An Evening of Tzedakah & Sadaqah

 Saturday, Dec. 17 from 5 to 8:30 p.m., Oak Park Temple:

“Kindness, Empathy & Respect: What does God want from us?” is an evening of learning, sharing and service, co-sponsored by the Muslim Leadership Academy and Oak Park Temple. Come at 5 p.m. for the optional observance of a Havdalah ceremony, followed by a discussion of the expectations for living a Jewish or Muslim life. The service project will be making “blessing bags” for the homeless. This is a family-style interfaith event. Kids of all ages are welcome. Prof. Omer Mozaffer and Rabbi Max Weiss lead the adult session. 1235 Harlem Ave., Oak Park.

Becoming Dr. Ruth

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m., Nineteenth Century Club:

The Free Readers Ensemble will perform the play Becoming Dr. Ruth, by Mark St. Germain. Everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer from her career as a pioneering radio and television sex therapist. Few know the rest of the story. Directed by ensemble member and co-founder, Paulette Cary, this performance features well-known Oak Park actor Mercita DeMonk. Parking is free on Sundays in the high-rise just south of the Nineteenth Century building. 178 Forest Avenue in Oak Park.

Oak Park Funnies

Thursday, Dec. 15 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Connolly’s Public House, Oak Park:

Clean, convenient comedy hosted by Chris Hauri (you’ve seen her at Olive & Well and Ten Thousand Villages) and featuring Doug Deuchler, theater critic for Wednesday Journal; film raconteur Doug Stevenson of iO and Second City, Amanda Cohen, who has a new bit on answering phones (when they were real phones!) and Barbara Legan with a new holiday story. Baby Boomer Humor and a laugh break for the holidays. Doors open at 7. Cover is $5. For more info, contact Chris at 708-533-2888. 1109 South Blvd., Oak Park.

Community Renewal Christmas Concert

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m., Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church:

The Community Renewal Chorus reimagines the Christmas story in “To Certain Poor Shepherds.” Works by Charpentier and Schubert and carol arrangements from Renaissance to Gospel plus standbys like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Admission is $20 ($15 senior citizens and students). Tickets can be purchased at the door.  For additional information, please visit

Holidays a cappella

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 4 p.m., Pilgrim Congregational Church:

Chicago a cappella invites members of the community to come together for songs of peace and hope from around the world. Tickets range from $15 to $43. Call 773-281-7820 or visit Pilgrim Church is located at 460 Lake St.

On civil liberties

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m., Third Unitarian:

Rachel Murphy, a legal fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union, will speak on current challenges to civil liberties looking ahead to a new administration. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Third Unitarian is located at 301 N. Mayfield, two blocks east and one block south of Austin Boulevard and Lake Street (Green Line). For more information, phone 773-626-9385 or visit

Dark Side of the Yule

Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., Dominican University Performing Arts Center:

Classic Rock meets Christmas with Classical Blast. Admission is $15. Visit 7900 W. Division St., River Forest.

Wine and Cheese Tasting 

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 4 p.m., Novo in Oak Park:

Novo, located in downtown Oak Park’s historic Hemingway District, hosts a one-hour tasting event that features four cheeses and eight wines. The fee to participate is $25 per person. Reservations may be made by calling the restaurant at 708-628-3454. Novo is located at 734 Lake St. For more, call 708-628-3454 or visit

A weekend of theater

Friday, Dec. 16; Saturday, Dec. 17; and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Julian Auditorium:
The CAST performing arts program at Julian Middle School will present a Festival of Theater, three plays on three nights: The Westing Game on Friday, Playground Mahabharata on Saturday, and Crunch Time on Sunday. Tickets ($10 for adults; $5 for students 13 and under and seniors) may be purchased in advance through the CAST website, or at the door. For more, contact Kathy Simon at 708-524-7848 or 416 S. Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park.

Advent lecture

Wednesday, Dec. 14, reception 5:45 p.m., lecture 6:30-7:30, Q&A 7:30-8:

The St. Luke Parish Transformation team hosts a talk by one of the foremost authorities in biblical studies, Rev. James McIlhone on how the Bible and its different translations came to be, what makes up the Canon of Sacred Scripture, the concept of Inerrancy, and any questions you have. Free admission. St. Luke School Gym, corner of Lake Street and Ashland Avenue, River Forest.

Jazz Christmas Carols

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:10 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church:

Jazz Prayer Christmas carols is a way to unwind from the stress of the holiday season.  Instrumental riffs will feel like the Charlie Brown Christmas. Pre-performance refreshments start at 7:10. Stay after to interact with the musicians. Good Shepherd hosts monthly live jazz programs on the third Friday of each month. The non-denominational events create an opportunity for reflection and meditation in an ambiance of quality jazz music. All are welcome. Good Shepherd ( is located at 611 Randolph (corner of East and Randolph) in Oak Park. There is no admission fee, but free-will donations to support the jazz concert program are appreciated.

Calendar Events

As you’ve likely noticed, our Calendar has changed to Big Week. Fewer items, higher profile. If you would like your event to be featured here, please send a photo and details by noon of the Wednesday before it needs to be published. We can’t publish everything, but we’ll do our best to feature the week’s highlights.

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