Oak Park Temple Clergy
Max Weiss and his family came to the Oak Park Temple community in 2009. Ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997, he has served congregations in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Rabbi Weiss currently serves as Chair of the Rabbinic Advisory committee of Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute and is active in interfaith dialogue and community outreach programs. He has particular interest in lifelong Jewish education and is passionate about American Jewish history. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk, please email Rabbi Max Weiss or call the Temple office.
Julie Yugend-Green appointed cantor of Oak Park Temple in 1997, holds a degree of Master of Sacred Music from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was invested as Cantor in 1994. Cantor Yugend-Green has instituted dynamic programs of music and study including the establishment of Shalshelet – Oak Park Temple’s Council for Music and the Arts. She is committed to fostering our community’s relationship with Eretz Yisrael, and has led several several congregational tours of Israel and Eastern Europe. In 2013, Cantor Yugend-Green became a founding member of the West Suburban Chevra Kadisha, a partnership between Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion and West Suburban Temple Har Zion. Email Cantor Julie Yugend-Green.
Gary S. Gerson
Gary S. Gerson served as Senior Rabbi from 1979 to 2009. Reflecting on his tenure, he is most proud of having facilitated a vibrant congregational program of adult studies that culminated in the building of our adult learning center. With this as a backdrop, upon his assuming emeritus status, the Rabbi Gary S. Gerson Chair in Adult Education was created and endowed. Through this vehicle, Rabbi Gerson continues to serve the congregation with his courses in Jewish text, Jewish thought, and the foundational texts of the Jewish mystical tradition. In addition, Rabbi Gerson continues to serve as a resource in other areas of congregational life.
Staff and Administrators
Danielle Sandler has over 15 years of experience in Jewish Institutions crossing the spectrum from Orthodox to Reform. She worked for Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation as Executive Director, Hebrew Theological College/Anne M. Blitstein Teachers Institute as Assistant to the Dean, and Administrative Assistant for the Early Childhood Department of Hillel Torah Day School. She has an M.Ed from Loyola University in Administration and Supervision, B.S. from DePaul University in Political Science; A.A. from Columbia College in Paralegal Studies. Email Danielle.
Robin Arbetman has taught children of all ages in Chicago area synagogues since 1981. She joined the Oak Park Temple Religious School staff in 1990 and immediately became one of its most beloved teachers. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Ms. Arbetman also studied at the Hebrew University and completed a year of intensive leadership training at the Institute for Youth Leaders in Israel as well as the Master Teacher Training Course for Jewish Educators. She is active in national CAJE conferences. As a curriculum writer, Ms. Arbetman has developed material for special media events, courses on contemporary Jewish identity, and an interactive online Holocaust study guide. Her vision for Jewish education is an organic one, providing students individual expression, cooperative learning, meaningful experiences, and community awareness. Email Robin.
Director of Early Childhood Education
Marci Sperling-Flynn has been Glasser Preschool’s full time director since 1998. She received her BA in psychology from Brandeis University (having also spent a semester at Tel Aviv University), received her JD from Georgetown University Law School, and completed her coursework towards the MA in early childhood education at National Louis University. After practicing law for ten years, Ms. Flynn changed careers to follow her dream of working full time with children and their families. Email Marci.
2017-2018 Officers and Board of Directors
(term ends Jan 2019):
President: Shari S.
Executive Vice President: Liz Simon
Finance Vice President: Aaron Lebovitz
Vice President w/o Portfolio: Jenn George
Building Vice President: Brian Hammersley
Treasurer: Dan Zoloto
Secretary: Alan Fox
Immediate Past President: Deborah Holdstein
to the Board of Directors:
Religious School: Randy Gillett
Glasser Preschool: Carolyn Sherman
Women of Oak Park Temple: Cindy Gould
Adult Education: Susan Ciselsky
Social Action: Allison Cowett
Development & Annual Giving (Fundraising): Sarah Lewensohn
Worship: Jimmy Korshak
Membership: Marc Imowitz
Communications: Karen Muriello
At-Large Board Members
(term ends Jan 2019)
At-Large Board Members
(term ends Jan 2018):
Shari and her family have been members of Oak Park Temple for more than 10 years. She has served as an at-large board member, she served two terms as the Treasurer, and she held the role of Executive VP before taking over as President. She has been actively involved in various committees, including most recently finance, human resources, communication, worship, and Derech Eretz.
Shari became a Bat Mitzvah at Oak Park Temple as an adult. Her son went through the Religious School program, Bar Mitzvah, and was confirmed at OPT. Shari is active in a women’s Torah study group as well as a chavurah. Shari is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and she is currently a Supervisor who leads a group of highly specialized forensic accountants.
Executive Vice President
Liz Simon has been actively involved with Oak Park Temple since 1990. She and her husband Jonathan met and were married at OPT. She and her three daughters became B’nai Mitzvah, and all three daughters worked as TAs in the religious school and at Camp Shalom. As a family, they have traveled with Cantor Yugend-Green to Israel, celebrated with other community members at the annual Temple Retreats, and contributed to many of the Temple’s social action initiatives. Liz is active in Rabbi Weiss’s Saturday morning Torah study group, and she sings with Zimrei Ha’am. She has been involved in several committees, including religious school, worship and HR. She currently serves as one of the co-chairs of Bikur Cholim, part of the Caring Community initiative.
Liz is an attorney with a mediation and arbitration practice focused on labor and employment law. She serves on three national dispute resolution boards and teaches at Loyola University Law School, where her students advocate on behalf of small businesses and low income clients.
Deborah H. Holdstein
Immediate Past President
Deborah Holdstein has been a member of Oak Park Temple since 1986, and, among other activities, she has served on the Board of Directors under several administrations. She has also served on the Glasser Preschool Committee and for many years co-led the volunteers of the Shure Memorial Library of Oak Park Temple. Deborah also had the honor of being part of the Rabbi Search Committee that brought Rabbi Weiss to OPT. She and her husband, Jay Boersma, are members of an OPT chavurah.
Professor of English and for seven years Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago, Deborah became bat mitzvah several years ago, studying with Cantor Green to accomplish this milestone. Her children, Emily and David, now adults, attended preschool, religious school, and became B’nai Mitzvah at OPT, and late in life, Deborah’s parents became members of OPT after moving to the Chicago area.
Finance Vice President
Aaron joined the OPT Board as the Vice President in Finance in March of 2013. His family joined the Temple in 2006. Aaron grew up in Glencoe, IL, and became Bar Mitzvah at Am Shalom.
Aaron and his wife, Donna Meyers, have served on a wide range of boards and committees around town, including the D97 Financial Oversight and Review Committee, the D97 PTO Council, West Suburban PADS, the Oak Park & River Forest Food Pantry, the Chicago Zoological Society, the Oak Park / River Forest Community Foundation, and the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Their older daughter, Madi, became Bat Mitzvah last September. Their son, Bram, will soon become Bar Mitzvah, and daughter Ava will graduate from the Glasser Preschool. Aaron was trained as an economist, and he spends his weekdays developing quantitative strategies for investment and trading.
Dan Zoloto is a second-generation member of Oak Park Temple, having grown up in River Forest and become Bar Mitzvah at OPT in 1992. Dan’s family moved to Oak Park in 2010 and joined OPT in 2012. Dan joined the Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2017. In his capacity as Treasurer, Dan serves as an Officer on the Temple’s Executive Board.
Two of Dan’s three children are “graduates” of Glasser Preschool, and both attend Religious School at the Temple. Dan’s youngest child has one more year at Glasser before she enters the Gan classroom in the Religious School. Dan’s wife, Amanda, is an active participant in the Glasser Preschool community and will serve in the 2017-18 school year as the Treasurer of its Parent Committee.
Dan is Vice President of Asset Management at Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, a privately-held investment firm with $12.8 billion in assets under management.
Alan Fox and his wife Win moved to Oak Park 11 years ago from Maryland to be close to their daughter Lucy and her three boys. Following Lucy’s lead, they joined Oak Park Temple and immediately felt completely at home.
Alan is a retired Federal government economist (SSA & HUD), tinkerer, cabinetmaker, occasional consultant, and one of the esteemed Bagel Boys. They live around the corner from Lucy and Michael and the three Kelly boys, and a mile from their son Dan and his family.
Vice President without Portfolio
Jennifer George joined the temple in 2010 after walking into the rotunda on a Sunday morning and experiencing the joy and energy. She and her husband Dan realized “this was the community we wanted to be a part of.”
Their twin boys Ben and Noah and daughter Abbie all attended Glasser Preschool. As a family, they are very active in the Temple, as they were in the preschool. Jennifer has served as board rep for Glasser Preschool, a member of the Arts and Environment Committee, and on the David Broza concert during OPT’s 150th Anniversary celebration.
Adult Education Committee
Bio Coming Soon
Allison Cowett joined Oak Park Temple with her husband, Dave Adams, and their two girls Noa and Talia in 2013. She and her family have formed a Chavurah with families whose children attend Longfellow School. She is an active member of the Social Action Committee.
Allison is an Obstetrician Gynecologist specializing in contraception and abortion. She views her work with her patients, many of whom are medically underserved women, as part of the larger mission of Tikkun Olam.
Religious School Committee
Randy and his famly have been members of the Temple for 20 years. Randy is currently on his fifth tour of the Board including: serving as the VP without Portfolio; Echad al Echad co-chair for the first six or seven years; a member of Fundraising and Communications Committees; and on two past Auction committees. He has also been a Bagel Boy for 19 years.
Randy’s wife Karen and daughters Rachel and Michael were all Bat Mitzvahed at OPT, and their daughters were involved in Youth Group. Their son Michael was a Madrich in Sunday School and a camp counselor. Michael will be student teaching at a local high school in Fall 2017. Rachel participated during college in AmeriCorps with underprivileged kids and upon graduation from UW Madison spent two years in the Peace Corps in Madagascar. Rachel enters her combined two-year Nursing and Master’s Program this fall. Karen has spent time on the Board, Worship Committee, Membership Committee, Torah Study, a Silent Auction committee and is currently co-chair of the new Caring Committee.
Women of Oak Park Temple
Bio and Picture Coming Soon
Marc Imowitz, his wife Samantha and daughter Kira joined Oak Park Temple in 2010. Kira became B’nai Mitzvahed and continues to attend religious school. Marc is in his second year as a board member and serves as the Temple’s Membership Chairperson.
Professionally, Marc works as the Vice President of Commercial Operations for CDK Global, a $2B software company located in Hoffman Estates.
Marc and his family currently reside in Oak Park.
Bio and Picture Coming Soon
Development & Annual Giving Committee
Sarah Lewensohn and her family joined Oak Park Temple in 2002. Both of her daughters became B’nai Mitzvah and attended the religious school up through the Confirmation class. Her youngest will complete the program this Spring. Sarah is new to the board and serves as a Member-at-Large.
Professionally, Sarah recently embarked as an entrepreneur. Previously, she held positions in investor relations and finance at a number of publicly traded companies in the Chicago area.
Sarah and her daughters live in Hinsdale.
Karen Muriello and her family joined Oak Park Temple in 1988. Over the years Karen has participated in a variety of Temple activities, including serving as a board member of the Glasser Preschool, teaching in High Holiday children’s classes, editing The Messenger print newsletter, supervising the production of the front outdoor sign, serving as a Member at Large of the Temple Board of Directors, serving as the first chair of Ozerim, and organizing a Temple arts and crafts fair.
Glasser Preschool Committee
Bio and Picture Coming Soon
At-Large Board Members
Ali Mandell’s family joined Oak Park Temple in 2004. Her husband Steve grew up in the Oak Park/River Forest community, and his parents are also longstanding members of the congregation. Their daughters, Alyssa and Ashley, have grown up at OPT, participating in Glasser Preschool and Camp Shalom, attending religious school and Alyssa becoming Bat Mitzvah in 2013. Ali and her family are also part of a wonderful Chavurah with four other temple families.
Professionally, Ali is taking some time away from the workplace after 24 years as a Managing Director in the financial services industry. This change has afforded her the opportunity to dedicate more time to her family and also to volunteer and explore new avenues.
Janice Moskoff is mom of Nate (9), Sylvia (7) and dog Duffy (1). Married to Jordan Moskoff and a resident of River Forest, Janice and family have been members at OPT since 2012 when Sylvia started at Glasser Preschool and Nate started at the Hebrew School. Professionally, Janice has worked in corporate retail strategy, as an entrepreneur, and recently founded a local networking group to support moms in both their active and deferred work lives. When her daughter attended Glasser, Janice served as Glasser Board Treasurer. Janice has great appreciation for the diversity and social action OPT provides and is looking forwarding to contributing as an OPT Board Member At Large.
Elliot Regenstein joined the OPT board in 2017. He and his wife, former board member Emily Paster, live with their two children in River Forest and have been members of Oak Park Temple since 2007. Prior to joining the board he chaired a task force on the future of Oak Park Temple’s religious school.
An attorney by training, Elliot is currently the Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a Chicago-based non-profit.