Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz is the Rabbi of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. He was born in Toronto, Canada, received his B.A. from York University (1971), his M.A. and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (1976) and his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary (1981). He also received a Doctor of Divinity degree (Honoris Causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2003).
Rabbi Kurtz is president of the American Zionist Movement. He is an associate member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, has been elected to its executive, and serves as deputy chairman of its Russian Speaking Jewry committee. He is past President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative Rabbis, and was a member for many years of the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. He served for 10 years as a member of the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism. Rabbi Kurtz is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. He has previously served two terms on the board, including a term as Vice-Chairman. Rabbi Kurtz is a member of the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute.
Rabbi Kurtz has served in leadership positions in the areas of Jewish communal and interfaith activities. He has been President of MERCAZ USA, President of MERCAZ Olami, the world-wide Zionist organization of the Conservative Movement, President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal Rabbinic Cabinet and President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. Rabbi Kurtz is the recipient of the Rabbinic Award, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Council of Jewish Federations (1984 and 1985); the Young Leadership Award, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (1985); the Rabbi Simon Greenberg Rabbinic Achievement Award, The Jewish Theological Seminary (1998); Jerusalem Covenant Award, State of Israel Bonds (1996)/Star of David Award, State of Israel Bonds (2008); the Rabbi Mordecai Simon Memorial Award, Chicago Board of Rabbis (2008); the Julius Rosenwald Memorial Award, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (2010); and the Rabbi Mordecai Waxman Memorial Rabbinic and Community Leadership Award, Masorti Olami (2011). Rabbi Kurtz is adjunct Professor of Rabbinics at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. He is the author of Encountering Torah: Reflections on the Weekly Portion. Rabbi Kurtz has authored teshuvot for the Committee on Jewish law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly and published articles in periodicals and books. Currently he is a monthly Torah commentator for the Chicago Jewish News and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Kurtz and his wife, Bryna, are the parents of two daughters, Hadassa (Haim) who lives in Israel and Shira who works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. as a neuropsychologist. He is the proud saba of Shmuel Binyamin, Meytal Dvora and Anael Rina.
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz honored at 2010 JUF Annual Meeting
Masorti Olami and Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Rabbi Michael Schwab is currently in his ninth year at NSS Beth El. He was born in Philadelphia and received his BA from Rutgers University, where he majored in History and Jewish Studies. Rabbi Michael Schwab received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in May, 2004. In addition, Rabbi Schwab also received an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Education. During his studies at JTS he completed the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Penn Foundation for Mental Health and served as the Jewish Life Director of the Goldsmith Student Dormitory. He also spent several years studying in Israel at the Hebrew University, Machon Schechter and the Conservative Yeshiva.
While studying in Israel he was selected to participate in the Melton Center’s Senior Educators Program for outstanding Diaspora educators. Rabbi Schwab was also selected as a fellow in the STAR PEER Rabbinic Leadership Program for early career rabbis who have demonstrated leadership excellence. In addition, he completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg Management Education Program and is now a member of Kellogg’s Jewish Leaders Circle. He is currently serving as the President of the Chicago Region Rabbinical Assembly, as a Vice Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, on the National Council of AIPAC and on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis as well as on the Executive Committee of JUF’s Synagogue Federation Commission. Rabbi Schwab is also a scholar for Jewish Values Online, a growing interactive website that serves as a portal to Jewish information. You can see his contributions by clicking here: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/rabbi.php?id=12
Rabbi Schwab is married to his lovely wife, Erica, who is a behavioral therapist and teacher of children with developmental disabilities. They have four children: Ari, Liana, Noa and Miri.
Hazzan Larry B. Goller
Hazzan Larry Goller graduated from the Cantors Institute (now the H. L. Miller Cantorial School) of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May 1995, receiving a Diploma in Hazzanut and Master’s Degree in Sacred Music, as well as a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the Seminary’s Graduate School. Hazzan Goller was born in Brooklyn, NY, and attended yeshivot and day schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx. His undergraduate years were spent at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. Before “hearing his call” to the Cantorate, Hazzan Goller worked in the corporate world as a computer analyst, serving in his last position as Assistant Vice-President at Prudential Securities on Wall Street. He was also active in UJA-Federation of New York and served as Associate Chair of the Leadership Development Division. His previous pulpits have included Congregation Shaare Zedek in New York City and Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, NJ. He is the current president of the Midwest Region of the Cantors Assembly. He also serves on several committees, including the Camp Ramah and Youth Programming Committee for the national Cantors Assembly, and serves as “Hazzan-in-Residence” at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Hazzan Goller is in his 15th year as Hazzan of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El and is the proud father of Amalia, Davida, and Julia. Click here for Hazzan Gollers home page!