Congregation Beth Shalom offer a variety of adult education activities every year, typically including talks and discussions, movies, and a book discussion group.
Our book group usually meets every other month during the school year, giving us plenty of time to read the selections. We read both fiction and non-fiction, with the year’s choices announced, in advance, each summer. Favorites in recent years have included the memoirs A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin and The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century by David Laskin.
Films are sometimes Israeli in origin and have ranged from a documentary on the origins of, and life in, the Venice ghetto to the Oscar nominee film The Other Son. At least once a year, we have a Film & Food Night, usually linking the menu to the movie, such as the Italian dairy buffet that preceded a documentary on Venice.
Talks and panels usually draw on the expertise of the rabbi, our congregants, and the local community, particularly Northern Illinois University faculty.
In addition to our regular activities, we also organize group outings to cultural events in our area, such as plays and the annual concert of Jewish music by Chicago A Cappella in Naperville. We have taken groups to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Cultural Center in Skokie, and for lectures and performances at Fermilab in Batavia. Together with the local NIU Hillel chapter, we have also co-sponsored talks on a variety of topics as well as entertainment, including hosting comedian David Goldstein.