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                                   Yom Kippur Yizkor Appeal 

Shalom, my friends, and shana tova.

I am Lee Zoldan, the proud president of Chicago Loop Synagogue, and on behalf of the board of directors and staff, I am thrilled to welcome you to our Yom Kippur service this morning.  I’d like to start by telling you what has been happening since I stood on this bima two years ago.

Thanks to your help, after the High Holidays in 2019 we were really picking up steam.  Our mission is to provide prayer, programming, partnership and private events for those who live, work and visit downtown.  On the prayer side, we had three Orthodox minyanim every weekday, an egalitarian minyan one Friday night a month, and Shabbat morning services every week.  Our lunchtime programs were almost fully booked – we were running 3-4 events a week, increasingly partnering with other Jewish institutions to have their events in our space, and our private events such as weddings and bnei mitzvot were slowly but steadily on the rise. 

All that of course came to a screeching halt on March 15, 2020, when the board and I made the difficult decision to close our doors.  But when our doors closed, our hearts opened wide.  We immediately moved our Friday night egalitarian minyan online, increasing it from once a month to every week. 

We reopened for in-person Shabbat morning services after July 4, 2020, well before there was even hope for a vaccine, with all kinds of social distancing and masking requirements.  We bought gallons of hand sanitizer, which we have all over the building, and please…help yourself.  And we did what we always do, which is provide a place for Jews to gather and pray.  Today I am proud to say that our one weekly service has expanded to six, and you can daven shachrit in person, in this room, every day except Sunday – so join us! 

When we were unable to offer programs in person, we pivoted and moved them online.  Today we stream two Yiddish classes every week, a monthly book discussion group, a monthly current events discussion group and a Sunday morning Torah class that are all taught by members of our congregation.  We also scour the internet for interesting programs from other institutions and include them in our eblast, so if you’re not getting that, I encourage you to sign up soon. 

Finally, although people were and are still reluctant to gather in person, we opened this sanctuary for special events, often providing everything from the camera crew for livestreaming to the catering for a meal in our social hall downstairs. 

And now we get to the crowning event of the past two years, having all of us in the same room together once again. 

All that happened because of your support, but you are not alone.  We received the maximum possible six-figure grant from FEMA to upgrade our security, and today you are sitting in a building that is safer than ever.  We received another grant from Federation to upgrade our computer equipment, and we received a grant from Boardified for strategic consulting.  We have been busy!

A lot of our services are lay led, and people have come forward with architectural ideas, programming initiatives, and even food for people to grab and go after shabbat services.  Many people want to help us, so this is the first thing I am asking of you.  Anyone who has skills they want to share, a passion to make things better than they are, an ability to lead our services or even an idea they would like to develop, I want to hear from you.  This is our community, and only through community input can we continue to improve.

What kind of help do we need?  There are four initiatives I want to focus on this year. 

  1. We would like to return to the levels of activity that we had pre-covid, and we hope to accelerate our momentum, offering more and more ways for more and more Jews to be more and more Jewish when they are downtown.  That is our core mission.
  2. We want to find ways to repurpose our building to provide an additional income stream.  We have a lot of underutilized square footage here, and we are looking for a worthy partner to share this magnificent space.
  3. We want to be of greater service to an under-appreciated demographic, the empty nesters who live downtown.  Many organizations target the elusive millennials, but I think older adults have the same – or even greater – needs for community and involvement with their faith. 
  4. And finally, I want to reach out to the next generation with values-based programming that puts our faith in the center of everything we do.  If you read the Pew report, you know that Jewish engagement is declining, but since we are in one of the largest Jewish population centers in the country, we want to be an example of how to reverse that trend.

You are part of it with your involvement, your commitment, and yes, your tzedakah.  I know this is the time of year when you have probably heard from every Jewish organization on the planet, and their message is always the same.  Their causes are always worthy and their needs are always great, and you know what….they are always telling the truth.  The reason I ask you to make us a priority and to give generously to Chicago Loop Synagogue is because you are here. 

You are part of our community and a prime beneficiary of the services we provide.  Some of you have been coming here for generations and may be sitting in the exact same seats as your parents or grandparents.  Some of you had relatives or friends who were married or had other simchas here, and Chicago Loop Synagogue is part of their legacy too. 

You are also part of a mission that is greater than yourself, a mission to make a difference for Chicago Jews, and that is why I am asking you to invest in us today.  Yes, your pledge will help improve our building.  It will provide employment for Mary Lynn and Cary.  It will enable people to worship in our space or enjoy our magnificent windows as they celebrate their simchas. 

But most of all, your pledge will help us reach out to the generation after us, to enable us to do more outreach, to make Judaism interesting and appealing to a generation that has a very short attention span, and to engage them in a way we have honestly never done before.  We cannot just be here for our building, not just for our employees and not just for ourselves -- we need to build a bridge to the next generation.  That takes people, people need to be paid, and ultimately that will only happen with your help.  

Each of you should have received a pledge card when you came in.  I’d like you to take a minute now and fold down the tab that represents the absolute highest and best pledge you can possibly make.  Then ushers will now walk though and collect your cards. 

I hope you inscribe Chicago Loop Synagogue in the book of life this year, just as I hope you yourself are inscribed.  Shana tova and thank you. 

To donate today, please click here.

                            Yizkor Memorial tribute book

To view our Yizkor Memorial Tribute book, please click here.

           AN update on COVId procedures effective August 16

Hello everyone,

Due to the rise of the Delta variant in our city and state, Chicago Loop Synagogue is implementing the following changes effective Monday, August 16:

Masks will be required to be worn at all times when inside Chicago Loop Synagogue regardless of vaccination status. Reservations must be made  to attend minyanim (Shabbat and weekdays).   Please email Cary to reserve your place at

Any out of town visitor will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test that has been taken within the prior 72 hours.

On Shabbat, individually packaged cookies and bottles of water will be available to go.

We thank you for your continued support and our board will evaluate these policies on a monthly basis


Lee Zoldan



                      Welcome TO CHICAGo Loop Synagogue

We would love to have you join us for our weekly in person Shabbat minyan!

If you have any questions, please contact us by clicking here.

                                     NEWS YOU CAN USE

To read our weekly eblast, click here.

To join an online prayer service of your choosing, click here.

For a list of this coming month's yahrzeits, click here.

     Help CHicago Loop Synagogue today by using Amazon smile

The next time you purchase something on Amazon Smile, make Chicago Loop Synagogue your chosen charity to give a small percentage of your purchase to the synagogue.

Instead of going to, go to, select Chicago Loop Synagogue as your chosen charity and 0.5 percent of your purchase price will be donated back to the synagogue without you even thinking about it.

Help us keep the momentum going by making Chicago Loop Synagogue your chosen charity! 

                                     Our Vision and Identity

Whether you work or live downtown, Chicago Loop Synagogue is your

spiritual home.


As the largest synagogue in the downtown area, we serve Jews with many differing needs. Some come to pray at our three daily services, some come to participate in our array of thoughtful programs or unmatched High Holiday services. No matter what causes you to walk through our doors, Chicago Loop Synagogue is committed to helping you find what you seek.

                 Our Building and it's architectural history

The synagogue is also an architectural marvel which is regularly featured on architecture tours.

Among other features, it contains the magnificent Abraham Rattner stained glass artwork which takes up almost the entire Eastern facade of the Synagogue. Rattner lithographs are located in our Beit Midrash as well as the entry to the Social Hall. The Hands of Peace by Henri Azaz crowns the entrance to the Synagogue.

We were featured by the "Historic American Buildings Survey" by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

To view the short form architectural history, please click here.

To view a .pdf of the drawings for the "Historic American Buildings Survey," please click here.

                      How to Visit Chicago Loop Synagogue


Our address is:

16 S. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60603

We are located just south of Madison Street, in the heart of beautiful downtown Chicago.

Chicago Loop Synagogue is fortunate to host many visitors. We are a short walking distance from all CTA 'L' Lines and Metra Metropolian Rail Terminals that serve downtown Chicago, as well as major hotels and landmarks.

To find us on Google Maps, click here.

                                 How to connect with us


To contact us, call (312) 346-7370 or email our office at

Click here to like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Instagram.

Click Here to like us on Twitter or follow us at @Loop_Chicago

Sun, September 19 2021 13 Tishrei 5782