Outdoor Celebrations Connect Friends, Nature and Community
With winter officially upon us, our time spent outdoors can dwindle. But at the J, where we know that good weather in Chicago is rare, we try and take advantage of every opportunity by hosting events outdoors in the spring, summer and fall, especially programs that enable families to come together, unplug and enjoy time in nature and serene settings.
This year, to maximize our time spent outdoors, JCC Chicago hosted a number of outdoor Shabbat and holiday events. S’more Shabbat, hosted back in June, was a tasty way to welcome in Shabbat on Friday night at the Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich. Over 150 people came out for a Shabbat picnic dinner, musical performance, and of course, to enjoy some s’mores. The first Young Family Shabbat on the Lake took place this past August in Evanston. The serene atmosphere in a lakeside park created the perfect setting for families to unplug from their hectic weeks and connect with the natural beauty around them. And most recently, a Sukkot celebration was hosted at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, with a sukkah constructed in the vegetable garden to visit and decorate, and environmentally friendly activities for the whole family to enjoy.
There are more outdoor activities to come just around the corner. We are already gearing up for Tu B’shvat celebrations, the Jewish holiday celebrating the spouting of trees and fruits in Israel.
These programs are made possible by generous grant support from the “Gendler Grapevine Project.” Rabbi Everett Gendler is a pioneer and visionary figure in the Jewish environmentalism movement and seeks to enable more Jewish communities to learn about Judaism and its connection to the environment and experience it for themselves through these outdoor celebrations.
See you in the spring with more events that we can celebrate together under the stars!
Elana Berlin, Development Manager, JCC Chicago
The Gendler Grapevine Project is a six-year initiative that promotes activities within the Jewish and interfaith communities that honor and support the values affirmed by Rabbi Everett Gendler. The Project facilitates the creation of effective, innovative, and replicable programs that celebrate the deep connections between Jewish traditions, social justice and the environment, helping others transform their words and ideas into activities that will make a difference not only in their own lives but also for those around them