Biography of Rabbi Sommer

An inspired resource for your Life Cycle Events

Rabbi Michael Sommer founded Har Shalom Synagogue in 2014.  Har Shalom strives to be a warm and welcoming reform congregation. We partner and share space with Temple Beth El 3610 Dundee Road Northbrook, IL. Shabbat services begin every Friday night at 7:30 pm.

Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2005, Rabbi Michael has lived in the Chicago area since 2003.

As interim rabbi at Temple B’nai Israel in Aurora, Illinois from March-June of 2014, Rabbi Sommer helped the community begin to heal after their rabbi died unexpectedly. For two years he was a rabbi at Congregation B’nai Torah of Highland Park, Illinois. For six years he was the Director of Youth Programming at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois, leading children’s High Holy Day services, planning and leading high school mitzvah trips, leading the annual confirmation retreat, teaching religious and Hebrew school, and planning and coordinating all youth programming.  As a student rabbi he served congregations in Texarkana, Texas and Fayetteville, Georgia. In 2001 he served as the North American Temple Youth-Ohio Valley Regional Advisor.

michael-and-phyllisRabbi Sommer has a wide range of training, including certification as a Divorce Mediator from the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies, and Clinical Pastoral training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Rabbi Sommer trained to be a military chaplain in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in the summer of 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.
During summers, Rabbi Sommer thoroughly enjoys working as faculty at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, WI.
Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Sommer earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Florida followed by a Masters Degree in Theater from the University of Kentucky.michael-sommer-7

He is married to Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, Director of Congregational Learning at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinios and they have three amazing children, David,  Yael , and Solomon. His beloved fourth child, Sam (z”l), died of leukemia in December of 2013.

In his spare time Rabbi Sommer loves playing with his kids, spending time with family and friends, teaching, reading, listening to music, painting, playing video games and watching movies.
You read about Rabbi Sommer’s son Sam on the blog:
Superman Samuel

and on twitter @HarShalom


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