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Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein

Rabbi Steve

Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in June, 1995. In July of 2002 he began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Am Shalom.

Prior to Am Shalom, Rabbi Lowenstein spent seven years as the Associate Rabbi, with a full range of rabbinic responsibilities, at Temple Sholom of Chicago, the largest Reform congregation in Illinois. Rabbi Lowenstein has a wealth of experience in rabbinic and pastoral service. He is a talented chaplain, preacher and youth worker with experience in Jewish camping, and has worked with senior members of the temple on issues regarding adulthood and aging. During rabbinical school, Rabbi Lowenstein was spiritual leader for congregations in Ohio, Michigan, and Oklahoma. He has also developed and taught high school and religious school courses in many areas of Jewish life.

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Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, Director of Congregational Learning


Rabbi Phyllis Sommer served Am Shalom as Associate Rabbi since 2003, and became Director of Congregational Learning in 2014. She is a native of Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003, and in addition to Am Shalom has served congregations in New Iberia, Louisiana and Billings, Montana.

Rabbi Phyllis is passionate about Jewish life and learning... and baking... and technology... and reading... and quilting... and posting regular (!) updates on Facebook... and pretty much everything! She spends part of every summer on faculty at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, where she also leads a well-attended spring quilting retreat for adults. She has blogged the Exodus at, and the ins-and-outs of balancing her life as Rabbi, wife, and mother of four as Ima On and Off the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting and Living (

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Rabbi Pamela Mandel

PamMandelRabbi Pam Mandel has served as an associate rabbi at Am Shalom since 2012.  Rabbi Mandel is involved in all aspects of congregational life, though she works closely with our families with young children.  She coordinates the Tot Shabbat and Young Families programs.  She is passionate about finding creative ways to bring these families closer to Torah and one another.  She is also excited about spiritually engaging her peers.  She helped develop the Am Shalom Young Adults group, which keeps young adults who grew up at Am Shalom connected to Judaism and their temple family. 

Rabbi Mandel was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She has enjoyed returning to the Midwest.  Being in the Chicago area has allowed her to reconnect with many friends that she made growing up at Chippewa Ranch Camp.  Rabbi Mandel is a graduate of Cornell University where she received a degree in Near Eastern Studies.  She then attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained as a rabbi in 2007.  She did her chaplaincy training at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and had the opportunity to learn and teach in many dynamic congregations, including the Hebrew Association of the Deaf in New York City.  Following ordination, she served for five years as an assistant/associate rabbi at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton.

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Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz

AndreaMarkowiczCantor Andrea Rae Markowicz is honored to be the first permanent, ordained Cantor of Am Shalom. Ordained in 2013 from The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), she has an extensive background in secular and liturgical music, Jewish and Israel Education. She holds a Master of Sacred Music from HUC-JIR, a Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan.

Prior to beginning her studies at HUC-JIR, Cantor Markowicz was a Cantorial Soloist/Intern at various congregations including Central Synagogue of New York City, Temple Beth Or in Montgomery, Alabama and Temple Beth Shalom in Annapolis, Maryland. She also maintains close ties with Progressive (Reform) congregation Ohel Avraham in Haifa and Independent congregation Beit Tefilah Israeli in Tel Aviv in Israel.

Cantor Markowicz is a proud member of Actors Equity Association (AEA) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA).

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Rabbi Harold L. Kudan, Founding Rabbi

hkudanFounding Rabbi Harold L. Kudan is a native of Glens Falls, New York. He received his B.A. from Skidmore College. He received his Bachelor of Hebrew Letters, Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He was ordained at HUC in June 1959.

Rabbi Kudan served as Rabbi of Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington, IL from 1959-1962. For the next ten years, he was the Assistant and Associate Rabbi at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois. In 1972, Rabbi Kudan became the founding rabbi of Congregation Am Shalom in Glencoe.

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Edward Alpert FTA, Executive Director Emeritus

online ed

Ed Alpert served for twelve years as Executive Director of Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois. Previously Ed served for seven years as Executive Director of Temple Sholom in Chicago. Prior to that he owned his own business for fifteen years in the private sector. Ed is a graduate of the Business School at Indiana University.

Beside his work at Am Shalom, Ed served as a former member of the Reform Pension Board and Hebrew Union College Cincinnati Board of Overseers. Ed is a Past President of the National Association for Temple Administration and currently serves on the Board of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Ed resides in Wilmette with his wife Ilene, and works alongside with his son, Ben, who is Am Shalom's head of security.


Educators Emeritae

Judith Berliner

Judi BerlinerJudi Berliner has lived in New York City, California and Chicago. She attended CUNY at Brooklyn College. Jewish education has always been her passion. She has taught in several different schools and in many different settings. She retired in 2015 after 23 years at Am Shalom.

Judi was the Associate Director of Education for 7 years before becoming the Director of Education. She has also held such positions as religious school teacher, Hebrew teacher, B’nai Mitzvah tutor, Hebrew school coordinator, family education supervisor, teacher mentor and even more. Judi has lived in Glencoe for almost 25 years. She has 3 children, 2 of whom are married, and 3 beautiful granddaughters.

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Sharon Morton, RJE

sharon2Sharon Morton retired in June of 2008 after serving as the Director of Religious Education at Am Shalom for 32 years. During her tenure, she was responsible for the education and social action activities of the youth and the adults. She was the President of the National Association of Temple educators from 1998-2000, and has sat on education boards of American Jewish committee- Midwest Avenue of the Righteous and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. She was the founder of Sojurrn (Social justice Religious resource network), and Grandparents for social action. She has traveled extensively and led seminars and been scholar in residence in many areas.

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