Congregation Kneseth Israel to Celebrate 130 Years
Since 1892, Congregation Kneseth Israel has been the heart of the Jewish Community in the Fox River Valley. Congregation Kneseth Israel (CKI) is extremely proud to be celebrating its 130th Anniversary this year with a number of exciting events.
Over the years, the congregation has changed to reflect the needs and demographics of the congregation. "In an age when too many congregations are faltering, it is not enough to survive; we need to create meaning to appeal to a wide range of people in order to thrive," says Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein.
"Currently we represent 30 communities in and around the Fox, eleven school districts and four counties. We run from Marengo in the west to Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills in the north. We cover Barrington, Schaumburg, and Hoffman Estates in the East, and Geneva and Batavia in the South, and EVERYTHING in between," says Rabbi Frisch Klein. "We embrace diversity, with members who were born in 17 countries, people who are part of interfaith families, people of differing intellectual and physical abilities, older people, younger people, members of the LGBTQ+ community, multi-racial families, and the full range of Jewish religious observance.”
CKI is proud to sponsor a number of events in honor of our 130th anniversary.
- ListenUp! an a capella group at CKI on Sunday, August 21 at 4 PM
Tickets are available online at https://ckielgin.ticketleap.com/listenup/
- Open House and first day of Torah School, Sunday August 28 at 10:30 AM
- Conversations with best-selling author Anita Diamant, the weekend of September 9-11 at CKI and at Gail Borden Public Library, All three of those programs will also be available on Zoom.
- Scribe Neil Yerman, Sunday, October 16 at 9:00 AM
- Mulberry Street (Billy Joel tribute band) at CKI, Saturday, November 5 at 7 PM.
- Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, Sunday, November 20 at 4:00 PM
- Jewish student a cappella group from Northwestern U. at CKI, Sunday, December 18
The first event on August 21 features the Jewish a cappella group ListenUp! With an innovative sound blending Jewish and secular music to a new beat. Brad Burker, CKI Publicity Chair, says, “I selected ListenUp! because they reflect CKI ‘s diversity with a blend of traditional Hebrew prayers and music and contemporary themes both young and old"
According to recent Pew Studies, synagogues and churches are having a hard time retaining participation and membership, but Congregation Kneseth Israel continues to thrive by providing meaningful observance and lifelong learning, while building community and embracing diversity.
“Community is about being connected,” said Rabbi Frisch Klein, “especially coming out of the pandemic, when people want to see their friends again. They want to know that they matter. That their lives have meaning. At CKI we create opportunities to gather – whether in-person or online, in our building, a neighborhood park, or a coffee shop.
Heather Weiser, CKI Director of Education says, “One of the things that makes our Torah School special is in teaching about the relevance of Judaism today. Last year, we were part of a national grant entitled, “Scientists in the Synagogue,” linking the exploration of science and Judaism’’. She added, “The kids love to be here on Sunday mornings, while their parents enjoy hanging out in our social hall. Our Hebrew program incorporates individualized coaching, where the students study one-on-one with an assigned educator, at a time that adapts to their busy schedules. This was initially part of a national pilot program, and research has shown that the kids learn so much more this way and feel even more connected.
CKI will highlight its award-winning Torah School program as part of an open house for all ages on Sunday. August 28th from 10:30-12:00 PM. Stop by and discover all that CKI has to offer.
In September, Anita Diamant, best-selling author of The Red Tent, will be at CKI for a weekend of “Conversations with Anita Diamant.” She will discuss her Jewish lifecycle books as part of the Oneg Shabbat, the social hour following Friday night services and her fiction writing on Saturday evening at CKI. On Sunday afternoon she will appear at Gail Borden Public Library. Sue Johnson, CKI 130th Anniversary Chair, says “For generations, CKI has had active book discussion groups. We are very excited to host one of our favorite authors.”
There are even more opportunities to celebrate. More upcoming programs, learning opportunities and the High Holy Days to come. Rosh Hashanah begins on September 25th. With pre-registration, all are invited to attend.
To learn more about Congregation Kneseth Israel and its award-winning programs, contact Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein at 978--590-8268 or by email at email@example.com