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Aitz Hayim is at its best when we use the insights and perspective of our tradition to help us deal effectively with the challenges and complexities we face in our personal and communal lives.


Is anything okay? That question is more than a punchline to a classic Jewish joke. It is the despair we feel with the news from Washington, Springfield and Jerusalem. It is the angst we feel about the divides in our communities and families, our fears that economics, social relationships and cultural norms are leaving our institutions and methods way behind.

But for us as Jews this is not a new question. In many ways it’s how we look at ourselves and the world. It is a central theme in our tradition from the beginning of Torah and our conflicts in getting to the Land through the challenges of the prophets, the conflicting opinions of the Talmudic rabbis, the nuances in our liturgy, and the bite of Yiddish culture. It motivates our social and economic activism and our cultural contributions to American society.

Though we are always struggling with the question: ‘Is anything okay?,’ this year at our High Holiday services we will ask it directly as our Torah, liturgy, music, stories and humor become our tools.

Rabbi Elan Babchuck will draw on his experience with us and his work through CLAL as Director of Innovation to engage in High Holiday experiences that begin to frame pride in Judaism as an individual, as a family member and as a member of a community.

Again we will gather for High Holiday services at our original home, the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Road, Highland Park beginning on Sunday evening, September 29th.  Because of this intimate but limited space, we ask that you sign up as soon as possible, especially if you plan to bring friends and family.

We are blessed that our tradition brings hope, warmth and community to uplift our journey. Let us share the joy of the journey together.

May 5780 be a year of health, peace and well-being for you, your family, Israel, the United States and all humanity.