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Jewish Resilience

Jewish Resilience


For more information contact:

Joanna Rothenberg | 312.322.1724

Betsy Gomberg | 312.322.1756


Community-Wide Program Takes Place June 2 in Evanston

(Evanston) For the first time, thirty Chicago-area Jewish organizations have joined forces to present a single program on a topic that has been important throughout Jewish history and remains critical today.

The program, titled Jewish Resilience: Responding to Crisis, Catastrophe, and Change, takes place Thursday, June 2, at the Hilton Orrington/Evanston. Beginning at 6:45 pm, participants will have an opportunity to learn from experts in small group sessions, then come together for a presentation by historian, author, activist, and scholar, Dr. Susannah Heschel, daughter of the late Abraham Joshua Heschel. 

Tickets to the program, which is open to the public, are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 312.322.1773.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, with funding from the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, is spearheading this project. It is part of a new initiative that brings together professionals from Jewish organizations across the Chicago-area, to learn from and with each other, and to plan collaborative learning opportunities like this one.

The topic was selected to provide a forum for exploring what Judaism and the Jewish experience have to teach about successfully responding to crisis, both personal and global. It reflects the fact that crisis is ubiquitous in our world today. From political turmoil, collapsing economic markets, and ethical lapses to environmental concerns and rising rates of pandemic, our world and its inhabitants appear to be in a constant state of uncertainty, teetering between unease and catastrophe.

Jewish communities — from biblical times to the present day — have confronted crisis in every form, and the program planners believe that Jewish history can provide vital wisdom about responding to today's challenges in ways that foster community building, innovation, personal growth, and resilience.

The program’s small group sessions will explore examples of Jewish resilience through history. Dr. Alan Mintz, Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, will lead a session on Crisis in Jewish Literature. Dr. David Shyovitz, Assistant Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History at Northwestern University, will lead a session on Crisis in Jewish History. And Dr. Laurie Zoloth, director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine, will lead a session on Jewish Responses to Environmental Crisis.

Dr. Susannah Heschel will then move the subject from history to the present and from global to personal with a talk titled What Does This All Mean in Real Life? An Exploration of How Judaism Can Help Me Respond to Crisis.

The author of countless books and articles, Dr. Susannah Heschel is known for her scholarship on antisemitism and for her work to expand opportunities for women in Jewish leadership and practice. She received her PhD in Religious Studies from University of Pennsylvania and is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. She has taught at universities in Berlin, Edinburgh, and Cape Town, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and four honorary doctorates.

The participating organizations are: Anshe Emet Synagogue, Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel, Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago, Center for Healthy Living/CJE SeniorLife, Chai Mitzvah Foundation, Chicago Board of Rabbis, Community Foundation for Jewish Education, Congregation Beth Shalom, Davar Institute — Skokie, Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, Grandparents for Social Action, GIFTS, Hebrew Theological College, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, JCC Chicago, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish B2B Networking, Jewish Child and Family Services, Jewish Council of West Rogers Park, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, L'Chaim Center, Mishkan Chicago, Moishe House, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Temple Sholom of Chicago, and Temple Beth Israel.

The Hilton Orrington/Evanston is located at 1710 Orrington Avenue. In addition to nearby street parking, valet parking is available at the hotel for $12.

More information can be found at

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Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs — including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts — take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.

Dr. Susannah HeschelDr. Susannah Heschel

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