Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Darby Leigh

Rabbi Darby Leigh

Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh, a native New Yorker, is a life-long “truth-seeker.” His rabbinate is characterized by creativity, inclusivity, and a commitment to diversity. Rabbi Darby describes himself as “committed to finding creative ways to engage Jews of all ages and backgrounds and to creating welcoming, caring communities with intellectual honesty and spiritual depth.”

“I knew I wanted to become a rabbi,” he shares. “I wanted to sing and dance and pray, to engage people in this search for truth. But I pushed the thought away. A deaf rabbi?”

Rabbi Darby received a BA in Religion Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rochester. He then toured with the National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) and served as a social worker and counselor at the New York Society for the Deaf. Leigh earned a MA in Religion from Columbia University and his rabbinic ordination and a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

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Scheduling Times to Meet with Rabbi Darby Leigh

Rabbi Darby is available to meet with congregants one-on-one to discuss any matter that is on their minds—he loves to spend time with people, even if it is just to schmooze! If you would like to schedule a meeting, please contact the office at .

Rabbi Darby in the Media

Dig Boston: Greater Boston’s Deaf “Metal Rabbi” on “Sound of Metal”

Dig Boston‘s John Ruch interviewed Rabbi Darby for a post-Oscars piece on The Sound of Metal.

Rabbi Darby comments on the movie in the interview, “‘I love the exposure that Deaf community and Deaf culture are getting,’ he says. At the same time, Leigh emphasizes the hearing culture should know ‘it is not a movie about Deafness.’ ‘The story,’ rather, ‘was about identity and identity transformation.'”

Read the full article here.


Forward: “From Twisted Sister to the Pulpit, a Deaf Rabbi Finds his Place in ‘a Society Not Set Up for You’”

“From a young age, Darby Leigh knew he was on a spiritual path. Fascinated by religion and spiritual practices, he thought about becoming a rabbi but quickly dismissed it, for one main reason: He is profoundly deaf.

Today, Leigh is rabbi of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord, Massachusetts — and at the forefront of creating the kind of open, inclusive community he once found lacking in Jewish life. . . .”

Read the full article here.

Kerem Shalom’s Rabbi Darby  Authors Chapter in Deaf Identities — Exploring New Frontier

Rabbi Darby was featured in the Concord Journal and Jewish Boston in an article highlighting his contribution to Deaf Identities —Exploring New Frontier and his role in bringing ASL classes and an ASL chorus to Kerem Shalom.

An excerpt: “Rabbi Leigh, was the perfect expert to offer the Jewish viewpoint for the book—he is one of few D/deaf rabbis in the world. As an expert in Torah, who has travelled extensively teaching Torah analysis, he could offer the full analysis of moving in D/deaf and non-deaf religious worlds.”

Read the full article here.

Tablet Magazine: 15 American Rabbis You Haven’t Heard Of, But Should

“…Our aim is to highlight the work of Jewish leaders and teachers who don’t typically command the national spotlight—none of them ever appeared on Newsweek’s list—but whose influence has been profound….”

“These are rabbis you haven’t heard of, but should. They are the mentors whose synagogues and teachings are well worth exploring during this year’s High Holidays season.”

An excerpt from Tablet Magazine on Rabbi Darby:

“I may not hear very well, but I really know how to listen”

“In August 2013, Darby Leigh became only the second deaf rabbi to lead a hearing congregation in the United States when he assumed the pulpit of the Kerem Shalom synagogue in Concord, Mass….”

Read the full article here.

Ritualwell Tradition & Innovation: Shema Prayer: American Sign Language and Hebrew

Rabbi Darby teaches the Shema in American Sign Language and explains the choices he has made about how to sign this ancient prayer in a more contemporary and inclusive manner.

Read the full article here.

Rosalie Gerut

Rosalie Gerut

KS Cantor and Director of Adult Programming

Rosalie Gerut has been with Kerem Shalom since the mid-1980s. She is an educational psychologist as well as a singer/songwriter with international credits. Rosalie brings her love of music and Judaic studies to Kerem Shalom by participating in leading services and developing adult programs that build community and deepen the congregation’s understanding of Judaism.

Rosalie received The Charlotte Bloomberg Award for the establishment of One-by-One, Inc.; the Brandeis University Bolli Award for Outstanding Speaker (on the subject of the Holocaust and the role of music); and the WMJX Exceptional Woman Award for Courage. Her publications include original music for recordings, plays, and ballet, as well as articles on the subject of trauma and healing from the fallout of the Holocaust. Rosalie holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, an M.A. from Tufts University, and over the years has continued her studies in psychology, Judaism, and Biblical Hebrew.

Rabbi Sam Pollak

Rabbi Sam Pollak

Director of Congregational Learning

Rabbi Sam Pollak joined Kerem Shalom in July 2020. He received a BA in philosophy and comparative religion, at The Ohio State University, where he held leadership positions at Hillel and sang in a Jewish a cappella group. He attended Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion where he received a MA in Hebrew Letters and was ordained as a rabbi in 2017.

He most recently served for three years as one of the rabbis at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York, where his responsibilities included teaching religious school classes and Torah study; leading early childhood classes; establishing an adult education initiative; creating a group to guide interfaith families; serving on a newly formed inclusion committee; and officiating life cycle events. During his rabbinical studies, Sam worked at a number of small congregations in the Midwest.

“I am thrilled to join the Kerem Shalom community, and I am inspired by how the congregation and the Hebrew School emphasize joyful, inclusive Jewish life,” shares Rabbi Sam. “I look forward to meeting everyone and working toward that vision together.

He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and lives in Cambridge with his husband, Rabbi Ari Abelman, who grew up in Lexington, MA, and their son, Lev.

Nancy Kaplan

Nancy Kaplan

Family Engagement Specialist

Nancy Kaplan joined Kerem Shalom as a member in 1999 and as Family Educator in 2002, after a year of teaching in KS’s school. She loves to create and hold the space for joyful, vivid Jewish experiences for children and families.  Her passion is to help families do meaningful work that has an impact on the life of the community and the world.

Nancy leads KS’s Tot Shabbat services and partners with Rabbi Sam on Family Programs. She is the Hebrew School Reimagined music educator, teaches the Social Action and Sacred Jewish Music curricula during the b’nai mitzvah year, and oversees KS’s annual community-wide Mitzvah Day One. Nancy is the pianist in KS’s Mostly Music Ensemble. Pre-pandemic she led KS’s monthly TELEM teen volunteer program at Household Goods.

Before moving to MA, Nancy was a religious educator in Rapid City, SD's Synagogue of the Hills. Jewish Family Education is Nancy’s second career.  She holds a Masters in Medical and Biological Illustration from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Biology from Tufts University. She received a certificate in Jewish Family Education from Hebrew College.

Nancy and her husband, George, live in Acton, MA. They are blessed with two daughters and one son-in-law.

Robyn Barabe

Robyn Barabe

Temple Administrator

Robyn comes to Kerem Shalom with an extensive background in entrepreneurship, as well as non-profit and administrative management. Prior to joining Kerem Shalom, Robyn spent 13 years as an office manager, where she had a wide range of responsibilities including accounts payable/receivable, customer account management, HR, and the management of daily operations. Previously, Robyn created a 501(c)3 nonprofit Wildlife Rehabilitation and Environmental Education organization while working as a state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator. 
In her spare time, Robyn is a budding herbalist. She also enjoys spending time hiking with her dogs, riding her horse whenever possible, and learning to play the fiddle. She is a second degree Reiki practitioner and was responsible for the creation of a line of Reiki-infused body care products. Robyn lives in Westford with her husband Jim, on their small farm, where she cares for their animal family—dogs, cats, parrots, chickens, horses, goats, and a cranky alpaca! “I am excited to join such a diverse, warm, and welcoming organization, and look forward to getting to know everyone,” shares Robyn.


Rabbi Michael Luckens

Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Michael Luckens served at Kerem Shalom’s from 1978 to 2012, at which time he moved to Emeritus status. During his tenure at Kerem Shalom, he led the creation of a deeply rooted and joyful Jewish community that valued tradition and also embraced change. Partnering with synagogue member David Orlinoff, Rabbi Luckens wrote and edited Kerem Shalom’s prayerbook, Shir Ha-Lev (Song of the Heart). Rabbi Luckens is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. He has a MA in Education and a Ph.D. in Religion.