Our Clergy and Staff
Rabbi Rachel Weiss
Rachel Weiss joined JRC in August of 2016. Rabbi Weiss is known for her commitment to Jewish life that is creative, connective, and deep. She brings her warmth and energy to life cycle officiation and pastoral counseling, is an innovative teacher of Torah, and a passionate spiritual leader. Rabbi Rachel is a Spanish speaker, a proficient communicator in sign language, a skilled calligrapher, and a tremendous chef. Click here to learn more.
If you would like to contact Rabbi Weiss, please email our Clergy Assistant and Ritual Events Coordinator, Rachel Sherman. In the case of a death or other pastoral emergency, please text or leave a message at 847-497-5201 and a member of the clergy team will get back to you.
Cantor Howard Friedland
Howard Friedland has served as JRC’s cantor since 2001.
His caring and compassionate spirit, curiosity, and concern for people and his deep love for JRC inform all that he does for our community. Cantor Howard can talk with you about Jewish liturgical music, books, theater and SHOES! His collection of boots is impressive. Click here to learn more.
If you would like to contact Cantor Friedland, please email Cantor@jrctogether.org. In the case of a death or other pastoral emergency, please text or leave a message at 847-497-5201 and a member of the clergy team will get back to you.
Executive Director Micky Baer
Micky has been JRC’s Executive Director since May 2020, and already her positive energy and attitude, and collaborative spirit have radiated throughout our community. With over twenty years as a not-for-profit leader, Micky has extensive experience managing operations, mentoring staff, and optimizing a sense of community.
Micky loves to hear from the JRC community for any reason! Contact Micky if you have a question about your membership, your financial account, the budget, finances for your committee, if you expect to enter into a legal agreement with another organization or vendor, if you want to include sales (i.e. tickets or books) at your event, or if you can’t find an answer to your question, or if you just want to say hello. Click here to learn more.
Director of Education Lauren Reeves
We are thrilled to welcome Lauren Reeves to JRC and Kehillah in July. With years of experience in educational leadership, Lauren is passionate about Jewish life and children, and dedicated to developing energetic, high quality Jewish learning experiences that are creative, interactive, and experiential. Lauren believes that Judaism is meaningful and accessible to learners of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Lauren has a BA from Emory University and an MPA from Georgia State University. She, her husband Rabbi Frederick Reeves, and their children are often reading, biking, or exploring the neighborhood.
Contact Lauren if you are looking for information about Kehillah, teen programming, or young family engagement (or if you just want to say hello and welcome her to JRC!)
Phone: 847-328-7678, ext. 2234,
Ori Solomon, Clergy Assistant and Events Manager
Having recently made the exciting move from Kansas City to Chicago, Ori is eager to join the JRC team and looks forward to fostering community connections. In his most recent role, Ori contributed to the impactful work at the Kauffman Foundation; and before that, he managed operations and events for a food truck and a local ice cream shop (ask him about the new flavors he concocted!).
Ori holds a B.A. in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Outside of work, the pottery wheel is his happy place, providing solace and joy. A fiercely proud Kansas City sports fan, Ori also enjoys playing basketball and is always open to learning a new board game.
Contact Ori if you have a question relating to B’nai Mitzvahs or other ritual and lifecycle events, if you would like to schedule a meeting with JRC’s Clergy, or if you have any event related questions, like facility set-up, calendar availability, or rental inquiries.
Alex Ellett, Kehillah Administrative Assistant
In this part-time role, Alex works to ensure smooth operations and excellent customer service for all Kehillah families, and they are our resident tech wiz! Alex recently moved to Chicago to live with their girlfriend and “too many cats.” Prior to joining the staff at JRC, they served as a front desk receptionist for various JCC’s both in Chicago and Utah. As a child of a military father, Alex grew up all over the country. Outside of work, you can often find them gardening, quilting, and creating all kinds of art.
Miguel Abonce, Head Custodian
Mike O'Neill, Facility & Event Assistant
- JRC Membership: Micky Baer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Early Childhood Programming: Lauren Reeves at email@example.com
- Support with a Program or Event, Including Facility Usage: Ori Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Submissions to the Newsletter: Troi Roberson at email@example.com
- B’nai Mitzvah: Ori Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact Our Clergy: Ori Solomon at email@example.com
- Add a Name to the Refuah Sheleymah List: Anna Gasaova at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency Pastoral Care: Call 847-497-5201 and one of our Clergy Team will get back to you
- Life Cycle Events (baby namings, weddings, funerals, etc.): Ori Solomon at email@example.com
- Rentals: Ori Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kehillah Religious School and Youth Programming: Lauren Reeves at email@example.com
- Kehillah Admin: Alex Ellett at firstname.lastname@example.org
- JRC Financial Account: Anna Gasanova at email@example.com
- Press, Marketing, or Communications: Troi Roberson at firstname.lastname@example.org
- High Holidays: the High Holiday Committee at email@example.com or Ori Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org