The Jewish community has been a part of Chicago’s history for almost two hundred years. Way back when the city was just a town, Jews were involved in putting their names on the city’s history. Chicago has the third largest Jewish community with over 300,000 Jews living in the city and its surrounding suburbs. Such a representative number of followers calls for and benefits greatly from Jewish education in order to extend the Torah’s teachings to future generations who will one day also be part of adding to the city’s lore. There are a wide number of places where Jews of all ages can enhance their learning and enrich their lives. There are also some places that fund Jewish education. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago
At the time of the Board’s establishment in 1926, there were many flaws in the way children were receiving guidance on Jewish education. As a matter of fact, a number of investigations showed that nearly 80 of Jewish youngsters failed to receive any sort of teachings on Judaism and its rich and honored culture. Thus, the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago (called just the Board of Jewish Education back then) aimed to educate Jews of all ages in Judaism. Nowadays, the Board counts with 7 centers that promote and educate Jewish faith at different ages and for different needs. Visit their website: http://bjechicago.blogspot.com.co/
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
The Spertus Institute is arguable the best known institution which promotes Jewish culture. When it was founded in 1924, it was a part of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago and it offered three classes twice a week. The original mission of Spertus, then called Chicago’s College of Jewish Studies, was to provide the necessary training to educators and community leaders in all types of settings where they could promote the Jewish language, history, and religion. Spertus’ educational offering goes from workshops to a Doctoral degree in Jewish studies. It welcomes people of all faiths and beliefs as its philosophy is to allow everyone to experience and learn about everything related to Judaism. Visit their website: http://www.spertus.edu/
Chicago Sinai Congregation
One of the leading Reform Judaism congregations in the city, Chicago Sinai offers an inclusive approach to the religion. They provide Jewish Education to preschoolers, kindergarteners to ninth graders and adults. Chicago Sinai is constantly looking to teach Judaism, its culture and heritage through modern strategies. It receives everyone who is interested in learning about Jewish traditions and teaching, no matter a person’s religious background. Visit their website: http://www.chicagosinai.org/
Jewish Education Team
The Jewish Education Team is the organization recently graduated and young professionals would look for if they were seeking a place where they can learn about Judaism in a fast yet well-structured manner. But that’s not the only way those involved in the program will embrace Judaism. Participants will get a chance to experiences Jewish cuisine, traditions, and teachings through social gatherings as well. While it was founded in 2005 it has made a huge impact on the Jewish community in Chicago. Visit their website: http://www.jetyp.com/
Temple Sholom of Chicago
For nearly 150 years, one of Chicago’s oldest Reform Judaism temples has proudly done its part in promoting Jewish values, religion, and tradition. Those who identify with the Jewish culture or want their children to learn it and adapt it have found that Temple Sholom offers courses and lessons for all ages and social conditions. Visit their website: http://www.sholomchicago.org/
The Kehillah Jewish Education Fund
The Kehillah Jewish Education Fund does not offer up any courses. This does not, however, mean it doesn’t make an impact on the Jewish community. Their aim is to raise as much funds as possible in order to help associated schools in having a more extensive reach when it comes to Jewish education. The Foundation is doing everything within their power to ensure that Jewish schools with limited resources and Jewish children whose family might not be able to provide them with a decent school have the funds to teach and learn Judaism, respectively, so as to ensure society has more Jewish leaders at the forefront of the future. Visit their website: http://www.kehillahfund.org/
Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago
Our final organization is similar to the previous one in that it does not offer any courses. But unlike the Kehillah Foundation the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago watches over 20 Jewish schools as well as several programs aimed at students with special needs and disabilities. Through the organization the member schools receive sufficient resources to enrich the educational life of students. The ATT offers parents, students, and teachers technology tools that will help them with their Jewish education in a way that is more suitable for today’s world. Visit their website: http://www.att.org/
There you have it. Seven very different organizations that have been doing their fair share in promoting and maintaining Jewish education in Chicago.