Highland Park Community House
1991 Sheridan Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Not since we first met a young Irwin Kula a quarter of a century ago can we look forward to the High Holidays with the excitement we feel about Rabbi Elan Babchuck. He brings charisma, depth, musical appreciation and a commitment to creating an innovating experience that makes our Jewish time together valuable and useful on a personal and communal basis.
Elan brings together generations of Sephardic Israeli rabbinic tradition with an interest in religious entrepreneurship which is manifest by his creating and running joint programs with the Columbia and Harvard business schools to engage clergy and religious leaders of different faiths and denominations to help make the 1.2 trillion dollars Americans spend on religion worthwhile.
He left his first career as the successful assistant pulpit rabbi of a large Conservative Rhode Island congregation to become the Director of Innovation at CLAL.
Now he is joining us to make Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur a laboratory for what a Jewish experience can mean at a time when affiliation and religious commitment seem so removed from the day to day hopes and behaviors of life.
He knows we are a community that thrives on fresh creative expression that engages us intellectually and emotionally. From our experience together at Lag B’omer, he appreciates how involved we become in discussion. He is already working with Howard Levy and David Landau to use music to facilitate different moods from the exhilarated to the meditative.
He will build on the themes we developed this year with our scholars—the Jewish dance between our interest in sustaining our own people and our goal to be a light unto the nations; and the neurocognitive interplay between cortical ideas and our emotional needs for support and connection. And during the holidays, he will set the tone for what we will explore in the year ahead.
We are confident that the holidays we spend together will enhance our perspective to cope with the disturbing year ahead. And we are confident that we will continue to offer challenging ideas and a warm caring community in which we will be there for each other. In times of joy, at times of stress, and in sadness, we will continue to be together.
Far beyond our numbers, we have stimulated so much that has become vital to people in the American Jewish community. People that we don’t even know, know us.