For twenty seven years, Aitz Hayim has been an innovative community making Jewish living inviting and accessible to all who are interested. We believe Jewish thinking is sophisticated, nuanced and useful in navigating our complex lives and unstable world. Scholars like Donniel Hartman, the leading Israeli philosopher, make us a focus group for developing ideas.
We have developed services that are interactive, informal and open to challenging ideas. We aren’t afraid to tackle frightening issues whether they involve Israel and American Jewish relationships or handling fears of “hate speech” in Highland Park.
We are a supportive community that makes life cycle events personal, whether it be featuring the distinct personalities and needs of B’Nai Mitvahs or sharing stories at shivahs.
We draw on the liturgy to open up hidden inner feelings, never as rote exercises with responsive readings. Music stimulates personal expression, not passive withdrawal.
We follow the rhythm of the yearly calendar giving each holiday the opportunity to add a different vantage point to life’s challenges and every year is different as we and the world are never the same.
Being a lay driven non authoritarian community, enables us to own our own Judaism. Studying with scholars and innovative thinkers, activists who are using their Judaism to change the world gives us depth and insight in directing our energy and commitments. And taking responsibility for each other makes us more caring people.