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Mitziut

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: At Mitziut we find how the text, liturgy and holidays teach us to live in the world today. Many of us having searched elsewhere, we foster community and Divine experience by singing, dancing, praying, drumming, working for social justice and eating together. We welcome all regardless of race, class, religion, sex, sexuality, gender and gender identity, age, ability or knowledge and experience of Judaism. Current offerings include Shabbos and holidays, a Jewish drum circle, classes and spiritual guidance. We also have started going to festivals, like Burning Man, and setting up Jewish camps and hope to do more. Other future plans include a community center with such elements as a kosher cafe, copy center, computers, book swap library, offices for local non-profits and other needs of the Jewish and local community.  A monthly spiritual recharge for social justice workers, non-profits workers and activists is in the works. We also envision a study, prayer and meditation program for those who want to engage thusly several hours a day. These folks would potentially help run the community center as part of their program.

Geographic areas served: Greater Chicago-land

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut expresses Jewish core values and prayers in a relatable way. There is social activism opportunities, movement opportunities, prayer opportunities and shared meals. In a word,my experience with Mitziut is "meaningfull". (double 'l' intended)

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing. Starting from scratch from a first planning meeting in my Chicago living room, Mitziut's Leadership has in short order built a foundation as strong as some of the more established renewal synagogues where I now live in California. There's ample room and need to grow and create. But given its so recent beginning, Mitziut is a real tribute to the power of vision, intention, heart, wisdom and hard work in creating the core of a fresh new community that will infuse those in it's embrace with Jewish consciousness and meaning.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mitziut is a very special organization. After attending one service, I was hooked. I really appreciate the way the community welcomed me, my husband, and many others I introduced to Mitziut over the years. This community not only was beneficial in helping me connect more to my Jewish identity, but to the Jewish community in Chicago as a whole. The organization hosts many events, many of which provide service to struggling populations in Chicago. For me, Mitziut provided me with a place to connect spiritually with G-d through prayer, singing, and at times, dancing! I loved sharing many long nights at services and potluck meals with others. I loved participating in monthly Rosh Chodesh groups. I am saddened by the fact that I can no longer attend services as much as I did previously since I moved. I truly miss the community and especially the environment created by Rabbi Menachem Cohen.

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut has provided a warm, supportive, inclusive community base for me and my family. It has allowed me to feel spiritually connected without ritual or belief mandates.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Mitziut. I've been to more than a handful of synagogues in Chicago, and none can match the sense of community or the spiritual depth and focus over at Mitziut. Shabbats are joyful, connected get togethers where congregants share their lives. The community is welcoming, supportive and, itself, an inspiration. Also, I just love how easy it is for our many varied ways of connecting Jewishly to coexist and thrive.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut is an incredibly topical, necessary, of the moment movement to promote a real relationship with community and Judaism. Like many people with young children, I was looking for a place where I 'fit' and where I could pass on my love for my religion to my son and husband. Mitziut holds a monthly Sabbath celebration for families and children and it has given our family and child an authentic experience with his religion and has been a real community builder for us. I SO APPRECIATE MITZIUT IN MY LIFE!!!

8

Board Member

Rating: 4

Mitziut provides a senses of community for spiritualy orianted otherwise non afiliated jews in chicago. I enjoy the community dinners and prayer and am hoping to start a tanach study group some time soon.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

At Mitzuit I always found a place of warmth, accessibility (of the service) and great depth of knowledge. I have travelled the world and Mitziut is unique ......and I am grateful for it.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The rabbi and congregation were very welcoming. I appreciate their sincere and friendly attitude. The Shabbat services held on the beach are particularly inspiring.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Took part in New Years' services and Friday night Shabbat services on multiple occasions. Have also participated in a meditation session.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I never would have believed it if it didn't happen right before our very eyes. The Mitziut Art Show and Performances that took place in May, 2009 was absolutely incredible. I am a changed person as a result of this experience. I owe hakoras hatov (a debt of gratitude) to Mitziut, Wendy, Menachem and all who were involved in this most amazing endeavor.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've known Rabbi Menachem for about 4 years, and I'm constantly amazed by his creativity and his ability to integrate spirituality into everyday life. The Mitziut folks are a fun and diverse bunch, and they are breaking the mold and making thier faith practice relevant and fresh.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Along with some friends, I attended an art fair hosted by Mitziut. The energy was warm and welcoming. I have the intention to participate in the community at some time, but life has just been too hectic, so far. I know I will get there.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have really appreciated Mitziut as a place I can go to just for HHD's and feel as welcome as if I had been regularly coming each week. The leadership is humble and respectful and the community, solid and sweet.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m an open minded Christian and I've been to a few services with the Mitziut. They are warm, caring and fun. The Rabbi is genuine person that you can talk to, he is very approachable. Everyone I met there made me feel welcome, unfortunately I live far away and can’t make it there as much as I would like too.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I do not attend Mitziut for all holidays and events because I share my loyalties with a few Jewish organizations. When I do attend Mitziut I am happy that everyone is welcoming and they are flexible with letting me do what feels right to me. If I want to attend one service and not the other that is fine. Also, what I also enjoy about their services and experiences is that they set things up to be experiential and also are willing to do and try new things, new songs, new ideas...

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This is a community where people are committed to creating the community - and world - of their dreams. Other kinds of Jewish communities haven't worked for us, so we are creating our own - and it can be anything and everything we want it to be. Mitziut is visionary, creative, innovating, daring, and fiercely independent.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This review is long overdue. Mitziut is a uniquely special organization. After exploring all the other jewish organizations in chicago, mitziut is the home i choose for clear reasons. It is the place where i can be my true self and find G-d inside myself and others. i feel not only comfortable but encouraged and supported to express my spirituality freely and creatively. Rabbi Menachem Cohen is a true rabbi in that he teaches us all to reach inside to find the answers we are looking for. Mitziut draws and retains special down to earth, friendly and loving people to its doors. the community is special because it is a true community. when a member was dying, we all rallied to do healing circles and go to her home to support her. we support in times of need and celebrate times of joy. when two people get married, the community rejoices together. it is a place where each person is valued and appreciated. the rabbi and his wife (and son) open their home to us for services and events and more importantly, open their hearts to us always.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned about accepting other people and different ways to communicate with the divine. The drum circle was very healing and cathartic.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Mitziut provides a spiritual community that welcomes everyone - to be themselves and to explore their own ideas and practices in living Jewishly. In this hectic day and age, Mitziut is the one place that I can go that I know I will feel relaxed, connected, and renewed (this really happens every time!). With the guidance of Rabbi Menachem, Mitziut embraces, questions, and challenges traditional and nontraditional avenues of Judaism. There's always expansive discussions to participate and ponder. My favorite is that I can walk in at any time and be welcomed and guaranteed warm smiles, hugs, learning, music, conversation and spirit. Menachem has volunteered his time as spiritual leader and back bone for Mitziut for 6 years. Members have volunteered in various leadership roles and handling responsibilities. Yet there is always the hanging feeling that there is more to be done. The community has great potential for classes and events -- once additional supports are in place.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Tremendous resource for alternative Judaic experience.Vibrant community inclusive of a wide demographic. Emphasis on local neighborhood contributions. Value-driven perspective that is open. Potential for different types of perspective and goals.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

A very open and friendly group whose primary aim is to renew the Jewish spiritual experience. We also volunteer time and resources to other organizations who serve the chicago community at large. It would be helpful for the group if they were to organize a committee to develop a formal fundraising drive. Many members don't really know whats expected of them, or what their fair share should be.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Rabbi Menachem and his Mitziut community. It's a very important part of my life and he's been a wonderful influence/

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

In addition to following the standard prayers for a Shabbat service, Rabbi Menachem encourages meditation, personal reflection, and debate, which makes for a unique and personal Shabbat experience. This group is welcoming and friendly.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

Mitziut's work as embodied in Rabbi Menachem Cohen transcends geographical boundaries. I first met Menachem in 2003 at Burning Man which is held annually in the Northern Nevada desert. This festival involves some 40,000 people gathered to share in performance art and various spiritual modalities. Rabbi Cohen has had an enormous impact on the Jewish element of this festival. He has fed the spiritual lives of those attending through leading of services and special classes and personal encounters. His brand of Judaism makes classical traditions come alive to people who have often left their participation in communal Jewish life. For me personally my annual trek to Burning Man and encounter with Mitziut's Rabbi energizes my participation in "normal" Jewish Temple life for the rest of the year!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Mitziut is the only place I know of in Chicago where Jewish learning, rituals and observance are facilitated in a manner that is engaging, deeply meaningful, easily accessible and not superficial. I especially appreciate the diversity of ages and religious backgrounds, from 20 somethings to aging baby boomers, singles, couples, gay and straight, mostly people seeking the wisdom of the ages as expressed in the contemporary language of the mind and social sciences and other spiritual traditions. I find Mitziut an opportunity to live an Integral form of Judaism.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mitziut is an extremely unique Jewish community. I found my way there after exploring other religions and finding my way back to Judaism. Mitziut has offered me a space for my own spiritual exploration, questioning the meaning of words like commandment and king. Bringing music, drumming, and dancing into prayer. Relating to the Gd within and beyond. Getting high through prayer. Finding personal and new meaning in an ancient tradition.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was raised as a Conservative, observant Jew. Once I became divorced, I felt estranged from Jewish groups, feeling that the synagogues were not welcoming to an single woman. Furthermore, it is very costly to be a "member" of a synagogue, and I am on a strict limited budget. A friend told me about Mitziut, and I began attending their religious services. I was welcomed with open arms, and was delighted at the joy and music with which the people in this group observed their religious practice. I feel connected, and truly appreciate the rabbi, his wife, and the people who volunteer their time generously to keep this group open and welcoming.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Mitziut is really wonderful! I have been involved with Mitziut almost from its inception. Rabbi Menchem Cohen (assisted by many hard-working members) is able to bring Jewish ritual, Torah, etc... into this century and infuse all of it with a grand spiritual boost. We are shown how to take the teachings of Judaism, and make them personal, with an end purpose of making us better human beings. I have had a number of incredibly wonderful experiences, from participating in healing circles, to Mitziut's incredible art show! I am grateful to be part of such an incredible, progressive and caring community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

mitziut is a wonderful jewish spiritual community dedicated to exploring the meaning and recovering the relavance of jewish traditional practices for contemporary times. mitziut is dedicated to being open and inclusiveness, welcoming all who come. mitziut also regularly participates in supporting local nonprofits through volunteer efforts.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mitziut is a "come as you are" organization. Everyone is accepted and the board members work overtime to make sure that programs are interesting and informative. I was a member of Mitziut for many years and found folks to be dedicated, honest and hardworking.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitzuit is a great community. There are genuine, caring, and down to earth people here. The environment is relaxed, non-judgemental, and very welcoming. Rabbi Menachem Cohen is wonderful...he is truly one-of-a-kind. He approaches services with an educational and spiritual focus grounded in his studies. He is relaxed, open, and passionate about his work. He and Wendi are welcoming and deeply care about the community. This is a wonderful community, the first Jewish community I have ever felt really comfortable in. I wish there were more funds so Rabbi Menachem could be a full time Rabbi...which would benefit all of us the most.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful community filled with people who want to make a difference in this world, through prayer, music, art and love...

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut has a very special non-denominational quality- everyone feels welcome despite previous or current experience. The members of the group are friendly and the leadership is creative.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Lovely folks, the Rabbi is very kind to both my children and myself. Last year when I was going thru a rough period the Rabbi was quick to answer my calls and be helpful.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Welcoming group, helpful in spiritual growth, great sense of community. I enjoy the diverse events and have benefitted greatly from them.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I can easily say that my Yom Kippur with Mitziut was the most meaningful Yom Kippur I've had in years. It was passionate, relevant, and renewing. It was also a breath of fresh air after having gone to services at mainstream congregations where it felt like we were all just going through the motions.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

When you're trying to build a community from scratch...nothing is perfect, you won't always understand everyone and everything, and giving people the space to 'do their thing' may end up with something less focused than it should be. But what can you do? You're building something from nothing! You're depending on the time and money of volunteers who may not have a lot of either. With all those things in mind, Mitziut is exploring and expressing their Judaism in a way that I've been looking for for a long time. It's about the spirit of the words, and the spirit of the law, as opposed to a rote recitation of the words or the stringent application of the law. I can understand how Orthodox and haredi scholars would tell me that those letters of those laws are exactly what make Judaism Judaism. But from where I sit, attacking fellow Jews for using a parking lot or arguing for years about elevators on Shabbat is less about Judaism and more about power. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Reform movement (which I grew up in) has taken the essence of the creator, and a Jew's individual relationship with that creator, completely out of the equation. Miziut has not abandoned halacha or its principles. Nor has it created a community unto itself that refuses to acknowledge the modern world. Instead, Rabbi Menachem has taken the best of all worlds, all streams, where each individual can come, learn, daven, participate, explore, and share in the joy that their Judaism can bring them-at the level and intensity that feels right for them.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Holistic, and welcoming. Non judgmental. You can be yourself and you're welcome. I found that I learn't a lot about tollerance and genuine attempt to connect with others and God

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

strong community, progressive ideas that are helping to bring Judaism into new paradigm and meet the needs of many denominations of Jews. Love that anyone can come and making money, sticking to one denomination, trying to build a new building, or desperately looking for members is not a priority. Meeting the needs of the people and giving them an important spiritual experience is what is important to the Rabbi and the community. Rabbi awesome. would like to see more participation in planning and implementing from the community.......

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I attend Shabbat services on occasion. I'm part of the Rosh Hodesh group and we led services on the beach over the summer. I attended Rosh Hashana day services with the great musical talent of Layni Katz Meyers acting as chazzan.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I looked for a long time, felt like I was waiting here forever, for a spiritual community where I felt I belonged. What makes Mitziut great are the people. Be prepared to meet interesting people with diverse experiences and spiritual traditions. They are welcoming, non-judgmental, and laid back. I feel very comfortable exploring my Jewish identity here. The Shabbat and High Holiday services are off the hook. It doesn't matter what kind of day or week that I've had, Mitziut is the place to come to rejuvenate for the upcoming week.

8

Client Served

Rating: 3

Spiritual and good, should outreach more for people, should have weekly services. should present better and more specific discussions on the Parasha of the week. Should attract more families and children.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think of Mitziut as a warm Jewish home in Chicago for my daughter and I. Every time we have attended any of the activities: shabbat services, Seder, volunteer in the community, we have come out of the experience transformed. Shabbat at Rabbi Menachem's home is truly a blessing: singing, davening, eating together, all this brings Jewish tradition alive in a way that touches heart, body, and soul. I arrived not knowing anybody at all, and was made to feel welcome. I love the variety of people who are part of the community, from all ages, walks of life and levels of observance. I also appreciated the honest intellectual inquiry, and freedom to express yourself that is felt in the community. Sometimes, even when unable to go services, just by following Mitziut's newsletters and Rabbi Menachem's messages, I have had to pause and refocus the time I was living. I used some of the resources suggested, which helped me in my path in life. My constructive feedback would be to facilitate or encourage more communication among members, so that for those who can only attend events occasionally, there is somebody who they can turn to, so that they feel connected and up to date with how things are going.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I think Reb Menachem and Mitziut open up and facilitate a connection to and with Judaism that is missing for many people I know. I was born in the FSU, and having no access/connection with Judaism as a child has left me with a lot of catching up to do. However, for most of my friends the journey is even more difficult because many of them were raised with empty rituals (whether reform, conservative, or orthodox) being force fed to them. Mitziut opens up Judaism in a very refreshing way. Whatever the community does, it does it with heart, love, and intentionality. This is very refreshing. It has also been very formative in my personal journey. I spent many Shabbos evenings and afternoons in long conversations with the Rabbi, his wife, and other community members, discussing, arguing, laughing, sorting out, enjoying, and developing my connection with G-d and our tradition. In many ways I felt in some way apprenticed by Reb Menachem and was able to learn about and co-lead rituals many times throughout the last few years. I am not sure this would've been possible in any other community, as I did not have any 'professional' training in this area. However, it was profoundly meaningful and I am currently continuing my studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. I can confidently say I would not have the appreciation of our tradition,. nor be as confident in the transformative possibility of it as I am today without Mitziut.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I APPLAUDE RABBI MENACHAM AND WENDY FOR THE WORK THEY HAVE DONE FOR JEWISH COMMUNITY AND THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE. TALK ABOUT TIKUM OLAM. BEFORE ILLNESS STRUCK, I WAS VERY INVOLVED WITH MITZIUT AND WAS HAPPY TO HAVE FOUND A RABBI WHO WAS VERY CARING ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND HIM AND THOSE WHO HE COMES IN CONTACT WITH. AS SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN THE SOUTH SUBURBS AND WENT TO REFORM SCHUL, RABBI MENACHEM AND MITZIUT MADE NO JUDGEMENTS ABOUT ONES RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND UPBRINGING AND WAS ACCEPTING THAT ALL JEWS ARE JEWS AND THE BASIS FOR BEING JEWISH IS JUSTICE, EDUCATION AND WORKING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. THOUGH I HAVE BEEN SICK THE PAST THREE YEARS, ONCE I AM BETTER TO MAKE THE SCHLEP FROM DOWNTOWN TO MITZIUT I WILL GO AGAIN. MITZIUT AND RABBI MENACHEM ARE TWO GREAT INSTITUTIONS THE CHICAGO JEWISH COMMUNITY WOULD NOT BE AS RICH IF THEY DID NOT EXIST. MICHAEL BERKELEY

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Outstanding group; extremely welcoming and non-judgmental. I felt like I belonged the moment I attended. The members of this group are people who I see as friends, as well as good samaritans & a positive influence for the community. Thanks Mitziut!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have attended several events and volunteered for a night ministry outing. The folks tend to be in their 40s or older, and very enthusiastic. Rabbi Menachem is quite interesting - he reaches out equally to the homeless, to Burning Man participants, and to the unaffiliated in Chicago.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut keeps reaching out to me, and I feel welcome and accepted by the group. I am constantly moved by the level of social justice issues Mitziut participates in, as well as all the inner work~ from meditation, chanting, drumming and dancing. It's a great community. Although I don't go out much, I was sick last year, and have 2 small kiddies, I feel still in the loop, with opportunities to give. Like providing food for a night program Menachem works at called "The Night Ministry". It's really good people. Really good.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been going to Mitziut since it began. It is such a wonderful place. I feel accepted for who I am and for however I might feel that day. After participating in a service or event I always feel a deep sense of joy and enlightenment. The High Holidays are such a treat--they make me want to do the work for the holiday and really think about who I am as a person, a woman, and as a Jew. Every year during the break there is yoga which fits with how I pray---from my entire body. Rabbi Menachem also finds interesting and different metaphores to help bring home the ideas of the Torah, Talmud, Halacha, and Misticism. This past Simchat Torah everyone was supported in dancing with the torah in their own way---I had not had this amazing experience till my 30's and at Mitzium my daughter, age 9, got to hold a Torah and create her own way of connecting with it. She was so happy and proud to be a Jew. I feel so blessed that there is a place like Mitziut in Chicago-- it brings Jews back into the whole of Judaism that may have never been interested in their history or their people--it helps every Jew find a way to connect. I highly recommend Mitziut and know that others would feel similarly if they attend. Sincerely, Tamar Levinson

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The accessibility , joyfulness and soulfulness of my Mitziut experiences are a treasure to me. They are so respectful of all and go right to the soul. It is spontaneous and divine. The ecstasy and joyfulness enveloped all the participants and the Rabbi's humility and honest teaching and expression of the human condition was profound and accessible to all. The fabulous music, singing, drumming and dancing were remarkable. A Seeker's Dream! Any Jew, with or without experience could feel welcome here. How iportant is that?!? That was my Rosh Hashonah experience there. My first experience at Mitziut was at a Shabbat on the beach led by the Rosh Chodesh women of the group. It was also quite wonderful. In my view Mitziut is on to something our religion needs. They seem to give a lot of support to their member's individual pursuits as well; there is jut a basic respect, without hierarchy, for all. Nor do they neglect tzedakah. Any help they can get will be well placed.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mitziut fills a void. Jews otherwise unafiliated find a safe and interesting place to express their spirituality outside the constraints of the main avenues available in the general public. "Self" is important and the experience goes with you when you leave. It is a safe and welcoming group full of learning and expressing and feeling.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mitziut has helped me get back to Judiasm. I feel very comfortable there and for the first time in a long time (since i was a kid) - part of a real jewish community. Mitziut is open to all, it is fun, it is serious, it is very spiritual, very open and inviting, has great programming, and really is a joy for all who have discovered it.