Central Synagogue of ChicagoCentral Synagogue is a Traditional Egalitarian Conservative Congregation

Our services and observances of Jewish holidays and life-cycle events reflect our traditional orientation. Our services follow the traditional liturgy of the Conservative prayer book without the use of an organ or other instrumental accompaniment.

As an egalitarian congregation, men and women participate together and equally. This also means that the Congregation is a community where individuals of all ages and life experiences can participate together in the observance of Jewish ritual and the study of Torah. We are proud that Central Synagogue's community includes individuals of different ages and life experiences.

Meet Our Spiritual Leader - Hazzan Toby Lou HaymanMeet Our Spiritual Leader

Hazzan Toby Lou Hayman is a Spiritual Director and the Spiritual Leader of Central Synagogue, where she conducts Shabbat and holiday services. She provides pastoral services to congregants of Central Synagogue in times of joy and sorrow. She is a dedicated teacher of Torah, Nusach, and biblical, prayer and conversational Hebrew. She also is a facilitator for Wise Aging programs. Hazzan Hayman previously served Congregation Ezra Habonim and Temple B'nai Israel. She is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and The University of Chicago. Hazzan Hayman has the distinction of being the first woman Hazzan to serve a Chicago area Conservative congregation. She has served as both Vice-President and Concert Chair of the Chicago Association of Cantors and is a past President of the Midwest Region of the Cantors Assembly. She is a graduate of the first cantorial cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and has completed its Hevraya (Fellows) Program. She has earned a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction, by completing their Morei Derekh Training Program, and she offers group and individual spiritual direction, guidance, and companionship as a Spiritual Director.

Life Cycle Events

Central Synagogue is ready to help you celebrate life's great simchas. Whether it is an Ufruf on Shabbat before a wedding, the marriage ceremony, or naming a daughter, you can count upon your Synagogue to facilitate the celebration of life cycle events according to Jewish tradition.

In times of illness, or sorrow, your Synagogue is here to provide comfort and support.

Whenever you require information, consultation, have a question, or need to make arrangements for Jewish life cycle events, contact our spiritual leader.

Hazzan Toby Lou Hayman
Synagogue: (312) 787-0450

Classes & Individual Study

Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Bible, Synagogue Skills,
Torah and Haftarah trope to help individuals prepare to chant during Shabbat services. These classes are offered by arrangement and begin when there are sufficient interested students.

B'nai Mitzvah preparation for Adults & Children

Available by arrangement. Children need prerequisite Hebrew skills and nine months to a year of regular study with Hazzan Hayman. Adults also need prerequisite Hebrew skills or they may begin with Biblical Hebrew study, and then prepare a Haftarah through study in our Trope class. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony during Shabbat morning services is the culmination of this course of study and preparation.

For children, Central Synagogue provides an opportunity for families to participate in Jewish learning, worship, and ritual observance, both as part of their own family life, and as part of our congregational family. We call it our Family Mitzvah Program.

Yom Tov, Jewish Holidays and Events

We observe the cycle of holidays throughout the year with services and special celebrations. Central Synagogue conducts morning services on the Yomim Tovim of all Jewish festivals, and evening services on Tisha B'Av, Purim, and Simchat Torah. Special events include a Sukkot dinner celebrated in the Succah, a Purim Fest with the traditional Megillah reading followed by an authentic Persian dinner, an Erev Shavuot Mini-Tikkun and dinner, and parties for Chanukah and Simchat Torah. Special congregational Shabbat dinners are proceeded by a Kabbalat Shabbat service, and provide a friendly environment, like celebrating Shabbat at home with a group of friends.

Shabbat Services

Saturday morning services begin at 9:10 a.m. with the introductory prayers led by a congregant. Hazzan Hayman begins the Shacharit Service with her beautiful nusach (chant) at 9:40 a.m. The Torah service is followed by a brief discussion of the weekly Torah portion. The service concludes with the full cantor's repetition of the Shabbat Musaf, most weeks. Following Shabbat services all are welcome to join us for kiddush and our Shabbat lunch—a nice way to enjoy Shabbat as a congregational family. Services are also conducted on all the Jewish festivals and holidays.

Our Goals

Central Synagogue is a unique urban congregation that strives to maintain an authentic sense of Jewish community and a warm, personal and friendly environment. Through our religious services, educational, cultural, and social programs, we will provide individuals with the opportunity for spirtual growth and increased Judaism knowledge.

We will increase the size of our Congregation through engaging greater numbers of individuals in our religious services and cultural programs. We will build an authentic sense of community by increasing participation in the congregational observance of Shabbat, holidays and Jewish rituals. We secure the finances of the Congregation through the establishment and growth of funding and endowments. An important objective is to obtain a permanent home for Central Synagogue.

As we grow we will develop new educational, cultural and social programming to meet the needs of our congregants and the Chicago Jewish community, consistent with our mission as a Traditional Egalitarian Synagogue.