A Pick Me Up for the Soul!

By Julia Estrin, Northbrook


“A Pick-Me-Up for the Soul”- that is how Becky Levi of Evanston, describes Chicago Torah Network’s weekly Lunch & Learn at Emma’s.  Many other participants have been equally enthusiastic. In the words of Dana Spiwak of Deerfield, “I always leave feeling better than when I arrived.”  And for Lori Shapiro of Northbrook, it’s been a unique experience “that gives me something Jewish and relevant each week to bring back to my family”. 

I was welcomed into the CTN family in 2017 as a participant in the Momentum trip to Israel: It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves a transformative mark on every woman lucky enough to have this unique opportunity. Since then I have enjoyed challah bakes, Shabbatons, the annual Spa Day for the Soul and many, many other wonderful and educational programs offered regularly by the CTN. Yet, the program that has been very dear to my heart and, in my opinion, is one of CTN’s best offerings, is “Lunch and Learn at Emma’s”. This long-running weekly meet-up for women led by Aliza Polstein (as well as some other remarkable ladies affiliated with the CTN) has become a highlight of the week for many of its participants.

“Aliza expertly shares each week’s Torah portion with us, openly exchanging how we can insert these lessons into our everyday life. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other women in the community and inspire each other!” Joyce Neiman, Chicago

Part chavrusa, part ‘ladies’ lunch date’, and part support group, it has become a weekly ritual around which many participants build their schedules. A typical session starts with a study of a compelling theme in the weekly parsha carefully chosen by the leader, and evolves into an open discussion, at times touching on other topics tangentially related to the parsha, but always directly related to the lives of the group’s participants. Issues that are painfully or joyfully familiar to women come up, and the flow of advice, analysis through Torah wisdom, and warm support are what keeps women coming back week after week, year after year.

“It energizes me for the entire week”. Debbie Silver, Northbrook 

CTN’s Lunch and Learn has become an oasis of learning and camaraderie for women of different backgrounds, different ages and stages in life, and different levels of Torah knowledge and observance, but who share a joint and unifying commitment to growth for themselves and their families.

The Lois and Wilfred Lefkovich Chicago Torah Network, now in its 30th year, provides meaningful and enjoyable Jewish growth opportunities, to men and women of all Jewish backgrounds.

Due to popular request, a new CTN Lunch & Learn for women with advanced Jewish education, that will meet in Rogers Park, is now in formation. For more information please email info@torahnetwork.org 



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