The JRCC at 18 Rockford was honored to once again host acclaimed scholar Rabbi Micheal Gitik for a mini-Seminar in Russian based on Kabbalistic teachings. About twenty people enjoyed insightful lectures on “The Kabbalah of Love” and “The Human vs. Animal Self,” followed by a lively question and answer session.


The JRCC launched a new, seven-part course for women that explores and provides the students with an in-depth understanding of the key Jewish values that were so influential in molding our civilization. This course focuses on areas outside the domain of the synagogue and Jewish ritual and explore what it means to live as a Jew, and how a Jewish woman is expected to interact with the world around her. It shines a spotlight on the Torah view of our social and ethical responsibilities. Though each monthly segment is part of a series, each one is also a stand-alone lecture, enabling participants to join as many lectures as they can without losing continuity. The lectures are taking place monthly starting at the JRCC West Thornhill, East Thornhill and South Thornhill. For a detailed syllabus and to register visit


Farbrengens, or “informal gatherings,” are a regular and central part of community life, where friends and neighbors get together, usually to mark important collective and personal dates and milestones. Farbrengens generally feature one or more persons leading the gathering with stories and Torah thoughts, as participants share words of wisdom, encouragement and song, while enjoying l’chaims and refreshments. There were several farbrengens at the JRCC in the last few weeks to commemorate special days during the month of Kislev. The highlights included at the JRCC West Thornhill in honor of 1 Kislev, when the Rebbe returned home after recovering from a major heart attack, Shabbat gatherings at all JRCC Branches to mark 9-10 Kislev, the birthday and yarhzeit (on the 9th) and the festival of liberation of the Mitteler Rebbe, and a gathering at the JRCC South Thornhill for 14 Kislev, the Rebbe’s anniversary date, which carries special significance as the date that “connected” the Rebbe to his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe, and hence to the Chassidim. A large farbrengen gathering was also held in honor of 19 Kislev, celebrated by Jews around the world as the Festival of Liberation and the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus. It marks the day the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad, was freed from Czarist imprisonment, where he was interrogated and tortured after being falsely accused of treason. The day is celebrated as a milestone for the Chassidic movement, one that contributed dramatically to the flourishing of its communities and teachings since. Learn more at