Who We Are :: Our Staff
Senior Rabbi Michael R. Zedek
773/561-5173, ext. 25
Rabbi Michael R. Zedek is our Senior Rabbi. Previously he was the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (JFC). During his tenure, the Federation received national awards for innovative fundraising and programming. Prior to his service at the JFC, Rabbi Zedek was the senior rabbi of Temple B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City, Missouri where he served for many years. A dedicated community activist, scholar, and teacher, Rabbi Zedek has received numerous awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Grant. He was aslo honored by the National Conference of Christian and Jews. Read the full texts of Rabbi Zedek’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sermons for 2011/5772.
Rabbi Zedek explores the world of bagels with a Chicago Tribune.
Rabbi Michael Zedek on his comments about the spiritual emptiness of material in Crain’s Chicago Business. Read his remarks on tzedakah and tikkun olam in the last paragraphs of Claire Bushey’s article, Ministering to the One Per Cent.ne reporter. Download the article.
Rabbi Emeritus Herman E. Schaalman
Rabbi Emeritus Herman E. Schaalman has served Emanuel for more than fifty years. An internationally known leader of Reform Judaism, he is a respected member of the interdenominational religious leadership in Chicago. Beloved by the Congregation, he continues to strengthen and serve Emanuel through teaching, community involvement and participation in worship services. Read Rabbi Schaalman’s interview in Faith in Conversation.
Congregational Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman
773/561-5173, ext. 32
Congregational Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman has been at Emanuel for over seventeen years. She teaches Hebrew, leads worship, and prepares students for their B’nai Mitzvah. She inspires all with her enthusiasm and love of Torah. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University, and studied voice at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has studied Hazzanut with many of the luminaries in the field, most notaby Hazzan Henry Rosenblum and Hazzan Shlomo Schuster. She is currently working on a Masters of Science in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and has served as serving as Vice President of the Chicago/Milwaukee Association of Cantors. She has been featured in many Cantorial concerts with in the Chicagoland area.
Ben Davis, Synagogue Director
773/561-5173, ext. 23
Ben Davis, Synagogue Director, has extensive experience working in the Jewish Community in the areas of programming, community relations, and information technology, as well as all aspects of synagogue life. He has served as an agent for Israel Bonds and acted as Director of Outreach and Community Relations at a Jewish Federation and as a Temple Program Director and Educator in Pennsylvania.
Alison Lewin, Director of Education
773/561-5173, ext. 22
Alison Lewin, Director of Education, comes to Emanuel with over ten years of experience in Reform Jewish education. Previously she served as Director of Youth and Informal Education at Temple Chai in Long Grove, Illinois. She also spent several years on the staff of URJ camps, including Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute. Alison holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Boston University, where she completed dual concentrations in “Public and Nonprofit Management” and “Strategy and Business Analysis.” She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from the University of Illinois.
Ruth Seidner, Music Director
“Ruthie” teaches music in the Religious School, leads our Junior Choir, assists in worship, and touches all with her song leading and spirit. Her talents brighten Share-Shabbat services and other events.