Rabbi Rachel Weiss
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. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Weiss was an Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman scholar, and the recipient of the Berger Prize in Practical Rabbinics. She holds a certificate in Congregational Life and has taken leadership roles within the Reconstructionist movement. Rabbi Weiss is a member of the Clergy Leadership Incubator cohort 4, in which she is working to integrate adaptive leadership, design thinking and innovation into the congregation. She regularly speaks in the Chicagoland community in Interfaith programming, at community social justice actions, and at trainings and communal observances within Jewish and secular spaces.
Rabbi Weiss previously served Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York City’s LGBTQS synagogue, as their associate rabbi. In 2014, she was named one of the New York Pride Guide’s “45 Under 45” for her leadership. As a rabbinic fellow at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, she developed a multi-denominational rabbinic fellowship to bring rabbinical students from all backgrounds to study social justice and community organizing. She is a member of the faculty of Camp Havaya, the Reconstructionist Summer Camp in the Poconos.
Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Weiss served as the Director of Nuestro Center in Highwood, IL, providing social work services to recently immigrated Latino families through Family Service of South Lake County. A fluent Spanish speaker, she is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa where she earned a B.A. in Spanish with an interdisciplinary concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies.
In her own words, Rabbi Rachel Weiss’ vision:
As a community leader I create relationships between human beings, the contexts of our times, the expansive container of Judaism and the lenses and languages through which we engage the world. I strive to translate meaning between actual lived experiences and the wellspring of support and creativity of Jewish traditions. In engaging diverse communities and needs, I hope to cross-pollinate varied life experiences to create communal transformation. I celebrate opportunities to make the implicit explicit – using ritual to mark transitional moments, so that our Judaism grows and moves with us as a source of comfort, inspiration, transformation, and joy.
A JRC and Evanston native, Rabbi Weiss is excited to have returned to her home congregation and community and to Lake Michigan. She is a foodie and fan of all things culinary, an artisan and craftsperson, a lover of languages and grammar, and a Hebrew/English calligrapher. She is married to Julia Tauber, and they are the parents to Hannah and Norah.
Contact Rabbi Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There has not been a day since our child’s Bar Mitzvah that I have not received GLOWING compliments about the service. So many family members have expressed how they have never been so engaged at a synagogue service! My non-Jewish relatives felt so included and embraced the experience. You and Cantor Howard helped make it so approachable, non-threatening and authentic. We are so grateful and lucky to have you as our Rabbi. Thank you for a most wonderful day and we will see you at many more upcoming Mitzvahs and events at JRC.
It’s a blessing to have a home that evolves and grows, and one that comforts. It is a blessing to find home that values the individual life experiences we each bring, and looks for footholds in tradition that resonate. It is a blessing to bring my full self to this table-as a rabbi, a lesbian, a parent, a partner, an activist, a feminist, a Reconstructionist, a Jew-and to have a place that is expansive enough to hold the wholeness of each of us.