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Old 08-06-2015, 12:34 PM
2 posts, read 4,836 times
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So I work on the near west side, and my husband works in Downers Grove. We are looking for a good halfway suburb Also, I am Jewish, and my husband is atheist. I am not religious nor do I need to live in a mostly Jewish area, but I like to have some community involvement and not experience bigotry. We have decided to do Hebrew School and celebrate Jewish and Christian heritage holidays.

Of course, Oak Park fits the bill perfectly. But it's prohibitively expensive. Forest Park would be fine, but the schools don't seem good. There is one good elementary school in Berwyn, and Brookfield/Riverside has great schools.

First, is there a good elementary school in Forest Park?

Next, my question is, does anyone know what the experience would be like to be Jewish in a place like Berwyn, Riverside, Brookfield, or LaGrange/LaGrange Park? I know times are different than they used to be, and I'm not worried about active discrimination in those areas. I'm more concerned about the more "sneaky" sort of discomfort, like stereotyping. Ex: I've had to fend off on numerous occasions "oh, is your family wealthy? You guys like money.". Etc. I want a place where religious differences are not just tolerated, but celebrated.

Thanks much!
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:45 PM
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I live in Brookfield and have never really thought about the presence or absence of a Jewish population here. I don't think its very big; Brookfield is probably predominantly Catholic. But I don't ever hear people talk about religion and honestly I don't think it will be an issue for you at all. People are very nice here. And yes, the schools are very good. Hollywood and Brook Park are both great (Hollywood probably gets the nod for its smaller size). These basically serve Brookfield north of Ogden. Congress Park is a fairly good school (Basically the western portion of town south of Ogden). Stay away from Lincoln Elementary which is part of Lyons School District 103 (Basically the eastern portion of town south of Ogden).
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:00 PM
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I know lots of happy atheists / agnostics in every town in the region, including those falsely labeled as some kind of haven for churchy types, so that is a total non-issue.

Similarly I am personally friendly with dozens of folks that actively practice their Jewish faith but only a handful that send their kids to a religious school either full time or for faith development. There are handful of active synagogues that have faith development courses and fewer still that have a full-time school. If that is a big concern for you I would map out how close these are -- Illinois Jewish Private Schools | Reviews & Photos


I know some families in DuPage / west Cook Co that are happy with the programs at http://congetzchaim.org/religious-school-programs

None of my Jewish friends has ever mentioned any sort of discrimination / bad attitude from anyone, some even go so far as to say they prefer the relative "who cares" attitude that is common in affluent towns of DuPage / West Cook vs the more "conspicuous" aspects that go along with how one practices their Jewish faith in towns with a more traditional population...
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:36 PM
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This is great, thanks! For me, Hebrew School is "faith development", like CCD. I am interested in public school, not private Jewish k-12.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:32 PM
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I know several people who attend services at Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, and I think it's a magnet for a large number of western suburbs. My non-Jewish wife has gone to a service there with friends, and it's a decent-sized congregation that seems to offer everything you would need. It may be a bit far from La Grange, but probably not bad for once or twice a week drives.
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