Chicago Board of Rabbis Speakers Bureau

The rabbis listed below are available to teach and present on a variety of topics. Please feel free to contact them directly. Please note that honorariums will be negotiated on an individual basis and are the responsibility of the presenting organization.  Feel free to contact the Board of Rabbis with any questions at 312-444-2896.


Rabbi Ruven Barkan
1. "Celebrating and Growing a Diverse Jewish Community" - In the summer of ’08 my eyes opened up to the amazing Jewish communities that are developing throughout Africa.  This multi-media and interactive presentation will introduce you up to the unique expression of Judaism and experience of the culture of the African Jewish community in Uganda, the Abayudaya, providing a fresh perspective on our own Jewish identity and human responsibility.
2. "David Melech Yisrael Chai V’Kayam" - Why do we still celebrate King David as the paradigmatic leader of the Jewish people?  The Bible presents David as a morally complex leader who commits egregious crimes, at times, to obtain power and, at other times, just because he can.  Yet much of the later biblical and rabbinic traditions venerate him.  What is the historical context of these perspectives?  How do they shape our perspective of King David today? 
3. "Building an Interfaith Youth Movement" - Grassroots interfaith initiatives are developing the path to world peace.  There is much we must learn from our youth as religious and national relations are shifting in our global society.  Come learn about opportunities for interfaith dialogue in your community.
Contact: Chicagoland Jewish High School, 847-324-3709

Rabbi Marc J. Belgrad
1. "Getting to God: A Kallah for People Working on issues of Faith and Doubt" - In an environment that is safe and nurturing - but also stimulating and challenging - participants are taken through a carefully sequenced series of programs designed to identify doubts, provide responses to them, and identify ways of experiencing God's presence.
2. "Getting to God: Shabbaton or Rabbi-In-Residence Format" - A series of programs designed to open exploration and conversation about issues of faith and doubt.
Contact: 847-215-7557,

Rabbi Ken Berger
1. Yedid Nefesh: A Song of Yearning to God
2. Welcoming the Sabbath Bride: Lekha Dodi
3. Poetry and Midrash in the Shabbat Amidah
4. Havdalah: Distinctions that Matter
5. Imagining God: An’im Zemirot
6. The Poetry of Prayer
7. Hashkiveinu: Protect us from What?
8. Does God Require the Heart? The Importance of Desire, Intention, and Deed in Prayer and other Mitzvot: Two Rabbinic Stories
9. Ongoing adult classes in liturgy, Bible, and rabbinics

  Rabbi Adam Chalom
1. "2 Jews, 5 Judaism's - a History of Jewish Pluralism" - From Orthodox to Humanistic Judaism, there are more ways than ever to identify as Jewish. They may not get along, but what else is new?
2. "Modern Midrash - Beyond the Red Tent" - Midrash explores creative possibilities opened by traditional law and literature. In our days, some have tried to revive this creative process - what have they found?
3. "The Other Half - Israel's Secular Jews" - Opinion surveys consistently show many Israelis are neither religious or traditional - they are secular. What do they believe, and what does their Judaism mean to them?
Contact: Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation, 847-347-3003,

Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Ph.D.
1. "A Tale of Two Pharisees" - Yohanan ben Zakkai and Saul of Tarsus and the Parting of Judaism and Christianity.
2. "The Pharisees: Conservatives or Liberals?" - Their name became a synonym for hypocrite, but what we know about them comes mostly from others.
3. "3 Poems by Yehuda Amichai" - Secular poetry as sacred text.

Rabbi Josh Feigelson
1. "From the Talmud to Scalia: How Jewish Law Evolves" - Examining Talmudic understandings of Biblical law.  This session helps participants understand major issues in the development of Jewish law.
2. "What's Your Story? A Jewish Vision for Ourselves" - Using two midrashic passages, this session is ideal for facilitating personal and group reflection on our vision.
3. "The Four Songs of the Soul: Group Visioning" - Using a text of Rav Kook, this session facilitates group visioning and articulation of purpose and mission.

Rabbi Shlomo Levine
1. "Singular Problems of Jewish Single Parents" - Deals with parenting issues, parent needs, and Jewish values (wrote Monograph with same title, published by United Synagogue)
2. "Yours Mine and Ours" - Jewish values in post divorce relationships (wrote Monograph with same title, published by United Synagogue)
3. "Who's In, Who's Out" - Using chapter 11 of Sanhedrin - some theological considerations for the modern age
Contact: 847-491-0776,

Rabbi Norman Lewison
1. "The Broken Pot - Issues in Jewish Medical Ethics"
2. "Rephuat Hanefesh - The Jewish Hospital Chaplain"
Contact: 773-465-1833

Rabbi Asher Lopatin
1. "Genesis in the Torah and the Qur'an" - Comparing and contrasting the description of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden in Islam and Judaism.
2. "5 Pillars of Orthodox Judaism" - Surprise: The more "traditional" you are may be the more creative you can be.
3. "Why I Want to Make Aliya" - Rabbi Lopatin's plans and logic in making aliya to the Negev in 2 years and being part of a new town born from the desert.
Contact: Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, 773-248-9200,

Rabbi Evan Moffic
1. "Interfaith Families and the Jewish Community" - We look at various Jewish approaches toward other faiths and responses to interfaith marriage.
2. "Introduction to Judaism" - Basics of Jewish history, thought, tradition and culture.
3. "Modern Jewish Philosophers" - Learn about Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel and other 19th and 20th century Jewish thinkers.
Contact: Congregation Solel, 847-433-3555,

Rabbi Debra Nesselson
1. Free Will vs. Fate: Are human beings unwitting participants in a drama which God controls? If so, what is the role, if any, of free will? These questions are examined within the context of the Joseph narrative utilizing Torah text, Midrash and contemporary film clips.
2. Choosing Life: Jewish Approaches to Healing- Consider Judaism's approaches to healing body, mind, heart and soul as we examine sacred text; Jewish perspectives of suffering; and practices, meditations and prayer to foster healing.
3. Jewish Views of the Afterlife: Does Judaism contemplate an afterlife, heaven, hell, reincarnation? We consider these questions utilizing sacred text, commentaries and their relevance to our lives today.
4. Ongoing Explorations of Genesis and Exodus: An analysis of Biblical themes which highlight God's search for humanity and humanity's search for God utilizing Torah text, commentaries, and contemporary film clips enabling a deeper understanding of the relevance of Torah in our lives today. 

Rabbi Ephraim H. Prombaum
"The Resident and the Righteous" - Attitudes of the Jew toward the non-Jew in the Bible, the Talmud, and post-Biblical literature.
Contact: 773-764-5230

Rabbi David Sandmel
1. "Jews, Christians and Israel" - An exploration of the different attitudes to Israel in the Christian community and their ramifications for Jewish/Christian relations.
2. "Jewish Views of Jesus" - Jesus was a Jewish man who became the Christian Christ.  Jewish attitudes toward Jewsus over history reveal much about Jewish identity.
3. "Current Issues in Jewish/Christian Relations" - A survey of current issues and conflicts between teh Jewish Community, the Vatican, adn other Christian groups.
Contact: Temple Sholom, 312-664-4775,

Rabbi Shael Siegel
1. "Biblical Themes from a Literary Perspective" - Analysis of themes i.e. love, hate, dreams, and prophecy.
2. "Patterns in Denominational Judaism from a Post Denominational Perpective" - A look at 21st century Judaism on the backdrop of 20th century denominational Judaism.
3. "Conflict Between Hassidut and Modernity" - The point of intersection between ethics and religious values.
Contact: 847-732-1987,

Rabbi Victor Weissberg
1. "Kabbalah - Judaism's Hidden Treasure"
2. "The Israel American Alliance - After Bush, Now Obama"
3. "Discovering Lost Jewish Communities"
Contact: Temple Beth-El, 847-205-9982

Rabbi Michael Zedek
1. "Miracles of the Ordinary" - An exploration of "everyday" spirituality and real miracles.
2. "Folklore and Stories: A Window to the Soul" - How ancient wisdom conveys lasting truths and challenges for us to grow.
3. "Stories for Leaders" - Ancient wisdom on leadership, whether that means heading an organization or a shepherding of self.
Contact: Emanuel Congregation, 773-561-5173,

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