Welcome! I am a rabbi who believe passionately in uncovering the hidden treasure of the Old Testament and Jewish wisdom. My writing and speaking share these treasures with Christians seeking to enrich their own experience of faith.
Why, you may be wondering, does a Jewish rabbi feel called to teach those of another faith?
It began when I was fresh out of seminary. I served as the rabbi at a congregation in downtown Chicago. Our neighbor was a large historic Presbyterian Church. We had a wonderful relationship with the church, and its pastor asked me to teach a class on the Hebrew Prophets.
The only time we found that worked for the church’s and my schedule was on a Sunday morning at 8:00 am. This was the dead of winter in Chicago. I expected a maximum of three people to show up.
On the first day we had 25 students. The second day we had 32. By the end of the eight session course we had to move to the fellowship hall to accommodate the 80 adult students. This was more than I ever had at my synagogue classes!
I realized there was a hunger for learning more about the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith. I also saw this hunger amongst the many couples I was marrying. Over 70 percent of non-Orthodox American Jews marry someone who is not Jewish. The Christian partner in the relationship often seeks to learn more about their spouse’s faith. They want to know about what Jews believe about Jesus. They want to know more about the Old Testament. They want to learn about the Jewish holidays.
This interest in the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith spans the gamut of denominations, from Evangelical to Unitarian. It is an interest without covert agendas. It is an interest deeply rooted in Christianity and committed to understanding more about the Jewish context from which Jesus came and taught.
I consider it an extraordinary privilege to be able to speak freely and openly about my faith to those of another with deep respect and interest. I’m presently under contract for two books with the publishing arm of the United Methodist Church, and I speak at churches and conferences across the country.
What to expect from this blog
This site is the hub for my writing and speaking. It includes articles, prayers, quotes, videos and occasional recordings of sermons. I aim to post five times per week. If you wish to receive a weekly digest of the posts, you can subscribe right here.
Should you wish to contact me about speaking or teaching at your church or organization, you can find my most requested topics here.
My Professional Story
I serve as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Solel in suburban Chicago. The congregation began in 1957, and our membership numbers about 500 families. The Hebrew word “Solel” means “Pathfinder,” and it’s derived from a verse in the Book of Isaiah.
“Solu, Solu, hamesahleh,” Blaze, blaze the pathway!”
As a congregation, while serving the needs of our members, we also seek to blaze new paths in Jewish life. You can learn all about the array of activities we do by clicking here.
My Personal Story
My family is deeply rooted in the Midwest. My great great grandparents came over from Poland and Austria to Milwaukee and Chicago. I was born in Houston, Texas, after my father had completed his army service and taken a position at the Baylor Medical School. After attending elementary school in Houston, my parents decided to move back to the much less friendly climate of Milwaukee. Gone were the swimming pool and year-round tennis courts. In Milwaukee, however, I had the privilege of growing up near my grandparents, who taught and inspired me deeply with their commitment to faith, community and family.
My passion in high school was debate, and I entered Stanford University in 1996 with a plan to study history and go to law school. Those plans changed when I took a class in religious studies class and became intrigued with both the Hebrew language and ancient Jewish texts. The Jewish community center on campus became a second home for me, and after graduating with a degree in history and a minor in religious studies in 2000, I entered rabbinical school.
We spend the first year study in Jerusalem, and I felt an extraordinary awakening of spirit and love. It was not an easy. Terrorist bombings happened almost every week. Yet, I left the year deeply committed to the strength and centrality of the Jewish homeland, and felt an abiding commitment to doing what I could to help it prosper.
After three years of intense study at the Jewish seminary in Cincinnati, I accepted a position as a rabbi at a wonderful congregation in downtown Chicago. I was also newly married, having met my wife during rabbinical school. She is also a rabbi and serves as the director of Interfaith Family/Chicago. We are the proud parents of Hannah and Tamir. Amongst the greatest benefits of being a rabbi is living within walking distance of the synagogue!
I am delighted to connect as we learn and grow in faith together. Shalom!
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