Rabbi Rachel S. Weiss
Rachel Weiss joined JRC in August of 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 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.
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.
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 our rabbi at [email protected].
Cantor Howard Friedland
Howard Friedland has served as JRC's cantor 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. Cantor 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. Cantor 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 recently enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Colllege, and Ben who is at college at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Contact Cantor Friedland at [email protected].
David Eber is joining JRC after graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2018. He brings with him a passion for teaching, a warm presence, and a desire to help others find meaning in Jewish wisdom and spiritual practices.
Rabbi Eber grew up in Salem, OR and attended Reconstructionist Congregation Temple Beth Sholom. After earning a BA from the University of Oregon in 2008 with a major in History and a Judaic Studies minor, he joined AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, in New Orleans where he worked as an organizer for the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, where he remained for an additional three years. During his time in New Orleans, he was also selected to be a fellow at the Loyola University Institute for Environmental Communications in 2011.
In rabbinical school, Rabbi Eber served as a teacher and leader in a variety of settings: Hillel Rabbinic Intern at Haverford College, Penn State University, and Bucknell University; High Holiday leader at both Reform and Reconstructionist Synagogues; interfaith and climate justice organizer; religious school teacher; youth group coordinator; and camp counselor. In his final year of rabbinical school, he served as the Kleinbaum Rabbinic Intern at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ), the original Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan. He also received a Global Justice Fellowship with American Jewish World Service on their 2013 trip to Thailand, the Joseph L. and Ann W. Pinkenson Prize in Rabbinics, and the Tikkun Olam Award in 2015.
Rabbi Eber is looking forward to discovering Chicagoland with his partner, Jennie Eber. In his free time he loves to cook, add to his vinyl record collection, play backgammon and cribbage, and spend time with his cat Zeek.
Contact Rabbi Eber at [email protected].