Clergy : Aaron Melman, Rabbi
Rabbi Aaron Melman assumed the role of head rabbi in July, 2015. He has bee a rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, IL for thirteen years. He is originally from Toronto where he graduated York University with BA in Judaic Studies. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary where he received his ordination in May 2002.While at JTS, Rabbi Melman taught Hebrew School at Or Zarua, a Conservative synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and served as a student chaplain with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).Rabbi Melman is involved in the community through the Northbrook Clergy Association, serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Jewish Genetics, and is the immediate Past-President of the Chicago Region of Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Melman also serves as the only Chaplain to the Northbrook Fire Department.Rabbi Melman is married to Elisa Rotman and they have two children Jordan and Hannah. He enjoys golf, hockey, camping and SCUBA diving.
Clergy: Ari Averbach, Assistant Rabbi
Rabbi Ari Averbach was recently ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, where he was presented the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and was honored to be the class speaker. Prior to joining Congregation Beth Shalom, he was the rabbinic intern at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California.
Rabbi Averbach earned certification in chaplaincy at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and has taught all over the greater Los Angeles area, including Camp Ramah. Previously, he worked in the film industry in Los Angeles and then for Jewish World Watch, a non-profit organization fighting genocide in Darfur and Congo.
He and his wife Vanessa, an English teacher at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, love every moment with their daughter, Paige, and son, Shai. Ari and Vanessa love ice cream, farmers markets, and bike rides in parks.
Clergy : Steven Stoehr, Hazzan
Hazzan Steven Stoehr is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree. He continued his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary's Cantors Institute, attaining his Sacred Music Degree and Diploma of Hazzan in 1988.
Hazzan Stoehr arrived in Northbrook, IL, at Congregation Beth Shalom, to serve his first full-time pulpit twenty-five years ago and has served the Jewish community on many levels.
Hazzan Stoehr has been called upon by various arms of the Conservative Movement to perform throughout the United States and has been a featured lecturer as well. For the Cantors' Assembly he has served as President of the Midwest Region, member of the Ethics Committee and co-chair of the 1994, 1997,2006 and 2011 National Conventions. In relationship to his dedicated efforts, the Jewish Theological Seminary's H. L. Miller Cantorial School has been endowed by his friend and congregant Harvey L. Miller. In 2002 he was granted the Hazzan David Putterman Award by the Jewish Theological Seminary for excellence in his career. In 1998 Hazzan Stoehr produced an international concert on Ellis Island and sang in Carnegie Hall as part of the Assembly's Jubilee Celebration. Most recently he was given the Samuel Rosenbaum Award for Creativity and Scholarship.
Through Hazzan Stoehr's leadership and foresight his community has established several watershed programs. He had aided his synagogue in developing their own Chevre Kaddishe and Chesed Community which attends to those who have been touched by illness or loss. Tangentially he has edited several educational booklets for our community, primarily in the realm of mourning rites and traditions. As well, Hazzan Stoehr has helped to formulate a new approach to Friday Night Shabbat services with our own CBS ShabbaTone experience.
Cantor Stoehr has released three CD recordings of synagogue music and is awaiting the publication of his first book.
He resides in Northbrook with his wife Susan and their children Jacob, Talia and Alana.
Clergy : Carl Wolkin, Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Carl Wolkin graduated from Columbia University in 1968 with a BA in Classics and received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1973. Before coming to Congregation Beth Shalom in 1980, he served as the Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel of Great Neck, NY from 1972-1980. In June, 2015, he retired after 35 years as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom, and now serves as Rabbi Emeritus.
In 2004, Rabbi Wolkin was in the first group of graduates of the Center for Rabbinic Enrichment of the Shalom Hartman Institute. This group of North American Rabbis completed a three year program of study both in Jerusalem and in the U.S. He also studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem in January, 2011.
During his tenure at CBS, Rabbi Wolkin has served as the President of the Chicago Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and President of the Northbrook Clergy Association. He was President of the Community Mikvah of the Conservative Movement from its inception in 1998 until 2016.
Rabbi Wolkin is a member of the JUF Board. In the fall of 2015 he joined the Board of CJE-Senior Life, through which he serves on the Holocaust Services Committee, and teaches at the Weinberg-Gidwitz Center. In addition to being the Secretary of the World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues, also called Masorti Olami, he is serving as Rabbi-in-Residence of St. Albans Masorti Synagogue in the UK. In April 2016, he received the Rabbi Mordecai Simon Memorial Award from the Chicago Board of Rabbis. Recently Rabbi Wolkin was elected to the Board of the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School.
Rabbi Wolkin is married to Judy, and they have four children: Joshua and David and daughters-in-law, Aurelia and Keeli.