Rabbi Michael Sommer
Rabbi Sommer is currently the rabbi of Har Shalom Synagogue in Northbrook, Il. which he helped found in July of 2014. Currently Har Shalom is partnering with Temple Beth El of Northbrook and shares the use of their beautiful facility for Shabbat services, Sunday School and community programming.
Family is everything. When he isn't leading his congregation or life cycle events Rabbi Sommer spends as much time as possible with his wife, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, and his three children. He and his family fundraise annually for pediatric cancer research in memory of their late son, Sam, who died from leukemia when he was eight years old.
Rabbi Sommer received ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2005. He received his Masters in Hebrew letters from HUC-JIR in 2003. He also received a Masters in Theater Criticism from the University of Kentucky in 1993 and a Bachelors in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Florida in 1991.
Prior to founding Har Shalom, Rabbi Sommer interimmed at Temple B'nai Israel in Aurora, IL for four months. Rabbi Sommer also previously served as senior and assistant rabbi at Temple B'nai Torah in Highland Park two of its last three years prior to its closing. During that time he taught the Jewish Lens curriculum at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe. Prior to that he spent six years as the Director of Youth Programming at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Il., planning and coordinating all youth programming including: leading children's High Holy Day services, planning and leading high school programs and mitzvah trips, leading the annual confirmation retreat, and teaching religious and Hebrew school.
As a student rabbi he served congregations in Texarkana, TX and Fayetteville, GA. In 2001 he served as the NFTY-Ohio Valley Regional Advisor, overseeing the regional advisors and programming for Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia, and a small part of Michigan.
Digital Judaism is the brainchild of Gary Rappaport and Rabbi Michael Sommer. Gary saw Rabbi Sommer's early renditions of digital and modern Hebrew learning tools and believed enough to become partners' with Rabbi Sommer to create this portal for modern, dynamic digital Hebrew learning tools for these digital times.
Rabbi Sommer's wide range of training includes certification as a Divorce Mediator from the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies, Clinical Pastoral Education training at Cinicnnati's Children's Hospital and Chaplaincy training in the United States Army. Rabbi Sommer received an honorable discharge at the rank of Lieutenant in the summer of 2003.