Ninth Week: RSVP Edition + SJS Sun. 11/2 & Wed. 11/5

Message from Mr. Sherman
In an effort to streamline communication, I am trying something new this week.  I am placing all of the RSVP requests in this Limmud E-Newsletter. is a great resource for signing up for times for conferences or for me to preview Torah readings (sometimes for food items to bring in), but in terms of saying “3 adults and 2 kids will be attending Friday night dinner on 11/21”, email is still my preferred method.  Please take a few minutes to scan the list of classes below and send me a quick email to RSVP for the appropriate upcoming programs.  If there are special food requirements please indicate those when necessary.  In the spirit of streamlined communication, I hope that you will take a moment to check out what is going on in your child(ren)’s classes, by checking out the quick links above.
Shabbat Shalom!
RSVP’s Class-by-Class

Please click here to email me your responses.   Also please note how many adults and children under 13 will be attending programs/services/meals.
Gan: No RSVPs needed until Jan. (FYI: No Parent Teacher Conferences)
Aleph: No RSVPs needed until Jan. (FYI: No Parent Teacher Conferences)
Bet: Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12.  Separate Doodle to be sent.
Gimel: (1) Family Education Brunch with Rabbi Sun. 12/7: 9:50 a.m.-11:25 a.m.  Included in response is a healthy/kosher food item you wish to bring for 23 students plus families. (Coffee carafe, fruit, yogurt, chocolate milk, cookies, bagels, cream cheese, other spreads, pita chips, etc.)  (2) Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12 in lieu of SJS classes.  Separate Doodle to be sent.
Dalet: (1) Students help lead services with Heh Class, followed by Shabbat Dinner in conjunction with Friday Night Live: Fri. 11/21 beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Dinner reservations MUST be in the office no later than 2 p.m. on Mon. Nov. 17.  Reservations received after that time will be placed on a waiting list.  Cancellations made after that time will not be refunded.  (2) Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12 in lieu of SJS classes.  Separate Doodle to be sent.
Heh: (1) See Dalet message directly above.  In addition, separate info. will be sent home regarding Heh Shabbaton at Camp Henry Horner 12/5 & 12/6. (2) Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12 in lieu of SJS classes.  Separate Doodle to be sent.
Vav: (1) Students help lead services plus B’nai Mitzvah Workshop immediately following services, followed by Shabbat lunch, Shabbat 11/15. (2) Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12 in lieu of SJS classes.  Separate Doodle to be sent.
Zayin: (1) Field Trip to the Ark during SJS hours: Sun. 11/16.  Drivers are needed (please note how many spaces available in your car in your response). (2) Parent Teacher Conferences Wed. 11/12 in lieu of SJS classes. Separate Doodle to be sent.
Prozdor: Program on situation in Israel with Rabbi David Ebstein at Beth Hillel Congregation B’nai Emunah Sun. 11/16 9:45 a.m.-11:00 a.m. (Parents encouraged to join).  Students will then need to be brought to SJS to serve in their regular Madrichim In Training (MIT) roles.
Pardes: See Prozdor message directly above.  Only difference is their session with Rabbi Newman Kamin begins at 11:30 a.m.
Confirmation: See Prozdor message above.  Only difference is their session with Rabbi Newman Kamin begins at 11:30 a.m.
Upcoming Torah Reading Sign-ups: (1) Prozdor students 11/15 in conjunction with Shula Horton chanting Haftorah; (2) SMFP 12/13; (3) Intergenerational 12/20
Bowling Youth Group Event: Kadima and AMUSY @ Brunswick Lanes in Deerfield 11/1 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.  NOTEL This is the only one with a different RSVP.  Please RSVP to Miss Jamie Cooper HERE.

Eighth Week: SMFP 10/25, SJS Sun. 10/26 & Wed. 10/29

Message from Mr. Sherman
Our first SMFP (Shabbat Morning Family Programming) is taking place this Shabbat, October 25th.  Mazal Tov to Mackenzie Ball, Sarah Mae Levy, Alyssa Miller, Rachel Miller, Naomi Szmuilowicz and Nate Szmuilowicz, who will be chanting Torah in the library/resource room.  Mazal Tov to Derek Ball, Rebecca Jacobson and Sean Levy who will be chanting Torah and Miriam Rovin who will be chanting Haftorah in the Main Sanctuary.  Services for 1st Grade and younger begin in Room 1 at 9:30 a.m. and for 2nd through 4th Grade begin in the library/resource room at 10:15 a.m. Fantastic educational activities will take place while the participants are not in Family Tefillah (prayer) services, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Rooms 5, 7 and 8 for 2nd through 4th Graders (prior to their Tefillah) and in Room 1 (following their Tefillah) at 10:15 a.m. for 1st Grade and below.  All the while, the 5th Graders and up will be in the Main Sanctuary helping to lead services from the bimah beginning at 9:30 a.m.  A Kiddush lunch will be served to the whole community following every kid in the building singing Adon Olam!  On a personal note, my community had something called SMP (Shabbat Morning Programming) when I was a kid.  The key addition at Am Yisrael, which is a core of our partnership with you, is that this is SMFP, Shabbat Morning Family Programming.  Our clergy and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of SMFP to your overall Am Yisrael experience.  For a sneak peak of mp3’s to some of our favorite melodies and the itinerary, please click on the quick link “SMFP” above the collage. Shabbat Shalom!

Seventh Week: SJS Sun. 10/19 & Wed. 10/22

Message from Mr. Sherman
Services this evening begin at 6:00 p.m.  Today, Wednesday, Oct. 15th, our schedule is moved back one hour, as we begin SJS at 5:15 p.m. and will complete our festivities at 7:15 p.m., being cognizant of our younger students bedtimes and looking forward to the biggest gathering for Simchat Torah ever!  Please be sure to check the quick links above the weekly collage, including weekly class messages from the teachers and this week my updated blog, which includes the eulogy I delivered at the funeral for our dear friend and colleague, Mrs. Judy Grossbard of blessed memory. In addition, those families with children between 3rd and 5th Grades have a Youth Group event with Miss Jamie Cooper this coming Sunday, Oct. 19th.  Please contact her if your child(ren) will be attending and if you can help with the carpooling via email or mobile 847-962-1478. Chag Sameach and an early Shabbat Shalom! 

My Eulogy for my colleague and friend, Judy Grossbard z”l

Eulogy for Judy Grossbard, z”l

Judy Grossbard website picture

Delivered Sunday, October 12, 2014

When I moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago in 2010, one of the first people I met was Judy Grossbard.  I immediately gravitated to her, since I knew I found a passionate Jewish Educator.  I was blessed to be a shared member of a teaching team with Judy for two years before she was diagnosed with ALS.  I was absolutely blown away by the tremendous detail she put into every project; every lesson.  She loved teaching.  She loved learning from her students.  She loved making the learning meaningful for her students.  I have never ever seen a Purim Carnival more thought out in detail with every single “I” dotted and “t” crossed than the ones that Judy orchestrated at my synagogue, Am Yisrael.

I will never forget going to my first Jewish Educators Assembly Conference in Jan. 2011.  Judy knew everyone and the bonds were so strong.  It inspired me to get involved with this organization and led to my becoming a national board member and regional president.  One of the best professional development moves of my career.

In May of 2012, Judy got the diagnosis at the Mayo Clinic and this was so heartbreaking for me.  As the “thief” kept taking pieces of Judy away from us, Judy fought this terrible disease with ever fiber of her soul.  When Judy could no longer teach, she became the head of our teacher resource center at Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies and completely reorganized the Teacher Resource Area in our school and met with teachers to give them gems of ideas.  She and I came up with all kinds of projects for the school with her writing page after page and me responding verbally.

I am thankful that I became a part of Judy inner circle of friends.  When I helped her travel to Dallas to receive the Or Zarua award that Eddie referred to in his tribute, I served as Judy’s mouthpiece at security at the airport and during the seminars at the conference.  While Judy couldn’t talk, her mind was sharp as a tack.  The words we shared were powerful and Judy received a standing ovation by her colleagues.  I think that moment will remain ingrained in my mind forever.  The smile on her face was absolutely priceless.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I would just like to close by saying last November we initiated the Judy Grossbard Jewish Reading Challenge in honor of Jewish book month.  The child in each grade in our School of Jewish Studies who read the most minutes of Jewish-themed books had tzedakah money donated in his or her name by one of our Bat Mitzvah students.  The money went both to the Jewish Educators Assembly and the Les Turner ALS Foundation.  These two organizations were near and dear to Judy’s heart.  Judy attended the program at the conclusion of the reading challenge and as I had seen her do at our faculty meetings, the Or Zarua Award ceremony and the Passover seder that she ran with Tracy, the voice on her iPad, Judy got up on our bimah and delivered a beautiful speech thanking all of the students for taking part in her passions: Jewish learning and reading.  This November, we will have the second Annual Judy Grossbard Jewish Reading Challenge and I know that Judy will be with us in spirit.

I will forever remember Judy as one of my heroes in this world.  While Judy was dealt everyone’s worst nightmare, she faced it with courage, determination and lived every day the best she could.  Thank you for your friendship Judy.  Thank you for teaching us to appreciate what we have.  You battled this disease long enough and deserve to rest in peace, dear friend.  Your memory will always be a blessing.

Sixth Week: SJS Sun. 10/12 & Wed. 10/15

Message from Mr. Sherman
I look forward to seeing many of you this evening for services that begin at 5:30 p.m.  We look forward to celebrating Sukkot in our beautiful sukkah in the courtyard.  Also, if you haven’t RSVPed for the “Parents Night Out” Sukkah party at Tami and Randy Horton’s home please email them at If you haven’t RSVPed for “Sangria in the Sukkah”, please email Melissa Drapatsky or Nina Friedman  Our students have regular SJS hours this afternoon and on Sunday, Oct. 12th (1st through 12th Grades), but the Wednesday, Oct. 15th schedule is moved back one hour.  On Oct. 12th, the Gan Class meets at the Rabbi’s sukkah from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in lieu of regular classes.  Please be sure to check the quick links above the weekly collage for lots of great information about what is going on in our classes, etc.  Everything else you will need to know for this week can be found in Nancy Holab Nevins’ “Am Yisrael Events” email that was sent out at 3 p.m. today.  Chag Sameach!

Fifth Week: SJS Sun. 10/5 & Wed. 10/8

Message from Mr. Sherman
It has been fantastic to see the SJS classes in action!  New and improved curricula, creative, energized Teachers and Madrichim focusing on the best of the past and lots of new concepts and modes of teaching.  I look forward to leading Kol Nidre Family services tonight and Yom Kippur Family services tomorrow, joining the “Tweens” with the Executive Board of our AMUSY group and hearing one final shofar blown at Neilah followed by Havdalah and a whole lot more in-between. We will continue to reflect, pray and learn together as a community with our Clergy and the entire congregation. You will also see a lot of future leaders of our community making us proud over Yom Kippur, both in leadership and participant roles.  Once we return to SJS on Sunday, we turn our focus to the joyous holiday of Sukkot and continue creating positive Jewish learning experiences.  We wish you and yours a meaningful Yom Kippur, Tzom Kal (an easy fast), Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Chatimah Tovah!

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