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We are transitioning our community to gathering online.
Please see the calendar for upcoming events. Click on each event for the Zoom link.
Stay tuned as our offerings expand to meet communal needs!

Clergy and Staff


We are fortunate to have two co-rabbis serving our congregation. Both Rabbis Moffic and Serotta are actively involved in Jewish education teaching weekly Torah study, adult education classes, downtown lunch and learn programs and they work closely with the confirmation class.

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 Moffic is the author of four best-selling books. He is regularly featured as part of the Religion Panel on Fox and Friends and on CNN, and his articles appear in Huffington Post.

The Chicago Tribune described our Rabbi Moffic as “a brilliant antidote to all that divides us. He constructs bridges where others drive wedges” and “the Rabbi we’d love to call our own. Humble, wise and good beyond words.”

Rabbi Moffic graduated Stanford University and ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2006. After serving 3 years as at Chicago Sinai Congregation, he joined Congregation Solel in 2009. He is married to Rabbi Arielle Poster Moffic, founder of CoHere Chicago. 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 1965 Rabbi Taylor founded Torah Corps—an intensive summer experience in Jewish living and learning for teenagers from the United States and Canada—and directed it for twenty years. Many participants in the program have gone on to become rabbis, cantors, academics, educators and Jewish leaders.

In 1997, his translation of Joseph Perl’s Revealer of Secrets: The First Hebrew Novel was published to critical acclaim, and he was invited to present a paper on his work at the Fifth Annual International Conference on the Haskalah, held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in December 2013. A revised edition of Revealer of Secrets and Rabbi Taylor's new translation of its sequel - Testing the Righteous - are currently being prepared for publication by the Hebrew Union College Press.

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 Master’s degrees in Education and Social Work from Widener University.

Vanessa M. Ehrlich, RJE, Director of Lifelong Learning

Vanessa believes that a 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, B’nai Mitzvah Educator

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

Simcha is the person who assigns b’nai mitzvah dates, currently tutors all b’nai mitzvah students and helps with coordinating the b’nai mitzvah service by meeting with families. She attends all b’nai mitzvah services.

Simcha also teaches hevruta, a small group b’nai 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.

Sloane Jolcover, Youth Education & Engagement Coordinator

Sloane works with our madrichim, our teen program, and all of our youth groups to create fun, engaging programs for the year. Sloane graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University and has spent the past few years working with children who have emotional, behavioral and developmental disabilities.

Professional Staff


Rick Schuster, Executive Director

Rick brings a unique blend of senior management experience and sustained passion for Makom Solel Lakeside Congregation to his role as Executive Director. Rick plays a crucial role in many of the vital operations governing our congregation including overseeing administrative and support staff, strategic planning, budgeting, technology, facilities, maintenance, and implementation of new policies and procedures. Starting out with a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, he has followed a diversified career path with ownership and executive level positions focusing primarily on the sales, marketing and strategic planning aspects of closely-held enterprise.

Rick served on the Board of Directors for nearly 12 years – including a term as president – and then remained active on several committee assignments after leaving formal board appointment. He was very instrumental in establishing the popular Sunday morning Adult Enrichment program.

Rick and his wife Mary live in Deerfield. They have been members for over 25 years and their two grown children, Ann and Ben, are confirmands of the religious school program.

Amy Blechman, Clergy and Executive Coordinator

Amy has broad responsibilities within the congregation. Amy's main responsibility is assisting Rabbi Moffic, Rabbi Serotta and Cantor O'Brien and handling their calendars. Amy is the one to contact to schedule life cycle events and Yahrzeit name readings. She also assists families with the b’nai mitzvah process. Amy is the one to go to for information on renting space in the building. Amy greatly enjoys the warm environment of Makom Solel Lakeside and working with the members.

Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, her MBA at Northwestern's Kellogg School and is a CPA. Amy's two children attend Big Ten universities and she enjoys rooting on their teams with them, as well as attending just about any sporting event!

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!

Tue, March 31 2020 6 Nisan 5780