Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where can I find more information about the upcoming services/events at JRC?
Can I attend services if I am not a member?
Yes! Anyone is welcome to attend our Shabbat and holiday services. We look forward to meeting you!
High Holiday services (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) require tickets, which are included in your membership and can be purchased by non-members through the JRC office. However, our family services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur don’t require tickets and are open to everyone.
Are children welcome to attend services?
Yes! People of all ages are welcome to attend any JRC service. Children are always welcome – and we periodically offer services geared towards kids. Bringing your children to services is a wonderful way to “teach by doing” and model Jewish practices.
We ask that families pay attention to the needs of their children and to the needs of those participating in services around them. It’s always fine for children to bring a book or other quiet, non-electronic activity to services, and when rituals are the Main Sanctuary, we provide a toy rug with quiet books and puzzles to keep young ones occupied.
If your kids need a non-quiet space to move or play, parents are invited to accompany their children in the Early Childhood Center on the first floor.
What should I wear to services?
We hope that the clothing you wear to services makes you feel comfortable and reflects who you are. While our High Holiday services are dressier and our Shabbat services more casual, there is no dress code.
People of any gender are welcome to wear a kippah (head covering) if it is their preference. People who have had a b’nai mitzvah wear a tallit (prayer shawl) during morning services and any holiday when the Torah is being read.
On Yom Kippur, it is a tradition to dress in white or light colored clothing, and to avoid wearing leather, however there is a wide range of how people in our congregation choose to observe those customs.
Can women wear tallitot, kippot and/or tefillin?
If it is your practice to lay tefillin (prayer wraps), you are welcome to bring your own.
I don’t read Hebrew; will I be able to follow along in the service?
Yes! Our prayer books, handouts and other service materials are all written with transliteration and English translations to help everyone feel comfortable participating.
When I bring food to JRC for a potluck or other event, what are the rules I need to follow?
JRC is “kosher by ingredient.” All of our potluck events are dairy/pareve, which includes dairy, fish (but not shellfish), and vegetarian/vegan foods. Do not bring meat – including chicken!
Out of respect for those with nut allergies and sensitivities, we do not allow any nuts to be served at synagogue events. If we find items with nuts at potlucks, we will not be able to serve them.
We hope you’ll bring something delicious!
I left my coat/glasses/shoes/keys at JRC. Where is your lost & found?
Please ask at the front desk for your items. If the office has not located your item you can also check the coat racks on the first floor outside of the small pantry (around the corner from the Small Sanctuary).
I have questions. Who should I contact at JRC for answers?
- JRC Membership: Micky Baer at email@example.com
- Early Childhood Center: Shelli Patt at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Religious School and Youth Programming: Rabbi David Eber at email@example.com
- Religious School Admin: Layhao Diep at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scheduling a Meeting or Program: Max Sendor at email@example.com
- B’nai Mitzvah: Rachel Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact Our Clergy: Rachel Sherman at email@example.com
- Emergency Pastoral Care: Call 847-409-1432 and one of our clergy team will get back to you
- Life Cycle Events (baby namings, weddings, funerals, etc.): Rachel Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Event Rentals: Max Sendor at email@example.com
- JRC Financial Account: Layhao Diep at firstname.lastname@example.org
- High Holidays: the High Holiday Committee at email@example.com or Micky Baer at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Reconstructionist Judaism?
Reconstructionist Judaism is a progressive, contemporary approach to Jewish life that integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights and ideas of contemporary American social, intellectual and spiritual life.
Reconstructionists define Judaism as more than a religion. For us, it is an ever-evolving way of life, encompassing spiritual practices, ritual, history, literature, art and music, land and language.
We believe that we are involved in active Judaism. We cherish the traditional spiritual foundation bequeathed to us, and we are open to new interpretations and forms of religious expression. We are responsible for shaping the spiritual legacy we will leave to future generations.
What adult education can I find at JRC?
We have a wide variety of classes and programs for adults, including literature and film, history and current events, philosophy and Torah study, social justice and spiritual practice, and more. We encourage you to browse our Adult Education offerings periodically to see what is available.
I want to learn to read/write Hebrew; are there classes at JRC I can take?
We occasionally offer beginning Hebrew classes for members. We encourage you to browse our Adult Education offerings periodically to see if any are available.
What education is offered for children?
Early Childhood Center
Our enriching and diverse preschool program is based on progressive Jewish values, and focuses on the importance of relationships between students, teachers, and families. Children learn and play together in a nurturing environment designed to foster exploration, inquiries, and curiosity, using ideas and inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach.
Our Religious School cultivates an enduring sense of community and Jewish identity and provides children with the building blocks they need to engage throughout their lives in Jewish exploration, community, and activism.
What are the steps I need to take to have a b’nai/b'rit mitzvah at JRC?
For your child: B’nai mitzvah typically occur during your child’s 7th grade year. Our b’nai mitzvah dates are set in 5th grade, and we usually require students to attend 5th and 6th grade classes at JRC to be eligible for this ritual. Students start learning prayers and Hebrew for the ceremony as early as 3rd grade.
If you’ve been thinking about having a b’nai mitzvah for your child, now might be the time to enroll them in school. Contact Assistant Rabbi for Education David Eber to start discussing the process.
For yourself: Becoming bar/bat mitzvah as an adult is a journey of deep learning, exploration, and reflection. Many adults became Jewish after bar or bat mitzvah age, or never had the opportunity at age 13. Some became bar or bat mitzvah, but are looking for a more intensive Jewish learning path. JRC’s adult b’nai mitzvah program encompasses Torah learning, history, liturgy, language and spiritual and ritual practices. We encourage you to check our Adult Education offerings periodically to see if there is an upcoming adult b’nai mitzvah cohort coming up (they tend to be held every other year or so.)
I don’t believe in God, but I am looking for a Jewish community to belong to. Will I be welcomed at JRC?
Yes, you will. At JRC, we believe that there is no one way to be Jewish, and that participation and inclusion in a Jewish community is paramount. Whether you believe in God, don’t believe in God, or are searching for meaningful Jewish space and practice, we welcome you. Your thoughtful curiosity, openness, and exploration are welcome.
I am part of an interfaith marriage/partnership, is that welcomed at JRC?
Yes! We wholeheartedly welcome interfaith families to JRC.
Our clergy are comfortable officiating Jewish weddings for interfaith couples.
Our congregation is as diverse as the American Jewish community, and includes Jews by birth and by choice, interfaith families, people of color, LGBTQ people, and from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Our community spans the spectrum of Jewish practice and observance. We welcome you as you are.
I was not raised Jewish, can I still join JRC?
Yes! Some of us joined the Jewish people at birth, others joined the Jewish people as adults, and others have yet to become Jewish or won’t choose to do so. Membership is open to all.
Why should I become a JRC member?
When you join JRC, you become an important part of a vibrant, innovative, diverse, and caring community. You’ll have a spiritual home to share in the joys and challenges of life. You’ll be offered opportunities to grow intellectually and live your social justice values. You’ll meet fellow members who engage enthusiastically in spiritual practice, progressive causes, lifelong learning, and building lasting friendships.
Benefits of JRC Membership:
- You and your immediate family will be connected to JRC’s clergy for life cycle events (weddings, funerals, baby namings, b’nai mitzvah) and pastoral support.
- You can use our online member portal to access the membership directory, register for school and events, and make secure online tuition payments and donations, and can engage with fellow members digitally on our members-only Facebook group.
- You’ll receive High Holiday tickets for the adults in your household (children don’t need tickets) and significant discounts on extra tickets for close relatives.
- You are eligible (and enthusiastically encouraged) to join the Committees and Task Forces at JRC that reflect your interests.
- You’re eligible for election to our Board of Directors and have voting rights.
- You can rent JRC’s space for private events at a discounted rate.
What are the costs to Join JRC?
Anyone can become a member of JRC, regardless of the amount they are able to pay.
We provide a membership commitment range, rather than a fixed amount, for each category of household.
Current dues ranges
- Household: two adults, any number of children $3,579-$4,238 (about $300-350/month)
- Single Parent Household: one adult, any number of children $2,390-$2,915 (about $200-240/month)
- Senior Household : two adults (65+) $1,977-$4,238 (about $160-350/month)
- Single: one adult $1,977-$2,502 (about $160-200/month)
- Senior Single: one adult (65+) $1,061-$2,502 (about $89-200/month)
- Young Adult Single: one adult (under 36) $36/month
- Young Adult Couple/Family: two adults (under 36), any number of children $72/month
- Early Childhood Center Families are considered JRC members as well. We encourage a membership donation that meaningfully reflects JRC’s commitment to your young family.
If you are able, we encourage you to select a membership level above the minimum for your household. Your generosity helps JRC continue a longstanding practice of welcoming all our members with due regard for ability to pay.
Never feel embarrassed to have a conversation with us about dues. If your circumstances don’t allow you to pay membership at the recommended levels, feel free to speak confidentially with executive director Micky Baer at email@example.com or 847-328-7678.
What pastoral services are available for members of JRC?
Rabbi Rachel Weiss and Cantor Howard Friedland provide pastoral care and counseling to our members. Rabbi Weiss and Cantor Friedland visit members in the hospital, meet in-person and by phone at times of difficulty and loss. Whether grieving the death of a loved one or struggling during a hard time, our clergy provide a listening ear and a safe space.
At times of a death, Rabbi Weiss, Cantor Friedland, and Assistant Rabbi David Eber can officiate at funeral and burial rituals. They also lead shiva minyanim, as do many of our members.
How do I get involved with one of the community groups at JRC?
The wealth of member-led committees and social justice task forces is part of what makes JRC so unique and vibrant, and we find that members who get involved in these groups report being more satisfied with their community experience.
You must be a member of JRC to join a Committee or Task Force.
Can my children attend JRC’s Religious School if I am not a member?
You must be a member for your kids to attend our Religious School for Grades K-12.
You do not need to be a member to enroll your kids in our Sunday Pre-K class.
Everyone is welcome to enroll in our Early Childhood Center, and Early Childhood families are considered members of the congregation.
Want to give JRC a try — including religious school for your kids? Try our Taste of JRC program!