Kerem Shalom is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Sam Pollak as Kerem Shalom’s first Director of Congregational Learning.
“I am so excited to welcome Rabbi Sam Pollak to Kerem Shalom as our new Director of Congregational Learning,” exclaims Rabbi Darby Leigh. “I know Rabbi Sam will invigorate the entire community as he brings his love of Torah and of Jewish learning to our Hebrew School students. Rabbi Sam brings joy, warmth, and a love for community. I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him and to begin this new chapter in Kerem Shalom’s history.”
Board President Elisabeth Sackton adds, “Rabbi Sam brings a strongly relational approach to Jewish education. He has an infectious enthusiasm and warmth that draws students, parents, and teachers, and he brings a love for Jewish education and community building. Kerem Shalom is fortunate to have Rabbi Sam on board to direct our school and to create opportunities for learning for young children, teens, and parents as well as connecting across the congregation to our extensive Adult Programs.”
Sam 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.
He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and will be moving to the Greater Boston area with his husband, Rabbi Ari Abelman, who grew up in Lexington, MA.
“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.”