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Our Incoming Rabbi

Rabbi Sam Spector

A native of Seattle, Rabbi Spector was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2015 after graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Judaic Studies. He will be visiting with his partner, Jill Goffin.

During his tenure at Temple Judea, he has been active in several areas, especially growing the millennial membership, strengthening the Temple Judea Brotherhood, developing young family services and Tot Shabbat, chairing and developing Interfaith Groups, serving as Rabbi at California State, Northridge, and serving as President of the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force (a regional network of 70 plus rabbis across denominations that organizes community events and discusses regional engagement with unaffiliated Jews).

He has extensive experience in Jewish education not only with youth but also adults having taught and organized guest speakers for both age groups, and having led groups from NFTY to Israel and Confirmation L'Taken trips. He has been instrumental in raising funds for Temple Judea, Hillel and for a fellowship for Rabbinical School Students. He has been a delegate to the Jewish Welfare Board overseeing the relationship between the Reform movement and the US military, Rabbi to the Advisory Board of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and has forged working relationships with many elected officials of the city council and congress of both dominant political parties. Rabbi Spector is also an LTJG Chaplain Corps Candidate of the United States Navy.

Lastly, several of his sermons are available on YouTube and an article entitled "May We find Hope and Joy in the Flames of the Menorah," available online and in the Los Angeles Daily news. He was one of two winners of the International Whizin Prize on Jewish Ethics with his essay "Re-examining Kashrut: Taking into Consideration the Treatment of an Animal Prior to Slaughter," also available at rrc.edu.

Email: rabbisam@conkolami.org
Phone: 801-484-1501x24

Our Cantor

Cantor Wendy Bat-Sarah

Cantor Wendy Bat-Sarah was born in Fairbanks, Alaska where she spent her first five years in a cabin built by her parents. After kindergarten, she was raised in San Diego, California. Cantor Bat-Sarah earned a B.A. in Social Anthropology with minors in Spanish and Russian from San Diego State University in 1992. Since 1989 she has served the Jewish community in a wide variety of positions, including: ESL instructor in a Chabad Day School, Hillel Songleader in San Diego, teacher of Hebrew, Jewish Studies, Music, Tefillah, and Theatre in both day schools and supplementary schools, Chaplain at the Jewish Home for the Aging, Religious School Assistant Director, and Cantor.

Cantor Bat-Sarah and her husband Lev Mallinger have six children between them, Natan, Avishai, Avidan, Eitan, Shoshanah, and Benyamin. More importantly, they recently completed their move to Utah by adopting a shelter dog named Leah.

Cantor Bat-Sarah is particularly interested in supporting the many varieties of Jewish expression available in 21st Century America. She is committed to creating and sustaining an intellectually and spiritually vibrant experience of Judaism for people of all ages.

Our Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Emeritus Frederick L. Wenger

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 B'ne 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 B'nai 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 B'nai Israel, Skokie, Illinois.

The Wenger family moved to Salt Lake City in 1987 after Rabbi Wenger assumed the pulpit at Congregation Kol Ami. Rabbi Wenger has served on the 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.

Our Cantor Emeritus

Cantor Laurence Loeb

Cantor Loeb has been in the Cantorate for over 50 years. He was the youngest graduate ever from the Cantor's Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He continued graduate study at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Ethnomusicology and received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.

Using his background in Jewish music and anthropology, he studied the music and culture of the Jews of Iran. Based on that study, he published a book titled, 'Outcaste: The Jews of Southern Iran'. His subsequent anthropological research involved a Yemenite Community which now resides in Israel.

A member of organizations which reflect his interests in Jewish music, Anthropology, and Jewish culture, he has written and spoken extensively about these subjects.

After serving as Cantor for ten years on the East Coast, Laury moved to Utah, with his family over 40 years ago. Cantor Loeb retired from the University of Utah where he was a faculty member of the anthropology department and served as Department Chairman for six years.

At Kol Ami, Laury is grateful to have been able to serve as Cantor of the Congregation for over 40 years. He finds special joy in having taught over 400 successful B'nai Mitzvah.

Cantor Loeb is married to Nomi. Their three children grew up in Salt Lake City and graduated from our Religious School. Their daughter Roni lives in Israel with their four children. Their son, Gabi, lives in California with his family. Their daughter, Adina, lives in Washington, D.C. with her family.

Sun, May 27 2018 13 Sivan 5778