Libby Ellis

Libby Ellis, founding editor

Articles by this author
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You may recognize Homewood, IL native Steven Rosengard from Bravo’s reality show Project Runway . After a disappointing week-5 elimination involving a white polyester wedding gown, Steven is back home in Lakeview. Read More

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Joe Goodkin, founder of Chicago-based Quell records, is your regular renaissance guy. In addition to holding down jobs as a paralegal and guitar teacher, he plays in bands, runs a record label and travels to local high schools performing his original folk opera based on Homer’s Odyssey. Read More

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Areif Sless-Kitain, drummer for the local bands Reds and Blue and The I Kong Cult, grew up in Philadelphia and now calls Ukrainian Village home. When he’s not on stage, he can be found working as the music listings editor for the Chicago Reader, writing articles for the Reader and hanging out with his girlfriend Irma and their two new kittens. He also enjoys watching Law and Order. Read More

Going into business for yourself takes chutzpah. This week, in the first of a two-part series, meet two local Jews—Michael Farah and Jeremy Bloom—who found the inspiration, money and guts to take their big ideas and run with them. Read More

Meet Danielle Schultz, a woman out to help modest ladies stay fashionable and Josh Eisenberg, a freelance web designer and writer making the internet a more interesting place. Read More

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Chaviva Edwards is a super-blogger with a really long commute. The Buena Park dweller takes the CTA down to the University of Chicago where she works as an assistant to Nobel Prize winners and other big thinkers in the economics department. Read More

My sometimes-combative relationship with food started during The Great Squash-Off of 1985. I was eight, my friend Bevin was over for dinner, and we were told we had to try to the squash. This was the first time in my life my dad insisted I eat something I didn’t want. Read More

Jon Rosenfield, AKA "Pale Jonny,” nee "Jonny Motion,” likes to say he’s from Wheeling, the city with feeling. Today, the self-described extremely amateur motorcycle mechanic calls Logan Square home. By day, Jon does accounting and HR work (he’s is partial to the title Controller). Read More

As of last Sunday*, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball. We’ve heard that a lot this week, but somehow it never gets old. Last Friday morning, in the midst of the team’s seven-game stomping of the Colorado Rockies, I arrived at Wrigley Field to talk to Jason Marquis.The night before, Marquis had pitched. Coincidently, I’d been there with friends sitting behind the much-loathed pole in section 228. The next morning, I had a better view waiting in the dugout for Marquis to arrive. Read More

Miriam Brosseau and Alan Jay Sufrin were making music together long before they started the “Biblegum pop” duo Stereo Sinai, born in celebration of another birth—their rabbi’s son, Gideon. Alan and Miriam teamed up to write a lullaby, taking original Hebrew verses from the book of Judges and mixing them with a synthesized pop arrangement. The single, "Gideon's Song” gave life to the band. Read More

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As I write this, Leah Jones is in San Francisco—and pictures from the trip are available now on her Flickr page. She’s enjoying herself, but she’s feeling out of sorts because, though she shared a three bedroom in the city’s Mission neighborhood during the summer of 1996, nothing looks familiar. She hasn’t told me any of this personally. In fact the last time (and first time) we talked was the Friday before her trip to California. The truth is, I don’t know Leah. Read More

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When Annie Coleman takes the stage in her cowboy boots and bright red lipstick instructing people to form squares for ”Dip the Oyster,” some couples fall right into place, secure in their knowledge that a square is composed of four pairs and that your position at the dance's start is "home." Many of these confident types are rockin' cowboy hats. Read More

A Bay Area transplant, Josie A.G. Shapiro spends her days as the Membership and Program Director at Temple Sholom of Chicago.  She helps members connect to the to things that interest them, whether that might be spiritual discussions with rabbis or social gatherings like sushi Shabbat. Her goal is to make sure newcomers—40% of new members are in the 20s and 30s— feel comfortable calling Sholom Chicago home. Read More

Joanna Rudnick doesn’t wake up every morning thinking, “today’s the day I will get cancer.” But the documentary filmmaker does live with the knowledge that she’s more likely to develop cancer than other women her age, in part because of her heritage. Read More

Rachel Massey’s planner is always full.  The master organizer plans weddings, meetings and events of all sorts—she’s also a sometimes-yoga instructor. After six years working for hotels including the House of Blues and the InterContinental, she’s gone out on her own. When she’s not in event mode, you’ll find Rachel on a yoga mat or hanging at home with her husband Jeff and their animals—a giant Golden Retriever named Chuck and two cats, Lovie (yup, that Lovie) and Sammy. Read More

Geri Bleier and her Beta Fish Bert live in Lincoln Park and when Geri travels—most recently to Connecticut to visit her new nephew Beck—Bert hangs out at Yogaview, where Geri teaches classes five days a week. The full-time yoga instructor grew up in the Detroit suburbs before relocating to Vail, Colorado for six years. After some quality time in the mountains, Geri wanted to be in a city; while in Vail she met Tom Quinn and Quinn Kearney, who offered her a job at their studio here in Chicago. Read More

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Cleveland native Allyson Becker moved to Chicago to become a professional Jew after graduating from Ohio State in 2002. After four years working at the Jewish Federation, Allyson joined up with the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a non-profit committed to the well being of Israel’s soldiers. Funds from the FIDF are used to build mobile gyms, synagogues and libraries on military bases, provide care packages and fund academic scholarship for ex-combat soldiers. Read More

Yael Naim isn’t upset about being known as, “the chick that sings the song in the Apple commercial.” Instead, the Israeli-raised, Paris-dwelling singer/songwriter is grateful. “You can’t be unhappy if people know only one song, I’m so happy and I’m thankful for every good thing that has happened,” Naim says. Read More

Former Lakeview resident Matthue Roth has always been a writer, spending many of his early teen years running home after school to write science fiction stories. His new novel, Losers might not be about outer space, but the story of a Russian Jew named Jupiter Glazer’s struggle against loser-dom does have elements of a stranger in a strange land. Read More

When Lincoln Park dweller Oren Dekalo isn’t at work as the 2009 Vice President of the YLD campaign—which isn’t often—the Glencoe native can be found working as a diamond wholesaler. So, if you don’t have time to read actual books, look forward to lunches on the 6th floor of the JUF or like shiny things, Oren Dekalo is a Jew You Should Know! Read More

When the men were gone and she could no longer think of the word for the thing she used to light cigarettes, my grandmother, Barbara Russakoff—Bubba to those who loved her most—gave up, wrote a note, and overdosed on anti-depressants and applesauce. And it didn't work. Read More

In October 2007, Joel Stein was sitting in the parking lot in Old Orchard, waiting. Alone in the car, he started to laugh — the word sadorachmonesism had popped into his head. Using the root word rachmones (pity, sympathy) he created a new noun: sadorachmonesism. Defined as: the act of your mother telling you that you look “a little thick” in your new dress, then handing you her credit card to go buy something “more flattering.” Read More

Northbrook native Traci Fein spent her teen years modeling for local institutions like Marshall Fields and Carson’s. At 19, an agency scooped her up and brought her to Paris. From there, she spent years traversing the globe. But Traci Fein is more than just a pretty face – when she returned back to the Chicago area, she started her own makeup agency, specializing in weddings and other special events. Read More

In 2005, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote two articles about being Jewish. One for the San Francisco Chronicle about how cool it is to be a Jew in the Bay Area, and another for The Forward about eight nights of Chanukah kitsch. “These two stories had something essential in common: a pride in being Jewish, an embrace of kitsch and a reverent irreverence—an irreverence based on a real love of being Jewish. When I thought of a concept to encapsulate that, the word Heebster lit up in my brain like a neon sign,” Lisa says. Read More

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When I was in high school, some friends and I piled into my best friend Sam’s mom’s minivan and drove from Oak Park to Chicago. Unlike previous trips to go to a show at the Metro or have coffee at Scenes, this time we were headed to a meeting for LBGT and questioning teens. And we were lost. Read More

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