Meet the Temple Sholom Staff

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Julie Adler

Administrative Assistant to Rabbi 
Weisblatt & Executive Director

Julie Adler is the Administrative Assistant for the 2nd floor administrative office. She came to Temple Sholom after many years of working in the for-profit sector. Among her many responsibilities, she helps organize meetings, congregational events and also works with community groups. When she’s not working she loves to cook, read and spend time with friends. Her most favorite activity of all is spending time with her children and 3 grandchildren.

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Laurie Akers

Cantorial Soloist

Laurie Akers was born and raised in Deerfield, Illinois. Laurie joined Temple Sholom as their cantorial soloist in July of 2015. Laurie has served as a cantorial soloist throughout the Chicagoland areas since 2010. Since 2010, Laurie has been a member of the congregation as well as a Gan Shalom parent. A passion for Jewish music, teaching, community and spirituality has sent Laurie on a path to obtain Cantorial Certification. Laurie is currently in the application process for Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion’s Cantorial Certification program, in which she has plans to pursue her cantorial studies alongside her work with Temple Sholom. Laurie is a member of the Guild of Temple Musicians as well as being an accomplished pianist.

Laurie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, followed by a move to New York City, where Laurie spent a decade performing in Broadway and National Touring musical theatre productions. In addition to Laurie’s musical theatre career, she has dedicated a significant amount of her time to charitable organizations. In 2001, Laurie was granted the honor of becoming Miss USO, in which she spent a year travelling extensively throughout the world to provide entertainment and support for US troops and veterans. In addition, Laurie created and implemented music and theatrical programming for New York City’s Young Adult Institute, an organization that provides recreational opportunities for men and women with developmental disabilities. In Chicago, Laurie has donated her voice to numerous events for Bright Pink, a nonprofit organization that provides Breast and Ovarian cancer awareness and support for young women. In addition, Laurie has served on several leadership committees for the Jewish United Fund’s Young Women’s Council.

Laurie is married to Brad Akers. In the evening, Laurie and Brad moonlight as singers of family favorites, You are My Sunshine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow to an audience of three boys, Isaac, Levi and Ashton.

Caleb Bromberg

Youth Engagement & Curriculum Coordinator

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Caleb arrived in Chicago in 2012 to study Education at Depaul University. Since graduating, he has pursued Jewish teaching opportunities wherever they can be found. Here at Temple Sholom Caleb has taught 3rd, 4th, and 7th grade Hebrew and Jewish Studies, in addition to writing curriculum, contributing to the Hebrew assessment program, running the “Kef Club,” and chaperoning youth events. In his spare time, Caleb writes poetry and music and plays/hosts open mics around the city.

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Director of Engagement and Member Services

Stacy Charnay

Stacy, Beit Sefer Sholom’s Educational Administrative Assistant, moved to Chicago from Oklahoma in 2009 and began working at Temple Sholom in 2015 after being a member of, and going through her Jewish conversion process at Temple Sholom. She functions as the administrative catch-all for the Religious School and lives in Buena Park with her husband who also works at the Religious school, son who attends Gan Shalom, and two dogs.

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Director of Early Childhood Education

Heidi Cooper

Heidi joined Temple Sholom of Chicago in 2012 where she taught before stepping into the role of Early Childhood Education Director. She and her husband relocated to Chicago from New York in 2004 where she spent most of her adult life working with young children. While teaching full time in New York City, she earned her Master’s Degree in early childhood education from Hunter College, New York. After spending many wonderful years in the classroom, Heidi decided to bridge her teaching experience with her love for working with parents and children and was accepted at Columbia University, New York where she earned her MSW. Heidi has dedicated the last 15 plus years to being a leader, teacher and creator while bringing a positive nurturing energy to a school environment. Before leaving New York, she worked as a director/social worker in an integrated preschool program working and helping young families receive services for a variety of special/identified needs. The other loves of her life are her husband, Stuart and her 8 year old son Max.

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Lori Curtis

Assistant to Rabbi 
Goldberg & Cantor Ben-David

Lori Curtis is the Assistant to Rabbi Goldberg and Cantor Ben-David, and improves quality of life in the Temple Sholom community by deftly performing many other miscellaneous duties. She has been with Temple Sholom for 6 years and comes from a background of working with Temple clergy. Lori was the Rabbi’s secretary for eleven years at a Temple in the South Suburbs. In her spare time she enjoys walking, rollerblading, hiking, and dancing. She lives near Lincoln Square with her husband.

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Rodney Ervin

Facilities Manager

Rodney joined our team as Facilities Manager in August, 2015. Prior to becoming part of Temple Sholom of Chicago, Rodney spent 15 years at Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) where he was involved in every aspect of maintenance and cleaning of multiple buildings. Rodney enjoys solving problems, painting and decorating. He often says that painting is “therapeutic” for him.

He was raised in Toledo, Ohio and is the youngest of his siblings. Rodney relocated to Chicago in 1977 where he met wife of 34 years. They have 3 beautiful daughters, 1 son, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren.

Rodney is a man of faith with a spirit of excellence. We are very glad he is part of our team.

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Shayna Jensky

Engagement & Outreach Manager

Shayna is the Engagement and Outreach Manager at Temple Sholom and also handles membership and member relations. She helps to engage current members to become more involved in temple life, and works the virtual and actual spheres to get the word out to prospective members of the growing community. When she’s not working, she run marathons, binge watches TV and explores the Chicago restaurant scene… which is why she has to run so many marathons!

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Marla Krupman

Director of Development

Marla joined our senior staff team in September 2014. She has had an extensive career in senior development positions, most recently at Anshe Emet Synagogue, and before that at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Opera Theater, Rodeph Sholom School in NYC, and The School of the Art Institute Chicago. Marla is a Columbus, Ohio native and a graduate of Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. She and her husband, Danny Bernstein, live here in East Lakeview with their Labradoodle, Kramer. They are very excited to be part of our Temple community.

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Lauren Levin

Gan Shalom Program 

Lauren recently became Temple Sholom’s Program Coordinator after six years of teaching Early Childhood at Gan Shalom. She now splits her time between coordinating programs and teaching young students! She is proud to be working at the same temple that her grandparents belonged to when they lived in Chicago between 1972 and 2000. Lauren is originally from Northbrook and attended the University of Illinois for her bachelor’s degree in Childhood Development, before earning her master’s degree in Elementary Education at National Louis University here in Chicago! She’s an avid cook and traveler.

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Jodi Morady

CPA, Financial Services Director

Jodi Morady joined the Temple Sholom staff in 1995 and LakeShore Jewish Funerals in 2008. She now serves as the Director of Financial Services for both. Jodi feels very fortunate that she is able to combine her love of Judaism with her profession. She oversees the financial operations of both entities while working very closely with the Temple Treasurer, and Budget and Investment Committees. Prior to working at Temple Sholom, Jodi worked as a CPA at Kesselman and Kesselman in Tel Aviv, Israel and as an accounting manager for the Alzheimer’s Association. Jodi is very involved in the Jewish community and especially active at Solomon Schechter Day School. Jodi received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and has her CPA license. Jodi, her husband, Amnon, and children, Sam, Margo and Ethan love being a part of the Temple Sholom family.

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Manny Pappas

Senior Accountant

Manny recently started as Temple Sholom’s Senior Accountant, handling the payment, processing, and all things monetary! He graduated from Bradley University and worked in public accounting for six years before coming to the Sholom community. Manny is a big reality TV fan, and currently resides in Arlington Heights, where he was raised.

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Tara Patek

Family Engagement Coordinator

Tara Patek, Family Engagement Coordinator, comes to us from Hollywood, Florida. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Florida and her Masters in Early Childhood Administration from National-Louis.  She joined Temple Sholom back in 2004 as a Gan Shalom teacher and over the course of 10 years worked her way up to Associate Director. Tara recently decided to take the summers off to go to Sleep-away camp with her children. She currently lives in the Ravenswood neighborhood with her husband Mark and two children, Lillian and Evan.

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Jeremy Perlin

Executive Director

Jay Rapoport

Director of Lifelong Learning

Jay joined the Temple Sholom staff in June 2014 to guide and develop our educational vision and programming. As a member of the kley kodesh team with clergy, he oversees Gan Shalom, Religious School, High School and Adult Education, and works in partnership with senior staff and lay leadership to strengthen and connect learning experiences for all ages. Prior to moving to Chicago with his wife Rachel and daughter Ruthie, Jay served for many years as the Youth Educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and the Camp Director at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia. He earned his Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Music from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. In addition to his work in the field of Jewish education, Jay is a pianist, vocalist and composer of Jewish music for children, teens and families. His first album of original Jewish songs, “With All Your Heart,” was released in November 2010, and his songs have been featured on URJ, NFTY and PJ Library compilations. Jay has performed at URJ Biennial, NewCAJE and NFTY Convention, has served on the faculty of Song Leader Boot Camp, and studied piano and singing at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jay is committed to making Jewish learning exciting, engaging and relevant.

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Toby Sanders

Assistant to Rabbi Conover & Development

Toby is an assistant to Rabbi Connover, and a development guru at Temple Sholom. She graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Organizational Communications and Social Media Marketing. Following graduation, she worked in retail and then lived in Israel for 5 months before joining the Temple Sholom family in September of 2016. Toby loves to explore new restaurants, loves to travel and was born and bred a Chicago Cubs fans! Toby grew up in the North Suburbs and now resides in Lakeview.

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See Also: Clergy | Board | Contact