Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin

Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin came to Am Yisrael in 1990. In 1994 she became the Congregation’s sole Rabbi. At that time Am Yisrael became the first congregation in the Chicago metropolitan area to be headed by a woman, and for many years was the largest Conservative congregation in the country to have that distinction. Rabbi Newman Kamin provides keen intellectual and spiritual guidance to the congregation. She is the immediate past President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international membership Organization of Conservative Rabbis. Rabbi Newman Kamin serves on the Board of Masorti Olami, is co-chair of the Zioness Clergy Council and  is a Hartman Fellow. Rabbi Newman Kamin is a recipient of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Rabbi Simon Greenberg Rabbinic Achievement Award. Rabbi Newman Kamin is married and the mother of three adult children.

Rabbi Newman Kamin may be contacted at 847-446-7215 ext. 13 or

Cantor Stuart Simon

Cantor Stuart Simon, a truly gifted vocalist and musician, has been leading prayers for more than forty years, with most of those at Am Yisrael. He is an exciting and compelling presence on the bimah. Am Yisrael has always recognized that music is a most important component of worship. Music can stir the soul, intensify emotions and revivify centuries-old prayers. Cantor Simon provides this vital musical component to worship, helping to lift prayers of praise, gratitude, petition and penitence to God and singing of the beauty and harmony of Creation. In addition to his own involvement throughout the years as Cantor and as a highly skilled Torah reader, Cantor Simon offers adult education classes and is recognized in the community as a popular song leader and an accomplished entertainer and musician. He works with B’nai Mitzvah students, providing them with outstanding training as well as a deeply meaningful experience. An avid gardener and bicyclist, Cantor Simon is married, the father of two sons and grandfather to two girls.

Cantor Simon may be contacted at 847-446-7215 ext. 20 or

Nancy Holab Nevins, Executive Director

Nancy Holab Nevins joined the Am Yisrael staff in 1991. She brings a strong organizational background with her, including fifteen years of administrative work in broadcast communications, primarily at NBC owned radio station WKQX. In addition, Nancy has a vast background in theatre, working as a free lance stage manager, and Managing Director of a local ballet company, Ballet Entre Nous.  Nancy grew up on the North Shore, is a New Trier West alumnus, has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, and has strong ties in our community. Nancy and her husband, Marc, enjoy spare time with their dog Kenji.  She is always happy to answer questions and assist our members in whatever way is necessary.

Nancy may be contacted at: 847-446-7215 ext. 14 or

Charlie Sherman, Head of School

Charlie Sherman joined the Am Yisrael community in 2010 as the School Director. Mr. Sherman has taken our School of Jewish Studies (SJS) to new levels of excellence and innovation. He introduced technology into the classroom via Smartboards, iPads, Google tablets, laptops and video chatting to Israel and other places worldwide. He launched Shabbat Family Programming (SFP), which meets once-a-month and supplements our educational curriculum. Mr. Sherman is striving to make SJS a more “camplike” experience for the children by adding electives (Chugim) such as Art, Band, Israeli Culture, Jewish Family Feud, Jeopardy/Hebrew Conversation, Musical Drama and Multi Media Production. Mr. Sherman is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s joint program with Columbia University for his undergraduate studies. Mr. Sherman went on to receive his Master’s degree in Jewish Education from JTS. He began his career as a teacher and director of Jewish programming for ten years at the Rodeph Sholom School in New York City. Mr. Sherman served as Educational Director at Congregation Or Zarua in New York. Prior to his role at Am Yisrael, Mr. Sherman was Jewish Studies Principal at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, a Kindergarten through 8th Grade Jewish Community Day School. Mr. Sherman is a 2005 recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education as a teacher, mentor and leader. He is a member of the national board of the Jewish Educators Assembly and the President of the Jewish Educators Assembly Midwest Region. Mr. Sherman and his wife Laura are the proud parents three children: Michael 16, Gabe 14, and Amelia 5.

Charlie may be contacted at 847-446-7215 ext. 12 or

Administrative Staff

Am Yisrael’s administrative staff does an excellent job of managing the synagogue’s business affairs, office and building due to their skills, experience and dedication.

The administrative staff includes:

Maintenance Staff

Supervised by Bryan Bogucki, our maintenance staff is comprised of dedicated and loyal employees. Their welcoming demeanor help make Am Yisrael warm and friendly.

  • George Blancas
  • Jorge DeClat
  • George Wilson