Rabbi Rachel S. Weiss
Rachel Weiss joined JRC on August 1, 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. 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 joins the JRC community having previously served Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York City’s LGBTQS synagogue, as their associate rabbi. At CBST, Rabbi Weiss directed the Limmud Family Education program, creating an original curriculum for Jewish LGBTQ families. She brings her experience from CBST, a large metropolitan synagogue for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, to her work and her commitment to social justice. In 2014, she was named one of the New York Pride Guide’s “45 Under 45” for her leadership. Rabbi Weiss previously served as the rabbi of JRF affiliate Am Haskalah in the Lehigh Valley, PA, and was a member of the senior staff and faculty of Camp JRF. As a rabbinic fellow at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, she developed this multi-denominational rabbinic fellowship to bring rabbinical students from all backgrounds to study social justice and community organizing.
Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Weiss served as the Director of Nuestro Center in Highwood, 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.
A JRC and Evanston native, Rabbi Weiss is excited to return 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 our rabbi at [email protected].
Cantor Howard Friedland
Howard Friedland has served JRC since 2001. He conducted undergraduate studies at Indiana University and received his B.F.A. in acting from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. Howard studied hazzanut with Cantor Cory Winter. Before becoming JRC's cantor, he worked for 20 years as an actor in theater, film and television. Howard is the treasurer and a past president of the Cantors' Hub, the association of cantors in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. He has two children, Hannah Mira who works for the Jewish Community Project in New York City, and Ben who is at college at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Contact Cantor Friedland at [email protected].