Cheryl Jacobs, past managing and contributing blogger
After graduating from Skidmore College with a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and history, Cheryl tried to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a bat girl for her beloved Cubs. When that failed to pan out, she decided to chase her second love—writing. She’s the Marketing Manager, Social Media and Outreach Communications at JUF. Before joining the Federation, Cheryl worked at a public relations firm in the city on consumer, B2B and non-profit accounts.
Away from work, Cheryl enjoys trying new restaurants, frequenting Forever Yogurt and Star Fruit with her best friend Lisa for their daily ice cream fix, watching Grey’s Anatomy and The Real Housewives of New York City and attending as many Cubs and Bulls games as she can afford.
A reformed serial mover (eight apartments in eight years), Cheryl has finally settled down with her boyfriend Jason in their Wicker Park condo with their beloved dog Toby. She is the former managing blogger for Oy!Chicago, but on her rocket ship to stardom she still makes sure to contribute on a regular basis.
ARTICLES BY THIS AUTHOR
Jonny Imerman was your typical college graduate. By day he worked in commercial real estate and at night attended classes for his M.B.A. In his free time, Jonny played basketball, went to the gym and hung out with friends.
And then his life changed. At 26, Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer requiring surgery and 5 months of chemotherapy treatments. But, Jonny says, he was lucky, because he had his family and friends to support him through the treatments.
Local comedian Mike Tureff originally turned to comedy in high school with an ulterior motive—to get girls. “I don’t think it’s so much that I realized I was funny as that I realized I wasn’t good looking enough to get girls without being funny,” he says.
About a month ago, I joined Twitter and became addicted to sending out “tweets” to my friends. I’ve gone beyond using the mainstream social networking sites like Facebook, My Space, and Youtube, and have begun experimenting with Flickr, del.icio.us LinkedIn, Jewcy, Second Life and Tumblr. I know I have a “problem,” but I’m not alone. Social networking sites have been growing at an astounding rate.
A nice Jewish boy from Philly playing a tough Italian boy from Jersey might not be such a big stretch when you consider that both chose their careers early in life. Sure, Jarrod Spector started out as a toddler with a performance of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and went on to get professional training while Frankie Valli was inspired by seeing Frank Sinatra perform live—and by his desire not to end up in the trunk of a car or in jail like many of the other kids in his neighborhood.
It’s impossible to turn on the TV or open a magazine without hearing about going green, sustainability, hybrid cars and other issues related to the environment. Today, it’s easy to find organic produce and green cleaning products at most grocery stores and there are entire stores that only sell items made from recycled or repurposed materials. With all the hype, it might be tempting to buy new counter cleaner and call it a day.
It took 21 volunteers two full days to “muck out” just one of the 5,000 homes in Cedar Rapids affected by the severe flooding that has decimated parts of Iowa since May 25. The floods forced more than 40,000 Iowans from their homes and 86 counties are still considered disaster areas. When I was asked to participate in this two-day mission to Cedar Rapids, sponsored by JUF’s TOV Volunteer Network in partnership with Nechama - Jewish Response to Disaster, I gladly said yes.
In May of 2006, I graduated from college and prepared to enter The Real World. I’d been readying myself mentally for months like most of my peers. After a quick trip to Israel, I came home and started my first job at a big PR firm in June. By August, I was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Lakeview. I was self sufficient, spending weekends with friends, exploring over 21 life in the city, and in the throes of a wonderful, exciting new relationship. I was following “my plan.” I thought I was all set, and that I was a real adult...
Witless Protection isn’t my kind of movie. Normally, I’d have skipped it all together, but I went to see it opening weekend. It‘s the story of a small town bungling sheriff who mistakenly thinks he’s witnessing a kidnapping. The “kidnappers” are FBI agents assigned to escort a woman to court to testify against a big corporation, but later turn out to be on the “take.” They’re working for the bad guy corporate executives and our clumsy sheriff ends up a hero. It stars Larry the Cable Guy as the sheriff, Jenny McCarthy as his girl friend, and…Skip Jacobs, a.k.a. my dad, as featured extra #12. He’s a movie star…well, sort of.
As part of our new, “See yourself in Oy!Chicago” campaign, some of the Oy! team spent time goofing off and taking pictures at the Bean last week. Look out for the ad in the coming weeks and watch for a whole new Oy! coming out May 12. But for now, enjoy some outtakes from the photo shoot!
Let’s face it—Jewish mothers can sometimes be a royal pain in the ass. But despite their neurotic, overprotective, passive aggressive tendencies, they are also the most loving, supportive and accomplished women around. So, in honor of Mother’s Day, some of us here at Oy! wanted to share our thoughts, experiences and memories about our real life Jewish moms.
I just read this article on CNN.com about the first African-American woman ever to be ordained as a rabbi and the first African-American rabbi to lead a majority white congregation and thought it was really interesting. Alysa Stanton will be a rabbi at a conservative congregation in North Carolina that recently became affiliated with the reform movement.
20 something Rogers Park resident Jennifer Rottner contacted Oy!Chicago about a month ago to suggest we profile her father, Deputy Chief Chicago Police Officer Bruce Rottner, for A JYSK. We think he’s a really cool dad and you’ll be reading more about him in the coming weeks. (Jennifer will be writing a tribute to him for our Father’s Day issue.) But we quickly realized that the real Jew You Should Know is Jennifer!
If you’ve been following along, (see Walking to save “The Girls,” Part I and Part II), you know that the four of us, Team Motorboat, have been “training” for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and last weekend, all our hard work paid off when we crossed the finish line after walking nearly 40 miles for boobies! Since you couldn’t all walk along with us (you lazy bums, you!) enjoy some of our favorite highlights from the weekend…
My Middle East history professor prophesied back in 2005 that Ahmadinejad would never win the Iranian presidency because Iranian youth, who she believed were the key to the election, were in fact, progressives and would come out and vote against him. She was certainly wrong about that prediction—while many may not have voted; a lot of youth supported Ahmadinejad and helped him win that election. (Side note - this professor was wrong about a lot of things, but that’s a whole other story.)
It’s finally summertime at Oy! and it seems like many of us have fitness and nutrition on the brains. Well, I can’t resist adding my two cents…
You know that feeling you get when you know you’re about to trip, but if you’re lucky, you can still “catch” yourself in time to save yourself from embarrassment and pain? I thought I had “caught” myself yesterday morning as I hurried down Southport to catch the brown line for work. So. didn’t. catch. self. What broke my fall instead, was my mouth and big nose hitting the cement pavement. OUCH!
The first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit you have one, right? Well, I can do that. I have an addiction. There, I said it. It’s not just to TV though, but more specifically, to reality TV. And not the good kind of reality TV, if there is such a thing? Apparently, the whole country watches American Idol or at least it seems they all vote for the new idol. I’ve never even tuned in for an episode. Same goes for shows like the Biggest Loser or Survivor or the Bachelor, never got into them.
Yesterday, Chicagoans received some rather unfavorable news, for the second year in a row Forbes Magazine has named Chicago the most stressful city in America. Why did we earn such a dubious distinction? According to Forbes, “Chicago’s rising unemployment rate, expensive gas, high population density and relatively poor air quality create a perfect storm of stress.” Can you say, depressing?
This past weekend, in between going to shul and fasting, I managed to move apartments. Yet, again. This time it was different—I know I’ve said this before, but I am really done moving. I have to be. It’s permanent, because I bought a condo with my boyfriend. I needed a way to put an end to the madness of moving every year for the past EIGHT years and buying just seemed the way to go. Plus, the Obama first- time homebuyer tax incentive didn’t hurt either. I’m officially a retired serial mover. But this story isn’t really about becoming a home owner.
It’s a typical Saturday night at Peabody’s. Most of us are outback in the heated tent where Alex is DJ-ing. Everyone is trying to dance to Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” within the confines of this tightly compact space. Beer is splashing, guys and girls are flirting, and the mood is relaxed and fun. It’s no different from any other Saturday night at Skidmore, eventually we’ll all meander over to T&L or maybe Gaffney’s and I’ll end the night with my veggie burrito in hand from Esperantos.
Twas the night before Thanksgiving, when all through the house a creature was stirring, but it wasn’t a mouse. Trevor, the family yorkie, was playing in the yard, when a skunk strolled by and sprayed him real hard. Poor dog let out a big, “yelp” and took off in a flurry. He rushed through the kitchen door in quite a hurry.
If having a baby is anything like owning a dog, don’t sign me up any time soon. I love seeing adorable babies, especially on Oy!— Oy!sters have some cute babies! And as the proud aunt of five nieces and nephews, I love playing with kids. But, I also really, really like my beauty rest.
Last summer I gave up on the Cubs. The fun was gone— Wood and DeRosa kicked to the curb and the Bradley signing left a bad taste in my mouth. I’d spent too many summers hoping, spending and crying on a team that kept letting all of us in Cubs nation down, so I decided to take a healthy break and wait for Jay Cutler, the Bears and fall. That didn’t go so well either. And the Bulls…ugh.
After the success of last year’s Job Fair, the Jewish United Fund (JUF) and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) will host their second annual Job Fair for young Jewish professionals on Friday, April 16. Designed for entry- to mid-level professionals, the job fair will take place at the Standard Club (320 S. Plymouth Court) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Well, we’re at it again with a new team name— Booby Trap— and a few fresh faces! We’re once again fundraising and training to walk 39 miles in the fight to eradicate breast cancer. The disease has touched all of our lives in different ways— my mom is a breast cancer survivor. I don't think it would be out of line for me to guess— with 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer— that almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by this disease.
Recently, I feel like I’ve entered a new life stage. I’m lovingly referring to it as the stage where everyone I know is suddenly growing up and deciding to get married. I admit that I’m not handling the aging process very well— I’m terrified of turning 27 and unhappy about entering my late 20’s. Bring on the Botox! I’m kidding, I think. But, I digress.
Now that hockey season is over (woohoo Blackhawks!), The Real Housewives of New York concludes tonight, Team Motorboat crossed the Avon Breast Cancer Walk finish line last Sunday and I have no more weddings till the fall, it looks like I’m finally going to have some free time! (At least until I leave for Israel in three weeks.)
Emily Briskman sits down the hall from me at work. Like me, she has Cheerios every day for breakfast and unlike me, she is always cheerful, stylish and put together. For these reasons alone, Emily is my hero…and others agree. Emily was recently nominated as a Jewish community hero in the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Second Annual Jewish Community Hero’s event.
I’m so excited for tonight’s Oy!Chicago fro-yo get together at my new favorite hot spot Forever Yogurt. I LOVE fro-yo. Love it! Nothing beats a delicious bowl of smooth, creamy, soft-serve goodness topped with tasty treats. It doesn’t matter what season, it’s always worth the trip. I love fro-yo so much that I’ve been known to eat my cup, decide I didn’t get enough and get back in line for another scoop.
I majored in political science, interned for a congresswoman, worked for political organizations, volunteered for a presidential candidate and understand the ins and outs of the political process and how important and crucial it is to vote in every election. And yet, like many of us (I assume) I wish I could sit this one out.
Question: What little girl grows up without owning even one Barbie doll?
I was just never that into her— American Girl dolls were always more my thing. (Mom and Dad, I’m still waiting for that American Girl doll you promised me oh, 20 years ago…) So I surprised even myself when I offered to interview author (and full disclosure, Stef’s aunt) Tanya Lee Stone about her new book the Good, the Bad and the Barbie.
A few weeks ago, a friend sent me the link to a really amazing website that combines two of my favorite things—fashion and reality TV. Started by local stay-at-home-mom Dana Weiss, the site—which tells readers where to find clothes like those worn on their favorite TV shows—was just meant for Dana and her friends. But when fashion meets TV, it turns out the fans just can’t keep away.
I recently picked up a new hobby: matchmaking. I’m not exactly sure when I became obsessed with fixing people up, but with each success I’ve gotten more confident in my skills and well, no one I’ve set up has yelled at me…yet. I’ve got one marriage and a live-in couple under my belt— I hit a high this past weekend when a couple I introduced became official and the two friends who I knew would have chemistry took a liking to each other.
Cleetus Friedman has had two professional lives. First he spent years as an actor performing improv and in solo shows across the country. Nowadays, the stage for Cleetus is his monthly Supper Clubs. City Provisions is a delicatessen meets catering company with monthly supper clubs where Cleetus and his staff work hard to provide local, sustainable, organic fare to their clientele.
The mood in Chicago's Daley Plaza was bittersweet June 23, as some 500 Chicagoans gathered to show support for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The crowd was somber, noting Shalit's years in captivity, but also prayerful for his safe return to his family.
Last night while watching one of my many reality show guilty pleasures, Giuliana and Bill, I came up with the topic for my latest dating post... And my boyfriend thinks nothing productive comes from me watching so much TV!
You all know I’m a bit of a yenta who likes to give sometimes unsolicited dating advice to my friends and Oy!sters and I like to set people up. So from time to time, dating/self-help books like Avi Roseman’s come across my desk. This one wasn’t exactly my favorite.
I sat down last night looking for fodder for my latest blog post and tuned in to a new episode of Millionaire Matchmaker and then disillusionment hit me. Why am I still watching this show? I used to love to hear Patti and her wise cracks— she’d put those arrogant, Stepford-wife-seeking-men in their place! But now every episode feels exactly the same, and even worse, fake.
Utilizing her business skills as a former recruiter aka career matchmaker, Bari made the leap to “dating for marriage evangelist,” created the Meet to Marry program and published her first book by the same name. Recently, I sat down with Bari for a phone interview to discuss her dating program and new book and to get advice from an expert.
Let’s be honest, I don’t usually use this space for anything other than my matchmaking musings, but I’m in the middle of participating in Do The Write Thing (DTWT), a three-day program held during the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) annual General Assembly (GA), which gathers young editors, writers and multimedia specialists for workshops on mainstream and Jewish journalism.
Two summers ago, I wrote an Oy! post highlighting my summer reading plans. It's been awhile since then and I just got my latest obsession-the new Amazon Kindle Fire. Now if you remember my last post, I talked about how much I love reading BOOKS- my office at home is covered in bookshelves- and was never going to convert to an e-reader.
During my fifth holiday party this past weekend, it struck me that for all the drinking and eating and celebrating that goes on during this season, the holidays are actually a great time of year for dating (and for this wannabe matchmaker to set folks up)!
You all know Jeremy Fine as The Great Rabbino— updating us on all the latest Jewish sports news and interviewing our favorite athletes— but did you also know that he is a soon-to-be rabbi? Recently, Oy!Chicago decided to turn the tables on Jeremy and interview him about his Jewish upbringing, why he became a rabbi and as a fellow 20-30something, what he thinks about the future of synagogues and Judaism for our generation.
A friend-of-a-friend came late to the Golden Globes party I attended this past Sunday. She'd booked a first date for the night and joined us afterwards. Even though many of us at the party didn't know her well, we, of course, all jumped on her for details as soon as she walked in the door— movie stars just weren't holding our attention at that point in the evening. Like many first dates, hers was a bit of a disaster.
Just like Alex on my new favorite show Happy Endings, I've always loved Valentine's Day—even as a single girl. Growing up, my mom and dad would buy me a new set of cute pajamas every year and I've always made an effort to exchange cards and chocolate with my single friends.
I couldn't read Jane's post last month without stopping to day-dream about my own bucket list. I've thought about my list before from time-to-time. I was very fortunate that my parents traveled extensively with me during my childhood and instilled in me the same love of travel that they share.
I need to rant a little this month…and I know this might come off controversial to some…but I’m really upset with my fellow 20- and 30- something single Jews— particularly of the male persuasion— who troll around Jewish dating sites looking for girls to hook up with and not date.
How will the heirs of intermarriage change Judaism? Can you be "Jewish and" rather than "Jewish or"? Can the Jewish world handle "half-Jewish?" Is being "half-Jewish no big deal anymore? These questions and others were posited by Rabbi Adam Chalom, dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, during his kick-off presentation at a three-day colloquium titled, "Half-Jewish?—the Heirs of Intermarriage."
Other than during college, I’ve only ever gone to synagogue with my parents, aunt and uncle and cousins on the High Holidays. When the holidays appeared early on the calendar, and the weather was nice, we’d drive to my aunt and uncle’s house and walk the rest of the way to services. There’s something about walking to synagogue for the High Holidays with family that makes for great conversation, bonding and reflection on the past year.
Ok, so the conventions are long over and the debates are finally finished, and your newsfeed is slowly returning to engagement and wedding announcements and baby and pet photos instead of 24/7 election coverage and candidate endorsements and attacks. It’s finally (almost) time to head over to the polls and get to voting and get this election over with already!
It’s lunch time in the Loop and you’re a fashionista looking for a great deal, where do you go? State Street? Nope. Michigan Avenue? No. These days, those in-the-know make sure to stay right at their desks. Because every day at noon, daily deal site Gilt blasts out an email packed with amazing designer finds at great prices that sell out within minutes of going up.
On the second day of Chanukah, thirteen JUF TOV volunteers boarded a plane for New York on a Hurricane Sandy Relief Mission to help those affected by the severe flooding that decimated parts of New York and New Jersey in late October. The floods forced thousands of New York and New Jersey residents from their homes and major swaths of the states are disaster areas.
You know that one house were all the kids want to play after school because they have the best toys? In my case, it was my friend Cara’s house. Her mom, Diane Bronstein, created the best art projects for us to do and she would let us rummage through her art collections. We spent hours in her mom’s jewelry studio in the basement making necklaces and bracelets out of her “extra” beads and playing with art materials that were deemed “too messy” in my own home.
Yes, I am one of those exceedingly annoying people who actually love Valentine's Day and looks forward to it every year. Guilty as charged. I've shared all my reasons for loving this sweet day of the year in a blog post last Valentine's Day, so I won't reiterate them again here— but the chocolate is to die for this time of year.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, though horribly tragic, ushered in an era of architectural innovation and creation, responsible for the acclaimed skyline Chicago has today. In homage to that remarkable moment in history—when talented individuals seized a moment and rebuilt a city—space 1871, which opened last May in the Merchandise Mart, was created to provide local startups with an affordable workspace, access to mentors, educational programs and like-minded thinkers.
There’s something about celebrating Passover each year that makes me very happy. It’s definitely not because I get to eat matzo for eight days and little else. But the story of Passover, of all the Jewish holidays, really speaks to me— maybe it’s because it’s going to finally get warm again…soon.
One day, Chicago entrepreneur Adam Hyman was looking at the entangled wire hangers stacked perilously high on his shelf closet and decided it was time to dispose of them. Moments later, they were a jumbled mess on his floor. Wanting to do the environmentally responsible thing and recycle them, Hyman couldn’t find a metal recycling container and ended up taking them back to the dry cleaners.
After five years at the Jewish United Fund, I’m moving on to the next professional chapter in my life. Tuesday, April 16 will be my last day as a JUF professional and your Managing Blogger. It is with a heavy heart and bittersweet emotions that I write these words.
It’s very weird sitting down to write this blog post for Oy!. For one thing, I’m not writing from my office, instead I’m at home sitting on my bed with my dog (who is barking) by my side and writing from my personal laptop. And for another, I’m not your managing blogger anymore.
I don’t believe much in serendipity but sometimes when situations knocks you right in the face, it’s hard to deny them. This morning on my walk into work, I received an email from my vet wishing our dog Toby a, “happy birthday.”
The big 3-0 is looming ever close. I only have a month and a half left in my 20s. Sad. I’m handling it the best way I know how— running away to a foreign country for the big day. I figure that if I have to enter this next decade of my life, I can do it in gluttonous style. I’ll be drinking good wine, eating gelato, pasta and pizza in beautiful northern Italy!
Gleacher Center, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive
Thursday, February 18, 2016 | 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The Center for Jewish Genetics in collaboration with Hillels of Illinois presents The Business of Genetics, an interactive discussion on the globalization of research and development for rare diseases. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to interact with corporate leaders from Pfizer, who will touch on the scientific, business and medical aspects of the development and marketing of Elelyso (a new treatment for Gaucher disease) in collaboration with their Israeli biotechnology partner, Protalix. The event includes a networking reception with refreshments following the program.
For more information, contact
KarenLitwack@juf.org. There is no cost to attend this event, but space is limited. Register at
Pre-register for your free Birthright Israel adventure this summer or next winter with Shorashim to fly from Chicago, travel with others from the community, and spend all 10 days with Israelis your own age! Learn more @ israelwithisraelis.com.