Welcome Rabbi Benjy Forester

Note to congregation:

Today we are very pleased to announce Rabbi Benjy Forester will join our Anshe Emet clergy team in July 2023.

Rabbi Forester is a native of the Chicago area and is an upcoming graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He currently is a rabbinic intern at Sutton Place Synagogue where he gained experience in teaching, preaching, and counseling.  While at Sutton Place Synagogue, Rabbi Forester initiated a young adult grief group.  He has trained at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a student chaplain.  A product of Camp Ramah, Rabbi Forester has worked with youth and teens – neurotypical and neurodiverse.  Also, very relevant to us, Rabbi Forester has worked at Base in Chicago, where he was engaged in their outreach work with young adults involving facilitation, strategic marketing, and organizational partnerships.

In preparation for our search, we examined our congregation’s current and evolving needs across many groups in the extended synagogue community. We asked where we would like to extend our presence, introduce new programs and spend more time and attention both in and outside the shul.  In addition, we reviewed the recent demographic study conducted by the Jewish Federation, held community conversations, and identified key characteristics we sought for our third rabbi.  We determined that the new Rabbi’s portfolio would focus on further engaging youth, young adults, young families, and outreach as well as sharing broader rabbinical responsibilities.

Our congregation was well represented by an excellent search committee, whose members represented the full spectrum of Anshe Emet.  Ably led by Mimi Wallk and Simon Fleishman, they interviewed a number of candidates on Zoom and chose three to bring to the congregation.  We are very appreciative of the interest that members of the congregation took in this process and the many people who took the time to fill out the surveys.  While carefully weighing all factors, the committee decided Rabbi Forester was the best fit for our congregation and voted unanimously to recommend him to our Board of Directors, who overwhelmingly supported this recommendation.  We look forward to Rabbi Forester joining Anshe Emet this summer.

Further, we are delighted to acknowledge Rabbi Forester and Emily Schwartz are planning to be married this June.  As fate would have it, Emily grew up in Lincoln Park and attended Anshe Emet.  All of us at Anshe Emet wish them a very hearty Mazal Tov at this exciting time in their lives.

In Pirkei Avot it is written: “Aseh Lecha Rav”, “Find yourself a Rabbi”.  Over the years, Anshe Emet has been blessed with an array of remarkable Rabbis.  Each has made their unique contributions to our community.  We have every confidence that we have found a Rabbi for this moment, and that Rabbi Forester will be a blessing to our community.

B’ Shalom,

Rabbi Michael Siegel
Senior Rabbi
The Norman Asher Rabbinic Chair

Dani Lazar
AES Board President