Together we are building a community overflowing with warmth and spirit, a community
for which we can all be grateful.
Rabbi Debra Nesselson
Rabbi Nesselson served as rabbi for some 10 years at Congregation B'nai Torah in Highland Park, Illinois. She served as a faculty member of the Dawn Schuman Institute of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education for 21 years teaching a broad spectrum of courses in Judaica. Rabbi Nesselson is the former Midwest Civil Rights Director for the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and a former member of the Illinois Human Rights Commission where she adjudicated appeals of discrimination complaints.
Rabbi Nesselson has lectured on topics of interest in Jewish life throughout the country and has written numerous articles published in various popular and academic journals. She has served on the Boards of various Jewish organizations and is presently a Board member of American Jewish Committee in Chicago. Rabbi Nesselson is a strong advocate for the State of Israel, is a former National Council member of AIPAC, and in 2010 was invited to the White House twice as one of fifteen rabbis nationwide to discuss the Obama Administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
She is married and she and her husband are blessed with three wonderful children.
Cantorial Soloist Warren Kaplan
Our Cantorial Soloist, Warren Kaplan has sung with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a classical musician, Warren cherishes the spiritual fulfillment of Jewish sacred music and has collaborated with many cantors in Los Angeles, Boca Raton and the Chicago area as cantorial soloist and choir member. Warren relishes the role of Cantor for Amichai’s High Holiday services and also brings his warmth and sensitivity to the young adults he works with in preparation for their B’nai Mitzvah.
Warren is especially grateful to Rabbi Nesselson for their ongoing collaboration and for being the impetus behind his rewarding study of guitar. He’s honored to share his High Holy Days experience with fellow musicians, family, friends and the entire Amichai community.
Pianist / Accompanist Natasha Revinskaya
Natallia (Natasha) Revinskaya earned her M.A. in Music from the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts in 1997. She accompanied various instrumentalists and vocalists for over 16 years, and performed solo concerts in England, Wales, Moldova, and Belarus. When she brought her family to the US in 2008, she worked closely with multiple students and soloists as an accompanist and piano teacher.
Natasha shares the gift of her soulful music which touches our hearts and reaches deeply into our souls!
Violist Charles Pikler
The internationally acclaimed Charles Pikler, long the principal violist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), has a long career of musical accomplishments including being featured as a soloist for the CSO, performing with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Quartet. He is on the faculty of Northwestern University, coaches other violists of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and ensembles at the Midwest Young Artists program.
Charles has been an instrumental part of Amichai’s High Holiday Services for the last 9 years. Amichai is honored and moved by his passionate embrace of the holidays through the gift of his music.
Masha alongside her teacher, world renowned Itzhak Perlman.
Violinist Masha Lakisova
Much adored by the Amichai community since 2011, 18 year old, Masha Lakisova, internationally recognized as one of the rising stars of her generation, moves hearts and souls with her gift of music. She has performed in many esteemed concert venues throughout the world including Carnegie Hall in New York and has earned top awards in prestigious competitions throughout the U.S. and beyond, often as the youngest in the competition.
Masha is a student at the New England Conservatory, graduate of Julliard Pre-College, and continues to study with world renowned violinists including Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman. She is the proud recipient of a magnificent violin by Giovanni Francesco Pressenda, Turin, 1845, on loan from The Stradivari Society of Chicago. We are thrilled to welcome Masha back to her home at Amichai!
Gabbai Marina Shubin
Marina Shubin has been a teacher for over 20 years and a proud Amichai Gabbai for 5 years. She has taught Hebrew and Religious school in synagogues, universities and public schools. Her passion is preparing students for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s!
Marina, born in Belarus and educated in Israel emigrated to the United States in 1999 after high school, and earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology. Marina incorporates her education and life experiences in providing a fun and enriching learning environment for all of her students. We are so happy to have Marina a part of Amichai's High Holiday Services for 9 years.
Shofar Dan Davis
Dan Davis, an attorney, has the sacred role of its Ba’al Tokeah, its shofar blower. Dan comes to this role quite naturally as a French horn player. He continues to amaze the Amichai community, both young and older, with the length of his shofar blows awakening us to the New Year and the sanctity of the High Holidays.
We warmly welcome Dan with gratitude as he awakens us annually to the ever-new possibilities of our lives.
Educator/Storyteller Judy Jury
Judy Jury has served as a Judaic educator for over 36 years in many capacities including as Education Director at synagogue schools; President of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago; as co-founder of eJewcate Me, an online Hebrew and Religious School program; and as Director of Special Projects for Interfaith Family/Chicago. In her spare time, Judy serves as Assistant Director of Ramah Day Camp in Wheeling.
Amichai warmly welcomes Judy back as both its Administrator and storyteller extraordinaire.
Webmaster & Holiday Program Design Brad Bensman
Brad first met Rabbi Nesselson at a funeral service she officiated. "Every word Rabbi Debbie spoke resonated in the deepest part of my heart." Shortly after that, at a wedding where Brad was Best Man, once again he carefully watched Rabbi Nesselson officiate. "Her spirituality touches my soul." So moved by Rabbi Nesselson he approached her and asked if there was ever an opportunity to work together and leverage his forty years of marketing expertise to Amichai's calling, it would be of the highest honor.
Amichai is grateful for Brad's creativity, ability and commitment to reflect the feeling of our community through our websites, emails and service programs over the years.