Living Jewishly

Stories, thoughts and musings from young adults living Jewishly – and Jew-“ish”-ly – in Chicago.

Light across the Ages photo
Studying the laws and history surrounding Chanukah made me reflect on my mixed-faith upbringing and the tumult of my growing up as it related to religion.
A Tale of Two Kosher Pizza Shops photo
What two kosher pizzerias on the Upper West Side can teach the rest of Jewish America.
For the Sin I Have Committed Against Myself photo
As a child, I thought of fasting on Yom Kippur as the pinnacle of adult-ness—a demonstration of piety, self-restraint, and poise—but when I became a Bat Mitzvah and my turn came, I became much less enthusiastic.
Letters to Our Children photo
During this past summer's tumultuous news of hate rallies, terrorism, and hurricanes, I was lucky enough to get lost in a world of letters -- love letters, that is, written from Jewish adults to children.
Wakeup call photo 2
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the synagogue listening to the blasting of the shofar, something many of us will be doing just a couple weeks from now. Feel the power of the sound -- the staccato notes, the longer notes, and the really long note -- reverberate throughout the sanctuary.
Toward New and Encoded Horizons photo
As the High Holiday Season begins, we typically begin to draft our resolutions for coming year; as the current year waxes, the coming year wanes.
Candlestick holder designers photo
It has taken us many years, but my husband and I finally bought Shabbat candlestick holders. They are absolutely perfect -- except for one thing.
My Passport to Jewish Community photo 1
How I found Jewish community for the first time shepherding teens across Israel and Spain
We Are All Jewish Miracles photo
My parents and grandparents didn’t have to hide themselves nor their Jewish identities; do I lose my “Jewish Miracle” status?
Keeping Kosher on Campus photo
Why it’s really hard, and why I do it anyway.
Three Weeks in a Busy Summer photo
With barbecues, weekend getaways and rooftop happy hours, it can feel difficult to be in a mourning period when our world around us is generally happy and festive.
Rare friends photo
I saw children and senior citizens from different cultures, religions, races, and worlds -- who lived only blocks apart yet had never met -- come together and connect through their shared humanity.
Choosing to Be Jewish photo
Everything is a choice. The shoes you put on this morning, the route you took to work, where you're eating lunch, your trip to the gym tonight. We're selecting and making decisions every minute of our lives.
Of Bagels and Books photo
As a professor, I also get a sabbatical in the seventh year at my job at a small college in Iowa. I spent mine in Chicago writing a book.
Thank you for not standing idly by photo
The day my director called to say I got the job I told her I felt like I won the lottery. I was ecstatic to be working for an organization I was so passionate about.
Seeking Out a Jewish Summer photo
There are opportunities to engage in Judaism and celebrate and deepen your Jewishness during the summer -- you just have to find them.
Four (other) questions photo
While the youngest at your seder will ask the four traditional questions when we celebrate later this month, here are four other big questions for all of us to think about while breaking matzah.
Interview with the Grandfather photo
Everyone believes his or her grandpa is the best, as they absolutely should. And of course, I think no differently.
The Grinch that Stole Chanukah photo
How my niece grew my heart three sizes this winter break
The Last Shabbat of 2016 photo
I woke up last Wednesday morning with an idea: I wanted to host 2016’s last Shabbat.
Glimmer of light photo
I love watching the Chanukah candles dance and dazzle in the darkness during the shortest days of the year.
Living with the Rebbe for a Weekend photo
My mom met the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, four years before he died. It wasn't a vacation, celebrity tour or religious pilgrimage. It was a trip of critical necessity. At 4 years old, my sister was dying of Leukemia.
8 Ideas for Improving Chanukah photo
Eight ways to make Chanukah have a bit more fire, more energy, more pop pop -- POP!
Gratitude, Nostalgia and a New Start photo
The High Holidays give us a chance to step back and look more closely at the path before us.
honey apple challah
Back by popular demand -- at least according to my mom -- is my (sometimes) annual guide to a sweeter new year.
Biking: A Love/Hate Relationship photo
I love riding my bike! The breeze is so refreshing. The physical exertion is exhilarating. And the experience of accomplishment, especially on long distances, is gratifying. I hate riding my bike! It’s too hot outside. My muscles are aching. I’d so much rather drive to wherever I’m going.
My Evolving Relationship to Shabbat Dinner photo 1
I did not grow up with the idea of Shabbat dinner on Friday evening every week.
Tuesdays with Torah photo
It was a day and time circled on my calendar for the past two academic years. Every Tuesday at noon, a dozen of us students would study Torah together as part of one of the classes offered through the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning.
Haters Don't Gotta Hate photo

“I hate you.” These are powerful words. They can ruin years of relationship development in two seconds.

Feeling the Tefilah photo

Essentially, I've grown up with tefilah (prayer) -- that I know -- but have I become a grownup with tefilah?

Learning to Be an Upstander photo 1

My papa, Ralph Rehbock, has been the greatest influencer and teacher in my life. Since surviving the Holocaust as a young boy, he has never been shy speaking about his past, or about teaching the lessons of the Holocaust as a member of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center’s Speakers’ Bureau.

Ich Bein a Juden photo 1

My grandfather’s Judaism called to him when he was 16. It was 1942. His family had emigrated to America decades earlier and he was living the American Dream.

My Grandfather the Barber photo 1

I first remember learning about the Holocaust when I was 5 years old. Sitting in my grandparents’ living room, the camera crew entered with all of their equipment and I sat quietly on the couch with the rest of my family as we waited for the interviewer to begin asking my grandfather questions.

The four answers photo

One of the highlights at the Seder is the four questions.

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