Rabbi Alex Felch
Rabbi Alex Felch was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he specialized in the fields of Bible and the history of the Jewish people. He studied at the Conservative Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Rabbinical Seminary of Latin America), and was one of the youngest-ever ordained rabbis at that institution. He also studied clinical psychology at the University of Puerto Rico and was a visiting lecturer at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano, the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Connecticut College.
Rabbi Alex has an eclectic rabbinical style that has been shaped by the fact that he has lived in five different countries and has interacted with people from four different cultures with four different languages. While in Puerto Rico, he became the “chief Rabbi” of la isla del encanto (“the island of Enchantment” as Puerto Rico is known), or as he jokes, “the only Rabbi in Puerto Rico.” Being the only full-time Jewish professional on the whole island, he became the “unofficial” spokesperson for the Jewish community and State of Israel, due to his close contact with the Israeli Consulate in Florida.
Rabbi Alex has served the Jewish community in several roles. He has developed innovative educational programming, and was instrumental in the creation of a Jewish Montessori pre-school and a supplementary Jewish High School. He has led several missions to Israel as well as humanitarian missions to Cuba, working to rejuvenate the local Jewish community there. He also participated in the return to Judaism of the Jews of Iquitos, Peru, featured in the documentary film, “The Fire Within.”
Rabbi Alex is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly (Chicago region) and served as a board member on the Executive Council of the International Rabbinical Assembly. He is currently the president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. He was co-chairman of the Synagogue-Federation Commission, a key committee of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago. Presently, he also serves on the Executive Council AIPAC, Chicago and is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.
After moving to the continental United States, Rabbi Alex first served in Connecticut. In 1999, he moved to Deerfield, Ill., where he lives with his family and serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Tikvah.
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.