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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.


Chicago native Sarah Levy is passionate about her dessert. Growing up in a family full of food connoisseurs, (think Spiaggia and Bistro 110) Sarah knew early on that her specialty was pastries. Just two weeks after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Sociology, Sarah decided to pursue her dream of opening her own bakery.


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.

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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.


Many of you have attended an Oy!Chicago gathering in the past and have gotten to know some of your fellow Oy!sters. Jason Chess and Caroline Friduss met and hit it off at the get together at Matilda last June, and the couple has since been inseparable.


Avigaeil Furhman is a jack of all trades. She is passionate about music and can be found most nights DJing at many Chicago hotspots, including Town Hall PubThe Continental and Swig. But she also makes a living writing for online magazine BuzzNews and is interested in becoming an artist, dancer or actress one day soon. She loves all kinds of animals and once planned on a career in oceanography.


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.

Team Motorboat_th

Some of the new faces you’ll be seeing around here—Jacey BaderAbby Halper and Rachel Friedman—and I are in training. We’re participating in the 2-day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s a whopping 39 mile walk for whoppers, which I’ve realized over the past few months, is much more difficult than it first seemed.

Alysa Stanton_th

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.

Jennifer Rottner_th

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!


My mom forwarded this email to me earlier today…some of them are pretty funny, enjoy.

Who is a Middle East refugee?_th

I read an article this morning posted by Daniel Dagan written before President Obama delivered his big speech in Cairo yesterday.  Click here to read President Obama’s speech on Facebook in the form of status updates.  You can also watch a video of President Obama giving his speech.

Walking to save “The Girls,” Part III_th

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…

Iran Map_th

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.)

Happy Fathers Day photo_th

Last month, the Oy! team wrote about our loving, Jewish mothers– well, now it’s Dad’s turn. In honor of Dad’s Day, here are some tales of fatherly love.

Getting my yoga on photo_th

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…

A tribute to the klutzes of the world photo_th

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.

Sorry for ruining your day photo_th

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?

Cheryl Jacobs_th

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. 

Running for a good cause photo_th

Jordan Karlik was one of the 45,000 people who participated in the cold Chicago marathon this past Sunday.  A newbie marathoner Karlik didn’t just want to run, but to also raise money for a good cause— the Jewish United Fund.

Celebrating ‘Toga style photo_th

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.

8 Questions for Cara Bronstein photo_th

Growing up, Cara Bronstein was surrounded by art. Her mom a painter, photographer, jewelry designer and all around artistic maven filled her house with fine art and creative people. Full disclosure, I grew up with Cara. I was one of the many kids who loved to play at her house after school because it meant getting to do fun art projects we weren’t allowed to do at our own homes and getting to visit her mom’s jewelry studio in her basement.

A Thanksgiving story photo_th

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.

Adventures in Trevor sitting photo_th

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.

Growing nonprofits photo_th

When Amy and Stefanie met 10 years ago, they immediately clicked—forming a partnership and friendship that was clearly beshert. It was then when Stefanie got a job with the Jewish Council for Youth Services, where Amy was working as the director of development. From there they went on to work together at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie until in early 2008, when they decided to go off on their own.

8 Questions for Stacy Heller photo_th

Did you travel on a BBYO mission to Israel in high school?  Or maybe you attended a convention?  Or perhaps you participated on one of the local boards?  If so, meet Stacy Heller— she’s transitioned her childhood BBYO membership into a full time career.

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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.

Second JUF/JVS Job Fair photo_th

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.

Walking to save “The Girls,” Part IV photo_th

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.

Amen, Amen, Amen: an interview with author Abby Sher photo_th

Recently, I stumbled upon a comment on one of TJ Shanoff’s blog posts from an old colleague of his at Second City. The comment linked to the website of author and University of Chicago Alum, Abby Sher, and promoted her new book “Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl who Couldn’t Stop Praying.” I was intrigued by the inside cover...

8 Questions for Cary Wolovick photo_th

If you enjoyed attending the recent Matzo bash: The Leftovers, you could thank Cary Wolovick.  Cary, the Program Coordinator for the Midwest Region of B’nai B’rith International, not only co-sponsored the event, but originated the idea for the get together—he wanted to raise more dollars for the earthquake victims in Haiti.  Cary is what you’d call a mensch.

Michael Masters photo_th

Michael Masters has quite the resume.  At just 31, he’s acquired a law degree from Harvard, a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Cambridge and an impressive record of public service on behalf of the City of Chicago — serving in Mayor Daley’s office as an Assistant to the Mayor for Public Safety and now as the Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of Police, Jody P. Weis.

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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.

The Help photo_th

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 is my hero photo_th

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.

My love affair with fro-yo photo_th

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.

Mazel Tov Caroline and Jason photo_th

My dear friends who met at the first Oy!Chicago get together in the summer of 2008 tied the knot this past Saturday at the Standard Club in Chicago.

8 questions for Erin Rutman photo_th

Like many women, Chicagoan Erin Rutman was disappointed by the lack of cute maternity clothing available during her recent pregnancy, but not for her…for her husband, Jonathan. So she decided to do something about it and launched BellyMan, a clothing line for the hubbies who are expecting, but don’t have growing bumps to announce the news.

Why you should vote on Tuesday photo_th

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.

Is Barbie Jewish? photo_th

Question: What little girl grows up without owning even one Barbie doll?
Answer: Me.
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.

Meet the Possessionista photo 2_th

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.

Just don’t call me yenta photo_th

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.

When the matchmaker tried photo_th

I consider myself a late bloomer. My first kiss took place my senior year in high school while I was on winter break with my family and I didn’t have a boyfriend until senior year in college. No one asked me to prom and I’ve only said, “I love you” to one boy.  

8 Questions for Cleetus Friedman photo_th

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.

16 dates before you give it up photo_th

While Chicago might not have its very own Patti Stanger, it does have its own crop of relationship experts, including Chicago Tribune and nationally syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson, better known as “Ask Amy.”

Why are eating disorders photo_th

“Eating disorders provide opportunity to excel, which is so important in the Jewish community.” Stated Adrienne Ressler— eating disorders and body image specialist for the Renfrew Center— in her opening remarks at a recent conference in Chicago: “Food, Body Image, and Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community.”

Chicagoans light the night for Gilad Shalit photo_th

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.

8 Questions for Kevin Friduss photo_th

How’d you find your last apartment? Craigslist? Driving up and down streets looking for rental signs? Or maybe you want to one of the many rental companies popping up around the city that specialize in finding people apartments? If so, you might have worked with Kevin Friduss. Kevin, a DU graduate, is a real estate consultant for HomeScout realty.

8 Questions for Matt Pais photo_th

Matt Pais has a cool job. Make that three of them. You might not know his name, but you’ve probably read his articles in the RedEye on your commute to work. A movie critic for the newspaper, he frequently writes witty, spot on movie reviews, interviews celebs and covers red carpet events throughout the city.

Cheryl Jacobs photo 2_th

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.

8 Questions for Brad Kleinman photo_th

While Brad Kleinman was living in Cleveland getting his master’s degree, he’d spend every Monday night having dinner with his grandma and her friends. Dubbed, “dinner with the old people,” Brad really enjoyed spending quality time with his grandma and hearing her and her friend’s unique voices and stories.

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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.

My name is Manuel Antonio photo_th

I still have vacation brain, so instead of a full length post today, I thought I’d share some photos from my trip last week to Costa Rica…and pretend I’m still there for a few more minutes of hiking, swimming and animal watching. Enjoy the pics!

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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.

Winter reading photo_th

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.

When the matchmaker tried photo_th

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)!

The Great Rabbino’s alter ego photo_th

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.

Dos and don’ts of first dates photo_th

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.

8 Questions for David Goldman photo_th

For the past few years I’ve been working out at a small gym down the street from my condo. It’s intimate in size, everyone is nice, each machine has its own personal TV and they offer free apples at the door. It turns out my gym, Wicker Park Fitness, is co-owned by Chicagoan Dave Goldman and his partner Mason Goldberg, who’ve been best friends since 7th grade. Who said Jews can’t be athletic!

Valentine’s Day for singles photo_th

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.

Local experts dish out their best relationship advice photo_th

The rabbi, the therapist, and the matchmaker. No, this isn't the start of a bad joke. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked some local experts for their take on tough relationship conundrums that are on the minds of Jewish Chicagoans—married and single.

My bucket list photo_th

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.

Stop with the just hooking up already photo_th

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.

Matchmaking: Doggie-style, part I photo_th

"What characteristics are you looking for?" she asked us. "Umm, warm brown eyes,” we responded. "Loyal, friendly, likes to have a good time and play, not too big...and hypo-allergenic.”

The heirs of intermarriage photo_th

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."

Mark your calendar photo_th

Two years ago, I wrote a blog post about entering a new life stage I referred to as "the stage where everyone I know is suddenly growing up and deciding to get married." Almost a dozen weddings later, things haven't changed ...and I can add having babies to this stage.

One Jewish woman’s fight against sexual exploitation in Chicago photo_th

As a graduate of a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, it's not often I hear about other Skidmore alumni living in the city. So when I learned about Rachel Durchslag and her non-profit, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), I knew I had to meet her.

Matchmaking: Doggie-style, part II photo_th

I’m that person now. Who only talks about her dog. And cries every time she takes him to the vet. And it only took four days. That was fast. Let me back up a bit…

U.S. Jewish Olympians are on fire photo_th

Just like her mom, Jewish Americans were kvelling for Aly Raisman after her amazing show Sunday night in London which earned her an unexpected spot in the gymnastics all-around finals alongside fellow American Gaby Douglas. Not only did Raisman turn out a fabulous performance, but her floor routine performed to Hava Nagila (I could only find a video from previous competitions) was a nice moment of Jewish pride after a rocky start for many.

Cheryl Jacobs photo 2_th

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.

Why you should vote on Tuesday photo_th

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!

When high end fashion met e-commerce photo_th

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.

Rebuilding after Sandy’s destruction photo_th

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.

Turning wedding dresses into works of art photo_th

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Oy!sters photo_th

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.

Technically speaking at 1871 photo_th

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.

This year in San Diego photo_th

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.

Local entrepreneur goes green with eco-friendly hanger designs photo_th

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.

Cheryl Jacobs headshot_th

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.

Life After JUF photo_th

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.

Matchmaking: Doggie-style, part III photo_th

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.”

Life after JUF, Part 2: Back to Birthright photo_th

I finally made a choice. I'm happy to share with all that after a lot of thought and consideration, I am officially a JUF layperson and a member of a brand new committee with a super long name, The Back from Birthright Israel Committee.

Cheryl Jacobs photo 2_th

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!

Happy Halloween, Oy!sters! photo_th

In honor of Halloween this year, I bring you animals in costume. Enjoy!



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