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Meet the Staff

Rabbi Dr. Joseph Ozarowski, Interim Rabbi

Rabbi Joe has enjoyed a fulfilling career as a pulpit rabbi, educator, prolific author and board-certified chaplain for more than 40 years. He is currently Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for JCFS Chicago where he manages the Jewish Community Chaplaincy program. He is a past President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, has served on the Jewish Federation of Chicago (JUF) Board and on the North Shore University HealthCare System Institutional Ethics Committee, and is the current President of Neshama: The Association of Jewish Chaplains.

A native St. Louisan, Rabbi Joe received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University of Chicago, his rabbinic ordination from Skokie’s Hebrew Theological College and his doctorate from Lancaster (PA) Theological Seminary. 

Rabbi Joe’s first book, To Walk in God’s Ways: Jewish Pastoral Perspectives on Illness and Bereavement is considered a standard in the field of Judaism and Pastoral Care.

He is married to Ashira (nee Rapoport), lives in Skokie IL, and has four children and nineteen grandchildren. 

Get in touch with Rabbi Joe.

Executive Director Ruth Schachter-Cohen

Ruth Schachter-Cohen joined Bais Abraham Congregation in 2015 as Director of Operations, and became Executive Director in September 2020. She has extensive experience as a Jewish educator and non-profit professional. Previous positions include Executive Director at Next Dor St. Louis, Jewish Student Life Coordinator at the University of Illinois-Chicago Hillel, and Jewish Studies and History teacher in various settings. Ruth has an academic background in Jewish Studies, History, and Jewish education. In her free time, Ruth enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking, and is an avid Indiana Hoosiers and St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Get in touch with Ruth.

Programming and Engagement Coordinator Abby Goldberg

Abby Goldberg was born and raised in University City. She attended both Epstein Hebrew Academy and the Solomon Schechter Day School and graduated from John Burroughs. She went on to Yale University and studied and worked abroad. She lived in Boston for a few years teaching at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston before moving back to St. Louis to stay. Now back in University City, mom to two kids and a big dog, Abby looks forward to getting to know the Bais Abe community and helping people come together in celebration, study, and service.

Get in touch with Abby.

Rabbi Hyim Shafner, Rabbi 2004-2017

Rabbi Shafner served as Bais Abraham's rabbi from 2004-2017. He has Smicha (rabbinical ordination), a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW), and an MA in Jewish philosophy, from Yeshiva University in New York City and a Certificate in Advanced Psychotherapy from the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. Before becoming Bais Abe's rabbi, Rabbi Shafner was the Campus Rabbi of the Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis for 8 years. Prior to this, he was the community Rabbi of Bombay, India, where he and his wife, Sara Winkelman, spent a year working with the Jews of India. They have three children, Benjamin, Yonah, and Hava.

View Rabbi Shafner’s profile by the Rabbinical Council of America

The Everything Jewish Wedding Book” – written by Rabbi Shafner 

Morethodoxy Articles

The Dream of Exile: A Rereading of Honi the Circle-Drawer, Kerem: Creative Explorations in Jewdasim

 

Don't Give Up the Shul: Reorienting Our Synagogues

Learning from the Bene Israel of India, Conversations: The Journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

 

The Endangered Next Generation of Israeli-American Jews

Rabbi Abraham Magence zt”l

Rabbi Abraham Magence zt”l (1920-2003) was the Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation from 1975 until his death. He was legendary for his warmth, devotion to Yiddishkeit, and genuine love for all Jews regardless of affiliation.

Rabbi Magence was born in Poland, where his father and grandfather were rabbis. He studied with many of the luminaries of the pre-war yeshiva world of Eastern Europe. Rabbi Magence spent the war years as a fugitive from Nazi and Soviet persecution and most of his family was killed in the Holocaust. He came to St. Louis in 1950 and began a career as a mohel, teacher, and rabbi that touched literally thousands of lives.

Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784