Clergy and Staff
Rabbi Paul F. Cohen, D.Min., D.D.
Rabbi Paul F. Cohen, D.Min., D.D. is originally from Chicago. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College where he studied biology and comparative religion. Upon graduation, he moved to Minneapolis where he worked for two years in a short-term residential treatment program for delinquent adolescents.
Rabbi Cohen received his Masters of Arts and rabbinic ordination and the honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, celebrating 25 years in the rabbinate in March 2015, from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he served as the student rabbi for the United Hebrew Congregation in Ft. Smith, Arkansas and the auxiliary chaplain at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Rabbi Cohen’s rabbinical thesis was titled “Modes of Divine Communication: Some Aspects of the Rabbinic Views” which focused on some of the less conventional ways rabbis expect to send and receive communication vis a vis heaven. Rabbi Cohen was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Bangor Theological Seminary in May 2001. His dissertation is entitled “Digging Our Parent’s Wells” and deals with congregational renewal.
While in Cincinnati, Rabbi Cohen met his wife, Cathy, and together they moved to Norfolk, Virginia where he served as the assistant and then associate rabbi of Ohef Sholom Temple. Active on many community boards of directors, Rabbi Cohen was the founding president of the South Hampton Roads Campaign for the Homeless. Immediately prior to serving Temple Jeremiah, Rabbi Paul Cohen was the spiritual leader of Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland, Maine and served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Cedars Nursing Home, the Equity Institute and the Cancer Community Center. He was the president of the Greater Portland Interfaith Council, a founding member of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination and the Maine Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Choices and sat on its executive board. Politically and communally active, Rabbi Cohen has been asked on several occasions to offer testimony before state legislative committees.
Rabbi Cohen served as chair of the Rabbinic Advisory Committee of Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute, he is President of the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis and is a past board member of the Interfaith Housing Center of the North Shore (now called Open Communities), was a founding board member of Family Promise of Chicago North Shore, served as President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and is a member of the Winnetka Interfaith Council, served on the Ethics Committee of the North Shore Senior Center. He is a graduate of the Kellogg Management Education for Jewish Leaders program, sits on the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation Board of Directors and the Jewish Center for Addiction Advisory Board and serves on the Clergy Advisory Board for the Public Defender of Cook County. He completed a three-year rabbinic leadership program through the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Rabbi Emily E. Segal
Rabbi Emily Segal joined Temple Jeremiah as our Associate Rabbi in July of 2010. She was ordained at the Cincinnati Campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in June 2010. During her time at HUC, Rabbi Segal served student pulpits in Shreveport, Louisiana and Fort Walton Beach, FL, as Music Director of Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, and as rabbinic intern and youth group advisor at Temple Sholom of Cincinnati. She has extensive experience working with Jewish youth and brings this passion to Temple Jeremiah. Her rabbinic thesis was entitled, “Telling and Retelling: The Women’s Seder and Ritual Innovation.”
Rabbi Segal grew up at Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax, Virginia. As a young person in her own temple youth group, she discovered a deep personal connection to Judaism through music. She went on to become an active member and leader of Hillel on the campus of the University of Virginia where she graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Segal and her husband, Rabbi Scott Segal, live in Northbrook with their children, Samantha and Ezra, and their two dogs.
A native of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Rabbi Robert D. Schreibman is a graduate of Dartmouth College and was ordained from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Schreibman served as Assistant Post Chaplain in Fort Leonard Wood and subsequently served congregations in Arnold, Maryland and New City, New York.
He was called to the pulpit of Temple Jeremiah in 1975 from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, now known as the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), where he served as a Regional Director in New Jersey and New York. Under Rabbi Schreibman’s leadership, Temple Jeremiah grew from under 300 families to over 800. Programming also blossomed to include youth groups, a senior program, adult education classes and Brotherhood and Sisterhood, among others.
Rabbi Schreibman’s involvement extends far beyond the Temple Jeremiah community. He is a member of the Boards of LINKS (North Shore Youth Health Service), North Shore Hospice, Hillel Advisory Council of Dartmouth College, and the American Jewish Committee of the Avenue of the Righteous Project, as well as the Winnetka Clergy Association and Northfield Clergy Association, North Shore Fellowship of Rabbis, the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis and the Chicago Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Schreibman is also a reader for the CCAR Journal. Rabbi Schreibman received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1988 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for dedicating over 25 years of service to the Reform movement.
In honor of his 25 years of inspirational leadership, Temple Jeremiah held a dedication service on December 13, 2002, in which it named its newly renovated sanctuary “The Rabbi Robert D. Schreibman Sanctuary.” The service included a performance of the composition, Hashkiveynu, commissioned by Temple Jeremiah in honor of Rabbi Schreibman’s retirement.
Adam Kahan joins Temple Jeremiah as its Cantorial Soloist while pursuing his Cantorial Certification through the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He has spent the last 20 years honing his craft in communal music and singing with several North Shore synagogues, dedicated to leaving people touched, moved, and inspired by their shared experiences. As the leader of his band, Kavanah, and as a teacher in classrooms and music programs, Adam strove to bring others to new discoveries that reinvigorated one’s experience of life.
Having been a camper, counselor, and songleader at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Reform Movement camp in Wisconsin, Adam focuses on bringing the lasting messages of camp home to our community. Namely, he has a commitment that, children and adults alike, are left with a sense of belonging, connection, and excitement about what is possible from their Judaic world, and beyond.
Adam grew up as part of a loving and vibrant family in Highland Park, and as a member of Am Shalom in Glencoe. Watching his father serve as temple president under Rabbi Harold Kudan, and learning from the Religious Educator, Sharon Morton, Adam learned that we all matter, each of us can make a difference, and it is our responsibility to actually make that difference. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Adam turned his focus to connecting with congregations, rather than audiences, engaging students in a conversation rather than a stale lecture. His contagious enthusiasm and energy invites you to jump in and be a part of the discovery.
Adam proudly considers himself a member of the Hava Nashira Songleading Community. Combining his training from the Hebrew Union College and Hava Nashira, Adam looks to share the music newly emerging in our movement, and celebrate the traditions that have enriched and established the path along which we traveled.
Adam and his wife, Michelle, live in Evanston with their children, Alexander and Talia, and are thrilled to be so warmly welcomed into the Temple Jeremiah community.
Cantor Amy J. Zussman
Amy Zussman served at Temple Jeremiah from1986 through 2014. Our holiday and Shabbat services have been enhanced by her lovely voice and warm personality. Her studies have been with Hazzan Shlomo Shuster, Hazzan Henry Rosenblum and vocal coach Winifred Brown.
Cantor Zussman is a member of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). She has served as secretary and president of the Reform Cantors of Chicago (RCC) the local branch of the ACC. She is also a member and past officer of the Chicago Milwaukee Association of Synagogue Musicians (CMASM). She received her Bachelors degree in music education from the University of Illinois. Amy received full Cantorial Certification from the American Conference of Cantors in 1998.
She lives in Northbrook with her husband, David Fell. Together they have a blended family of three sons, two daughters, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and, most importantly, two granddaughters.
Daniel A. Glassman
Daniel Glassman has been Temple Jeremiah’s Executive Director since November 2012. Before coming to Jeremiah, he served as the overnight camp director and conference center director at JCYS Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside, Ill.
Danny has his bachelor’s degree in social science from National Louis University and is working towards his Masters of Jewish Professional Studies at the Spertus Institute of Learning and Leadership. Danny is a member of the National Association of Temple Administrators (NATA). He currently serves as president of the Chicago Area Synagogue Administrators (CASA) the local branch of the NATA. He is also still very much active in the camping community serving as accreditation visitor for the Illinois section of the American Camp Association.
When he’s not working or in class, he is with his wife, Krystal, and their children, Eden and Levi.
Anne M. Lidsky, Ph.D., RJE
Director of Religious Education
Dr. Anne Lidsky, R.J.E., has served as Director of Religious Education at Temple Jeremiah since 1980.
Anne received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Northeastern Illinois State University and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University. She taught in Chicago for several years and was a religious and Hebrew teacher for twelve years at Temple Emanuel and Am Shalom. Anne was principal at Temple Beth Israel and Director of Counseling at Solomon Schechter Day School in Skokie.
Since Anne joined Temple Jeremiah, she has become known in the Chicago Jewish community for her leadership as a workshop facilitator for the Community Foundation of Jewish Education and was designated as a Fellow of a newly created Principals Center. In 1990, Anne received her Reform Jewish Education certification, the highest degree of recognition that an education director can receive at the national level under the auspices of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).
In 1994, Dr. Lidsky was honored by the Community Foundation for Jewish Education and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago when she received the Alexander M. Duskin Distinguished Educator Award. In addition, she was chosen in 1998 as one of the recipients of the Covenant Foundation Award officially presented in Washington, D.C. Designed to honor outstanding Jewish educators, the Covenant Foundation is centered in New York and was established by the Crown Family Foundation in partnership with the Jewish Education Service of North America. The Covenant Foundation Award, sought after by over 400 applicants a year, is the most prestigious award that a Jewish educator can receive in the United States or Canada. Since only one to three individuals in North America can receive this award each year, most educators never attain this honor in a lifetime of devoted work. Anne is the first in Illinois to ever receive this award. Anne currently serves as the president of the Chicago Association of Temple Educators. She brings honor to this congregation and to the entire Chicago Jewish community.
Rabbi Debbie Helbraun
Hebrew School Principal
Rabbi Helbraun was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1993. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with minors in Jewish and Near Eastern Studies and Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College. Rabbi Helbraun has worked in a variety of capacities for the Jewish community for over 20 years, including in religious and Hebrew school, chaplaincy, youth work, adult education, b’nai mitzvah tutoring, social action programming and a variety of other congregational and rabbinic responsibilities, most notably as Hebrew School Principal at Congregation BJBE from 1999 to 2003.
“I see my mission as Hebrew School Principal to develop and implement ways that ensure your children acquire the Hebrew skills necessary to become an active participant in Tefillah (prayer), Jewish Holidays and other Ritual Occasions, and to adequately prepare the students to be able to read Torah and prayers for B’nai Mitavah,” Rabbi Helbraun writes.
Executive Assistant to the Rabbi and Special Projects Coordinator
Phyllis has been at Temple Jeremiah since 2000. In addition to supporting Rabbi Cohen, she manages all life cycle events, including deaths, weddings, illnesses, and births.
Phyllis earned her B.A. majoring in Psychology with a minor in piano from Roosevelt University, where she also began her career in administrative support working in the Development and Foreign Admission offices. While raising her family she founded Lettercraft, a cottage industry that created personalized items for children. For five of the ten Lettercraft years she and her husband Larry, of blessed memory, used their entrepreneurial skills to expand this venture together. Actively volunteering her time and sharing her administrative talents, she became PTA President for her children’s school and Coordinating Council President for their school district.
Phyllis has a son, Rabbi Daniel Burg, senior rabbi at Beth-Am Synagogue in Baltimore. He is married to Rabbi Miriam Burg and their children are Eliyah and Shamir. Phyllis’ daughter, Wendy, is a speech pathologist and is married to Aran Connolly. They live in Lake Zurich with their son, Logan.
In addition to spending time with her family and friends, Phyllis enjoys almost any kind of music and live entertainment and when time permits, working in a variety of art mediums.
Lia (Lehrer) Goldfarb
Membership and Communications Director
Lia has been here since April 2011. She manages the website and all communications, including e-mails, flyers, posters, press releases, the Covenant, and the Sabbath Light. She also works with prospective and new members, supports the Membership Committee, and manages the temple’s database.
Lia grew up in Lincolnwood and then attended Northwestern University, where she majored in Journalism with a minor in Hebrew Studies. She continued on at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership, where she received a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies degree and a Certificate in Jewish Leadership.
In addition to her work at Temple Jeremiah, Lia is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor, and she coordinates Windy City Minyan, an independent minyan she co-founded for 20- and 30-somethings in Chicago. In her spare time, she enjoys reading (well, mostly listening to audio books in the car), blogging, taking pictures, and baking. She lives in Lakeview with her husband, Adam.
Education Office Administrator
Sheila has been here since June 2004. Her primary responsibilities are to assist Dr. Anne Lidsky and Rabbi Debbie Helbraun in coordinating classes, activities, field trips, and all other school program needs.
Sheila grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Having attended Temple University, she decided to aim more for an ancillary medical profession. She trained at Hahnemann University and worked as an X-ray technologist, taught X-ray technology, and eventually became Director of Operations for a large multi-state mobile X-ray company.
She currently resides in Mundelein with her husband, Arnold. They enjoy traveling to visit their family in Philadelphia, Virginia, Los Angeles, and Colorado. Sheila loves to read, attend theater – both live and film – and more than that, both she and her husband love to bask on the beaches of quiet islands.
Jill (Farkas) Nutkis
Jill has been here since fall 2012. She manages donations, yahrzeits, scheduling of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and is the administrative support for Rabbi Segal and Adam Kahan.
Jill grew up in West Rogers Park and attended high school at Ida Crown Jewish Academy. She went to DePaul University, where she majored in Political Science with a minor in History.
She currently lives in Skokie with her husband, Avi, and enjoys reading, shopping, and spending time with her family.
Jennifer has been on staff since July 2013. She manages accounts receivable, accounts payable, accounting software, MMOnTheWeb, and payroll.
She grew up in Wilmette and attended New Trier High School, then received her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Maryland. She then received her master’s degree from National Louis University in HR Management and Development. She has been working in bookkeeping since 1999.
Jennifer currently lives in Highland Park with her two children, Noah and Rachel. She enjoys attending her kids’ sporting events, as well as spending time with family and friends.
Donna has been here since August 2013. She is our receptionist and coordinates the calendar, takes RSVPs, and helps out as needed.
Donna grew up in Skokie and has worked at several synagogues over the years. She currently lives in Lincolnshire with her husband, Steve. They have two sons (Brian and Danny), one daughter-in-law (Shana, married to Brian), two granddaughters (Tela and Lily), and a labradoodle (Wrigley). She enjoys reading, traveling, baking, Mah Jongg, and being with family and friends.
B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator
Sarabeth joined the staff in September 2014. She is serving as the B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator, a new role for our congregation. During the B’nai Mitzvah process, Sarabeth will serve as the point person from the beginning until the end, handling scheduling, honors, reserving rooms for celebrations and anything else you can think of related to the B’nai Mitzvah.
Sarabeth grew up in Augusta, Ga., with her parents and three siblings. She attended the University of Michigan for her Masters in Social Work, focusing on non-profit management, including a graduate certificate in Jewish Communal Service (Sol Drachler Program). Previous to Temple Jeremiah, Sarabeth served as the Executive Director of Emanuel Congregation in Chicago and as the Assistant Director of the Mandel Center for Excellence in Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County in Florida.
She currently resides in Glenview with her husband, Eran, and two young boys, Asher and Noam. They enjoy playing with the kids outdoors – bike riding, spending time with friends, and sleeping in on the weekends (although this has not happened since Asher’s birth). Last, but not least, Sarabeth is really enjoying the Torah Study at Temple Jeremiah on Saturday mornings.
Youth and Family Engagement Director
Naomi has been at Temple Jeremiah since August 2016. She oversees all youth programs at Jeremiah, which includes Babies and Bagels, Jeremiah Buddies, Jeremiah Kids (K-2nd grade), Club 345 (3rd-5th grade), Jr. JeTY (6th–8th grade), JeTY (9th-12th grade), and Nosh and Mingle. In addition to youth programs, Naomi oversees a various amount of programs throughout the year that bring families together at Jeremiah.
Naomi is passionate about connecting all members of the community through intergenerational programming and furthering Temple Jeremiah’s commitment to tikkun olam. Having served as the Youth Group Director at Temple Beth El in Madison and at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) as the Kallah Rosh Eidah (unit head), Naomi has a wealth of experience with informal Jewish education and loves spending time with the Jeremiah community!
Naomi grew up in Oak Park and then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jewish Studies and International Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, and experiencing different cuisines. She lives in Logan Square and loves visiting the local farmer’s market.
Jola (Dabala) Popielarczyk
Facility Manager and Event Coordinator
Jola has been on staff since 2002. She manages the maintenance schedule and room set-ups, maintains the cleanliness of temple and works with all vendors on special projects. She is our building manager and event coordinator.
Jola was born in Warsaw and came to the United States in 2002. She is happy to be working at Temple Jeremiah because she already had a special kinship with the Jewish people — she spent her childhood in Otwock, Poland, where there was a large Jewish population and her mother was involved in a commemorative memorial to the Jews from that area who perished in the Holocaust.
She loves working at Temple Jeremiah, and builds on her experience as a manager in Poland. She lives in Mount Prospect and has two children — Patrick and Alexandra. Patrick works as a physical therapy assistant and Alexandra works as a lawyer’s assistant. Jola enjoys music, theater, and dance.
Jola appreciates being a part of the Jeremiah community and would like to thank everyone for giving her a chance to grow in her job.
Juan Carlos Sanchez
Juan Carlos has been on staff since 2011. He supports Jola with room set-ups and cleaning the temple and serves as our weekend manager.
Organist and Choir Director
David Lornson has been Organist and Choir Director at Temple Jeremiah since 1985. He is a graduate of Lawrence University Conservatory of Music where he earned his Bachelor of Music, cum laude. On a Fulbright Scholarship, David studied organ in France with Marie-Claire Alain at the Conservatoire National de Rueil-Malmaison where he received the Prix d’Excellence. He also holds the degree Master of Music from Northwestern University where he was an organ student of Wolfgang Rübsam.
Since 1984, David has also been Director of Music, Chancel Choir Director and Organist at the First Congregational Church of Evanston. He is a former Board member, Sub-Dean and Dean of the North Shore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
David was recognized at a special Shabbat Service on February 26, 2010 in honor of his 25-year anniversary at Temple Jeremiah.