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Clergy and Staff

Rabbi Isaac Serotta

Rabbi ‘Ike’ Serotta is committed in both word and deed to social justice. He is a strong advocate for civil rights, women’s rights, voter’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant and refugee rights. He is also active in interfaith dialogue, with service as past president of the Southeast Lake County Clergy Association and similar roles with the Greater Milwaukee Interfaith Council as well as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He teaches regularly in interfaith study groups.

Rabbi Serotta is easily approachable to both adults and children. He is passionate about sports, music and movies. Congregants consider him to be scholarly, highly personable and uncommonly kind and caring.

Rabbi Serotta is married to Ceilanne Libber and has three children.

Rabbi Evan Moffic

Respected as a Jewish thought leader both in the Chicago area and nationally, Rabbi Evan Moffic is a charismatic and engaging leader both in our congregation and beyond. He is dedicated to interfaith outreach, social justice, and inspiring a modern relevant spirituality for today’s world. While leading worship, officiating at weddings and b’nei mitzvah, and serving a large and diverse congregation, Rabbi Moffic loves to write and work with others to explore what practices help us feel a greater sense of satisfaction, meaning and purpose in our lives. Rabbi Moffic is the author of four best-selling books. 

Rabbi Moffic graduated from Stanford University and was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2006. He is married to Rabbi Arielle Moffic. They have two children.

Rabbi Dov Taylor

Emeritus Rabbi at Makom Solel Lakeside

Coming to us from Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts, Dov Taylor became Congregation Solel’s third rabbi, serving for a quarter of a century from 1984 to 2009. Ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1968, he went on to do postgraduate work in Modern Hebrew literature at Brandeis University. He has taught at Brandeis, New England College, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford and the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard. In addition to writing, teaching and lecturing, Rabbi Taylor has been a strong supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, affordable housing initiatives and separation of church and state. Dov and Judith now make their home in Woodstock, Vermont, where he leads Chavurat Ki-tov - A Gathering for Jewish Life and Learning.

Cantor Jay O’Brien

Whether you are hungry for music with an uptempo beat or something mellow to stir your soul, Cantor Jay O’Brien delivers it all.

With a fine tenor voice equally suited to singing opera or show tunes, Cantor O’Brien appeals to Jews of many different demographics and denominations through his fusion of traditional, contemporary, folk, and classical musical genres in Jewish worship and communal life.

His interfaith background and observant Jewish upbringing makes him an inspiring and compelling musical leader.

Educational Staff

Ashley Plotnick, Director of Congregational Learning

Ashley believes Jewish education must address children’s social, emotional, and spiritual needs while engaging them in and out of the classroom. She is passionate about involving adults in Jewish learning and loves teaching Mussar (character development based on Jewish values) to all ages.

Ashley holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, as well as a Master’s degree in Education and Social Work from Widener University.

Vanessa M. Ehrlich, RJE, Director of Lifelong Learning

Vanessa believes that Jewish education is a lifetime journey and, for that reason, manages a vibrant Adult Education program, enriched significantly by her deep knowledge of contemporary issues in faith and religion. In addition to being integrally involved in the identification of quality speakers to support adult learning, Vanessa teaches classes, conducts book groups, and takes an active role in our Adult B’nai Mitzvah classes.

Vanessa holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Jewish Education from Spertus College.

Simcha Ackerman, Be Mitzvah Educator

Simcha joined our staff as a Religious School teacher in 1995. In 2003 she became the Be Mitzvah Educator and began tutoring b’nai mitzvah students.

Simcha is the person who assigns be mitzvah dates, currently tutors all Be Mitzvah students and helps with coordinating the be mitzvah service by meeting with families. She attends all be mitzvah services. Simcha also teaches hevruta, a small group be mitzvah preparatory course. Hevruta meets on Tuesdays and Sundays before religious school, and Simcha also works with students needing additional Hebrew help during Religious School hours.

Professional Staff

Holly Krakow, Executive Director

Holly Krakow is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Makom Solel Lakeside. She comes from a professional career within the Jewish community for over 15 years, and had the great honor of being chosen as one of 20 Jewish educators throughout North America, to be a JCC Association Sheva Covenant Directors Leadership Institute fellow. Holly also received a Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning through a national cohort with the Jewish Theological Seminary and Rutgers University for leaders who will go on to define the field of Jewish education, engagement and shape Jewish experiences.  Prior to the position of Executive Director, Holly spent the past 3 years as President, facilitating and leading the synagogue through a successful unification.  Holly is thrilled to bring her love of Judaism and lifelong learning to her role and is committed to helping design and implement the vision of future Jewish growth for Makom Solel Lakeside.  Holly lives in Highland Park with her husband Jeff and adores her 3 grown children, Ross, Carly and Sammi.

Leah Neiman, Director of Communications and Engagement

Leah is Makom Solel Lakeside's Director of Communications and Engagement. Leah received her LL.B. from Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Law while completing her Israel Ministry of Law mediation certification. After being called to the Israeli Bar, Leah moved to Chicago and joined Zelda's Catering, helping North Shore families plan their mitzvahs, weddings and private events. She has experience as a teacher at Emanuel Congregation’s Hebrew School program, manages a popular Facebook community group devoted to Challah baking enthusiasts, and has served as a synagogue membership committee chairperson. Leah comes to Makom Solel Lakeside with a passion for fostering strong community engagement through impactful communications, and takes pride in our congregation’s unique set of values, warm inclusiveness and rich history. She lives in Skokie with her husband and two children.

Rikki Carl-Goldberg, Graphic Designer

Rikki joined our community in 2016, has a Fine Arts degree focused on graphic design and runs her own graphic design company outside of Makom Solel Lakeside. Having grown up on the North Shore, she has a great connection to the Jewish community and has a background in Jewish studies. Rikki is devoted to helping others and bringing a creative and fun environment to our congregation!

Stephanie Sohn, Administrative Assistant

Stephanie's smile can be seen in the office and heard on the phone when you call Makom Solel Lakeside. She can handle just about any request such as making a donation or checking a Yahrzeit date. Her degrees in sociology and human resource management give her the perfect background for her role in our community. Stephanie and her husband live in Northbrook with their two children.

Fri, September 24 2021 18 Tishrei 5782