Our Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Frederick L. Wenger was born in Davenport, Iowa and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. He received his AB from the University of Chicago and his Rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as a U.S. Army Chaplain in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Vietnam. After his discharge from military service, Rabbi Wenger served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Emanuel-El Bai Jeshurun, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he met and married his wife, Rochelle in 1973.
After leaving Milwaukee, Rabbi Wenger and Rochelle studied in Israel for a year, after which Rabbi Wenger accepted the position of Rabbi at Bai Shalom Congregation, Huntington, West Virginia. Their two children, Haim and Miriam, were born in Huntington. Over his extended career, Rabbi Wenger progressed to pulpits of increasing responsibility at Temple Beth-El, Overland Park, Kansas and Temple Bai Israel, Skokie, Illinois.
The Wenger family moved to Salt Lake City in 1987 where Rabbi Wenger served on boards of major organizations in the Jewish and general communities. In 1994, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Wenger retired from Congregation Kol Ami in 2003.
Following his retirement, Rabbi Wenger and Rochelle volunteered four months a year for several years at Hadassah Neurim and Nahalal Youth Villages in Israel. He also served as Rabbi-in-Residence at Congregation Beth Sholom, Anchorage, Alaska from 2004 to 2007. Rabbi Wenger has been teaching World Religions at Westminster College in Salt Lake City since 2001. He also served on the faculties of Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia and Brigham Young, University, Provo, Utah. Rabbi Wenger currently teaches and provides rabbinic services to Congregation Kol Ami, the place the Wengers call home