News from The Ark

June 2024

773-973-1000 |

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Spiritual Enrichment: Caring for the Whole Self  

For nearly 40 years, Rabbi Shlomo Tenenbaum has served as The Ark’s spiritual leader. Recruited by The Ark’s founder Dr. Binyamin Sokol z"l, Rabbi Tenenbaum combines mental health expertise from Columbia University School of Social Work with extensive Torah knowledge honed through collaborative work with leading American poskim (Jewish legal authorities), allowing him to provide holistic counseling for mind, body, and soul.

As Director of The Ark’s Spiritual Enrichment department, Rabbi Tenenbaum offers mental health therapy for those grappling with conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as marriage counseling, grief counseling, and end-of-life support. 

Over the years, Rabbi Tenenbaum has officiated over 2,600 funerals free of charge, facilitating dignified Jewish burials in accordance with Jewish law, regardless of means. He has also presided over numerous joyous occasions, including weddings and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations. He recounts officiating a wedding for a young couple, during which he discovered that the groom’s parents had never had a proper chuppah (canopy) ceremony. Rabbi Tenenbaum arranged for the parents to also be celebrated with a chuppah that very day. Years later, he was called upon againthis time to officiate the wedding of the couple's children, carrying on this beautiful family legacy.

Central to Rabbi Tenenbaum's work are his Torah classes, hosted four times a week and tailored to engage participants of all backgrounds. Focusing on the Parshah and Jewish law regarding holidays and Shabbat observance, these classes impart not just knowledge but the empowering affirmation that "Hashem loves every individual, their unique makeup, and unique role in this world."  

Under the guidance of Rabbi Tenenbaum, the Spiritual Enrichment department has become a bedrock, offering mental health support, spiritual connection, and uplifting community gatherings where all can celebrate life's joyous moments while embracing dignity and Torah values. 

The Ark’s Spiritual Enrichment Department is Hiring!

The Ark is excited to announce an employment opportunity for an ordained Assistant Rabbi to join our highly respected spiritual leadership. As a result of substantial growth and an enduring commitment to Jewish values, this part-time position offers a unique chance to work under the mentorship of Rabbi Shlomo Tenenbaum while engaging in a wide range of rabbinic activities. The ideal candidate will embody Jewish values, possess a profound understanding and practice of Halacha, and demonstrate the ability to connect with and uplift individuals from all backgrounds. 

Apply Today

The Ark's New Dental Clinic in West Rogers Park

The Ark’s dental clinic in our newly expanded, renovated building in West Rogers Park is open for adult clients! The clinic now features state-of-the-art digital X-rays and panoramic imaging systems, positioning us alongside leading dental practices. With 38 years of professional expertise, Dr. Oded Gargir, D.D.S., together with Elizabeth Tarczynski, Dental Assistant, provides specialized services in oral surgery, aesthetics, and restorative dentistry. 

Access to quality dental care remains a formidable challenge for many, with far-reaching impacts on health and employment opportunities. Dr. Oded shared a particularly moving story about a patient whose life was transformed after receiving treatment at our clinic. "Following a full upper extraction and lower partial denture treatment, he returned to The Ark a month later with a big smile, telling me he got a job at O'Hare Airport where he worked for ten years before retiring. That's what makes it worth it for me. This is why I call this my feel-good job." 

Through over 1,500 dental appointments annually, The Ark is dedicated to better oral health and sustainable dental solutions. We aim not only to improve smiles but also to enhance lives, contributing to a thriving and healthy community. 

New Staff Spotlight: Sharon Schwartz, Front Desk Manager 

Sharon Schwartz, The Ark’s new Front Desk Manager, brings years of administrative experience and a passion for community service to The Ark. After roles in the private sector, Sharon sought a purposeful career helping others, drawn to The Ark's mission and opportunity to serve the Chicago Jewish community where she grew up. 

At The Ark, Sharon serves as the first point of contact for up to 80 clients daily, guiding individuals as they arrive and ensuring their needs are addressed with respect and dignity. In her role, she sees the profound impact of providing a warm, supportive presence during times of stress or crisis.

One particularly memorable encounter involved a client who appeared anxious about navigating The Ark’s new Chicago facility for their scheduled appointment. Sharon greeted them with a bright smile and personally escorted them to their destination. "A smile can go a long way," Sharon shared. "It’s so rewarding to help put someone’s mind at ease during times of transition or difficulty." Sharon also coordinates daily with The Ark’s Friendly Greeter volunteers, enhancing the welcoming atmosphere for all who visit our location in West Rogers Park.

Through her work, Sharon has gained new perspective on the importance of active listening, openness, and going the extra mile for those in need. Her patience and compassion provide crucial support, reminding us of the power of simple kindness and personal connections. 

Deepen Your Impact Before June 30th! 

The Ark is powered by philanthropy, and we’re grateful for our community of supporters who make our programs and services possible for those in need. Thank you to those who have given to support The Ark this past year. It’s not too late to renew your annual gift to The Ark, or make another gift to deepen your impact, before our giving year ends on June 30, 2024. Every single contribution makes it possible for The Ark to uplift anyone in our community who turns to us in need. 

In Chicagoland, 1 in 5 Jewish households struggle to make ends meet. As thousands of individuals and families face food and housing insecurity, The Ark is here every day to help our community experience the life-changing power of self-reliance. Thank you for your generosity and for making a difference in our community. 

Donate to Empower Chicagoland Jews in Need

The Impact of Your Gift:

$10,000 covers a 12-month housing subsidy to help a client stay in their home.

$5,400 funds a year of therapy for a child struggling with their mental health.

$3,600 supports a year of food assistance from our pantry for a family of four.

$1,800 provides medication for a year to a client living with chronic illness.

$540 relieves overdue gas and electric bills.

$180 supplies diapers and formula for a family with a new baby.

$36 funds daily meals for a client in our adult mental health program.

Make a Gift Today

Donation Call for Medications:

Supporting Our Community’s Health 

Following the enactment of the I-DROP bill signed by Governor JB Pritzker in 2022, The Ark's Pharmacy can accept donations of sealed, non-refrigerated medications in their original manufacturers’ bottles, with at least six months remaining before expiration. Donated medications help The Ark reduce the expense of purchasing the critical medications that our clients need and may be unable to access due to pending insurance coverage or limitations imposed by public aid.

Please contact The Ark’s Pharmacy at 773-681-8977 if you or a healthcare professional you know may be able to contribute the following unused medications, or consider making a donation to support the purchase of these life-saving prescriptions:

  • Eliquis (Blood Thinner): Used as an alternative to traditional options like Warfarin, Eliquis helps prevent blood clots with fewer side effects, saving The Ark $600 per bottle. 
  • FARXIGA/Dapagliflozin (Diabetes and Kidney Aid): Priced at $350 for a month’s supply, FARXIGA is essential for managing diabetes and supporting kidney health. 
  • Myrbetriq/Mirabegron (Urinary Incontinence): Recently available in generic form, which remains costly, this medication is critical for managing bladder conditions. 
  • Symbicort (Inhaler for Asthma and COPD): Essential for patients needing higher strength doses that our current supplies cannot fulfill, costing approximately $300. 
  • Xiidra (Eye Drops for Dry Eye): An expensive treatment for chronic dry eye, vital for daily comfort and health. 
  • Vraylar (Antipsychotic for Depression): Utilized in treating various mental health conditions, including depression. 
  • Rinvoq (Treatment for Psoriasis): Helps manage the symptoms of psoriasis, providing relief from skin discomfort and blotching. 

To prevent disposal costs, please contact The Ark’s Pharmacy directly to verify your donations comply with the specified guidelines and needs.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities at The Ark

Read on to learn about our most current volunteer needs. For more information about volunteer opportunities at The Ark, visit

Contact Us

Bring Your Family and Volunteer with Us!

Join our Family Volunteer Program on Sunday, July 14th or Sunday, August 11th from 3:30-5:00 p.m. at our West Rogers Park location. Open to families of any size, age, and generation.

Contact us at for more information about Family Volunteer Programs, or for registration information.

Group Opportunity: Help The Ark Prepare for Upcoming Programs

We invite all groups, friends, neighbors, and families to join us in preparing materials for our Back-to-School and upcoming High Holiday Collection Drive. Your participation, in any capacity, can significantly impact those in need.

Email to get involved today!

Learn More about The Ark
Case Management and Social Services
Financial Counseling and Assistance
Employment Services
Mental Health Services
Food Assistance and Pantry
Health Clinics and Pharmacy

Housing Solutions

Spiritual Enrichment

We Are Here To Help

Refer a loved one or someone you know to The Ark for support from experienced case managers who create individualized plans using The Ark’s wide array of free services. Call 773-973-1000 or visit

773-973-1000 |

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