Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations 2017 Annual Conference


June 9–11, University of Illinois at Chicago

Performers and Speakers

Corky Siegel, Chicago

Dave Specter Blues Trio

Madeline Burns, Philadelphia


Creating a Secular Jewish Home, Jews in Music,
Maxwell Street, Secular Jewish Education, Social Action,
LGBTQ+ Community, and many more!

Dear Friends:

We’re delighted to invite you to “Jews and the Blues,” this year’s exciting Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations conference.

The weekend begins with the Oneg Shabbat on Friday evening. Our keynote speakers and workshop presenters on Saturday and Sunday include top-notch experts on both secular Jewishness and our blues theme. On Saturday, we’ll gather for an amazing dinner at nearby Manny’s, an old-style Jewish deli. After dinner, adults will enjoy a live show by a top Chicago blues guitarist and his band, while youths enjoy their own evening of organized fun.

After the conference ends early Sunday afternoon, there will be time to catch more live music at the Chicago Blues Festival, the world’s largest free blues event, just a short train ride away. To keep your room that night (for a nominal cost), contact me at

Never heard of CSJO? We are a network of communities and schools in 14 locations, as well as individual members, across the United States and Canada. Our programs function outside organized religion and focus on secular Jewish traditions, history, literature, music, art, languages and holidays. The host of this year’s conference is the Secular Jewish Community & School, a CSJO affiliate in the Chicago area. My family has belonged to SJCS for 12 years.

By the way, you don’t have to be Jewish to attend the conference. Everyone is welcome!

Please read through the biographies, workshops, and other information on this page, and then either print and fill out the forms or register online. And keep an eye on for the latest information.

We look forward to seeing you at “Jews and the Blues.”

Paul Ellenbogen

Conference Chair