Bubbe and Zayde, Saba and Safta, Nanny and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa.
These are all of the names we call our grandparents, who for many of us have brightly lit the path for Jewish life in all of our childhoods.
For Carly, her Nanny and Papa (Z”L) have inspired her to work in the helping field, bring loved ones together, volunteer for meaningful organizations, and join shabbat dinners across the city every week for over 7 years. But she did not grow up with Shabbat.
My grandparents are the reason I am the person I am today.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Chicago?
I am from Metro Detroit. I came to the greatest city of Chicago for love! Although my relationship did not last- I found the greatest love of all and fell head over heels with Chicago!
What did you do growing up Jewish?
Born at 6:11am on the first morning of Rosh Hashanah, is really where it all began. That morning- my grandparents and my dad both went to their respected synagogues to announce my birth to the whole congregation. My family has been very involved with our synagogue for over 35 years. I went to Hebrew school every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday when I was little. My family helped sponsor the Monday Night Program and I went to Monday night school all of high school and traveled with our synagogue on learning trips every year. The Jewish Traditions have always been very important to my family.
What is your favorite Jewish tradition?
Shlug kaporis! This is my favorite family tradition. In preparation for Yom Kippur, it is customary to put money into a handkerchief wand and recite the text of Kapport three times and at the end swing the money above your head and say “This money should go to charity and I should be allowed a long, happy, and peaceful life.” I have been doing this my whole life with my family. Each year, we give back all the money to our synagogue.
What do you do Jewish now?
I have been very active in my Judaism the last 8 years in Chicago. I was very involved with Rabbi Garfinkle and Rabbi Kahn and their organization JET. After I was warmly welcomed by Rabbi Moscowitz and Sara at Bucktown Chabad (my first Chabad experience!) I started going to Gold Coast Chabad, which is so much closer to me! Going to the Gold Coast almost every single week has allowed me to connect with so many incredible people and Shabbat experiences.
For me, weekly shabbat dinner began only after my Papa Harold passed away 8 years ago on December 10th. After my papa passed, I started attending Congregation Chicago Sinai every single week to hear the kaddish being said. It was just something I needed to do to feel connected to my papa.After my Nanny Helen Passed away last year I have been doing everything I can do in merit of my nanny Helen that was my wind beneath my wings. I am currently involved with the FIDF, the JUF, Project 613 (formerly JET) and Imerman Angels. I love the Jewish community in Chicago.
What do you do for fun?
I love live music! I love bike riding all over Chicago! I love painting! I love bringing good people together! I love dancing! I love singing! I love hanging out with friends! I love to travel! I love setting people up! I love going to the Zebra Lounge and Bassment!What is your favorite Jewish Chicago event?I absolutely LOVE the Matzo Bash because everyone single person in Chicago is there. I have been involved in promoting it for 7 years.
A little hole in the wall piano bar- The Zebra Lounge! It is my most favorite place in Chicago! I promise you that you will absolutely love it! Joel is my favorite!
Tell us more about First Friday and why this week is so important to you?
My papa’s yahrzeit and my grandparents wedding anniversary is around this time of the year and I want to bring the bright light they shared with me and instilled in me with my community. This Hanukkah I feel so fortunate that I am able to host First Friday in honor and memory of the brightest lights in my life, my grandparents. Find out more here
The following is an excerpt from Carly’s speech last year at First Friday at Bucktown Chabad when she first sponsored shabbat to commemorate her grandparents.
I feel so lucky because I am well aware that most people don’t know the kind of love and relationship that I shared with my grandparents I was born at 6:11 am and she called me every single year as long as I can remember and when I moved to Chicago 9 years ago she called me at 5:11am and 6:11am to make sure she called me at the time I was born – Detroit and Chicago time every single birthday. To all of our loved ones out there that are no longer physically here with us I pray that we all always feel them watching over us and know they are always with us and all we have to do is let them know we are open to them coming to visit us..
Now complete the phrase: When the Tribe gathers… there is lots of schmoozing, laughs, and good times
First Friday at Bucktown Chabad is a great monthly Shabbat dinner and oneg (post dinner celebration and shabbat chill) that brings out a strong community and I love being there. The food is delicious, the community is warm, the conversations are meaningful, and the drinks are flowing. I am really looking forward to the supportive community this weekend and encourage everyone to come out and bring their friends.
Bringing the Light From Generation to Generation
Join other Young Jewish Professionals for First Friday with Shabbat Dinner & Cocktails! Enjoy a four course, warm dinner with home-made Challah and dips, gefilte fish & salads, chicken soup w/ matza balls, delicious main course, drinks & a special CHANUKAH dessert! RSVP
12.7.18 $18 The Living Room Wicker Park
Hannah and Amir for introducing me to Rabbi Moscowitz and Sara and Bucktown Chabad, who introduced me to Gold Coast Chabad (my weekly spot!) I love the Benhiyoun family, they are so important to me in my Chicago life.
Old Town Moishe House for coming out and bringing out their community to support me this Shabbat at Bucktown Chabad. I love the Moishe house community so much and love when we all come together.
Thank you for all my friends and my family for supporting me through everything and for those who are coming out to dinner Friday!
Thank you to Bucktown Chabad and Gold Coast Chabad for being welcoming and loving, and for giving me a platform to honor my Nanny and Papa