<![CDATA[OPT Sesquicentennial - Blog]]>Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:45:17 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Double Diamond Jubilee!]]>Fri, 01 May 2015 08:00:02 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/double-diamond-jubileeWe've been calling this year our Sesquicentennial, but it could also be called our Double Diamond Jubilee! How special would that be? On June 4, 1939 Washington Blvd Temple Congregation B'nai Abraham Zion celebrated 75 years with a formal gala at a downtown hotel.  On June 27, 2015 Oak Park Temple B'nai Abraham Zion celebrates 150 years in our own building, which will be all dressed up for the occasion.  Will you be there to join in the festivities?

This event promises to be the highlight of our special year.  We will begin our black tie optional evening with a signature cocktail, The OPTini, hors d'oeuvres and music. This will be followed by a catered dinner and then dance music provided by the High Society Orchestra.

Formal invitations will be in your mailbox soon.  Please RSVP asap! We wouldn't want you to miss this once in a lifetime celebration.

In the words of our predecessors:

<![CDATA[April,1945.]]>Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:00:02 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/april1945
April,1945. Our Assistant Rabbi Gunter Plaut, a recent graduate of HUC, was serving as an Army  chaplain, perhaps he is somewhere in this crowd of soldiers, leading this very Seder.  

During a very stressful and chaotic time in our history, these men (I don't see any women,sorry). were able to take time and participate in our most observed Festival. I hope you can do the same this year!

Coming up in May on the Sesquicentennial calendar are the Cantors' Concert and the Opening of the Time Capsule.

Mark your calendars, dust off your fancy dress and get ready for THE GALA to top all GALAS on June 27th!
<![CDATA[Temple SWAG]]>Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:00:01 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/temple-swag
If you had children in our religious school during the late 1990's you may have one of these shirts in your closet.  I actually know someone who still wears his!  Wouldn't you like an updated Oak Park Temple t-shirt? Polo? How about a hoodie with our lovely new OPT and understated 150th Logos? We are in the planning stages of getting these items, which we lovingly refer to as "Temple Swag', ready for your purchase.  Why not let us know what you'd like to see for sale? Would you want a lapel pin? Baseball cap? Email slevr@aol.com and let us know. If you see one of us around town or hanging out in the Rotunda, come on over and give us your opinion.  We really want to hear from you!
Bet you can't wait now!  What else would you want to wear to the Retreat, to the Last Day of Religious School Breakfast, or to the Congregational Picnic?

Lauren Levrant
Deb Spector
<![CDATA[Excitement in March]]>Sun, 01 Feb 2015 14:00:02 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/excitement-in-marchPicture
We won't promise pony rides, but we do promise fun! More great activities are in store for you during our Sesquicentennial year. We're keeping things quiet in February in order to ramp up the excitement in March...

In celebration of Purim, we are bringing back the Oy Vey Cafe.  If you missed these extravaganzas in the past now is your time to experience the range of talents of our congregants.  If you have a talent, let Mike Cooper know and he'll get you up on the stage. If you like to have fun, take a seat and just enjoy.

Then, jump into the TIME MACHINE!  This year's Retreat in Oconomowoc will focus on the past, present and future. You'll have a chance to meet congregants from 1864, 1924 and 1974.  You can learn to play mah jong! Learn the "right way" to sing Adon Olam. Do yoga. Meet new friends. Pig out on the Bagel Boys dime. And maybe ride a pony (NOT)! Don't miss out on any of the fun!
Our special year is rushing by us.  Don't miss out on the fun!

<![CDATA[December 1864. Lincoln still is president.]]>Mon, 01 Dec 2014 08:00:01 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/december-1864-lincoln-still-is-presidentPicture
In 1865, Rabbi Isaac Wise of Cincinnati wrote, "Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He supposed himself to be of Hebrew parentage, he said so in my presence, and indeed he possessed the common features of the Hebrew race both in countenance and features." Lincoln's son Robert later denied the admission of Hebrew ancestry and dismissed the exchange between Lincoln and the rabbi as a "pleasantry.” Whatever the case may be, in 2013 Gary Zola wrote the book “We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, a Documentary History” and will be joining us as the Sesquicentennial Scholar in Residence from Friday December 5 through Sunday December 7. During this weekend there will be a variety of educational programs both on Lincoln, Reform Judaism and the Civil Rights Movement. And in the Jewish tradition, there will be food!

Please join us for Shabbat dinner to welcome Dr. Zola Friday night or at the pot luck lunch on Saturday following services. Sign up early for the dinner (sign up forms elsewhere in The Messenger) so we have enough brisket for everyone and plan on bringing an entrée or side/salad to share for the lunch. Lunch desserts will be donated by Lauren Levrant in memory of her grandfather Julius Turoff who would have loved Dr. Zola’s book and presentations.

<![CDATA[November 1864]]>Sat, 01 Nov 2014 16:00:02 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/november-1864Picture
In November 1864 the Confederacy  was in retreat.  Lincoln was still president. The Democratic National Convention took place in Chicago.

Rabbi Isaac M. Wise was trying, unsuccessfully at the time, to establish a college for Reform rabbis in Cincinnati. He finally established Hebrew Union College in 1875 and became its first president.  Our congregation was already 11 years old by that time.

On November 21 the current president of URJ, Rick Jacobs, will be joining us for dinner and services.  Please join us for his visit.

Don't forget that on November 1 we welcome singer David Broza. And, during the weekend of December 5-7 Gary Zola, head of the Jewish-American Archives, will be visiting to tell us more about Jewish life in 1864!

<![CDATA[September 1, 1864]]>Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:15:09 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/september-1-1864Picture
On September 1, 1864 the fourth Jewish congregation in Chicago was established by ”Israelites” (looking much like the Cohen Brothers pictured here) residing in the West Division section of the city of Chicago.  Chartered under the name Zion Congregation, its first “divine” service was held on Desplaines St between Washington and Madison, a building that had been built as a Baptist church. (Discovery and Conquests of the North- West by Rufus Blanchard)

On September 24, 2014 we will begin our Sesquicentennial Celebration! Now is the perfect time for you to be here at our 150th Anniversary website, Now that you're here, take a look around.  Read the Stories and learn about some of our current congregants, then add your own.  Peruse the Events and plan your year of celebration with us. Then click on Donate and help us keep the prices for all the wonderful activities planned down to a minimum so that everyone can participate.

We’re looking forward to a year filled with celebration, education and community, and hope you are too!

L’Shanah Tovah,

Lauren Levrant & Deborah Spector, Co-chairs, Sesquicentennial Committee

<![CDATA[Everyone's been asking, now we can answer!]]>Thu, 01 May 2014 15:22:39 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/everyones-been-asking-now-we-can-answerDrum roll please.............
The following events have been planned in celebration of our sesquicentennial:
September 25    - Rosh Hashanah - the start of our year of festivities
November 1         - David Broza concert!!!!!
November 21     - Rabbi Rick Jacobs visit
December 5-7     -Scholar-in Residence program with Gary Zola from the American Jewish Archives
December 12-14 -Rabbi Gerson & David Sokol will speak on the history and art of OPT
January 24          -Jewish Lawndale dinner and presentation
March 7               -Oy Vey it's a Purim Party
March 13-15        -Retreat
May 2                  -Cantors Concert
May 10                -Bagel Boys Old Fashioned Breakfast
June 27               -Sesquicentennial Formal Celebration
Do you see an event we are missing?  Do you have something in mind that you think we should do? Anything catch your eye or imagination and is begging for your attention? How about your sponsorship?
Please contact your Sesquicentennial Committee Chairs, Lauren Levrant (slevr@aol.com) or Deb Spector (landsleit@comcast.net) to let us know what you think and how you want to help out.]]>
<![CDATA[Celebration! Education! Community!]]>Tue, 17 Dec 2013 20:38:02 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/celebration-education-communityOur Sesquicentennial finally has a "theme". After more than six month of brainstorming, discussing, questioning, worrying, and obsessing we have realized that it was right there in front of our faces!
For our 150th Anniversary as a congregation we will be:
  • Celebrating the fact that we are one of the oldest congregations in continuous existence in the Chicago area. 
  • Educating our congregation about our history. 
  • Focusing on our Community during our year long series events.
Our proposed calendar is filling up.  There will be parties big and small. Concerts serious and fun. Events and projects for everyone. If you have any ideas you'd like to share please contact one of us, and keep in mind that we are still hoping to hear your OPT story either on video or online.
 So get in touch with either Lauren Levrant or Deb Spector and let us hear your voice! Be a part of our year of:

Celebration! Education! Community!
<![CDATA[You are at our new website. Now use it]]>Tue, 01 Oct 2013 20:40:49 GMThttp://150.oakparktemple.com/blog/you-are-at-our-new-website-now-use-itYou've found our blog, now bookmark it!

Could it be any easier?

Use it to submit YOUR STORY. We want to know why you belong to OPT.  How you found us. Why you stay. These stories will be posted on the website, and possibly edited into a book.

Use it to make a donation to the Sesquicentennial Fund.  All donations will be used to underwrite the activities we are planning in celebration of our important anniversary. Donations will be acknowledged in the Messenger and much appreciated as we are hoping to keep the costs for attending events to a minimum.

Use it to keep up to date on our event schedule once it goes live.

Use it to make suggestions.

Use it to tell us how we are doing.

Just USE IT!

Lauren Levrant – slevr@aol.com
Deborah Spector – landsleit@comcast.net]]>