Skokie Chapel featured in the JUF News


Skokie Chapel featured in the JUF News

Chicago Jewish Funerals opens new chapel in Skokie

By Stefanie Pervos Bregman
Associate Editor

When I walked into the new Chicago Jewish Funerals chapel in Skokie, I was greeted by a bright sunny entryway, founder David Jacobson and his adorable dog, Phoebe. Jacboson is so full of life, I had to remind myself that we were about to tour a funeral chapel.

After three years of planning and construction, Chicago Jewish Funerals opened the doors to their new 15,000 square foot facility at 8851 Skokie Boulevard on July 19. A building dedication ceremony open to the public will be held Sept. 1.

The new building, described by Jacobson as “simple and elegant” was designed by his wife, Iris. Instead of dark and dreary, the building offers life-affirming healing energy, complete with an entire wall of Jerusalem stone. As I toured the building during the time of year when we as Jews commemorate the destruction of the Temple, Jacobson and his staff were building with this same material, using leftover stone to create mezuzot to hang on the building’s doorposts.

The new building also features two chapels, the largest of which can hold 300 people and the other seats about 50 or can accommodate overflow from the larger chapel. Each chapel has monitors and sound systems to accommodate multimedia presentations, photo montages and musical tributes. The building also has a mikvah, offering families the opportunity to observe the ritual bathing of the deceased and a Kohain building separate from the main building, where those who honor the tradition of the Kohanim can officiate or observe the service.

Jacobson stressed that much like their motto, “the way it should be,” he and his staff at Chicago Jewish Funerals strive to make funeral arrangements easy for families in mourning.

“[Families] shouldn’t have stress about the funeral,” Jacobson said. “[They] should have stress about saying goodbye to [their] loved one.”

He says Chicago Jewish Funerals is more than just a funeral chapel, it’s a Jewish communal institution. “This is a Jewish building that happens to be a funeral home,” he said.

The handicap accessible building places all public spaces, chapels, arrangement rooms and casket selection rooms on the main floor. The building includes two private family rooms with separate entrances to the chapel, a private clergy study with its own bathroom and a state-of-the-art security system that surrounds the building.

Independently-owned, Chicago Jewish Funerals’ other location is in Buffalo Grove, and they offer funeral planning at its Highland Park Resource Center. Jacobson said the second location in Skokie was to accommodate those for which Buffalo Grove is too far. The building architect was Alexander & Associates and the general contractor was Syntech Construction group.

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