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Rabbi Rachel Kaplan Marks

Rabbi Rachel Kaplan Marks

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Rabbi Rachel devotes her life to Jewish education, social action, and community building. As the Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Rachel leads services and designs Jewish programming with the intent to promote a vibrant Jewish life for people on all stages of their journeys.

She believes that immeasurable benefits are derived when people from different generations and points of view care for each other, this happens in the context of the synagogue. She feels blessed to be able to walk with people on their journeys through moments of the highest highs, lowest lows, and all the moments in between, serving as the 4th Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in its 105-year history.

Rachel has served as an active leader on several national boards, such as Association of Reform Zionists of America and Hebrew Union College alumni committee, where she works tirelessly to promote her Jewish values. Additionally, Rachel has been a camper, counselor, unit head, Machon director, staff spouse, and faculty member at OSRUI. 

AGE:
36

PRONOUNS:
She, Her, Hers

PRIMARY GIG:
I’m a mom of two, a wife, and I serve as the Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel, a Reform Congregation located in Skokie with 105 years of history.

ON THE SIDE:
Lover of audio books, cookbooks, and holy books.

CELEBRITY DOPPELGANGER:
Kathryn Hahn, less for her looks and more for her mannerisms, particularly in her role as Rabbi Raquel in Transparent.

A JEW WHO INSPIRES YOU:
I've recently been obsessed with thinking about the ancient sage, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai. Legend has it that as the Romans lay siege on Jerusalem, the leader of what would become Rabbinic Judaism, Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai, was smuggled out of Jerusalem in a coffin to meet with Vespasian, the Roman leader. He pleaded with Vespasian, “Give me Yavne.” (a town about forty miles west of Jerusalem). Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai understood that Jerusalem, for the time being, was no longer an option to serve as the religious center for the Jewish People. He accepted this, and shifted the center west to Yavne. There, learning flourished. It was there that rabbinic Judaism, the Judaism that would produce innovations such as lighting Shabbat candles, marking Passover with a seder, and authoring fixed prayers for us to say communally, flourished.

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