Rabbi | Cantor/Educator | Family Institute Director | Synagogue Administrator
High Holy Day Cantor/Composer | Moadon
Elliot B. Gertel
773-752-2770, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Letter of Thanks – with musical selections – from Rabbi Gertel.
Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel has been spiritual leader of Congregation Rodfei Zedek since 1988. The 5773 High Holy Days were bittersweet, the last ones led by Rabbi Gertel. Our celebration of his 25 years at the Congregation began at the dinner in his honor preceding Selichot services on September 8 (read the tribute, In Gratitude, and his Farewell Remarks) and concluded on October 9 at services for Simchat Torah. He is now on a well-deserved sabbatical. Even when on sabbatical until his retirement on June 30, 2013, Elliot will be our rabbi and will continue to guide our decision making, provide us pastoral care, and officiate at our life cycle events including b'nei mitzvah and other special occasions. (See the Rabbi's message, "A Year of Transition and Sabbatical.")
A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Rabbi Gertel attended the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary from 1972 to 1976, earning a B.A. in philosophy and a B.H.L. in Bible. He received a M.H.L. from the Seminary, where he was ordained in 1981. He did research and editing for Dr. Gershon D. Cohen and for the Rabbinical Assembly, and from 1982 to 1988 served his first pulpit, Congregation Beth El‑Keser Israel in New Haven, Connecticut. In December 2007 Rabbi Gertel received a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, from JTS in recognition of his contributions to Jewish life (Rabbi's response and photos). He was honored by Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School in March 2012 (remarks).
In Chicago Rabbi Gertel has been chairman of the Joint Television Commission of the Jewish Federation and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, President of the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council, and a board member of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society. Rabbi Gertel has been a contributing editor of Conservative Judaism and Jewish Spectator magazines. He has contributed many essays and reviews to popular and scholarly publications in the fields of Jewish thought, Jewish literature and American Jewish history, and, since 1979, has been the media critic for the Jewish Post and Opinion, American Jewry’s longest-running national English-language weekly. His recent books include Jewish Belief and Practice in Nineteenth Century America: Seminal Essays by Outstanding Pulpit Rabbis of the Era; What Jews Know About Salvation, which prodded the Library of Congress to list "salvation" as a Jewish concept; and Over the Top Judaism, which discusses the depiction of Judaism in film and on television.
On the congregational level, Rabbi Gertel has been an innovator whose programs have won Solomon Schechter awards for music and publications and "unique programming." He has pioneered in outreach to synagogue alumni and in joint ventures with other communal agencies, such as Jewish Family Services. Rabbi Gertel has written several intergenerational Festival services, and he developed the concept of "one synagogue with many schools," which has become fundamental at Rodfei Zedek.
Read a selection of articles and reviews by Rabbi Gertel on The Pulpit Shelf.
Rabbi Laurence Edwards
Rabbi-in-Residence beginning July 1
The Board has appointed Rabbi Laurence Edwards as our "Rabbi‑in‑Residence" as well as our rabbi for the 5774 High Holy Days. Many of us know Larry very well. Besides being a long-time associate member of Rodfei Zedek, he is among the mainstays of our morning minyan, teaches regularly in our adult learning program (including a Talmud study group on Monday mornings), provides pastoral care to congregants, and has been an inspiring and supportive presence in our community for over sixteen years. Larry is retiring on June 30 after ten years as rabbi of Congregation Or Chadash in the near north while continuing academic work at DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Hebrew Seminary for the Deaf. He was a long-time Hillel director at Cornell University and Dartmouth College after rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Larry also has a Ph.D. from the Chicago Theological Seminary and is an alumnus of the College at the University of Chicago. We are grateful to Larry for agreeing to support us in our rabbinic transition.
Rachel Gluck Rosenberg
Rachel Rosenberg is currently the Cantor/Educator at Congregation Rodfei Zedek. She formerly served for nine years as Ritual Director at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Deerfield, Illinois. Rachel recently completed the Cantorial Internship Program of the Cantors Assembly of America and was invested as Hazzan at the annual Cantors Assembly Convention in Toronto in May 2011. She is a member of the Cantors Assembly Education Committee and is involved with coursework and initiatives dealing with best practices in Jewish Family Education.
Cantor Rosenberg serves as the Co-President of the Chicago Milwaukee Association of Synagogue Musicians, an organization which facilitates professional development and networking throughout the region and raises scholarship funds for cantorial students through community musical programming. She is also a founding member of the well-known Chicago-based musical ensemble, Shakshuka, which features Israeli and Sephardic music "spiced with jazz." The group has performed at many concerts and festivals, including the Chicago Jewish Festival, Navy Pier, and Ravinia, and was recently welcomed by the Jewish community of Alaska!
Cantor Rosenberg is passionate about Jewish music, prayer, and Jewish education, and seeks to find new modes of meaningful expression with diverse communities of all ages.
Hadar Sadeh Markin
Director, Family Institute for Jewish Living and Learning
Hadar came to Chicago in February 2008 to further her research in Holocaust studies and begin a career in the field of Jewish education. Since arriving she has pursued both her passions. For the last several years Hadar has been an educator in a couple of Jewish educational programs, where she is active in the development and implementation of teaching methods that encourage students to explore Hebrew and Judaism. Hadar has been directing the Congregation's Family Institute for Jewish Living and Learning. She is also a teacher for Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School. Hadar also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington as a part of a unique fellowship experience. During her tenure, she has researched the history of Sephardic communities during War World II.
Prior to leaving Israel, Hadar was a political analyst for the Israeli Government. She received her Bachelor's degree with Honors from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then continued to attend Masters level courses in Contemporary Jewish Studies. Recently, Hadar received a Masters of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute in Chicago.
Cheryl Gutman joined us as part-time Synagogue Administrator in December 2011. Sherry's office hours are Monday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Tuesday 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Wednesday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., and Friday 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
For the previous nineteen years, Sherry had served the University of Chicago, first as the Director of Undergraduate Student Housing and then as Deputy Dean of Students and Dining Services and Assistant Dean of the College. She thus comes to us with extensive expertise and experience in areas critical to her Rodfei Zedek role, which includes managing the Congregation's finances, communications, and facilities, working with the JCC and our other community partners, supporting our ongoing strategic efforts, and generally helping us become more efficient and effective in everything we do.
Sherry received her Bachelors degree in History from Alfred University in New York, her Masters degree in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green University in Ohio, and previously served as an administrator at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Oberlin College. She lives in Hyde Park.
High Holy Day Cantor/Composer
Dr. Jonathan Miller is the High Holy Day Cantor/Composer at Congregation Rodfei Zedek. He is known nationwide for his leadership in choral music. A local product, he grew up “down the street” at KAM Isaiah Israel and CPS schools and spent 10 years in the Chicago Children’s Choir. He was given his first professional singing job at age 17 by Max Janowski, performing the a cappella Conservative high holy day liturgy, a body of music which forms the basis for CRZ’s yontiv services today; Jonathan also manages the published Janowski musical catalogue. While at the University of Chicago, singing in five different professional choirs in the area, Jonathan began his decades-long collaboration with Cantor Julius Solomon. Shortly after completing doctoral studies in musicology at UNC‑Chapel Hill, in 1993 Jonathan founded Chicago a cappella, a professional classical vocal ensemble, which has received international acclaim for its musical quality and fun, inventive programming. He is a guest conductor for high school, community and college choirs and a mentor for those beginning their own groups. He serves on the board of Chorus America, which in 2008 awarded him the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal. An active and commissioned composer, Jonathan has written more than 60 choral works, including Hebrew songs sung regularly at CRZ. When he’s not pursuing music, Jonathan sells software in the transportation industry and enjoys time with family and friends.
Director of Education at Moadon Kol Chadash
Etty Dolgin directs Moadon Kol Chadash, the innovative alternative Hebrew school and Hebrew immersion pre-school which is Rodfei Zedek's North Side religious school affiliate. She is a life-long Jewish educator and pioneer in Hebrew language programs.