Welcome to the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation

Fostering a vibrant Jewish future at home and abroad and assisting broader humanitarian activities since 1929.

News, Events, & Announcements


Fun House Musical Theater Production by the Lyric Theater

November 4 @ 7:30 pm / November 5 @ 7:30 pm / November 6 @ 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
We are thrilled to announce that two children in our community will be participating in Fun Home, a musical theater production by the Lyric Theater at Illinois, a collaborative program between UIUC School of Music and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The children are Leyla Aguiar Cohen (daughter of Andrea Aguiar and Dov Cohen) and Ruth Ionin (daughter of Tania Ionin and Timur Oikhberg).
The musical—by Jewish playwright Lisa Kron—is an adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking graphic memoir novel, and the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical. “Fun Home” is Bechdel’s family nickname for the family-owned funeral home, where Bechdel and her siblings spent much of their time playing while growing up. It’s a funny, eccentric, loving but also somewhat tragic candid account of one’s personal journey and the complex relationships between parent and children. (Note: Play has mature content.) 
Conversation with Fun Home Directors
October 31 @ 8:00 pm via Zoom
A few days before the play opens at Krannert Tryon Festival Theater, directors Julie Gunn and Sarah Wigley agreed to talk and answer questions via Zoom with CUJF members about the play, the writer and playwright, as well as the process of producing it at Krannert, while dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, and of working with a cast made up of three children and several university students.


CUJF and CUJEF invite you to a CHAI Seniors Program Zoom Conversation with Professor May Berenbaum


October 18 @ 7:00 pm


Professor Berenbaum is an entomologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, studying the interactions between insects and their host plants and a longtime member of the CU Jewish community. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the editor-in-chief of its journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She is also a member of the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academic of Arts and sciences.At the University of Illinois, she is a Maybelle Leland Swanland Endowed Chair Professor—the highest title a professor can hold at the university, and she was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2014. Professor Berenbaum is very passionate about her research and raising public awareness about the importance of insects for our environment and our lives. As part of her work with the public, she has authored three books about insects for the general public and she is one of the organizers of the annual Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


She will talk about her life and career and how being a Jewish woman has shaped her path and way of approaching the (human and animal) world.


Reagister by clicking the button below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


The Chai Seniors Program is coordinated by Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation and funded by the Goldberg-Gordon-Yairi Fund and the Libby and Harry Miller Memorial Fund which are managed by Champaign-Urbana Jewish Endowment Foundation.


Establishment of the Central Illinois Jewish Communities Archives/Mervis Archives at The University of Illinois

The Danville Jewish Community is proud to announce the establishment of the Central Illinois Jewish Communities Archives/Mervis Archives in the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Library’s Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.


Do you know a Jewish child in Champaign-Urbana that would love to get Jewish-themed storybooks? Tell their family about CUJF’s PJ Library program!

PJ Library sends Jewish books to Jewish kids each month. Free!
The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation is a PJ Library sponsoring organization. CUJF pays a portion of the cost of each book sent to families. PJ Library covers the rest of the cost. There's no cost to your family!
You can sign up your child here: https://pjlibrary.org/enroll-in-a-community
Reading to your children is important. Reading - or being read to -- affects child’s development. Just having books in a home increases a child's ability to learn.
But finding the right books and making the time to read as a family can be hard. That’s where PJ Library comes in. PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you.
A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is made possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations like CUJF. Families raising kids from birth through 9 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be.
For more information about PJ Library, check out their website at www.pjlibrary.org/about-pj-library.
You can also email Linda Bauer, CUJF Executive Director, at cujf@cujf.org.


From the Director . . .

We have some good news! 
The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation has received a renewal of a grant for $8,000 to expand “CU in PJ’s.” The program will involve PJ parents in planning virtual or in-person experiences for PJ Library families and in reaching out to other Jewish families in the community.
Our local families raising Jewish children will now have more opportunities to participate in Jewish experiences. PJ Library is the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides books to families raising Jewish children.  PJ Library pays a portion of the cost of the books, and CUJF also shares in the cost.
We had a successful implementation of last year's grant, despite the challenges we faced with COVID restrictions, and we are pleased to be able to continue the program this year.
Thank you for your support of CUJF and our PJ Library Program!


Interview with CUJF Executive Director Linda Bauer

CUJF Executive Director Linda Bauer was interviewed by Illini Radio Group News Director Sam Albert recently. Linda spoke about CU Jewish Federation goals and activities and also about her family's story.
In the course of the interview, Linda also talked about her family and her parents, who were Holocaust survivors. That interview is available on the Soundcloud.



Jewish Life and Learning


CUJF engages our dynamic and diverse community with educational resources and community events to appeal to different interests, backgrounds, and ages throughout the life span.


Support for Our Most Vulnerable


As Jews, we have a responsibility to care for the needy in our community, as well as to support our members during their most vulnerable times. CUJF is there with information, referrals, and financial assistance when needed.


Community Giving


Together, we are stronger. CUJF serves as a central mechanism for raising and allocating funds to local organizations as well as supporting Jewish organizations and initiatives in Israel and throughout the world.


COVID-19: Let Us Know How We Can Help


In these difficult times, CUJF continues to fulfill its mission to Aid, Educate and Celebrate our Jewish culture and community. CUJF's Human Services function is more important than ever. We have been making calls to our seniors and volunteers are picking up grocery orders for those who are unable to go out. If you or someone you know could use a friendly phone call or a delivery of needed items, please email us at cujf@cujf.org or call our office at (217) 367-9872 and leave a message. We are checking email and voicemail regularly.

We've reached out to the kids in our community with an online PJ Library storytime in conjunction with Sinai Temple. CUJF plans to offer more virtual programs, plus continue to provide information about resources from the other Jewish organizations in our community. We are also raising funds in order to assist members of our Jewish Community who may be affected by work closures, unexpected medical bills, and other emergencies. You can support these efforts! Click on “Donate” at the top of the page and type "virus" in the “Earmarks” section.

Together, we'll do a world of good!

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CUJF Publication Deadline


The deadline for CUJF’s weekly email blast is Wednesdays at 3:00 pm for publication on Fridays at noon. Tell us about your services, your events, and your good news!


CUJF Seeking Financial Officer

Here's a chance to be part of an organization that's doing good in our community. Interested? Let us know! Or if you know someone who might be qualified, please pass on this information. Thanks!
The Financial Officer carries out the financial operations of CUJF in a timely and efficient manner, and consistently with relevant laws and regulations, and with CUJF’s Bylaws. The Financial Officer also is responsible for the financial operations of the CUJF’s subsidiary, The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Endowment Fund, and works ¼ time on CUJEF business and ¾ time on CUJF business.
For information, contact Linda Bauer, Executive Director, CU Jewish Federation.