An inspired resource for your Life Cycle Events
Rabbi Michael Sommer is the founding rabbi of Har Shalom Synagogue, a warm and welcoming reform congregation that shares space at Lakeside Congregation 1221 Highland Park, IL 60035. You can find him leading Shabbat services every Friday night at 7:30 pm in the community room.
He was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2005.
He was interim rabbi at Temple B’nai Israel in Aurora, Illinois from March-June of 2014 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.
Rabbi 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.
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 can also follow Rabbi Michael on his blogs:
and on twitter @HarShalom