Rabbi Rank, an award-winning Jewish songwriter, earned an MA in Jewish Thought and was ordained in 2015 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Rank has been involved in Jewish education for many years and served as the Maskil (“Teacher-of-Tradition”) at the Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his spouse, Rabbi Dr. Raysh Weiss, served as Senior Rabbi. While living in Canada, Rabbi Rank initiated the annual Halifax Communal Beit Midrash, and collaborated with the community’s Education Committee in rebooting the Halifax Joint Hebrew School. Following his family’s return to the U.S, he became the Director of the Shul School at Kehilat HaNahar in New Hope, Pennsylvania. While managing the supplementary school, Rabbi Rank co-led a Virtual Youth Arts Beit Midrash serving youth across five states, designed a virtual reality Purim carnival, and created curricular materials for young Jews to engage with Jewish notions of responsibility towards marginalized communities and to the planet. Rabbi Rank has authored several academic articles, served as the Managing Editor of Zeramim: An Online Journal of Applied Jewish Studies, and is currently editing Siddur Kanfey HaShekhinah, a forthcoming traditional Ashkenazi Hebrew prayer book, where the language referring to God is with feminine grammar. An advocate for civic causes, Rabbi Rank was appointed in 2021 to the Environmental Advisory Council in the Township of Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Rank’s family recently moved to Natick, MA.
Rabbi Shari ChenExecutive Director and Professor of Hebrew Language
Rabbi Chen became the Executive Director of Hebrew Seminary in 2020. Prior to that, she has served as the Director of the Congregation Bene Shalom Religious School for over 15 years. She was ordained at the Hebrew Seminary in 2005 and since then has worked closely with Rabbi Goldhamer as Associate Rabbi. Rabbi Chen serves as a chaplain and participates in interfaith worship services at Sedgebrook Communities. Rabbi Chen has lectured at the Bernard Horwich JCC and led workshops at the Chicago Association for Young Children’s Education. Rabbi Chen taught B’nai Mitzvah students and adult Hebrew classes at Bene Shalom, along with a variety of other classes and webinars. She has been on the faculty at Hebrew Seminary since 2013.
Linda ClarkSenior Lecturer in Pastoral Counseling
Ms. Clark was co-coordinator of the Chicago Parachaplaincy Program from 2000-2008. She has been leading prayer services including Shabbat Services , high holiday and healing prayer services since 2000 at various nursing homes and hospitals. She is a member of the Spiritual Care Association. Ms. Clark has spoken at State of Israel Bonds, Chicago Women’s Division, Hadassah, and local synagogues on the importance of the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim. In 2003, Linda was the recipient of “The Spiritual Award” from the State of Israel Bonds, Chicago Women’s Division.
Rabbi Menachem CohenAssistant Professor of Spirituality
Menachem Cohen is a spiritual director, rabbi, and tabletop roleplaying game designer. After graduating from Hebrew Seminary in 2003 he founded the Mitziut Jewish Community, an independent, Jewish spiritual community, that continues to this day (https://www.facebook.com/Mitziut). In 2019 he graduated from Loyola University with a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Much of his work is in the design and use of roleplaying games (like Dungeons & Dragons) for spiritual growth, exploration, and healing. He also is contracted to provide spiritual direction and guidance to students at multiple seminary and divinity schools, where he enjoys supporting the next generation of spiritual leaders. He is Assistant Professor of Spirituality at Hebrew Seminary and serves on the Board of Directors. For more information go to www.whatmakesyoucomealive.net. You can contact him at Menachem@whatmakseyoucomealive.net
Rabbi Cantor Michael DavisProfessor of Hebrew and Midrash
Rabbi Cantor Davis received a traditional yeshiva education and is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in musicology. He trained as a cantor in Israel, where he also served as a chaplain in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Rabbi Cantor Davis received his investiture (cantorial ordination) in the United States, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music. Rabbi Cantor Davis is a member of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) where he has served on the Certification Committee for ordaining cantors at the School of Sacred Music-Hebrew Union College. Rabbi Cantor Davis joined Lakeside Congregation as its first cantor in 2003. In 2015 he was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Seminary. He has been a member of the South East Lake County Interfaith Clergy Association. He has served on the faculty of the Hebrew Seminary training future rabbis in classic Hebrew and Aramaic text since 2009.
Rahmiel Hayyim DrizinProfessor of Kabbalah
Reb Rahmiel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern Law School. Reb Rahmiel is a devoted student of many of the leading teachers of Kabbalah in English in Israel and the USA. He is a criminal defense lawyer who lives in Oak Park with his family. Much of Reb Rahmiel’s work is available online at www.kabbalahonline.org
Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Ph.D.Professor of Bible, Jewish Thought, Jewish History
Rabbi Edwards received his A.B. degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 1970, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1975. He received a Ph.D. in Bible, Culture and Hermeneutics from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2005, with his dissertation entitled “Resurrecting the Pharisees: Ideology and Identity between Christians and Jews,” on constructions of the Pharisees in New Testament, rabbinic literature, and modern scholarship. Rabbi Edwards has served as a campus and congregational rabbi for 45 years. He teaches at DePaul University, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, as well as Hebrew Seminary. He has served as Book Review Editor of the CCAR Journal / Journal of Reform Judaism, and has published articles and reviews in various collections and journals. Rabbi Edwards’ recent publications include a translation of Nobel Prize Laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon’s story, “The Great Synagogue”, in the collection ‘Forevermore & Other Stories’ (Toby Press), and “Matthew’s Pharisees: Seven Woes and Seven Warnings”, presented at the 2015 Lutheran World Conference (https://www.lutheranworld.org/sites/default/files/dtpw-studies-201502-to_all_nations-full.pdf).
Deborah N. FinkProfessor of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture
Deborah Fink has grown up in Chicago, Illinois. She loves teaching American Sign Language (ASL) for the students with a goal of ensuring students are successful. She is grateful to have had that experience through her teaching at Hebrew Seminary over the years.
Rabbi Tirtzah IsraelAssistant Professor of Spirituality
After retiring from her professional life as a non-profit executive and educator, Rabbi Tirtzah Israel decided to pursue her dream of becoming a rabbi. One of her biggest concerns was the need for accommodation for her hearing loss in the classroom. However, Rabbi Carla Cenker, a dear friend who was studying at Hebrew Seminary at the time, encouraged Rabbi Israel to apply. Rabbi Cenker shared with Rabbi Israel her training in Tanach, Talmud and Hebrew but it was that Hebrew Seminary also taught American Sign Language (ASL) as a mandatory course that convinced Rabbi Israel to submit her application. Rabbi Israel was granted entry into the Seminary to begin her work as a rabbinic student which led to earning her Smicha in 2017. Currently, Rabbi Israel is working to expand the Kindness Project, teaches Meditation (online in the U.S. and Canada), and studies the Zohar and the Kabbalah.
Dr. Stephanie L. Kutzen, Ph.D., LCSWProfessor of Psychology
Dr. Kutzen is a cum laude graduate of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration with a concentration in Human Service Management. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work at the Jane Addams School, University of Illinois at Chicago. Her dissertation focused explicitly on establishing models for evaluation of corporate responsilibity.
Dr. Kutzen is a licensed, certified social worker in Illinois, a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, the Employee Assistance Professional Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, where she serves on the Occupational Social Work Committee. During her over 40 years of professional experience as a counselor, trainer and consultant, Dr. Kutzen has been on the faculty at Loyola University-Chicago, and is currently on the faculty of the Jane Addams College of Social Work, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Father Joe MulcroneProfessor of Christian Scriptures
Reverend Father Joseph A. Mulcrone was born November 24, 1945. He grew up on the west side of Chicago, the oldest of eight children. His father and paternal grandfather were Chicago police officers. His maternal grandparents, Laurence and Josephine Fay, were Deaf. Mary Mulcrone, their daughter, became a professional sign-language interpreter and teacher of ASL (American Sign-Language). Reverend Father Joe attended the seminaries of the Archdiocese of Chicago and was ordained a Catholic priest on May 12, 1971. His first assignment was to St. Nicholas parish in Evanston, 1971-1976. He then taught at the high-school seminary for one year. In 1977, Reverend Father Joe was appointed the Director of the Catholic Office of the Deaf for the Archdiocese. He held this position for forty years. During that time, he held many organizational positions in the Catholic Deaf Community in the United States. He has served on numerous boards of directors for not-for-profit agencies. He has also served on many commissions for government agencies, including the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. He retired from directing the Catholic Office of the Deaf June 30, 2017. He continues to remain active in several organizations serving deaf people and their families both in the United States and in Mexico and Central America.
Rabbi Marcey RosenbaumAssistant Professor of Practical Rabbinics
Rabbi Marcey Rosenbaum is an alum of Hebrew Seminary. Upon being ordained in 2013, Rabbi Rosenbaum joined Congregation Shalom clergy in Milwaukee as Rabbi Educator and Director of Life Long Learning. Prior to moving to Milwaukee, Rabbi Marcey was a Registered Nurse in the Chicagoland area for many years. In 2018, Rabbi Rosenbaum moved back to the Chicagoland area and served as the Education Director at Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue in Wheeling until 2019. Since 2019, Rabbi Rosenbaum has been working at Rush University Medical Center as a hospital Chaplain.
Rabbi Daniel VaisrubProfessor of Talmud
Rabbi Vaisrub holds a BA from the University of Michigan, MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and MBA from McGill University. He was ordained by Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau in 2012. Daniel helps run a technology strategy consultancy.
Becky AdelbergDirector of Marketing and Development
Becky is responsible for programming, partnerships, marketing, fundraising and alumni relations. Her experience involves conceptualizing and executing large community events, overseeing educational and social programming, leadership development, travel abroad and entrepreneurship programs. She is also the Founder of Community Connect Consulting, the Chicago manager for Reboot, and a voice-over artist.