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 a 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, the mother of three adult children and the proud grandmother of two.

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

Cantor Dara Rosenblatt

Cantor Dara Sage Rosenblatt (she/her/hers) joined Am Yisrael in July 2023. Prior to moving to the Chicago area, she served as the cantor in Richmond, Virginia for five years. Cantor Rosenblatt aims to build strong relationships with others through music, song, and prayer. She helped establish a congregational band and song circle at her previous congregation, both bringing her great joy and pride. Along with leading davening, Cantor Rosenblatt loves to create new musical experiences through songwriting and creative experimentation. As a B’nai Mitzvah tutor she looks forward to getting to know each and every student and their family. Her love for all that she does often shows through the smile on her face. Cantor Rosenblatt is a member of the Cantors Assembly, Womens’ Cantors Network, and a Hebrew College Alumna. She currently serves on the Board of the Cantors Assembly and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Working Group subcommittee of the Social Justice Commission of the Cantors Assembly and Rabbinical Assembly. Cantor Rosenblatt is engaged to her partner, Jen, and a proud dog-parent of Emma The Coonhound.

Cantor Rosenblatt may be contacted at 847 446-7215 ext.15 or 847-529-1144 or

Cantor Emeritus Stuart Simon

Cantor Stuart Simon, a truly gifted vocalist and musician, led prayers at Am Yisrael for 40 years. He transformed our services, integrating innovative contemporary sounds, instrumentation and familiar traditional nusach. During his cantorial career which spanned 48 years, Cantor Simon trained more than 1000 students and adults for their B’nai Mitzvah ceremonies. He continues to host a weekly Current Events class for our congregation.  An avid gardener and bicyclist, Cantor Simon is married, the father of two sons and grandfather to two girls.

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 an extensive 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 alumna, 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 dogs, Bailey and Murphy.  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, MAEd, CJE, Head of School

Charlie Sherman joined Am Yisrael in July 2010.  Mr. Sherman is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) joint program with Columbia University for his undergraduate studies and also graduated with a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from JTS. After serving as a madrich (assistant teacher) in his suburban Minneapolis synagogue and at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a teen, Mr. Sherman began his career as a full-time Jewish Educator in 1998 at the Rodeph Sholom School in New York City.  While in New York, Mr. Sherman also served as Educational Director at Congregation Or Zarua. Prior to arriving in Chicago, Mr. Sherman served as Jewish Studies Principal at Milwaukee Jewish Day School. Mr. Sherman is a 2005 recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education as a teacher, mentor and leader. Mr. Sherman is a proud alumnus of the Matan Institute for Education and Youth Directors and the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI).  Mr. Sherman is an active member of the Jewish Educators Assembly (JEA) both on the national and regional levels.  Charlie and his wife Laura are the proud parents of Michael, Gabe and Amelia.

Mr. Sherman may be contacted at 847-708-1805 (mobile), or 847-446-7215 ext. 12.

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
  • George Wilson
  • Chuck Howes
  • Kashia Avila