Sign In Forgot Password

Who We Are

Congregation Etz Chaim of Dupage County (CEC)

Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County, a Reform synagogue in Lombard, serves almost 500 families in the western suburbs of Chicago. We have a tradition of having an inclusive community which welcomes everyoneJews by birth, Jews by choice, non-Jewish (or Jewish-adjacent) family members, singles, LGBTQIA+, and people of all ages and abilities. We are a caring community that draws strength on our commitment to honor and respect the diversity of our membership. Welcome. We’re glad you’re here.

Mission

We welcome, nurture, and inspire the Jewish community (and their guests) in the western Chicago suburbs. We value compassion, learning, volunteerism, and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). We also place an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

History

Back in 1960, we were known as “Tree Towns Congregation,” and located in Elmhurst. Eight local families took the initiative to start the Congregation and over the years, those eight families grew to more than 500! In 1970, the Congregation was renamed Etz Chaim (Tree of Life), and we hired our first full-time rabbi in 1972. The next year we moved to our current location in Lombard.  

In 1981, we hired our fourth full-time rabbi, Rabbi Steven Bob, who stayed with us for 35 years before retiring and becoming Rabbi Emeritus. In the ensuing years, we hired our Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky (2005), and, more recently, our Associate Rabbi, Rabbi Jessica Wainer (2021).  

As our spiritual community grew, so did our religious school. We added classrooms, a social hall, and kitchen facilities. We also hired Anne Stein to become our religious school principal, and, after she retired in 2015, we welcomed Marla Friedman to the staff. She served in that position until 2022, after which we hired Marla Aviva Bentley (2022) as the Director of Lifelong Learning.

Please enjoy "CEC a Living History" to hear from one of our founding families. 

We’re constantly growing and changing, but at our core, the community will always come first. 

Space

The Congregation Etz Chaim space has a history of being used for spiritual worship—before we purchased the site, it was a Methodist church. The building was designed for functionality—being able to use rooms in a variety of ways was important for the previous owners and that worked in our favor. 

Once the building was remodeled, Rabbi Bob requested the sanctuary chairs be set up in a circular manner so that services felt more inclusive. Also at that time, spiritual leaders started sitting with the congregation, as opposed to on the bima, to further emphasize equality and inclusion

Gateways

Inclusion

Inclusion is one of the core values of Congregation Etz Chaim. We are always striving to be responsive to the needs of our congregants and our guests while they worship, socialize, and learn with us. We celebrate the uniqueness of each individual and welcome diversity within our community.  

Accommodations such as streaming, large print Siddurim (prayer books), visual aids, and sensory spaces are readily available. Closed captioning and sign language interpreting can be provided upon request. These and other requested accommodations are available to ensure that all are able to participate meaningfully in all spiritual, educational, celebratory events. For specific accommodations please contact rachel@mycec.org. Please let us know what we can put in place to make sure you can fully participate in and enjoy any of our events.

Union for Reform Judiasm (URJ)

Congregation Etz Chaim is a Reform synagogue. According to the URJ, "Reform Judaism maintains faith in the Covenant between God and Israel as expressed over the generations in the teachings of an ever-evolving Torah and tradition. Stirred by the mandate of tikkun olam, Reform Judaism seeks to be the living expression of those teachings. It welcomes all who seek Jewish connection to pursue a life of meaning as inspired by the Divine and proclaimed in the truths grasped by Jewish teachers throughout time."

Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyar 5784