"Jewish law and custom create time for grief and provide a methodology for grieving. The Jewish approach to bereavement is based on respect for the powerful emotions of loss. Mourners are given a structure to encourage feeling their loss, and thus heal. " (Anita Diamant)
I work closely with individuals and families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Please feel free to contact me to plan a meaningful and memorable funeral or memorial service for your loved one.
Rabbi Tom, Thank you for leading my mother's memorial service at Zion Garden this past week. I felt the service was a real celebration of Mom's life and your guidance was very key in making it come together in this way. With loving memories. Bob, Indiana
Rabbi Tom, Just a note of profound thanks for conducting our mother's graveside service last weekend. Our family could not have been better served, and a number had substantive conversations you brought out with your (I believe somewhat unique) open - friendly demeanor and style. Your genuine interest in people is apparent. Jim and Michelle, Illinois
The naming of a child is a most profound spiritual moment. Jewish sages say that naming a baby is a statement of the child's character, special-ness, and path in life. For at the beginning of life we are given a name. And at the end of life, a "good name" is all that we take with us.
I work closely with parents and caregivers to create a naming ceremony experience which combines traditions with personal meaning that will be treasured by all participants. Please feel free to contact me about making your child's naming experience meaningful and sacred.
Rabbi Samuels, we greatly appreciate your guidance, kindness and support. Thank you for making this day, Janessa's baby naming, so special for her and our family. Mara and Robert, Chicago
Bar & Bat Mitzvahs (Youth & Adult)
I work closely together with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student and his or her family to create a personalized learning process and ceremony which combines traditions with personal meaning. Please feel free to contact me about making your child's Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience meaningful and sacred.
Dear Rabbi Tom, My daughter and I could not have hoped for a more special experience for her becoming a Bat Mitzvah. You provided just the right support and in just the right ways throughout the planning, tutoring, and service. To say you were helpful with our particular unique set of circumstances and out-of-the-box requests is an understatement! Through your guidance and openness, we were able to create a very meaningful event that embodied Jewish spirituality in exactly the right way for us, and allowed for our unique expression as individuals and family to unfold. This touched the lives of all friends, family and community that were present. Your connection with my daughter through music was pure joy, the blending of your voices together in prayer is something we will hold dear to our hearts forever. In peace and with deep gratitude. Lynntia, Chicago
Thank you Rabbi Tom, for standing right next to me, and being a complete lifesaver to my family and my Bat Mitzvah service. Bella, Chicago
Rabbi Tom, A huge thank you from all of us! It’s been a crazy year for sure. You were amazingly patient, flexible and always had a sense of humor. Thank you for guiding our family through all of this, for creating a ceremony that was meaningful and that fit our family perfectly. We couldn’t have gotten through it without you. Thank you for being such an important part of our family. Craig, Ami, Gemma and Quinn, Chicago
Thank you, Rabbi Tom, for all the extra efforts you made to help me grow, and the challenges you encouraged me to face, to help me to be here today. Your knowledge, your dedication, and your patience. You are not only our rabbi, you are our friend, authority, and guide, all rolled into one person. I will always be grateful to you for your support and for your kindness. From my heart to yours, Toddah Rabba! Koreann, Kelowna, Canada
Rabbi Tom. I didn't get a chance to talk with you yesterday and say thank you for a beautiful Bar Mitzvah. I got a lot of compliments on how inclusive you were and how you explained everything so our non Jewish guests felt welcome. I can't thank you enough for your influence on Max, especially for expanding his analytical skills and your openness in dealing with his questions about religion. He really enjoys studying with you. Thank you again for yesterday and beyond. Illisa, Chicago
Jews by Choice (Conversion)
"More beloved by God than all the children of Israel who stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai are those who choose Judaism, who come to the Torah of their own accord.” (Midrash Tanchuma)
I work with those who have a calling to join the Jewish People. Please feel free to contact me to discuss navigating this life-transforming experience.