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 Message from Osnat, our Executive Director:

 

I am thrilled and honored to be the Executive Director of KAM Isaiah Israel. How often does one get to work every day at a place they already love and care for? I consider myself very lucky.

When my family and I moved to Chicago several years ago, we joined the community for Shabbat in the park, and the rest is history. Today, when I think of KAM Isaiah Israel, the first word that comes to mind is "Kehilah" - "community." It is a place where members, families, children, and all can come together and feel at home, safe, heard, and part of a positive change in the world. A place to bring your loved ones and be accepted with open arms. And a place to have fun!

As an immigrant-Israeli mother of three, I experience firsthand the challenge of building a strong Jewish identity while being immersed in non-Jewish environments. KAM Isaiah Israel is devoted to help support new and existing community members by offering a welcoming, warm inviting place, so everyone can feel comfortable no matter how Jew-ish they see themselves.

The concept of a synagogue has evolved from a place of worship to a center for the community – Where individuals can fulfill their religious, spiritual, and social needs, engage with a supportive community, and work on Tikkun Olam. It is a place where faith and daily life intersect, helping people feel secure in their Jewish identity and being part of a caring community that extends beyond themselves.

My vision for our synagogue is to become a community center for Jewish life. Our beautiful building will be filled, again, with people enjoying Chevrutah (friends in a community) - a place for Jewish life, art, celebrations, and Torah. 

 Please come visit us and say hi! We love meeting new people, and we value each of your unique viewpoints. 

L'Shalom,

Osnat Strulov-shlain

Executive Director

Osnat leads all aspects of synagogue life, from day-to-day to strategic planning and everything in between. 

Born and raised in Israel, Osnat and her family moved to Berkeley, California in 2013 and later to Chicago in 2019 for her husband's academic career.    

Osnat brings a unique combination of nonprofit management experience from the educational sector combined with experience working with Jewish organizations and a deep profound knowledge and passion for modern Jewish life. 

Osnat lives in Hyde Park with her husband, three children, a dog, and a rescue cat.  When not at the synagogue, Osnat is usually in the Hyde Park Arts Center creating with ceramics, volunteering at the Lab school and neighborhood events, or walking around the neighborhood with her children and dog exploring the parks, arts, and restaurant offerings.

 

Director Of Lifelong Learning
Deanna designs, implements and coordinates adult and family education programs to serve all ages of our diverse congregation.

Born and raised in Chicago, Deanna returned recently with her family from Los Angeles, where she served as the Director of Jewish Innovation at the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center. During her tenure, she built an alternative religious school, expanded curriculum for multiple ages, developed the b'nai mitzvah program, increasing enrollment by 300% over 6 years. Deanna managed a staff of 15 part-time teachers and organized weekly adult learning seminars, and created new programming. After leaving this position, Deanna created Pop Up Shul, a Jewish exploration initiative for musicians, artists, and philosophers, encouraging a fun and meaningful connection to Judaism. There she led Shabbat services, High Holiday services for hundreds of people, officiated weddings, bnai mitzvah, and more for mostly unaffiliated and interfaith families.

An accomplished writer, performer, and Jewish educator, Deanna brings a wealth of experience from her roles as a mentor with Hebrew Helpers, a cantorial soloist, a DreamLab fellow, a Storahtelling Maven, an ROI member, a Honeymoon Israel educator, and the founding Director of Performing Arts at Camp Ramah in Northern California. She wrote three award-winning novels and a children's book about national parks, and was recognized as a New Ground Changemaker grant recipient for her work fostering relationships between Jews and Muslims. Fluent in Hebrew, Deanna is excited to leverage her innovative approaches to education and her passion for networking, the arts, and nature in her new role.

 
 

After a formative six-year stint in the Pacific Northwest, Cody returned to his Chicago roots at the end of 2019, starting at KAM Isaiah Israel in July 2021. He is very blessed with this very rewarding opportunity for managing the front office, supporting operations and facilities teams, and daily congregant needs.
 
As an alumnus of North Central College in Naperville with a B.A. Sociology and Marketing, Cody brings an array of non-profit management and human resources experience, as well as the continual, joyous, daily expressions of a Jewish spiritual life.
 
Cody remains an active, remote-based volunteer and board member for a non-kill animal shelter just outside of Portland, with an emphasis on Development and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) committee work, along with participation in state and local politics and initiatives.   
 
A film/whiskey/concert/reader/travel and outdoors connoisseur, and frequent sports watcher (#GoPackGO as a shareholder/#BRUINS/College Football tailgaiting!), he is also an avid coffee consumer. Cody hopes you’ll join him for a cup or three whenever you’re visiting the office.



Jacob Perkins
Office Assistant

Jacob is a second year Master of Divinity (MDiv) student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, pursuing ordination to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church. Additionally, Jacob studies medieval Spanish interreligious communities in al-Andalus, Mysticism, and Liturgy. Jacob cares deeply about building positive, mutually respectful relationships between Abrahamic faiths in a way that is genuine and celebrates differences.
 

Eva Griffin-Stolbach
Program Assistant

Eva is the program assistant for Shoresh. They are a life-long Hyde Parker, Lab graduate, and currently in school at UIC getting a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Learning with a focus on early childhood education and disability studies. In her free time, Eva likes to hang out with her dog (a goldendoodle named Rory), play ukulele, and geek out about their favorite TV shows. Eva comes from a Jewish-Catholic interfaith family and grew up in a renewal congregation, and is excited to bring that experience to KAMII. 

Facilities Team 
Corey is a dedicated leader of our facilities team. His commitment to KAM Isaiah Israel shines in his work and interaction with the congregation. Through early mornings and late nights, Corey and his team demonstrate how integral their work is to our congregation's success.
 
 

 

Facilities
James assists the facilities team and is a wearer-of-many-hats while also helping all functions of each departments for everyday needs, whether it be for Shabbat services or daily activities.  
 
He is always eager to help out and is very passionate about spreading peace, love, caring and sharing in the world.  
 
 
 
 
 

 Olga Perez
 Facilities
Olga has been one of KAMII's long-standing staff members, and always looks forward to the High Holy Days as she is able to see and connect with all of the KAM Isaiah Israel community. She is always eager to meet new people and help in any way that she can.  Outside of work, Olga enjoys reading and walking and the best parts that Chicago has to offer.  Beloved mother and grandmother to many, she also enjoys traveling back home to Guatemala as much as she is able. 

 

 

 John Sefner
 Building Supervisor
John enjoys his role at KAM Isaiah Israel as the all-around 'go- to' for any and all maintenance requests that come his way and is very engaged with all tenants in the building for any needs that may arise. 


Additionally, John is a great asset for vendor management as a contractor liaison for all construction-related activities.   

A long-playing bassist and a recent newlywed, John enjoys spending his time with his wife and daughter and their cats- watching all of the hockey games they can, trying the latest restaurants in Hyde Park, and especially going fishing when weather permits. 

Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784