In 1991, Rabbi Allen Secher pioneered Makom Shalom, a new Jewish community in Chicago. Makom Shalom brought a new spirit to Jewish religious life, a spirit of joy and discovery, a welcoming of Jews and their families in whatever form or beliefs those families took. In consecrating our community, Reb Allen traveled to England and returned with a Torah that had been recovered from the ashes of the Holocaust. Our community supported the Torah’s restoration, and it continues to tell us the story of the Jewish people when we gather for Shabbat.
Today, in this new age of disunity and a worrying resurgence of all manner of hatred and anti-Semitism, Makom Shalom continues to be a spiritual well, a place where we gather for spiritual nourishment, and to pray and learn with body, mind and heart. Our Davennen (prayer) practices include traditional readings and Torah study, music and song, movement and dance, organizing for social justice, and caring for each other in times of need.
In the past year, under the leadership of Rabbi-Cantor Michael Davis, Makom held a Yom Kippur Yizkor service in Englewood in which African-American and White Jews linked hands to honor the humanity of Chicago’s gun victims. On the first Shabbat after the 2016 presidential elections we led an interfaith Shabbat service in Oak Lawn in solidarity with Chicago’s Muslim community; we have hosted faith leaders of other religions and ethnicity. Our faith calls us to heal the world and, through taking action, to keep our own spirit alive.
Makom Shalom remains a Jewish Renewal congregation connected to other communities of faith. We are committed to celebrating our authentic selves, supporting each other and standing in solidarity with marginalized religious and ethnic communities. We kindle a new spirit through being with each other and reaching outward across racial and religious divides.