahs, and Half-Messiahs: Apocalypticism and Messianism in Early Judaism.”

Friday, April 20

‘A Bag of Marbles’ is the true story of two young Jewish brothers in German occupied France who, with a mind-boggling mix of mischievousness, courage and ingenuity, will be forced to fend for themselves in order to survive the enemy invasion and try bring their family back together. The heartwarming adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s memoir tells the story of the Nazi occupation through the eyes of the two young Jewish boys. Paris, 1941: Joseph and Maurice are the sons of Roman, the local barber. At ages 10 and 12, the boys have so little understanding of the persecution of Jews that Joseph thinks nothing of swapping his yellow star for a bag of marbles. Despite their naiveté, Roman knows that their best chance to escape the Nazi roundup is to flee on their own to Vichy, France, where their older brothers Albert and Henri have found safe haven. Always one false move from tragedy, these tenacious children survive on courage, ingenuity, and more than a bit of cunning as they make their precarious way through France hoping to reunite with their family. The film opens Friday, April 20 at Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago and  Landmark Renaissance Place, Highland Park.

Saturday, April 21

Israeli American Council presents “Celebrate Israel: Shishi Israeli” with family programs, music and carnival. 8:30 p.m., also 2-5 p.m., Sunday, April 22. For more information and to register: or or call (845) 536-3264.

Sunday, April 22

Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation presents Rabbi Victor Weisberg speaking on role diaspora plays in formation of Jewish world outlook. 10 a.m. following 9:30 minyan and light breakfast. 4500 Dempster, Skokie. $5 advance, $8 door. Reservations (847) 675-4141.

DePaul University Concert Hall hosts performance of “Shared Resilience: Moving Forward & Together” featuring DePaul theatre and music school students and Miriam Engel in production created by Lin Batsheva Khan. 3 p.m., 800 W. Belden, Chicago. For additional information as to cost and tickets contact Lorene Yue, or (312) 722-8156.

Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob presents Marianne Novak speaking on “After Revelation, Now What? What did Torah Look Like in the Biblical Period?” 8 p.m., 8825 East Prairie Road, Skokie. Register (847) 674-3473.

Monday, April 23

Some 750 community leaders will gather at the Hilton Chicago for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Illinois Chapter Annual Dinner to honor Israel’s soldiers and celebrate 70 years of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The evening will feature speeches from active-duty IDF soldiers, including a Lone Soldier from the Chicago area – one who immigrates to Israel without immediate family in order to serve in the IDF; one the world’s few women flight navigators; wounded IDF Sgt. Elad Horowitz, who survived a gunshot to the head during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza; and Amir Ofer, a hero of Operation Entebbe, the famous Israeli rescue mission at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in 1976. The event will honor Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller for their dedication to Israel’s troops. The IDF Musical Ensemble will perform a selection of popular and traditional Israeli music. The evening will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception with an extended cocktail hour and strolling dinner, followed by the program and dessert at 6:45 p.m. For more information or to support FIDF, visit:

Tuesday, April 24

Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies presents Stefano Perfetti speaking on “Songs of Praise in a Broken World: Leonard Cohen from Story of Isaac to You Want It Darker.” 7 p.m., at Norris University Center, Northwestern Room, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership presents Rabbi Dr. Jodi Kornfeld speaking on Jewish Art, “On the Walls and Through the Windows.” 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $25, $20 Spertus members, $10 students and alumni (costs includes lunch.) (312) 322-1773.

Ketura Hadassah holds meeting and shows film “The Immigrant Experience” presented by Steven Frenzel. 12:30 p.m., Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church, Skokie. (847) 675-5873.

Temple Chai presents AJEC lecture. 7:30-9 p.m., 1670 Checker Road, Long Grove. (847) 363-3000.

Thursday, April 26

B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim hosts presentation by author and book signing of “Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World.” 7 p.m., 1201 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield. (847) 940-7575.

Congregation Beth Shalom presents Bruce Feiler speaking about “The Council of Dads: A Story of Family, Friendship and Learning How to Live.” 8 p.m., 3433 Walters Ave., Northbrook. (847) 498-4100.

Friday, April 27

Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah presents Rabbi Daniel S. Nevins speaking on “Should Your Car Ever Be Free to Kill You?” preceded by 6 p.m. services and 6:45 p.m. dinner; also 9:30 a.m. service on Saturday, April 28 including 11:15 a.m. D’var Torah, speaking on “Where to Conservative Judaism?” followed by 1 p.m. (after Kiddush) talk on “The Next Generation of Jewish Clergy: Who are they, What Excites them, and what are They Learning?” 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. Dinner: $28 adults, $15 children 3-12, $75 maximum immediate family. RSVP (847) 256-1213.

Saturday, April 28

Congregation Beth Shalom holds “Shabbat Yoga” session. Please bring your own mat. 11 a.m.-noon, 3433 Walters Ave., Northbrook. (847) 498-4100.

Sunday, April 29

Congregation Beth Shalom holds spring blood drive. 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 3433 Walters Ave., Northbrook. (847) 498-4100. To schedule appointment contact and use groupcode NBO5 or contact Steven Elisco,

Congregation KINS shows film “Driving West Rogers Park: Chicago’s Once and Future Jewish Neighborhood” followed by panel discussion with Dr. Steven Nasatir and Howard Rieger, Ph.D., 9:30 a.m., 2800 W. North Shore, Chicago. Reservations requested.

Illini Hillel Cohen Center for Jewish Life on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana holds 10th anniversary luncheon featuring speaker Dean Jeffry R. Brown. For additional information as to location, cost and admission contact Bari Goldman

Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois holds meeting featuring Andrew Zalewski speaking on “Gesher Galicia: What’s New and What’s Coming Soon.” 1 p.m., Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook. (312) 666-0100.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership presents “Degenerate Art” featuring Fifth House Ensemble and panel discussion. 2-4 p.m., 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $18, $10 Spertus members, $8 students and alumni. (312) 322-1773.

Project Shalom Bayis holds 23rd Annual Event featuring Rabbi Paysach Krohn speaking on “To Enrich, Enhance and Enjoy: Dealing with the Challenges of Marriage Today.” 7:30 p.m., Shaarei Tzedek Mishkan Yair, 2832 W. Touhy, Chicago. $18, $25 couple. (773) 973-5147.

Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob presents Malka Simkovich speaking on “Real Messiahs, False Messiahs, and Half-Messiahs: Apocalypticism and Messianism in Early Judaism.” 8 p.m., 8825 East Prairie Road, Skokie. Register (847) 674-3473.

Tuesday, May 1

Torah Learning Center of Northbrook presents Dr. Avivah Zornberg speaking on “Exodus: Narrative or Anti-Narrative?” 7 p.m., Skokie DoubleTree Chicago North Shore, 9559 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie. $18 advance, $25 door. RSVP (847) 272-7255.

Wednesday, May 2

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership presents Dr. Karen Fraiman speaking on ”Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State: Questions, Explorations and Implications.” 7:45-9:15 p.m.; also Wednesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, 1175 N. Sheridan Road, Highland Park. $75, $60 Spertus and North Suburban Synagogue Beth El members, $40 students and Spertus Alumni. Registration (312) 322-1773.

Thursday, May 3

Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois holds “Great Jewish Family Festival.” 4-8 p.m., Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie. Get all inclusive wristband online at

Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation Sisterhood presents Renee Rosen speaking on her new book, “Windy City Blues” followed by dessert reception. 7:30 p.m., 4500 Dempster, Skokie. $10 Sisterhood members, $15 non-members and door. Reservations (847) 675-4141.

Friday, May 4

Congregation Beth Shalom holds “Shabbat with a Twist” for families with children up to Pre-K. 11-11:45 a.m.; also Friday, May 18, 3433 Walters, Northbrook. (847) 498-4100.

Saturday, May 5

Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah holds “Inclusion Shabbat.” 11 a.m.-noon. Men’s Club Auditorium, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. (847) 256-1213.

Congregation Beth Shalom holds “Shabba-Teen Shabbat Experience” for 9th-12th graders. 10:30 a.m.-noon, 3433 Walters, Northbrook. (847) 498-4100.

Sunday, May 6

Simon Wiesenthal Center hosts “Building Bridges on Campus: College Preparation for High School Students.” 11 a.m.-3 p.m., in Evanston. (Location address provided upon registration. Register at:

Friday, May 11

Congregation Beth Shalom holds “Shabbat B’Yachad Dinner and Service” for families with children first grade and younger. 6 p.m., 3433 Walters, Northbrook. $25 immediate family. RSVP to Matt:

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