Rabbi Alex Felch
I am proud to say that I have been the Rabbi at B’nai Tikvah for over twenty years. The journey that got me here is filled with many twists, turns, adventures, and… love. It started in Buenos Aries, Argentina, where I was born. Sadly, my father died when I was four years old, and my mother found herself with two young children and little money to support them. But we were Jewish, and the Jewish community in Buenos Aries was vibrant and filled with g’milut chesed (loving kindness). They not only helped my single mother through a very difficult time, they would embrace her children and pay for camps and schools all the way through college. I am forever grateful for their generosity.
As I was involved with “all things Jewish” since I was a young child, it might not come as a surprise that I decided to become a Rabbi when I was about 18 years old. I have never looked back, except with fond memories and tremendous appreciation. After graduating from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I started my career in Puerto Rico, and later took a position in Connecticut. This experience has given me insights that I carry with me every day. My love for Jewish community took me in 1999 to Deerfield, Il as I became the Rabbi of B’nai Tikvah.
It was both exciting, and frankly, intimidating. I recognized that this was one of the most desirable areas in the United States, and I knew that I would try my hardest to serve this community with all my heart and make a difference.
From the moment I arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the enthusiastic, warm, and down to earth congregants who were committed to finding a Rabbi who would carry on what their beloved Rabbi Frankel had started. Twenty years and thousands of “life moments” later, I am still as excited about the role that B’nai Tikvah continues to play in the hundreds of families who belong.
I would be thrilled to discuss your journey, whether it is simply to find a synagogue for the High Holidays, your children’s Jewish education, or your desire to find a place that will be comfortable and welcoming for your family, regardless of your orientation or faith. Nothing gives me more joy than spreading my love and appreciation of Judaism, and how I can help it be a part of someone’s life. I won’t promise that it will change your life like it did mine, but I am confident that it can play a meaningful part in a complicated world.
Hazzan Hery Chulef
Hazzan Hery Chulef grew up in Lima, Perú, attending Hebrew Day School for 15 years. He also studied at the University in Perú before coming to the United States in 1986 and earning a BA in Psychology from Earlham College, graduating in three years. From there, Hazzan Hery attended Cantorial School at Yeshiva University, NYC, graduating in 1993.
Before coming to Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Hazzan Hery lived in New York for ten years, and served as Hazzan at Havurat Yisrael, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Queens.
Hazzan Hery joined the B’nai Tikvah community in 2001 as our High Holiday Hazzan, and went on to become Ritual Educator in 2003. He has trained countless students in Ritual skills and prayer. He was installed as B’nai Tikvah’s Hazzan in 2014.