Rabbi Paul F. Cohen, D.Min., D.D., has served as Temple Jeremiah’s Senior Rabbi since 2000. A Chicago native, he considers his profession meaningful because so much of what he does involves teaching and learning. He enjoys creating moments of connection at Temple Jeremiah by teaching in both informal and formal settings, and through “just living life.”
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa, where he studied biology and comparative religion. After college, Rabbi Cohen continued to feed his zest for learning by receiving his Master of Arts and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, which in 2015 awarded him a Doctor of Divinity honorary degree celebrating his 25 years in the rabbinate. He earned a Doctor of Ministry from the Bangor Theological Seminary in Bangor, Maine, in May 2001. He is also a graduate of the Kellogg Management Education for Jewish Leaders program at Northwestern University. In 2016 Rabbi Cohen became a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
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.
Throughout his career, Rabbi Cohen has strived to help his congregants feel deeply connected to community, Judaism and Jewish life, and for each person to feel inspired to do “Tikkun Olam” to make the world better for everyone. He strengthened this philosophy through years of taking on various social, economic and political causes.
Politically and communally active, Rabbi Cohen has accepted invitations to offer testimony before state legislative committees. He has served on numerous community boards of directors, including as founding president of the South Hampton Roads Campaign for the Homeless; president of the Greater Portland Interfaith Council; founding member of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination; founding member and executive board member of the Maine Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Choices; founding board member of Family Promise of Chicago North Shore; former president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis; and a member of the Ethics Committee of the North Shore Senior Center.
Through his decades of rabbinical experience and community involvement, Rabbi Cohen has learned that “there’s always more to a story.” According to him, “Live your life from the perspective of abundance vs. scarcity. With scarcity, there’s always fear, and with abundance, there’s always possibility.”
Today, he serves on the Clergy Advisory Board for the Public Defender of Cook County in Illinois, and is immediate past-president of the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis.
Rabbi Cohen lives in Deerfield with his wife Cathy. He is the very proud, doting father of Jacob, Eli, Anna and Hope.
Rabbi Rachel Lynn Heaps joins us from the East Coast. Whether living in New York, Jerusalem or suburban Chicago, she considers the people with whom she surrounds herself as her family.
Rabbi Heaps enjoys connecting with people of different ages, forming relationships with both individuals and their families at Temple Jeremiah to help them find the activities and programs that best suit them, and to make sure they’re reasonably challenged so that they stay engaged with Jewish learning.
Influenced by her Jewish experiences during her childhood in New Rochelle, New York, Rabbi Heaps has developed a passion for working with kids. She enthusiastically participated in her temple’s youth group, and in the summers attended URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. As a member of Temple Jeremiah’s clergy today, Rabbi Heaps strives to ensure that the kids are happy and healthy within the walls of the synagogue.
Rabbi Heaps believes that Judaism offers something for everyone—a philosophy that intensified when she pursued her studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, first in Jerusalem, and then in New York City. As a rabbinical student, she served a variety of roles through which she learned to connect with people at many stages of life, whether working as a school teacher for middle and high school students at Temple Shaaray Tefila of Manhattan and HUC-JIR’s Miller High School, as an intern for Sarah Neuman nursing home in Mamaroneck, New York, or spending summers as Director of Jewish Life for camps, including at URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi.
Ordained in May 2017, Rabbi Heaps seeks opportunities to connect congregants, which she often finds during times of “empty spaces.” According to Rabbi Heaps, “We have wonderful programs, worship and classes, though that is not the sum total of your experience at Temple Jeremiah. A lot of your experience also can include just talking to the person next to you and getting to know someone.”
Rabbi Heaps lives in Evanston with her rescue dog, Samson. She enjoys playing guitar, cooking and exploring new restaurants. During her down time, she prefers connecting with friends, enjoying a game night or simply taking a walk with Samson.
Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman is thrilled to serve Temple Jeremiah as its cantor. She enjoys empowering congregants through music and helping them find their Jewish voice. Connecting with people through her warmth and encouragement, she regularly invites members of the synagogue to sing with her during Shabbat and High Holy Days services.
Before joining Temple Jeremiah in 2018, she served as Cantor for Beth Emet the Free Synagogue in Evanston, where she experienced the depth and breadth of what it means to be a clergy person. She had the great honor of officiating many life cycles of the congregants and participated in pastoral care. She also directed the adult choir, and created and directed a teen choir, a junior choir and an intergenerational band.
Cantor Friedman’s love of children and strong desire to motivate B’nai Mitzvah students to stay engaged in Jewish life inspired her to become a cantor. She moved to Wilmette from the New York area, where she received her cantorial ordination and Master of Sacred Music from The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. Cantor Friedman also holds the degrees of Bachelor of Music from Illinois State University, and Master of Music degree from Arizona State University, all with a concentration in vocal performance.
Cantor Friedman actively participates in the Chicagoland Jewish community, often collaborating with other members of the Reform Cantors Chicago, for which she will assume the role of president, as well as cantorial soloists and musicians. She regularly joins in the Jewish Rock Radio Live Across America: Chicago Sings concerts, where her original compositions have been performed. She is often invited to participate in synagogue concerts locally and throughout the United States.
Cantor Friedman points to one of her strongest passions as helping to sustain and foster the Reform movement in Israel, fueled by her time there during her cantorial studies from 2010 to 2011. She volunteered as a cantor at Congregation Ohel Avraham, part of the Leo Baeck Center in Haifa. She developed such strong bonds with the synagogue’s Rabbi, Gabby Dagan, and its congregants, that she became a Bat Mitzvah with them. At the synagogue, she also coofficiated a B’not Mitzvah for seven Israeli women, all who grew up believing that only a Bar Mitzvah for males could be possible.
Cantor Friedman’s roots in music run deep. She started her musical career as an entertainer in New York City, appearing in the Broadway national tour of CATS, as well as performing in opera, theater and concerts as a pianist and singer. She considers herself fortunate to have performed with such musical greats as Betty Buckley, George S. Irving and Alberto Mizrahi. Cantor Friedman enjoys many musical styles in various settings, whether playing guitar in a small group with others singing along, or singing a piece of “Chazzanut,” or liturgical music, for a large congregation. She believes that nearly all Jewish music has a place at Temple Jeremiah, and when done with great intention, it can inspire anyone to hear God’s voice.
She met the love of her life, husband Ross Friedman, on a cruise ship, where he worked as a purser and she performed as an entertainer. She considers her children, Abigail and Zev, “living examples” of her “answered prayers.”
Click HERE to listen to a selection of Cantor Friedman’s original songs.
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.
Amy Zussman served at Temple Jeremiah from 1986 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 Bachelor’s 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, their grandchildren.