Updated February 2013
Welcome Rabbi Chava Bahle of Makom Shalom

Abbe and I had the privilege of meeting Rabbi Chava Bahle, the new rabbi at Makom Shalom synagogue, at a reception hosted by members of Makom recently. Makom Shalom is a Jewish reform congregation located at 637 S. Dearborn in the old Printers Row area of Chicago.

As some of you know, Makom Shalom congregation was started by our former Rabbi, Allen Secher, along with members of our interfaith group approximately 15 years ago. At our last group meeting about the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, we discussed Catholic Churches and Jewish congregations that are welcoming to Jewish Catholic couples. Unfortunately, we cannot always just go down the street to the local temple or church and expect to be welcomed. 

St. Raymond’s Church in Mt. Prospect and Old St. Pat’s Church do special outreach to welcome Jewish Catholic couples. Jewish synagogues are more problematic with respect to interfaith couples due to the stance that the Jewish Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements have taken against interfaith marriage .After the retirement of Rabbi Secher, the rabbinical approach at Makom Shalom towards Jewish Catholic Couples changed. That rabbi has left Makom Shalom and Rabbi Chava will now do monthly services at Makom Shalom.

Rabbi Chava’s home congregation is in Travers City, Michigan. She founded this independent congregation nine years ago. Rabbi Chava is married to a Lutheran. Rabbi Chava refers to us as intercultural couples. In a High Holiday letter to Makom Shalom she quoted Isaiah when she stated that “My house of prayer shall be a house of prayer for all people”. Rabbi Chava co-officiates interfaith marriages. In her High Holiday letter she said that “intercultural marriage is a reality, a consequence of the social freedom Jews longed for, for centuries”. She went on by saying that her message to interfaith couples and families was she wants us and she wants to help us find a place at the Jewish table.

I was always very impressed with the courage of Rabbi Secher and am still impressed with the courage of Rabbi Misha. Rabbi Chava has exhibited the same courage. Association with our group is not the way to climb up the rabbinical ladder, considering the official stance of the Jewish movements. 

The Makom Shalom congregation is also conducting a special outreach to interfaith couples and families, welcoming us back to Makom Shalom. Rabbi Chava will be conducting Shabbat services on Friday, October 20, 2006 and will be back on Friday, November 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm. Rabbi Chava along with Terry Nelson Johnson of Old St. Pat’s will be doing a day long retreat on Saturday, November 11, 2006 for the Family School.

We welcome Rabbi Chava to Chicago and to our interfaith community.

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Family School Information
The Family School is a community of Jewish and Catholic couples providing a religious school to convey to our children the stories, traditions, rituals and values of both Judaism and Catholic Christianity. Together, we explore with our children the common moral code and shared heritage of our two faiths. The Family School was featured in a recent Chicago Tribune article that can be found here: Chicago Tribune

Kindergartners must be five years old before December 31 of the current school year to be admitted. We teach classes beginning at the Kindergarten level through 8th grade. There are openings for children in all grade levels. Please contact Angela Fishman, email apollo6464@wowway.com to learn more about the Family School.