The Kesher Forum

An inter-denominational learning community for those who are interested in Jewish culture and building bridges with the Chicagoland Jewish community.

The stuff we talk about…

  • Jewish culture and social issues
  • Jesus in his Jewish context
  • Jewish foundations of Christianity
  • Jews who follow Jesus and Jews who don’t
  • Jewish perspectives on Jewish and Christian faith



All meetings are open to the public (unless otherwise noted) and are normally on the first or second Monday of the month at 7pm and are hosted in the Student Center at Willow Creek North Shore, 2200 Shermer Rd. (corner of E. Lake & Shermer Rd. in The Glen), Glenview, IL (

While our gatherings are almost always presented from a Christian perspective, we always welcome those from any background to come and engage in healthy and respectful dialogue.

2017-18 Schedule

SEPTEMBER 11: DR. MICHAEL RYDELNIK, Professor of Jewish Studies, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL | Returning to the Bible Jesus Used

OCTOBER 2: RABBI EVAN MOFFIC, Congregation Solel, Highland Park, IL | The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today

NOVEMBER 13: DR. BOAZ JOHNSON, Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies, North Park University, Chicago, IL

DECEMBER 11: DAN STRULL, Leader of the Olive Tree Congregation, Prospects Heights, IL

JANUARY 8: DR. JOEL WILLITTS, Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies, North Park University, Chicago, IL

FEBRUARY 5: DR. PAUL NELSON, Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University | Topic: Understanding The Revelation of God Through Creation & The Nation of Israel

MARCH 5: GREGORY ATHNOS, Emeritus Professor of Music, North Park University, Chicago, IL | The Art of the Roman Catacombs: Themes of Deliverance in the Age of Persecution (recipient of the Reader Views Literary Awards 1st Place in History/Science)

APRIL 9: LOIS TVERBERG, Director of the En-Gedi Resource Center, Holland, MI | Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus (Available Jan. 2018)

APRIL 30: DR. PETER HAYES, Chair of the Academic Committee of U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum| Award-winning teacher at Northwestern University (1980 to 2016) | Author of Why: Explaining The Holocaust


Past presenters include:

Dr. Richard Averbeck, Pastor John Bell, Jenny Berg Chandler, Mark Chassman, Dr. Stuart Dauermann, Aaron Elster, Rabbi Niles Goldstein, Pastor Jacob Fronczak, Daniel Gruber, Stan Guthrie, Alan Handler, Dr. James Hoffmeier, Pastor David Jankowski, Rev. Dr. George Koch, Rabbi Evan Moffic, Dr. John Monson, Todd Morehead, Theresa Newell, Brian Newman, Randy Newman, Rev. Dan McNerney,  Dr. Jacob Rosenberg, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, Mimi Sagadin, Dr. Tim Sigler, Dr. Andrew Steinmann, Dan Strull, Wes Taber, Lois Tverberg, Murray Tilles, Michelle Van Loon, Dr. Michael Wechsler, Dr. Joel Willits, Michael Wolf, Jack Zimmerman

Please note that our current and past presenters do not necessarily share the same theological, doctrinal, or methodological perspectives, and their participation is not an endorsement of the Kesher Forum, the host church, or any of the organizations its participants are affiliated with. We don’t expect them to. But we all agree that it is possible to learn from and have respectful dialogue with people (both within and outside of the Christian community) we disagree with and they with us.

That is the spirit of the Kesher Forum.

What Is The Kesher Forum?

181612_187954147903556_159299360769035_545451_6995907_nThe Kesher Forum is a venue and network for followers of Jesus (and those interested in understanding the Christian faith from a Jewish perspective) from various denominational backgrounds who have a desire to learn more about Jewish culture and who want to build bridges between the Christian and Jewish communities in the Chicagoland area.

In a nutshell…we are followers of Jesus interested in engaging with the Jewish heritage of our faith and the Jewish community itself…to learn, to grow, and to build bridges of mutual interest and understanding.

Why Is This Needed?

The Christian community often struggles with effectively relating to and engaging with the Jewish community and the Jewish community is sometimes skeptical about doing so. We want to see that change.

There are also many followers of Jesus from a Jewish background or Jewish people in interfaith marriages who attend local churches and feel disconnected from fellowship with others from a similar background. Oftentimes they feel misunderstood within their local church and the wider Jewish community at-large; and there are many non-Jewish believers who would benefit from having more direct interaction with these individuals and learning from their stories about how to be more sensitive to the Jewish community around them. The Kesher Forum gatherings provide a venue to do just that.


  • Connect believers of all backgrounds to the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith
  • Connect believers of all backgrounds with their Jewish friends and neighbors
  • Connect believers from a Jewish background with other Jewish believers
  • Connect believers from non-Jewish backgrounds with believers from a Jewish background
  • Connect members in the Jewish community with Christians who care about similar interests and causes irrespective of their theological differences

How do we want to do this?

  • Encourage Jewish believers within local churches to stay connected with their Jewish heritage and identity
  • Expose non-Jewish believers to the spiritual journeys and struggles that Jewish believers sometimes face as a result of being misunderstood and/or ostracized for their faith in Jesus
  • Equip all believers to engage the Jewish community with greater sensitivity and understanding in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching to “love our neighbors as [ourselves].”

Where do we meet?

Unless otherwise noted, our gatherings are hosted at the North Shore campus of Willow Creek Community Church, located at 2200 Shermer Rd., Glenview, IL , at 7pm on the date posted. For more information about our gatherings, check out our Facebook page or e-mail us at


The Kesher Forum is NOT directly associated with any particular church, denomination, or para-church ministry organzation, but is purely a venue for dialogue and learning for followers of Jesus who are genuinely interested in building authentic and loving relationships with their Jewish friends and neighbors, and they with us.


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