Kory is a graduate of the University of Arizona and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education. Kory’s Early Childhood career began in San Francisco, CA, where she worked at Marin Day Schools as a Preschool Teacher, Toddler Teacher, Kindergarten Teacher, Infant Teacher, and Curriculum Coordinator. Kory spent her last six years in San Francisco as the Assistant Director for Congregation Sherith Israel’s Preschool program before relocating to Chicago.
After joining her husband in Chicago in 2006, Kory was thrilled to remain a part of the Jewish community as she became the Director of Early Childhood for the Florence Heller JCC in Lakeview. After ten years as the Director at the JCC, Kory and her family relocated to Deerfield. Kory is a dedicated Early Childhood Director with over twenty years of experience in the field. She is passionate about working with young children, committed to creating strong family partnerships and is enthusiastic about creating play based, Reggio Emilia inspired Jewish Early Childhood programming.
847-432-8900 x248 or 847-432-2830
Michele was born in Skokie and moved to Highland Park in first grade. One of the first things her parents did when they moved here was to join Beth El, and she is a proud Beth El graduate!
After college she moved to New York where she earned her MSW in Social Work and Certificate of Jewish Communal Studies from Yeshiva University.
Michele’s first professional position was as an Associate in JUF’s Womens’ Division. She then moved to Tempe, Arizona to be the Program Director of Hillel at Arizona State University, a position she held for two years until she was recruited to become the first Director of the newly-formed Young Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.
Michele and her husband moved back to Chicagoland, while they were expecting their first child, to be near family. They moved even closer to family less than a year later when we moved to Highland Park, at which time we re-joined the Beth El Community.
All three of her children are proud Beth El graduates, and two of them continue to study in the Sokol Hebrew High School and work in the Cohen Religious School as Madrichim.
She was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home-mom for many years, though immediately before coming to teach at Beth El several years ago, she served as the Education Director for Financial Poise, an on-line continuing education company for accountants, attorneys, and business owners/executives.
Rabbi Michael Schwab has been at NSSBE since 2005. He currently serves as a Shalom Hartman Institute Rabbinic Leadership Fellow, as a member of the Board of Directors of Solomon Schechter Day School, sits on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis as well as chairs JUF’s Synagogue Federation Commission. Rabbi Schwab is a past President of the Chicagoland Rabbinical Assembly, a past member of the National Council of AIPAC and is a Chicago Global Justice Fellow for American Jewish World Service. Additionally, Rabbi Schwab is featured as a scholar for Jewish Values Online, an interactive website that serves as a portal to Jewish responses to relevant ethical issues. You can see his contributions by clicking here.
In the past Rabbi Schwab was selected to participate in Hebrew University’s Melton Center Senior Educators Program for Outstanding Diaspora Educators, was chosen as a fellow in the STAR PEER Rabbinic Leadership Program for early career rabbis who have demonstrated leadership excellence and he completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg Management Education Program and is now a member of Kellogg’s Jewish Leaders Circle. Rabbi Schwab is married to his lovely wife, Erica, who is a behavioral therapist and teacher of children with developmental disabilities. They have four children: Ari, Liana, Noa and Miri.
Originally, Rabbi Schwab was born in Philadelphia and received his BA from Rutgers University, where he majored in History and Jewish Studies. Rabbi Michael Schwab received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in May, 2004. In addition, Rabbi Schwab also received an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Education. During his studies at JTS he completed the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Penn Foundation for Mental Health and served as the Jewish Life Director of the Goldsmith Student Dormitory. He also spent several years studying in Israel at the Hebrew University, Machon Schechter and the Conservative Yeshiva.
Hazzan Jacob Sandler joined the NSS Beth El clergy team as Hazzan in July 2021. He grew up in Rockland County, New York, where he also most recently served for 3 years as the Cantorial Intern at New City Jewish Center. His path to the cantorate was molded by a deep love of education, music, Jewish identity and community.
Before receiving his M.A. in Sacred music and cantorial ordination at JTS in 2021, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in k-12 Music Education from SUNY Buffalo State. Cantor Sandler has spent every summer since 2004 at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, where he was affectionately known by the nickname “Milk.” He was a camper, counselor and longtime member of tzevet musika (music staff). Hazzan Sandler also enjoyed extensive time in Israel including a semester abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Spring 2015), staffing Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (Spring 2017), Birthright, a Bar Mitzvah Trip and Ramah Israel Seminar.
Throughout Cantorial School, Hazzan Sandler continued to teach music in a variety of settings including religious school (SAJ, Shaarei Tikvah), day school (Schechter Manhattan), camp, and USY (Rosh Tefillah at USY Tzafon). He was also fortunate to serve as the Graduate Jewish Life Director for the office of Student Life at JTS for three years, creating and executing a lot of programming for his peers across the schools of JTS.
Music is ever at the core of Hazzan Sandler’s life. He enjoys singing with various Jewish A Cappella groups, such as Kol Zimra, The Pella Singers, and The Choral Torah Collective. He also plays a variety of instruments, including piano, guitar, ukulele, drums, harmonica and the occasional triangle solo. In what’s left of his spare time, he enjoys writing haikus and limericks, freestyle rapping. He is also an accomplished songwriter with over 150 original songs, which he hopes to one day put out to the world. And beyond music, Cantor Sandler can be found enjoying stand-up and improv comedy, spending time with friends and family, watching, drawing and doing funny voices for cartoons.
Rabbi Freedman formerly served as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Closter, NJ where had been working for 4+ years. There he created a new popular Family High Holiday Service and updated the Religious School’s curriculum, in addition to fulfilling the full range of rabbinic duties.
He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, studied at the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem, and served for several summers as a Rosh Eidah (unit head) at Camp Ramah Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary where he earned the Kay and Rabbi Moshe Pomerantz Prize in Congregational education, the David Scharps Memorial Prize in Talmud and was awarded the Wexner Fellowship. He is married to Laura and they have two children and are expecting a third!
Rabbi Freedman brings great experience, knowledge and skills. We are excited to welcome him to our outstanding clergy team.
A Chicago-area native, Hazzan Barbara Barnett has served area congregations for more than 20 years as teacher, ritual director, and cantor. She received her investiture into the Cantors Assembly in 2014 and obtained her commission as Hazzan-Minister in 2018.
For the past several years, Barbara has worked for NSS BethEl’s Cohen Religious School, running the school’s Tefilah Program and its hugely successful Jr. Congregation (which serves NSS Beth El’s second-through sixth- grade families). Before joining Beth El’s teaching staff, Barbara served as Ritual Director at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook for 13 years, overseeing its large B’nai Mitzvah program (and tutoring more than 700 students). She served for several years as the Cantor at Congregation Beth Am (Buffalo Grove), and has long been part of the Council for Jewish Elderly’s clergy rotation, leading services and interacting with residents at Weinberg in Deerfield. Barbara holds Biology Bachelor’s degree and an M.A. in Political Science, and is an award-winning author and public speaker. She has published works on a wide variety of topics, from pop culture to Jewish life and liturgy.