Select Page

Pillars of Chai

JRC’s Pillars of Chai Campaign: The Finish Line is in Sight!

JRC’s Pillars of Chai Campaign began in the fall of 2018. We faced a tall order: raise $4.4 million by February 2022 to retire the remaining building loan and make JRC fully ours. Two years have passed, and we are thrilled to share that only $350,000 remains.

This campaign was about planning for a future where we can thrive and grow without the shadow of a loan. We are nearly there. Our strong, resilient, GENEROUS community made it happen.

Our Physical and Spiritual Home


In 2008, our congregation moved into its current building. Our award-winning spiritual home was the first platinum LEED-certified synagogue in North America. It is the place where we learn and live our values, explore our Judaism, raise our children, celebrate during happy times, and gather to support each other during life’s challenges.

Help us cross the finish line:


If you joined after 2008 (the year we moved into the new building) and you never set foot in the old space, you are still impacted by enjoying the benefits of the incredible transformation that allowed our community to evolve in a way that would never have been possible in our old building.

Please add your generous support to the Pillars of Chai Campaign and help make this magnificent building entirely ours.

Gifts can be made in a variety of ways.

For more information and to add your support, please contact: Campaign Chairs Reese Gratch and Sandy Spatz at

Executive Director Micky Baer at or 847-328-7678, ext. 2224.


For the Building History Buffs: The Story behind the Pillars of Chai:

In our fifty-plus years, JRC has had two previous capital campaign fund drives. In the late 1970s, the first one made it possible to purchase land at 303 Dodge and renovate the original building on that land. Beginning in 2002, we started a second campaign and raised $6.7 million to build our beautiful building.

In 2005, we discovered that our property’s soil was soft and sandy—definitely not suitable for supporting a large three-story building. This necessitated the drilling of caissons: concrete pillars driven 55 feet into the earth to reach hard clay and to stabilize the structure. The surface of our building’s foundation is therefore now supported by these massive underground pillars—eighteen in all–18–the celebrated Jewish number equaling “life” according to Hebrew numerology.

This led our congregation’s president to ask, “Since we are constructing pillars to support our congregation, why not create eighteen symbolic ‘pillars’ of our community—spiritual values that we could somehow connect to the physical caissons?” We didn’t have time to survey the congregation, construction was in process, so our Rabbi took the question to our 4th and 7th-grade religious school students, reminding them of Rabbi Shimon the Righteous’ famous dictum, “The world stands on three things: study, worship, and acts of loving-kindness.” “What,” he asked our students, “would you consider to be the eighteen ‘pillars’ upon which our congregational community stands?”

They brainstormed eighteen thoughtful, spiritual, Jewish values:

Each of these values was written and then placed by the construction crew into a separate caisson shaft mixed with the concrete. Each of these 18 values became a permanent aspect of JRC’s support structure. We are literally supported by and stand on these values.

Put Your Values into Action

This third chapter, the Pillars of Chai Campaign, has brought important stability to our community.  As you consider these pillars of our community, as you reflect on how JRC has supported and enriched your own spiritual life and all that JRC offers you, please put your values into action. Be part of the We at JRC. Let’s finish this together!

For more information and to add your support, please contact Campaign Chairs Reese Gratch and Sandy Spatz at or Executive Director Micky Baer at or 847-328-7678, ext. 2224.

About the Living Our Values Speaker Series

This series, held on select Friday nights, is sponsored by the Pillars of Chai Committee. Each presentation features a JRC member who is putting our community’s values into action in their daily lives and in their professional practices.