About Us

ABOUT CTN

ctn

At Chicago Torah Network (CTN), our mission is to empower every Jew – men and women, young and old – along their own Jewish journey, by sharing with them the beauty, wisdom, and relevance of Judaism and Jewish traditions.

For over 25 years, CTN has inspired thousands of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, helping them to discover and develop their own personal relationship with their Jewish heritage.

Below are some of the ways that CTN serves as “Home for the Wondering Jew”.

Whether you are looking to participate personally in a CTN program or to you would like to support our efforts and help make it all possible, we welcome your participation.

… Together we can impact generations.

JWRP ISRAEL MOMENTUM MISSIONS

Each year, in partnership with JWRP, CTN brings Jewish parents on subsidized, life-changing missions to Israel. This is truly a journey where they tap into their people, their homeland and themselves. Parents return as prouder and more committed Jews, with a deeper appreciation of Judaism, Israel and the Jewish mission.

The Israel trip and the broad array of CTN follow up programs help parents in their own growth and makes them better equipped to inspire their children, whether still at home or on college campuses, to be part of the Jewish future.

Learn more at www.jwrp.org

 


JEWISH FAMILY EXPERIENCE

The Jewish Family Experience (JFE), founded and funded by ATT, and run in partnership by CTN and NCSY, is a unique and dynamic Hebrew school that kids actually look forward to attending!

What makes JFE unique is that it is a Jewish learning experience for the entire family. At JFE, CTN Rabbis engage the parents in meaningful, relevant and inspiring Jewish learning, sending the profound message to their children that Jewish learning is important to their parents.  It’s beautiful – and provides hope for the Jewish future – to see two and sometimes three generations enjoying Jewish learning under one roof.

Learn more at http://www.jewishfamilyexp.org/

 


HOME- AND OFFICE-BASED DISCUSSION GROUPS

This popular program encourages people to invite friends to their home for informal discussion and Jewish learning in a relaxed social setting.  Topics range from Jewish history and ethics to what Jews believe and why, and more.

Jewish growth in a comfortable and informal environment.

Just the way it should be!

Interested? Email Rabbi Moshe Katz and let’s make this happen!  Your friends will thank you!

 

 


WOMEN’S SHABBAT RETREAT

For close to 150 women, many of whom are experiencing their first complete Shabbat, this warm, magical, weekend away provides an opportunity to reconnect with Jewish tradition and with their inner selves – as they relax and recharge together with a group of amazing Jewish women.

It’s a weekend with a lot of learning and laughing together – where everyone comes home feeling inspired and empowered.

 


THE CTN TORAH MINUTE AND SHABBAT FAX / EMAIL

In addition to its many in-person Jewish learning and growth events, CTN produces two popular weekly publications of Jewish thought: Rabbi Moshe Katz’s Torah Minute, and the CTN Shabbat Fax / Email.

Written in an easy to read yet thought provoking style, they provide a weekly dose of Jewish knowledge and inspiration to thousands of readers near and far.

To receive the CTN emails

 


SPA DAY FOR YOUR SOUL

For over a decade, the annual Ilene C. Leon Chicago Conference for Jewish Women has provided an opportunity for hundreds of Jewish women of all ages and backgrounds to connect, support, and grow together as a community.

This “Spa Day for Your Soul” features keynote addresses and breakout sessions by world renowned women educators and community leaders, and is truly an empowering and uplifting day for all who attend.

For more about this year’s upcoming Spa Day, visit the Spa Day for your Soul website.

 

 


CHICAGO YJP

CTN’s young professionals program, Chicago YJP, engages Jewish men and women in their 20’s and 30’s through meaningful Jewish learning and experiences.

With a strong emphasis on teaching Jewish wisdom that will help them build truly Jewish homes and develop meaningful, deep and fulfilling marriages, CTN’s young professionals division plays a vital role in building and shaping the next generation of Jewish parents and community leaders.

 


USER FRIENDLY PRAYER SERVICES

CTN’s unique High Holiday Experience is designed for Jewish men and women of all ages who may not be inspired by typical synagogue services.

By combining prayer with informal discussion about the meaning and relevance of specific prayers, for many it is their first positive Jewish prayer experience.

In the words of one participant, “I learned more in those two hours than I did in all my years in Hebrew School!


TORAH PARTNERS

CTN, in partnership with a number of other Jewish outreach organizations in the Chicagoland area, have joined forces to create a unique weekly study program where “Torah novices” are matched with volunteer lay people in the community to explore the Jewish topic of their choice.

While learning in a class and with a rabbi has tremendous advantages, connecting with a knowledgeable and inspired lay person has proven to be a uniquely valuable addition to participants’ Jewish journey.

 

For additional information about CTN programs and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at info@torahnetwork.org or call 773.761.0400 x207.

THE CTN TEAM

RABBI MOSHE KATZ AND RABBI DONI DEUTSCH
Founders and Directors of CTN

Close friends and Talmudic study partners for over 30 years, Rabbi Moshe Katz and Rabbi Doni Deutsch have been described alternately as “extremely insightful teachers and Rabbis”, and at the same time as “really nice guys who are so down to earth”.
Looking to create a vehicle to spread their love of Torah and of Jews as far and wide as possible, they co-founded Chicago Torah Network back in 1990 and have partnered in its growth ever since. Rabbi Katz received his Rabbinical Ordination and an Advanced Degree in Talmud at Beth Medrash Govoha in New Jersey and Rabbi Deutsch received his Rabbinical Ordination and an Advanced Degree in Talmud at Gur Aryeh Institute in New York. They both served as founding members of the Chicago Community Kollel where they did post graduate work in Talmud and taught community education classes, before founding Chicago Torah Network.
They also are the co-authors of the highly acclaimed CTN Shabbat Fax/Email and The Torah Minute, weekly publications of Jewish thought that are read by thousands of Jewish men and women of all backgrounds and affiliations throughout the world.


 

ESTI DEUTSCH
Director, CTN’s Women’s Learning Network and Jewish Bridal Education.
Esti is a mentor and role model to women of all ages and backgrounds, and is much sought after for her advice about relationships, parenting and spiritual growth. A popular and highly respected speaker, with a special passion for inspiring Jewish brides as they begin their Jewish homes, Esti has been invited to speak at Jewish adult education venues in cities around the country on a wide variety of topics.In addition to being a Jewish educator, Esti was an IT Consultant for over 25 years, and enjoys a fulfilling career as a Relationships and Life Coach – but her favorite role is that of a wife, mother and grandmother to her family.

RABBI JOSH MARDER
MA, MFT
marderJosh Marder is a dynamic and accomplished Jewish outreach professional, a beloved teacher of Jewish adult education and a respected and successful family therapist.
Josh graduated New York’s Yeshiva University Cum Laude, received multiple rabbinical ordinations under the tutelage of the esteemed Rabbi Yitzchok Berkowitz and studied studying Family Therapy at Jerusalem’s Family Institute, Machon Mishpachti.  He received his Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and is a certified Emotionally Focused Therapy therapist.
After spending  5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area working for the Jewish Study Network, teaching and inspiring the Jewish community of the Bay Area, Josh and his wonderful wife Laura spent another five years directing CTN’s YJP, young professional’s division.
Currently, in addition to teaching Jewish relationships and parenting classes for CTN, Josh has a private practice where he offers couples and family counseling, serves on the Chicago CCEFT Board, and offers workshops periodically within the mental health community for therapists studying Couples Counseling.  He leads the North Shore peer consultation group in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and he offers supervision for therapists studying to become certified in EFT.   His teaching at CTN gives Josh the opportunity to share the wisdom of Torah and its deep psychological insights with the Jewish community on a regular basis.

 

sharon

SHARON SCHWARTZ
Director of Programming
After successfully practicing as a lawyer, Sharon left the private sector to do what she loves – helping to run organizations that provide vital services to the Jewish community. After serving as Midwest Region Director of Chai Lifeline, an international organization that provides a broad range of support for seriously ill children and their families, Sharon joined CTN and has been an integral part of the CTN Team for the past four years. Her many talents, attention to detail and superb organizational skills have helped CTN programs – everything from the annual Israel Mission and the Spa Day for the Soul to classes, special lectures and Holiday programs and more – run very smoothly and professionally.

polstein

RABBI YEHUDA POLSTEIN
Director, ‘Jewish Family Experience’ Hebrew School
An inspired and enthusiastic informal educator, Yehuda has been active in Jewish communal work and Hebrew School programming for over ten years. After receiving his Rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem, Yehuda served as Chaplain for Meor, a Jewish student group at Northwestern University.
In addition to his role at Jewish Family Experience, Yehuda is the Director of M.I.E. Torah High, a unique after school Jewish studies program for Chicago area high school students and is the founder and Director of the Senator Mark Kirk Israel Scholars program, which educates high school students about Israel; its ethics, and its values.

mashi

MASHI POLSTEIN
Educational Director, ‘Jewish Family Experience’ Hebrew School
Mashi is a passionate educator whose use of drama and contemporary expressive technique has inspired teens the world over. She is the founder and former director of Torah High: For the Arts, a groundbreaking initiative that combines traditional Jewish learning with a progressive arts-based education. While studying theater and psychology at York University Mashi began developing a drama infused curriculum that would eventually be used as a medium to teach an accredited Jewish Ethics and Values Course. After getting married and moving to Israel she continued to teach drama at Emunah V’omanut an arts-based seminary in Jerusalem.
She recently moved back to Chicago with her husband and two beautiful children. Mashi advocates for the use of arts in the classroom to create exciting, dynamic, and impactful lessons. She aspires to help students develop and nurture their creative sides, and to use their gifts to impact the world for the better.