Rabbi Tom Samuels
I remember Shabbat afternoons learning the weekly Torah portion with my Zaida. We both loved these sessions: pure joy, connection, safety. My Zaida held my hand as I delved into the text, and I held his hand as he delved into his memories. And so, I learn and teach Torah, lead Shabbat and Holiday services, hold people’s hands during those times of fear and despair. These moments make me feel a certain way, transforming my heart and my mind. It is spiritual. It is religious. They are one and the same.
Being a rabbi is a calling. I have a passion to inspire and to engage with others on co-creating environments and experiences where meaning and memory-making can happen. I am excited and blessed to be able to help individuals, families and communities to navigate times of transition. To find our spiritual voices. To integrate the transcendent and purpose in to our everyday lives. The Awe of Uncertainty rather than the Joy of Certainty. To be a part of something higher than our own selves.
The Torah is called the Book of Life, Sefer Ha’Chayim. Judaism is something you get intimately involved with. It is a relationship. A meeting place. Where we meet Holiness in our everyday lives. This is the Judaism that I crave. That I try to share. A Judaism that engages, integrates, and inspires the whole person: the world that we inhabit, and the world that we would like to build.
I am the rabbi at the McHenry County Jewish Congregagtion, an unaffiliated, inclusive and egalitarian Jewish community, with a long history and commitment to Torah (Study), Avodah (Service) and Gimilut Hassadim (Acts of Loving-Kindness).
Please feel free to contact me.