Rabbi Brant Rosen
Tikkun Magazine editor Rabbi Michael Lerner says Rabbi Brant Rosen is "at once a courageous rabbi and the voice of a new generation of American Jews who are refusing to allow the right-wing voices of the Jewish world to define Judaism."
Journalist Ben Ehrenreich says he "combines great compassion, rigorous intellectual engagement, and an unfailing sense of justice."
Author/activist Naomi Wolf describes him as "one of the righteous voices that demonstrate the true meaning of Judaism, transcending tribal identities and committed to social justice and human love."
At Tzedek Chicago, we call him our rabbi and friend.
A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Brant was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1992 and served congregations in Los Angeles and Denver before coming to the Chicago area in 1998 to serve as rabbi of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC).
During the course of his rabbinate, Rabbi Brant became an increasingly vocal activist for justice and human rights, particularly in Israel/Palestine. After publicly wrestling with his relationship to Israel and openly questioning his lifelong Zionism, he eventually became a prominent Jewish presence in the Palestine solidarity movement, co-founding the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council and Ta'anit Tzedek - Jewish Fast for Gaza.
In 2014, he left JRC to become the Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Shortly after, Rabbi Brant and several other kindred spirits founded Tzedek Chicago. Through his leadership, our congregation quickly grew to the point that by 2019, he became our full-time rabbi.
Rabbi Brant's writings have appeared in many journals and publications, including Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, the Jewish Forward, Tikkun and Truthout. He is also the author of the popular Jewish social justice blog, Shalom Rav; his curated collection of blog posts and reader comments, Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity was published by Just World Books in 2012 (updated in 2017).
Rabbi Brant has contributed essays to a number of anthologies including "Zionism and the Quest for Peace in the Holy Land," "On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice," and "Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation." He is also a prolific poet and liturgist whose prayers and poems can be found on his blog Yedid Nefesh. In 2018, Tzedek Chicago published his chapbook of prayers, "Songs After the Revolution: New Jewish Liturgy."
Rabbi Brant and his life-partner Hallie live in Evanston with their two endlessly curious cats Woody and Gussie. Their two adult sons Gabe and Jonah live in Chicago.
Click here to read Rabbi Brant's inaugural Rosh Hashanah sermon for Tzedek Chicago.
Leah Shoshanah, Cantorial Soloist
Leah Shoshanah is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and educator based in Chicago. She has performed worldwide, from intimate house concerts to on stage with the South African National Opera company “Opera Africa”. Leah performs original music and jazz/folk covers both solo and as the bandleader for various ensembles around Chicago. Her debut CD, "A Child Like This" was released in 2017.
Leah's upbringing in classical music, Jewish liturgy and Hebrew language lead her uniquely into the role of cantorial soloist. Today, she has written contemporary musical settings for Jewish liturgy and she has taught and led music at a variety of synagogues in the Chicago area and around the country. Leah also teaches music in Chicago public schools, the Old Town School of Folk Music and for private students. For more information about her original music, click here.
Aviva Stein, Family Program Coordinator
Aviva Stein is an educator, naturalist and activist, happily living in Rogers Park. She has worked as a camp farmer, religious school teacher, and environmental educator and is so happy to bring her love for the natural world, Jewish education and justice advocacy to her role at Tzedek Chicago. She can usually be found riding her bike, looking for birds and generally delighting in living things.
Hannah Rehak, Social Media Manager
Hannah Rehak is a 26-year-old writer, comedian and social media manager based out of Chicago. Hannah graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English & American Studies and has spent time in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Morocco studying journalism and new media. She joins Tzedek Chicago as an employee after years as a follower and fan of Rabbi Brant and the larger Tzedek community. When not scrolling Instagram and Twitter, Hannah can be found drawing, editing audio or performing improv and sketch comedy at The iO Theater. For more information visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.