Meet Our Clergy

Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows

Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows, A CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, was ordained from Hebrew Union College-JIR in 1998 and has been at Congregation Beth Am since 2001, becoming the the Senior Rabbi in 2009. Rabbi Bellows received her B.A. from the University of Illinois where she also earned a Master’s degree in Political Science. She also holds a Master’s degree in Divinity from The University of Chicago. In addition to serving her congregation, Lisa is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a yoga teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS). She is a graduate of the IJS Rabbinic Leadership Program, an RYT 200 certified yoga teacher, a Relax and Renew® Trainer in restorative yoga and a graduate of the IJS Jewish Meditation Teacher Training. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Lakeview Shelter. She is proud to be a member of the Northwest Suburban Interfaith Clergy Council and speaks on Interfaith relations as well as bringing compassionate action to our lives and the world through mindfulness and spiritual practices.

Rabbi Bellows loves traveling with her husband and three young children, listening to The Moth and other podcasts, and being grateful.

Rabbi Bellows tweets @LisaBellows and blogs at Ayin Tova: To See the Good.

 

Rabbi Richard M Prass

Rabbi Educator

Rabbi Richard Prass, before joining Beth Am in the summer of 2007, Rabbi Prass served as both Associate Rabbi and Director of Education at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, New York, and has experience in administration, teacher recruitment, teacher development, curriculum development and instruction. A native Midwesterner, Rabbi Prass heralds from Minneapolis, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in May 2000.

In addition to his experience in leading Temple Israel’s education program, Rabbi Prass was instrumental in energizing and enlarging the Temple’s youth groups. As an Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel, prior to his acceptance as the Temple’s education lead, he maintained a full pulpit, with preaching and lifecycle responsibilities. Rabbi Prass also spent several summers working at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin.  He is a member of the Chicago Association of Reform Jewish Educators (CHARJE), serving as the treasurer (2010-2015) and president (2015-present).  He serves as the Rabbinic Advisor to NFTY-CAR (2009-present), being granted the honor of lifetime membership in December of 2015.  He volunteers at OSRUI, serving on the Rabbinic, Educator, Cantorial Advisory Committee (RECC).

Rabbi Prass currently lives in Deerfield with his wife, Cantor Jennifer Frost, and their children, Lyla Ann, Ruth Adina and David Lev.

Cantorial Soloist Heather Aranyi

Cantorial Soloist

 

Heather Aranyi is a master soloist, educator, choral conductor, consultant, professional cantor candidate, advisor, and mentor. Named by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most sought after singers and conductors in Chicago,” Heather’s dynamic skills and far reaching experiences have brought her passion and expertise to dozens of individuals, schools, institutions, and organizations.

Currently, she is on staff at the Lyric Opera where she is both an artist and teacher-in-residence working with communities and schools in the creation and performance of original operas. She also teaches at Northwestern University. Through her work with Aranyi Music Corporation she has mentored and expertly guided artists, attorneys, scientists, corporations, as well as professional and aspiring singers and performers. An astounding number of her protégés have gone on to achieve excellence and success in their chosen careers and fields of interest receiving international awards, scholarships, as well as media attention from National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal. Heather’s skill set incorporates interdisciplinary, hands-on, innovative approaches to assist her clients in becoming more confident, masterful, and prosperous.

Heather holds graduate degrees in Voice and Opera from Northwestern University and Early Childhood Development from The Erikson Institute at Loyola University. She was awarded a prestigious McCormick fellowship, was a featured presenter at the 31st Annual Women Cantors Network Conference, and has performed throughout Chicago, Europe, and most recently, successfully debuted in New York City at the renowned Carnegie Hall. Her forthcoming plans include additional teaching and leadership appointments, her continued work at the Lyric Opera and Aranyi Music Corporation, and a return to New York City for a performance at the equally notable Lincoln Center.

Cantor Arnold Schultz

Cantor Emeritus

 

Cantor Arnie Schultz z”l, our founding Cantor served Beth Am from 1981 and become our Cantor Emeritus in 2004.

Cantor Schultz was a founding member of Beth Am, brought our congregation muchruach–spirit and soul. His beautiful voice, matched with his love for Torah, humor, folk music and chazzanut, teaching, and the cantorate itself, provided a foundation upon which our congregation still stands today. He worked indefatigably to bring our two holocaust scrolls to the congregation from London and until five or so years ago, annually taught our 7th graders and all of us, the story and history of the scrolls we continue to honor each week at our Shabbat evening worship. Cantor Schultz was committed to sharing the memory and stories of Kojitin, Czechoslovakia.

Cantor Schultz’s amazing soulful voice still reverberates and remains a part of the very fabric of our sacred community.