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Steven Bob, Senior Rabbi
Andrea Cosnowsky, Associate Rabbi
Anne Stein, Director of Education
Jacob Margulies, President
Janet Widmaier, Past President
Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County serves more than 550 families in the western suburbs of Chicago. The synagogue is conveniently located near I-88 and I-355 between Roosevelt and Butterfield Roads, at 1710 South Highland Avenue in Lombard, Illinois.
Our congregation is affiliated with both the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Community Foundation for Jewish Education (CFJE), giving us access to a broad range of services and interactions with the larger Jewish community. We also encourage membership in the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA).
The congregation was founded in 1960 as Tree Towns Congregation in Elmhurst by eight local families.
In 1970 the congregation was renamed Etz Chaim and in 1972 hired its first full-time rabbi. In 1973 the congregation moved to its present location in Lombard. Rabbi Steven Bob came to Etz Chaim in 1981 as the congregation’s fourth full-time rabbi, and Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky came to our congregational family in July 2005 as assistant rabbi. Anne Stein joined the staff of Etz Chaim as our educator in 1991.
The congregation prides itself on being a growing, thriving center of Reform Judaism where both young and old are welcomed and cherished. Etz Chaim depends on the members to shape its character through involvement in programming and committees.
View our Living History Video
What is Mussar? To start, it is a 19th century Jewish spiritual practice that originated in Lithuania. The word
Mussar, which is found many times in the Bible, literally means “correction” or “instruction;” and, depending on
context, it can have a stronger meaning such as “reproach.” In modern Hebrew the word Mussar means
Rabbi Salanter (19th C) is the recognized ‘father’ of the Mussar Movement. He saw that there could be a
chasm between our intellectual knowledge and our actual behavior. He understood that it is inadequate to just
control ourselves, our impulses, and our inclinations. It is necessary to change ourselves internally so that
we are transformed so that our actions are natural and from an inner self being true to itself. For example,
acting honestly because we fear divine or earthly punishment is not the goal. That is just controlling our
dishonest nature. The goal is to be honest because our inner self is honest and can act in no other way. Only
then could each of us realize our full spiritual potential as human beings and Jews.
Please join us for this Shabbaton. We will study a wonderful subject that is sure to enlighten, entertain, and
enrich your spiritual life. Even if you are not Jewish, you are most welcome to study this timeless subject –
the study of Mussar.
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