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		                                    ABOUT US		                                </span>
		                                		                                
		                                		                            	                            	
		                            <span class="slider_description">Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County is a Reform synagogue nestled on the western outskirts of Chicago. We’re here to support people on their Jewish journey, no matter their age, ability, background, or sexual orientation. That means Jewish adjacent family members too! Welcome. We’re glad you’re here.</span>

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.

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 Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky (2005) and more recently, Associate Rabbi Jessica Wainer (2021).   

Not only did our spiritual community grow, but 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 a video called "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.  

 

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, the spiritual leaders started sitting with the rest of the congregation as opposed to on the bima like before to further emphasize equality and inclusion. Read more (link) about our inclusion efforts both in terms of our physical space and what we offer. 

 

 

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783