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CLERGY

Rabbi Isaac Serotta (He/Him)

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, LGBTQIA+ 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 was a pioneer in officiating at LGBTQIA+ weddings and continues to offer counsel and officiation today.  He also works closely with interfaith couples to officiate at meaningful wedding celebrations and with families of all kinds as they plan naming and other rituals and educational experiences for children.

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 (He/Him)

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 (including interfaith and LGBTQIA+ ceremonies) and be mitzvahs, 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.

 

Cantor Jay O’Brien (He/Him)

Cantor Jay O’Brien brings people together in worship and communal life through a fusion of traditional, contemporary, folk, and classical musical styles.

His inter-faith background and observant Jewish upbringing combine to create a compelling and inspiring musical voice in the Reform Jewish world. This unique perspective informs his work with individuals and families of diverse demographic, denominational, racial, ethnic, and gender identities. Cantor Jay enjoys working with others to craft and facilitate lifecycle moments that are informed by Jewish tradition and rooted in compassion and inclusion.

Cantor Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, and a master’s degree and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2016, Cantor O’Brien became Cantor of Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park, IL.

Rabbi Dov Taylor (He/Him) 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.

EDUCATIONAL STAFF

Ashley Plotnick, Director of Congregational Learning (She/Her)

Ashley has been the Director of Congregational Learning at Makom Solel Lakeside since 2015. 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 Master's in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where her graduate thesis was entitled Mussar Parenting: Gifting Presence. Ashley additionally holds Masters' degrees in Human Sexuality Education and Social Work from Widener University, and has completed certificates in social emotional learning and grief support. Ashley is a trained Spiritual Director through the Morei Derekh program for Jewish spiritual direction. Her undergraduate degree is from Indiana University, with majors in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies, and a minor in Hebrew language. Ashley and her husband reside in Deerfield with their three children.

Vanessa M. Ehrlich, RJE, Director of Lifelong Learning (She/Her)

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 (She/Her)

Simcha joined our staff as a Religious School teacher in 1995. In 2003 she became the Be Mitzvah Educator and began tutoring be 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 (She/Her)

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.

Stephanie Sohn, Executive Assistant (She/Her)

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.

Staci Friedman, Associate Director of Communications and Engagement (She/Her)

Staci has a degree in Communications from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Staci's background includes 20+ years of event planning, marketing and promotions. She also holds certification in Montessori as well as a Masters in Education from Loyola. Staci taught Montessori for 15+ years, helped open our Makom Montessori classroom all while continuing to consult on fundraising projects, marketing and promotions for large and small companies world-wide. Staci and her husband live in Highland Park with their son.

Rikki Carl-Goldberg, Graphic Designer (She/Her)

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!

Sammi Krakow, Administrative Assistant (She/Her)

Sammi Krakow became Makom Solel Lakeside's administrative assistant in August of 2020. Sammi grew up at legacy Solel, celebrating her bat mitzvah and confirmation with the community. Sammi was a madricha for the Lev Learning office from 7th grade through 12th grade, when she graduated from Highland Park High School. Sammi is currently attending DePaul University and majoring in Psychology. Sammi also assists with youth group activities as well as other programming events, for both the Lev Learning and the larger Makom community. Sammi is grateful for her time as a congregant and student at Makom Solel Lakeside and is excited to be part of the office and Lev Learning staff.  

Thu, August 18 2022 21 Av 5782