CU Jewish Weekly Announcements
Friday, February 19, 2021
Candlelighting 2/19 at 5:16 pm • Shabbat ends 2/20 at 6:16 pm

Purim 2021 begins Thursday night, February 25 and continues through Friday, February 26.
A Closer Look at the Purim Story

by Linda Bauer, Executive Director

This coming week, we celebrate Purim. We have fun dressing up in costume, eating Hamentashen and shaking the gragger during the Megillah reading.

However, when you really delve into the Purim story, you find that it's a story of a planned genocide of the Jews.

Haman is infuriated when he is snubbed by Mordecai, a Jew. Then Haman has to honor Mordecai by providing him with sumptuous garments and leading him through the city square.

Haman gets the favor of King Ahasuerus plus an edict that gives Haman permission to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children in all the Kings provinces—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.

Luckily, with the intervention of Esther, the King is persuaded to send out another decree that grants the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves. The Jews prevailed.

We’d like to not think about hatred and violence. But Antisemitism is on the rise in the United States. We need to know what’s happening in Illinois and in the US. Be informed! Be prepared!
CUJF is sponsoring a series of programs on Antisemitism Awareness and Response, starting with a presentation from the Anti-Defamation League.

Register for this briefing from ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg about the threat of extremism and current state of hate and antisemitism in Illinois and America. 

The State of Hate

Tuesday, February 23, Noon
This virtual event will feature a presentation and then an opportunity for you to ask questions and interact with ADL’s expert staff.
David Goldenberg is the Evelyn R. Greene Midwest Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Based on Chicago, David oversees the ADL’s activities in northern Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Prior to joining ADL, David was a senior leader at Resolute Consulting, a national public affairs and strategic advisory firm. 
Prior to joining Resolute in 2009, David spent nearly a decade in government and politics. He began his career as a legislative aide to a state senator in Michigan and then moved to Washington, DC following the 2000 election. David worked for U.S. Senator Tom Carper (DE) and then U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings (FL). When he left the Hill in 2009 to move to Chicago, David was Representative Hastings’ chief of staff and senior policy adviser, as well as an associate staff member of the House Committee on Rules and staff director of both the House Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process and the Democratic Israel Working Group.

CUJF and the Anti-Defamation League present

Words to Action

March 17 @ 12:00 pm

Now that we've learned about the state of Antisemitism in Illinois and the US, we ask: What can we do?

This presentation by Jessica Gall, Senior Associate Regional Director, ADL Midwest will cover topics on how we can respond. Click here for more details.
CUJF is inviting you to a Purim Celebration! 

Purim Teen Spiel

February 27 @ 7:00 pm via Zoom.

Come watch the premiere of a Purim Teen Spiel sponsored by CUJF. The Spiel was written, directed, performed and edited entirely by teens in our community. We are very proud and excited to share with you this fun and engaging performance.

Enjoy a Brazilian music concert performed live from Brazil, and end our celebration joining us for a tutorial and group performance of a fun line dance that has gone viral on YouTube.

More details and the registration link will be sent on Sunday!

Sinai Temple
February 25 @ 6:30 pm

Please join a brief festival evening service, followed by a reading of the Megillah! Paul Weichsel and others will read the traditional text, while Rabbi Alan offers light-hearted teaching and commentary. Have your gragers and noisemakers ready! If you are interested in reading or chanting a section of the Megillah (a verse, paragraph, or chapter) in any language you choose, please contact Faye Lesht.

"Little Town of Shushan"

February 25 @ 7:30 pm

We will premiere our fabulous Purim shpiel, "Little Town of Shushan," based on the musical "Little Shop of Horrors." The shpiel is appropriate for the entire family. You are encouraged to come in costume, and be prepared to sing, dance, and celebrate!

One of the mitzvot of Purim is matanot la'evyonim - giving to those who are in need. This year, we hope that you will help us FILL our hamentaschen with bags of dried beans, children's pajamas and/or new packages of adult socks. All items will be donates within our CU community. Drive by Sinai Temple on Sunday, February 21 or Sunday, February 28 between 1:00-3:00 PM to drop off your donations. We will take donations from your car - no need to come into the building. We will take pictures of our hamentaschen once filled with donations that we receive. Which flavor will be the most popular? Beans? Pajamas? Socks? 

Sinai Temple is also partnering with Hillel to fulfill the mitzvah of matanot l'evyonim by donating meals on Friday, February 26 to the CU @ Home Shelters. Donations to support the cost of these meals can be made online by clicking here, or can be paid by Venmo to "Illini-Hillel". In either case, please be sure to put "matanot l'evyonim" in the comment section so that your donation can be properly directed. Drivers are also needed on the afternoon of the 26th to help deliver the meals; please contact Abby Chargo, Program Director and Springboard Fellow at Hillel if you can help. COVID-safe procedures will be followed for deliveries.

Illini Chabad

Purim on the Go

With all the changes this year, we still got to celebrate Purim! We will bring Purim to you! We will come with treats, celebration and fun. We can read the Megillah for you at or in your home or office.

Sign up below and we will contact you to set a time! 

Purim & Shabbat Happy Hour
Friday, February 26 @ 4:30 pm 

Come join and celebrate, with a fun happy hour of many foods, drinks and celebration. Megillah reading, mishloach manot, food and friends. Plus a Shabbat celebration.

RSVP by texting PURIM HAPPYHOUR to 217-292-7787 or register by clicking on the link below. Must RSVP and be COVID negative to join.

Megillah Readings
Thursday, February 25 @ 7:00 pm
Friday, February 26 @ 9:00 am

Social distanced. We will also have special Purim treats all day, swing by at anytime! Chabad will also be having mini celebrations, in the dorms, Greek houses and around campus.

Illini Hillel
Register now to make your own Mishlaoch Manot! Choose which items you would like, and Hillel will take care of the rest! Registration closes February 21 at noon.

February 25 @ 8:00 pm CST

This year, join people all over the nation for a student-run Purim celebration unlike any other. Prepare to hear the story of Purim being told by the performers of drag like you have never heard it before! This event is free to attend.
Congregation Anshai Emeth Presents Internationally Acclaimed Author:
Etgar Keret

February 21 @ 10:00 am via Zoom

Keret is known for his absurd, sad, funny, very short stories, as well as graphic novels and screenwriting. His writings have been published in over 45 languages and he is a regular contributor to This American Life on NPR.

Keret will read from his works, converse with the moderator and answer audience questions.

Learn more about Etgar Keret here and here and read a selection of Keret stories: What Do We Have In Our PocketsThe Story About A Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God.


Join us for a discussion of Night, Elie Wiesel's recount of the Holocaust.  

Did you read it long ago? Join us in addressing this important topic!

Did your school not include it? Join us in reading this important classic!

Did you hear about it but never read it?  This is your chance!

Date and time to be determined by participants and will be in late March.

Contact Yael Gertner with any questions.

There will be separate zoom meetings for teens (8th grade and up) and for adults.

The next book will be agreed upon at the meeting.
Modesty Across Religions

February 24 @ 7:00 pm via Zoom

We will be touching on practices such as head-covering and on modesty in general as it applies to various theologies. There will be presentations followed by an open-discussion/Q&A! We are so excited to have you - see you there! 

Monday @ 10:00 am
Thursday @ 12:00 pm

The week of February 22, our topic will be "Purim Torah." We'll explore how the rabbis of the Talmud and other Jewish scholars over time allowed silliness to creep into their serious discussions.
We maintain an archive of all Adult Education sessions for those who are unable to attend them live. They can be found by clicking here:
Illini Chabad Course: Journey of the Soul

February 24 @ 6:30 pm

Lesson 4: Where We Go
For centuries, human beings have been motivated by the promise of heaven and frightened by the threat of hell. Discover what Jews believe about where every soul goes and how Kaddish aids a soul in reaching true peace.
Registration is mandatory for all Shabbat activities (services and meals) by latest on Wednesday at noon. Whether you are joining for services, dinner, both, or taking a meal to go, you must register. 

If you register and end up not being able to make it to services or meals, please contact a Hillel staff member and let us know ASAP. Thank you in advance! 

All details regarding your registration selections will be emailed to you on Thursday afternoons! We look forward to sharing Shabbat with you. 

March 14

Dani will share with us his passion and involvement with Hand In Hand K 12 an Israeli organization that is building inclusion and equality between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel through a growing network of bilingual, integrated schools and communities. Hand in Hand schools are public schools, recognized and overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Education, and open to all parts of the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel.

Look for more information about time and registration soon.
Free Chair Yoga Class

Chair Yoga with Robin

Tuesdays and Saturdays @ 9:3- 10:20 am

Live sessions on Zoom to provide a gentle stretch and help you feel more energetic. Contact Robin Goettel for more information.

RESTORE: Chair Yoga and Mindfulness with Robin
Robin Goettel's free chair yoga and mindfulness session is now available for viewing from the Urbana Free Library website.It can be viewed on demand-scroll to the videos titled Restore: Chair yoga and mindfulness with Robin Goettel
Robin is a certified Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga instructor and has practiced and studied a variety of styles of yoga for 40 years. She also participated in the UI Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy course. She has a passion for promoting health and wellness and teaches chair yoga throughout the CU area.
Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation seeks to represent a variety of views and opinions on subjects of interest to the extremely diverse and well-educated community of which it is a part. The events announced and the views presented do not necessarily represent the opinion of CUJF, its officers, board, or members of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish community.

Your support helps us continue our mission to serve the Jewish Community! Please send donations and land mail to CUJF's mailing address: Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation, 503 E. John St., Champaign, IL 61820.

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. . . and remember - together we do extraordinary things!