The Living Room
Location 1632 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 USA
Phone773.301.9485
Upcoming Course: Days to Celebrate

Days to Celebrate: Demystifying Lesser-Known Festivals of the Jewish Calendar
During these trying times, everyone is looking for something to celebrate. Fortunately, the Jewish calendar offers us many such opportunities throughout the current season. This five-part miniseries will enrich your appreciation of these special days. Explore their history, discover their significance, and learn about the traditional observances associated with these days.

Course Details
Lesson 1 Counting Down or Gearing Up?

During this time of year, Jews around the world count each day for seven weeks to mark off the days left until Shavuot—the day that we received the Ten Commandments. Why do we count, and what does it mean for us? Is it just an ancient ritual, or can it become a contemporary self-help program that will dramatically improve our lives?

Join us for a discussion on the counting of the Omer and discover its life-changing formula for success. When performed correctly, the counting can become a daily regimen for self-refinement that will improve your relationship with others, your relationship with yourself, and most importantly, your relationship with G-d.

Lesson 2 Never Too Late

If you have procrastinated all your life, is it too late to change? If you haven’t talked to your sibling in decades, is there still a chance for reconciliation? If you have suffered an addiction for years, is there still hope for you? Join us on a journey of life as we explore the mystery of Pesach Sheni; a little-known festival that unlocks the secret of rehabilitation.

Lesson 3 The Secret of Jewish Unity

Why are there so many Jewish factions, and why is Jewish unity so hard to achieve? If we strip away the outer disagreements, what lies at the core of Judaism? This lesson will present biographical sketches of two great Jewish leaders, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon bar Yocha’i. We will explore the tensions of the Jewish people in their times and discover the balance that lies at the core of Judaism and of Jewish unity.

Lesson 4 Essence to Essence: The Sinai Connection

If Abraham already knew the Torah and taught it to his children, what did we receive at Sinai? This lesson will demonstrate that G-d did not give us the Torah at Sinai; He gave us Himself. We did not give G-d our commitment at Sinai; we gave Him ourselves. G-d was thrilled at Sinai to learn that He matters to us. We were thrilled at Sinai to know that we matter to Him.

Lesson 5 Shavuot DIY: How Do You Do Shavuot at Home?

No matter how quickly society reopens, we are not likely to enjoy large gatherings this Shavuot and will likely need to do it at home. Shavuot includes delightful traditions such as adorning the home with flowers and enjoying dairy treats, and somber customs such as studying Torah all night and Yizkor—remembering our loved ones. It includes rules that are unique to Shavuot and others that are common to all Jewish holidays. We will present and explain these traditions and empower you to do it yourself.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email rabbi@JewishBucktown.com or call 773.301.9485 for more info.
Upcoming Course: Cultivating Character

Cultivating Character: Life Wisdom from the Ethics of Our Fathers
Pirkei Avot - Ethics of Our Fathers is a compilation of timeless aphorisms from the sages of old, offering Jewish wisdom on life, morality, and character development. Continuing the ancient tradition of studying its chapters in the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, this miniseries brings the poignant teachings of Ethics of Our Fathers to life, allowing its messages to resonate with participants and inspire personal growth.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email rabbi@JewishBucktown.com or call 773.301.9485 for more info.
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Past Courses

With All My Heart

May 2019
With All My Heart

Whether you’re seeking relief from stress; you’re hoping for focus, clarity, and connection to a raw and vulnerable place deep within you; or you just want to start each day from a positive, humble, and grateful frame of mind, this course is for you.

Jewish wisdom teaches profound techniques to give wings to our emotions and words to our yearnings, allowing us to make contact and communicate with something larger than ourselves and feel comfort and shelter within a reality that’s more whole, more intense, more real, and more beautiful.
 

Crime and Consequence

February 2019
Crime and Consequence

When innocent people are wrongly convicted...
When "correctional facilities" turn first-time offenders into hardened criminals...
When known murderers walk free on a technicality …
Fairness in justice simply cannot be left to chance.

In Crime and Consequence, we explore 3000 years of Jewish wisdom concerning criminal convictions, sentencing, crime prevention, and rehabilitation. We challenge our thinking, pondering the application of Talmudic principles to real and complex, modern-day cases, and we get to the heart of questions such as:

Should we consider testimonies given in exchange for a reduced sentence as reliable evidence?
What is the goal of punishing criminals? is it to gain retribution for the victim, keep criminals off the streets and safeguard from future crime, set an example and instill the fear of law, or to rehabilitate the criminal and reintroduce him to society?
Is life-without-parole a justifiable penalty? Is it within our right to sentence a man to death? When would these be warranted? Is there a better way?

Wrestling with Faith

October 2018
Wrestling with Faith

Most people, even the devout, struggle with beliefs about G-d. It is easy, for example, to affirm the basic tenets of Judaism during a prayer service, but when it comes to trusting G-d with our daily decisions, many share a secret, painful fear that G-d isn’t really looking out for them. Many of us have been brought up under the assumption that mainstream science is incompatible with our Jewish faith. So when we see compelling evidence for biological evolution, for example, we feel forced to choose between science and our faith. Wrestling with Faith was created to tackle questions like these—the “big issues” that keep people from an intimate relationship with G-d. The course acknowledges the often unspoken doubts and fears that all people share, and seizes their invitation for us to dig deeper for the answers.

What Is?

April 2018
What Is?

Imagine that you were able to rethink everything you knew about the universe, the laws of nature, your own consciousness, and the very idea of existence and reality. Imagine the new insights you will gain, the fresh perspective with which you will embark on the journey of life each morning.

What is? does exactly that. Drawing on the wisdom of Chassidic teaching, the most basic building blocks of existence are reexamined from the bottom up, revolutionizing our understanding of life, reality, and our place in the world.

Communication: Its Art and Soul

January 2018
Communication: Its Art and Soul

Can you express yourself effectively in 140 characters or less? Should you?

The rise of the internet, mobile phones, and social media has completely changed the way we relate, interact, and communicate with one another—and it’s high time we reclaim this lost art.

In Jewish philosophy, communication is more than just a tool: it is who we are. Humans are defined as communicative beings with a communicative soul, and aligning ourselves with this soul is our raison d’être.

In Communication: Its Art and Soul, we contrast Jewish thought with scientific discovery to unearth the essence of communication and how to utilize its powers to better ourselves, our relationships, and all of society