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"Israel Independence Day"

05/23/2024 04:35:28 PM


Rabbi Weill

May 9th, 2024

Dear Friends,

To celebrate Israel's independence and to honor those who perished in its defense, we will be very fortunate this Monday evening to be joined by Hilik Wald. Hilik was the wonderful guide of EHNT's 2016 and 2023 trips to Israel. Besides being knowledgeable, he brings the gift of insight, honesty, and charm. 

Please join us for a special maariv minyan at 7...Read more...

"Yom Ha’Shoah" 

05/13/2024 01:58:52 AM


Rabbi Weill

May 6th, 2024

Dear Friends,

Today is Yom Ha’Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Some have compared today’s anti-Semitism on American and European campuses to the devastating tragedy against our people 80 years ago in Europe. 

I understand the temptation to make such comparisons. Yes, we are living during fretful times. I am relieved...Read more...

"Od Tirei" 

05/08/2024 11:26:14 PM


Rabbi Weill

April 18th, 2024

Dear Friends,

Od tirei, od tirei kama tov yihiyeh ba'shanah ha'ba'ah

You will see, you will yet see how good it will be!

So goes the catchy Pesach song, capturing the ultimate hope of our holiday of liberation. May we sing it with a fervent hope that we will indeed see that next year will be good, very good, for us,...Read more...

"Bernie Black"

04/19/2024 10:25:57 AM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Bernie Black, EHNT congregant and Northwestern University professor, offered a compelling presentation at our Shabbat services a few weeks ago about what he had learned from his recent long stay in Israel. Bernie teaches law each year at Tel Aviv University and the University of Haifa.

He offered an expanded version of that presentation at Northwestern last week at an event sponsored by the Jewish Law Students...Read more...

"Brothers for Life"

04/11/2024 08:32:26 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that Yona Brief, the grandson of Rabbi Neil Brief z"l, was severely wounded while defending a kibbutz on October 7. Yona has been in the ICU since that horrific day.

Yona fought heroically against those who believe Israel has no right to exist and who sought, in an act of complete evil, to murder as many Jews as they could. We owe Yona and so many others our...Read more...

"True Wisdom Comes From Humility and Openness" 

03/23/2024 12:10:26 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Generations of bar mitzvah boys have proclaimed "Today I am a man." It is hard to imagine any 13-year-old boy as a real man. But in this week's Torah portion, God identifies Bezalel as the Israelite who will oversee the building of the tabernacle and, according to Talmud, he was only 13 years old!

When I was 13, I couldn't finish building a sturdy Lincoln Log cabin -- and Bezalel was the general contractor...Read more...

"We Stand With Israel" 

03/03/2024 09:16:57 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Several congregants have recently been to or will soon be in Israel. Some have volunteered, some have taught, and others have just wanted to be there. In all cases, they are showing solidarity with the Jewish state during this perilous, tragic time. 

At Shabbat services this Saturday morning, Beth Farber and Robin Richman will discuss their recent volunteer experiences in...Read more...

"Remembering Rabbi Brief" 

02/16/2024 03:42:57 PM


Rabbi Weill

February 1st, 2024

Dear Friends,

Rabbi Neil Brief passed away last Shabbat morning. This has been a sad week for Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation.

Rabbi Brief began serving this congregation on July 1, 1971. Since then, 2744 weeks have passed. Those numbers (2 + 7 + 4 + 4) equals 17, the date in the month of Shevat on which Rabbi Brief passed away.


"Let's Welcome Our New Board!"

02/01/2024 04:46:56 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

The Hebrew Bible can be read as a study of leadership models – what works well and what does not, what is holy and what is not.

After making our way through the stories of our patriarchs and matriarchs in Genesis, we read about the development of Moses in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy. Other leaders follow. We learn about Joshua and about judges, like Samson, Deborah...Read more...

"Bring Them Home!"

01/19/2024 02:13:28 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Murdered Israelis; wounded Israelis; the rape of Israeli women and girls; fallen Israeli soldiers; the deaths of innocent Gazans; the rise of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank, the violence and harassment by Jewish “hilltop youth” toward Palestinians; the rise of antisemitism globally, including on campuses some of our children attend.

And, of course, the...


01/04/2024 04:56:13 PM


Rabbi Weill

December 21, 2023

Dear Friends,

Each Wednesday evening, at the conclusion of our 18-minute weekday minyan, I present FOLK-ROCK-TORAH. I recite original light verse that describes an aspect of the week’s Torah portion and also hints at a folk or rock song. Those online try to guess the song as I recite the poem.

This week’s Torah portion...

"The Rape of Dinah" 

12/22/2023 01:08:07 AM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

The rape of Dinah, Leah and Jacob’s daughter, occurs in this week’s Torah portion, Ya’Yishlach.
The story itself is painful. But adding to that pain is the treatment Dinah receives by our ancient sages and medieval commentators. Noting that Dinah left her own community to spend time with local young women, the sages choose to understand this to mean that Dinah also sought the company of local young men. They...Read more...


12/01/2023 05:25:52 AM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4). The Israelite’s asked this question during their Babylonian captivity. How could they celebrate during a time of sadness, duress, and alienation from their homeland?

We might now ask related questions: How can we celebrate Thanksgiving when 240 of our fellow Jews – children, toddlers, babies! – are held hostage by terrorists capable...Read more...


11/22/2023 01:52:12 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

It may have been the largest gathering of Jews in American history, or perhaps in modern times, or perhaps ever. Either way, the rally in Washington, D.C., in support of Israel this Tuesday was huge in size and mammoth in impact for the 290,000 who attended, as well as for those who turned in via live stream.   

I was there along with EHNT president, Judge Shelley Sutker Dermer, and a few other members...Read more...

"The True Believer"

11/16/2023 02:36:18 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

I have been in regular contact with friends in Israel. One told me his young adult daughter has gone from funeral to funeral for the last three weeks. The family of another, on a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee, may have had to evacuate with their very infirmed father. The terrorist mass murder perpetrated against the Jewish state was – and is – a mark of sheer barbarity.

In 1951, Eric Hoffer, a longshoreman and...

Very Special MAGEN DAVID ADOM Speaker At EHNT This Shabbat

10/26/2023 10:59:19 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat morning, we will host at services Yoni Yagodovsky, director of international relations of Magen David Adom.

Mr. Yagodovsky has been involved in the response to almost every mass-casualty incident around Jerusalem for the last quarter century. His association with MDA began as a youth volunteer in 1975. He has been chief of international relations for twenty years.

Mr. Yagodovsky...

"Ta'anit Tzibbur"

10/19/2023 01:37:33 PM


Rabbi Weill

Today, Cantor Gale and I are joining in a global "ta'anit tzibbur," a communal fast from sunrise to sundown. The fast draws attention to the perilous plight of the more than one hundred Israelis held hostage in Gaza. Some of those captives are very close to members of our community. 

In an email announcing the fast, The Hadar Institute of New York writes, Jews "have a...Read more...

"In Solidarity With Israel"

10/12/2023 10:03:44 AM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

In sadness and dismay, Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation stands in solidarity with our Israeli sisters and brothers. The large-scale invasion into Israel’s sovereign territory, and the specific targeting of civilians, is nothing less than terrorist mass murder. Nothing could ever justify such malevolence and brutality. 

We mourn for those who have been killed and we pray for the safe...Read more...

"We Stand With Israel"

10/10/2023 04:31:18 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

I am writing this on Shabbat and on a festival day. We do not usually do this, but Israel is under attack. 

The situation is very serious. I wish there were something more we could do. Yes, we will send messages to family and friends who are there. Yes, we will pray. Yes, we will provide any support that may be helpful.

And yes, we will celebrate Simchat Torah tonight and tomorrow. In the face of...Read more...

"Simchat Torah"

10/08/2023 11:28:48 AM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

The finale of the Tishrei Marathon is Simchat Torah, and it will brim with joy. We will unroll a Torah scroll, locating highlights from "in the beginning" to the death of Moses. We will dance around the sanctuary with Torah scrolls, demonstrating that it is indeed a "tree of life to those who hold fast to it." We will enjoy the music of the sensational Cantor Gale, the rocking Koleinu Band, and Kehillat Shalom's famous...Read more...


10/05/2023 09:13:42 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

On Sukkot we read in Torah:

   וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם שִׁבְעַת   יָמִֽים.... בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּֽשְׁבוּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כָּל־הָֽאֶזְרָח   בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל  

“And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God…You shall dwell in sukkot seven days, every...Read more...

"We Need Each Other"

09/28/2023 06:15:50 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

We need each other.

We need each other now as tumult within Israel continues and as manifestations of antisemitism

We need each other as hate crimes against fellow Americans – often gun violence – persists.

We need each other as environmental degradation persists.

We need each other as vitriolic political rhetoric persists.

These situations demand a broad...

"Tisha b'Av"

08/23/2023 09:54:46 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Today is a dark day - the darkest - on the Jewish calendar: Tisha b’Av, the Ninth of Av. On this day, according to tradition, calamities befell the Jewish people, including, most prominently, the destruction of the first and second Temples. And so today we fast. Besides Yom Kippur, it is the only full-day fast of the...Read more...

Folk-Rock-Torah: I Walk The Line

02/20/2023 02:03:27 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Frequently, following Wednesday evening minyans, I offer “Folk-Rock-Torah.” It consists of my reading a bit of original “light verse” that alludes both to that week’s Torah portion and to a song. As I’m reciting the verse, people try to guess the song. Then, using Youtube or Spotify, I play the song. We on the minyan – via Zoom – sing and sway along. You should check it...Read more...

Israel: Improve It, Don't Forsake It

01/12/2023 07:16:58 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Land – one particular land – is fundamental to our Jewish story, our history, and our relationship with God. God’s very first communication to the very first Jew, Abraham, discusses the Promised Land.

It is fascinating that we are a people deeply connected to that small strip of land, and yet we have spent so much of our long history beyond its borders.  

Our return to that land and the...

Folk-Rock-Torah -- Va'yishlach

12/10/2022 04:28:09 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

In this week’s Torah portion, Va’Yishlach, Jacob and Esau reunite after two decades apart. Jacob is terrified because, when last they were together, Esau wanted to kill Jacob for his theft of their father’s blessing. Jacob is relieved that Esau no longer harbors vengeful designs. Still, when Esau suggests that they travel together, Jacob demurs. He understood it was wiser to remain separate.

Each Wednesday...

Thanksgiving: We Celebrate During Fretful Times

11/17/2022 04:05:44 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4).  The Israelite’s asked this question during their Babylonian captivity. How could they celebrate during a time of sadness, duress, and alienation from their homeland?

We might ask a related question: “How shall we celebrate Thanksgiving in our own troubled land?”

How will we sit joyfully, enjoying the blessing of...

Reflection On Kristallnacht

11/11/2022 05:37:39 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Today is the eighty-fourth anniversary of Kristallnacht, the two-day Nazi-sponsored pogrom against the Jews.

Last night we commemorated this dark day with an examination of what the Nazis considered “degenerate” art and music. Amy Claver offered a thorough description of how that campaign impacted one particular Jewish composer, Hans Gal. Gal was lucky; he escaped.

But on Kristallnacht, nearly one...

Let's Learn Together

11/07/2022 09:19:13 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

In the Mishnah’s Pirkei Avot, Ben Zoma opines that the truly wise one is “ha’lomeid m’kol adam,” the one who learns from every person. Bartinuro, the medieval commentator on Pirkei Avot, refines Ben Zoma’s statement with, “Af al pi sh’hu katan mimenu. Even though that person is lesser than he.” In other words, the truly wise ones are willing to learn from anyone at all, regardless of social status or...Read more...

Asylum-Seekers In Skokie

10/14/2022 06:10:00 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

As you may know, the Village of Skokie is housing scores of asylum-seekers from Venezuela. They were bused to Chicago from the states of Florida and Texas -- a deeply cynical political ploy. The state of Illinois has sought the assistance of local municipalities in providing assistance to these asylum-seekers. Skokie is one such municipality.

Village officials recently contacted me and the Niles Township Clergy...Read more...

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784