Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies (SJS)
Socially distant but spiritually close
כ״ד תמוז תש״פ
פרשת מטות-מסעי

Dear Am Yisrael Community,

I always consider my communication with you to be one of my most important roles at the synagogue.  Please take a moment to fill out our SJS survey (#1 below), giving you an opportunity to share your opinions (remote, in-person or hybrid) on our reopening for the start of SJS 2020-2021.   

In addition, please take a moment to complete our second summer programming survey (#2 below).    

We are very happy to be offering numerous programs geared toward our families and youth which can all be accessed in #4 below. 

Today's SJS Family/Youth Update includes:

1. School Survey (for our plans for the fall) 
2. Summer Survey #2 (for July and August programming)
3. Family/Youth News
4. Current Family and Youth Summer Programming Line-up from July 17-August 28
6. Major Mitzvah Opportunities
7. Jewish Learning and Experiences Opportunities
8. Guidance in the midst of the pandemic
9. Video and Publication Featuring Am Yisrael; Our Family & Youth Prayer Service Leaders; Our Youth Torah Readers & Project Based Learning at Am Yisrael

1. School Survey (for our plans for the fall):
We are in the process of making some major decisions and your input is very important to us. Please take a couple minutes to fill it this survey by the end of business hours on Monday, July 20.  Please click on this link to access:  

2. Summer Survey #2 (for July and August programming):
We have enjoyed our summer programming together thus far.  We look forward to offering additional programming this summer.  Your input on these ideas and others you may have is very important to us.  Please take a minute to fill out this survey by the end of business hours tomorrow -- Friday, July 17.  Please click on this link to access Summer Survey #2:

3. Family/Youth News:
(a) In case you missed this last week, Mazal tov to  Rachel and Alex Green on the birth of a daughter,  Ruth Shayna.  Mazal tov also to Ruth's big brother  Arthur.  

(b) We hope to have a HUGE turnout at the Drive-In Movie that we are co-sponsoring taking place this weekend:
Sunday, July 19
Drive-In Movie Day
Show Times:
3:00 p.m. - FROZEN
5:30 p.m. - NEWSIES
8:00 p.m. - WONDER
In Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield's parking lot
For all details, including purchasing tickets, click click on this link: 
Special thanks to our friend and colleague Annie Glasser and her team from Ramah for teaming with Am Yisrael and North Suburban Synagogue Beth El on this programming.

(c) It was outstanding seeing the families who joined us for our Ark/Art program this past Sunday, July 12.  We enjoyed each other's company, remaining 6 feet apart and wearing our masks.  Many, many bags of non-perishable items were brought in which was very inspiring for all of us in attendance.

(d) The Rabbi and Mrs. Kamm spent quality time with several of our Am Yisrael teens on Zoom this past Sunday.  

4. Current Family and Youth Summer Programming Line-up from July 9-August 28:          
NOTES: (a) All Am Yisrael Services and Programs via Zoom Programs can be joined interactively through the protected Zoom Programs page or livestreamed on the home page of our website:  Alternatively, the remote programs listed below can be accessed by clicking here.  (b) All sessions below are listed in order of day/time they will take place. (c) Am Yisrael Shabbat Services take place EVERY Friday evening and Saturday morning.  The ones listed below specifically feature our Families and Youth. (d) Currently the in-person services and programs are Shabbat in the Lot and Drive In Movie.  The rest of the service programs below are remote.  The in-person programs follow detailed social distancing guidelines. (e) Thank you in advance to our group of featured prayer leaders/readers who will be taking honors in our remote services if we ever need to cancel Shabbat in the Lot due to weather.

Friday, July 17
Beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Shabbat in the Lot
Please click here for details

Saturday, July 18
Beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Shabbat Family Programming (SFP)
Led by Mr. Sherman and Mr. Marc
Including Tefillah, Jewish Learning and Youth Torah Readings
Login details can be accessed by clicking here
Thank you to our Torah readers  Liora Appel, Ari Falk, Talia Falk, Joaquin FB Fox, Ilana Friedel, Kira Friedel, Ben Legator, Esther Loewenthal, Greta Loewenthal, Jamie Loewenthal, Nina Ravage, Aliza Silver-Schack, Arianna Schiff, Sarah Solotoroff, Ariel Strubel Iram, Mia Strubel Iram, Markus Tam, Leah Weller and Marcus Weller for diligently practicing their Torah readings leading up to this service.
NOTE: This SFP was originally scheduled for Saturday, July 25

Sunday, July 19
9:45 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
Music & Havdalah with Cantor Simon & Mr. Sherman
Login details can be accessed by clicking   here

Sunday, July 19
Beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Adult Ed: World of Jewish Living
The Death of Death.  How Jewish thinkers have addressed the issue of death and the afterlife, including resurrection and immortality, through the lens of Biblical, rabbinic, and modern thought.  Special instructor: Katherine Bergson.
Please contact David Lerner with any questions related to Adult Ed: or 312-208-3283.

Sunday, July 19
Drive-In Movie Day
Show Times:
3:00 p.m. - FROZEN
5:30 p.m. - NEWSIES
8:00 p.m. - WONDER
In Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield's parking lot
For all details, including purchasing tickets, click click on this link: 

Tuesday, July 21
7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Family Game Night
Please click here for details

Friday, July 24
6:00 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
Shabbat in the Lot
Please click here for details

Sunday, July 26
10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Teen Time with Rabbi Newman Kamin
Login details can be accessed by clicking here

Wednesday, July 29
Beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tisha B'Av Services

Friday, July 31
6:00 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
Shabbat in the Lot
Please click here for details

Friday, August 7
Beginning at 6:00 p.m.
PJ Shabbat
Led by Mr. Sherman and Mr. Marc
Welcoming in Shabbat with your Am Yisrael friends with singing, hand motions, clapping, wearing pajamas and singing the concluding song in the congregation's main services
Login details can be accessed by clicking here

Sunday, August 9
10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Teen Time with Rabbi Newman Kamin
Login details can be accessed by clicking here

Tuesday, August 11
7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Family Game Night
Please click here for details

Friday, August 14
6:00 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Including but not limited to RISING 11th and 12th Graders, their Families & Teachers 

Saturday, August 22
Beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Shabbat Family Programming (SFP)
Led by Mr. Sherman and Mr. Marc
Including Tefillah, Jewish Learning, Youth Torah Readings and Yad Presentations
Please contact Mr. Sherman to sign up for Torah Readings: or via text 847-708-1805 
Login details can be accessed by clicking here

Sunday, August 23
10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Teen Time with Rabbi Newman Kamin
Login details can be accessed by clicking here

Friday, August 28
6:00 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Including but not limited to RISING 3.5 year through 2nd Graders, their Families, Teachers & Madrichim 

5.  AMUSY:

AMUSY is working to make a difference in our world.  Stay tuned for details as they continue to make the best plan possible.   The Jewish Education Project has compiled articles, videos and activities for how to help facilitate meaningful conversations about race and about actions one can take to make a difference.  These sources can be found in this link:

Am Yisrael Youth Board:
President: Jayden Fogel
Executive Vice President: Ilana Friedel 
Communications Vice President: Mackenzie Ball 
Membership/Kadima Co-Vice Presidents: Zoe Jagher & Ben Goldfeder 
Social Action/Tikkun Olam Vice President: Gillian Tam 
Israel Affairs Vice President: Rachel Miller 
Religious Education Vice President: Sarah Mae Levy
8th Grade Co-Representatives: Landon Drapatsky and Kira Friedel 

For more information about AMUSY (8th-12th), Kadima (6th & 7th), Ruach (3rd & 4th) & Shalom Club (K-2nd), please contact our Youth Director
Sandra Mieli Kamm 
Mobile: 847-721-2137

6. MAJOR Mitzvah Opportunities:

(a) Food Drive/Storage Pod in our Am Yisrael Parking LotOur friends at the ARK tell us that the need now is greater than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We can help!  
  • Below you will find a list of food items that they are requesting.  
  • A storage pod is located in our parking lot.  
  • We ask that you bring groceries to the synagogue and place them in the storage pod, as often as you can.  
  • The pod will be left unlocked with the door closed.  
  • Please be sure to close the door after you place your groceries inside.  You don't need to latch the door, it will stay closed.
  • While you're there, take a selfie and send it to Nancy:  We'll post photos of our caring community doing what we can to help others.
  • The pod will remain in our parking lot through the High Holidays, so consider this an ongoing effort to help others.  The ARK will periodically send a driver to empty the pod. 
Canned Vegetables 
Canned fruit
Canned beans
Vegetarian baked beans
Creamy peanut butter
Jelly or Jam
Tomato sauce
Canola oil
Dish liquid
Laundry detergent
Bar soap
Liquid hand soap

All food pantry donation must be certified kosher and should have six months before expiration. They do not accept Del Monte or Kirkland canned vegetables.
Please reference the following link for acceptable kosher certifications:

Thank you!

(b) The Ark Backpack Project:  All details can be found in this link and the deadline is July 31, 2020:

(c)   Cradles to Crayons are happy to share with you that they are once again re-accepting new and gently-used items as of this week.   As a result of the pandemic, children across Chicagoland lack access to essential resources now more than ever. Cradles to Crayons are asking for your our to ensure we can serve more than 130,000 local kids this year.  Here is a link for how to donate, host a socially distanced collection drive and/or volunteer from home: 

(d) Connecting Seniors: Do you have a parent or grandparent trying to access a connection but limited by technology?  If so, please check out this website and perhaps find some resources that may help you help them form such connections and learn new technologies: . Once seniors master the basics, CJE Senior Life has a started a new Cyber Club:

7. Jewish Learning and Experience Opportunities:
We want to make sure that anyone who is looking for a meaningful Jewish summer, autumn, winter or year-long experience finds it as we are in the midst of summer and 2020-2021 planning. 

(a) Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) of AJC Chicago
Several of our teens have participated in Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT)  and we think it would be great to have a teen representative or two from Am Yisrael.   LFT helps high school students develop a strong Jewish identity and trains them to be advocates for Israel and against antisemitism in high school, on the college campus, and beyond.
Students can apply by August 1 st through the online application here:

(b) Current Hebrew 1:1 Tutoring Schedule for Summer 2020:
Please click  here  to see our current opt-in Hebrew Tutoring schedule.   Please know that 
we have several teachers, madrichim and college-age students who will be offering 1:1 Hebrew and/or Torah practice sessions via Zoom this summer.  Times might be changed from week-to-week based on the schedules of our students and/or their Hebrew Tutors.  Please let me know if you are interested in my connecting you with a Hebrew tutor  via text 847-708-1805 or email

(c)  The Shalom Hartman  Institute is offering an amazing multi week learning experience for Rabbis and  Congregants. It is free of charge. 3,000 people have already signed up. I have had the opportunity to study with many of the presenters and they are outstanding. It is an opportunity not to be missed. 

(d) Know a teen who needs a new plan for Summer 2020? JTS announces: Justice and Art in Moments of Crisis, where rising  sophomores, juniors, and seniors  will explore the intersection of Judaism and justice with teens from across the country. Students can earn 1 College Credit. Visit to learn more. Please forward the flier below and help spread the word!

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until the program fills up.  Any questions they can go to Anna Serviansky directly or

(e)  A place to meet and talk with Jewish teens from many backgrounds. Led by  Rabbi  David Ehrenkranz and guests.  All are welcome! All are welcome!  Thursdays, June 25 - July 23, 6:30-7:30 pm CENTRAL 

(f) Tikvah Online Academy: Classes for 7th Grade through College.  All classes meet once per week for four consecutive weeks. Classes will be running throughout the summer from mid-June to mid-July (Session #1) and from mid-July to early August (Session #2).

(g) Hadar's Summer High School Talmud Course is a unique opportunity for a select group of highly motivated, committed, and curious high school students from across the country to immerse themselves in Talmud and vital discussion. 
  • A three-morning-a-week course in Gemara with Rabbi Tali Adler, focusing on boosting Talmud text skills and advancing students' ability to engage independently with the Talmud through havruta study with a fellow participant and guidance from the instructor.
  • An opportunity to connect with other high school students eager to dive into Jewish text and ideas.
  • Afternoon sessions with a rotation of Hadar rabbis and Faculty members-such as Rabbis Ethan Tucker, Aviva Richman, Shai Held, and Elie Kaunfer-around Torah and its contemporary applications to morality, justice, gender, politics, and Jewish peoplehood.
This course is designed for students who have completed at least one year of high school (including graduating seniors) and who have experience studying Hebrew text in the original, are excited about pushing their abilities, and are passionate about Jewish text. If that describes you, we welcome you to apply!
The fee for the course is on a sliding scale from $250-$500. Please pay what you feel you are able. Please click here for more information.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to if finances are an obstacle to participation, or if you have any other questions.  

(h) Teen Fellowship Opportunity for this summer: Rabbi Newman Kamin and I sent out an email a few weeks ago regarding an extraordinary summer opportunity for those teens graduating High School in 2020, 2021 and 2022.  Please click here to access the text of the email. 

(i) Gap Year in Israel: Rabbi Newman Kamin and I sent out an email last month to our High School seniors regarding the Nativ program.  College may look very different next year and this is one example of a highly vetted program that we are recommending as a potential opportunity for our congregants to explore.  Please click here to access the text of the email.  

(j) #MyUSYfiSummer: Come join USY for exciting virtual programming all summer long! #MyUSYfiSummer is open to all Jewish youth entering 5th grade through the Class of 2020.  For details and registration, please click on this link: 

(k) Remote with Ramah: Please click here to learn more and/or to register.  Click here to see a short video of some of the excitement so far:

(l) Check out this article of a very successful summer remote experience for 4-11 year olds, by clicking:  here

(m) IsraelNow (formerly Ta'am Yisrael)

For those who have a rising 8th Grader, the direct links for signing up for the remaining IsraelNow (formerly Ta'am Yisrael) Virtual Information Sessions, can be found directly below.  For those of us who have had the absolute thrill of being a part of this 8th grade Israel experience, I hope that you will consider signing up to attend a Zoom info session to learn from the team at JUF about their plans for the upcoming year.  Signups can be found at the links directly below:
Sunday, July 19 @ 1:00 p.m.: Please click here

Wednesday, July 29 @ 1:00 p.m.:  Please  click here

8. Guidance in the midst of the pandemic:

(a)  No Shame on U is an organization whose mission is to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health conditions and raise awareness about them - within the Jewish community and beyond.  The goal is for people who need help to seek it and to educate family members and friends on how to provide support.  They offer virtual programs and support.  Please click here to access the No Shame on U website and their extremely helpful resources, including ones that help us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

(b) Summer Connections and Resources We want to help you find programs that will help you and your families have the most meaningful summers possible.  Thank you to the many SJS parents who have sent ideas our way.  We know that you are finding many of these programs on your own.  Please know that we will be happy to share programs that we find and/or that you suggest to us.  We will continue to do our best to connect you to these educational and/or social offerings as we learn about them.   In addition to the many resources and programs provided by Am Yisrael directly, a good place to find additional resources for summer connections and many other trusted resources is JUF's Coronavirus Community Resource page.  You can access this page by clicking here .

(c) JCFS COVID-19 ResourcesJCFS Chicago has compiled a list of resources that you may find helpful during this uncertain time. You can access these resources by clicking here.

(d)  Family Service Center Resources for Parents in the midst of the pandemic :   In March, April and June, Beth Irwin presented to our community.  Beth is a licensed social worker at Family Service Center.  To access the deck of slides from Beth's presentations, a video recording of her June presentation and worksheets that she highly recommends, please click here.

9.  Video and Publication Featuring Am Yisrael; Our Family & Youth Prayer Service Leaders; Our Youth Torah Readers & Project Based Learning at Am Yisrael

(a) USCJ and Ruderman Foundation teamed up with Am Yisrael Congregation and North Suburban Synagogue Beth El to feature the Power of Inclusion at our synagogues.  Please click here to watch this moving video.

(b) USCJ Journey's publication features Am Yisrael congregants  Greta Loewenthal and  Marcus Weller, entitled: "Bimah Buddies: Nurturing Inclusion, Spirituality and Confidence", please click  here

(c) Special thanks to our Friday evening service prayer leaders so far this summer: Deborah Bodansky, Matthew Doherty, Rachel Doherty, Kira Friedel, Jack Himmelfarb, Elana Kamm, Shayna Kamm, Jamie Loewenthal, Arianna Schiff, The Silver-Schack Family, Roan Weiss & Jake Wilson. 

(d) Special thanks to our Summer 2020 SFP Torah Readers, 1:1 Hebrew Tutors, Tefillah Leaders and our Screen Sharers: Elizabeth Adelman, Jane Adelman, Ari Falk, Joaquin FB Fox, Ben Legator, Sarah Mae Levy, Esther Loewenthal, Greta Loewenthal, Tikva Moustakis, E. Marc Nevins, Diane Rosenfeld, Arianna Schiff, Evan Silver-Schack, Sydney Silver-Schack, Sarah Solotoroff, Ariel Strubel Iram, Mia Strubel Iram, Leah Weller & Marcus Weller.

(d)  Shabbat Foods and Traditions Project: We hope you will enjoy this multimedia presentation created by six of our outstanding Madrichim:  Rachel Kreiner, Lyla Kelber, Esther Loewenthal, Lauren Ostroff, Gillian Tam & Etai Weisberg.  Thank you to the facilitators of our Madrichim and Project Based Learning program, Morah Aviva Tilles and Mr. Allan Arnet, for their guidance with this and all the other PBL projects from this past school year.  Please click  here to access the multimedia presentation.

To join a program:
PLEASE be sure to use your full name as your screen name when you sign in.  As a security measure, we are monitoring who joins our programs.  On the Zoom programs page:

(a) Click on the program title or date
(b) Enter the password when requested
(c) If that does not work for you enter in your address bar.  Then enter the Meeting ID when it asks for it. The meeting ID is listed under or next to the program.  Then enter the password.
If this is your first time accessing the secure "Zoom Programs" page on our Am Yisrael website, please follow these 7 (one-time) steps :

1. To login to our website, go to
2. Enter your email address
3. Do not register a new account
4. Click on "forgot password"
5. This will take you through the usual procedure to reset your password
6. No you should be able to see "Zoom Programs"
7. Third item on the top navigation bar.  Click on that to get the links and passwords.

Please email Rabbi Newman Kamin, Cantor Simon, Nancy Holab Nevins or Charlie Sherman via email or phone for any support that you may need:

In addition, phone calls to the synagogue office are being forwarded to Nancy's cell phone.  You can reach her by calling the synagogue office 847-446-7215, her pager 847-210-1234 or her cell phone directly 847-322-8202.  

We appreciate all the people who continue to "step up" to make a difference for our community in countless ways.  We are so much stronger together.  We send you and yours blessings of safety and good health.  We look forward to seeing you at our many Am Yisrael programs.    

Shabbat Shalom/ שבת שלום,

Charlie Sherman, MAEd, CJE
Head of School
Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation
4 Happ Road
Northfield, IL 60093
Phone: 847/446.7215 ext. 12
Cell phone: 847/708.1805
Fax: 847/446.7202