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“A successful graduate of our Sunday School would be a critical thinker with a good grounding in Jewish culture, history, values and ethics, and who is comfortable saying, ‘This is what I believe.’”

 — Leora H., Buffalo Grove
7th/8th Grade Sunday School teacher


“We learn little from spoken rules and written advice. Words can inspire us, but rarely do they transform our lives. We learn from people, from the living example of living teachers."

— Rabbi Daniel Friedman

Rabbi Adam Chalom (Rabbi) teaches educational units related to the class curricula and works with classes to prepare their Shabbat services. The rabbi also teaches the second year of the B Mitzvah (gender neutral term for Bar/Bat Mitzvah) program, for seventh graders.




Ilana Shaffer (Youth Education Director) has been a member of Kol Hadash since 2012 and has served as both a member and chair of the Youth Education Committee.  She became Assistant Youth Education Director in 2018 and will become Youth Education Director in 2019 when Dawn Friedman retires.  Ilana received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan and has worked in sales, event planning, marketing communications and non-profit management.  She was raised in a traditional Jewish household in Oklahoma City, OK, and Atlanta, GA.  When Ilana learned about Humanistic Judaism, it was an ‘aha’ moment — a Judaism compatible with her belief in human power.  She could maintain her family’s Jewish roots while being secular, adapting Jewish traditions to be consistent with modern values (we say what we mean and mean what we say).  She is also a Sunday School parent with a son in 2nd grade and a daughter in 6th grade.  Her family lives in Deerfield.

Leah Sosewitz (B Mitzvah Coordinator) has been a been a member of Kol Hadash since 2014; she has served on the Youth Education and Membership Committees. Leah has 3 sons and her youngest celebrated his B Mitzvah at Kol Hadash in 2017.  Leah has a BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She is also an alumna of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. Leah is a professional artist who has been creating unique Judaica through her art studio in Highland Park for nearly 3 decades. She was the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council grant in Folk Arts and her work has been collected widely in the USA and beyond. Leah is an avid reader and huge fan of Zumba!  She also enjoys singing in the Kol Hadash Choir.

Karen Jackson (4th/5th Grades) and her family joined Kol Hadash in 2013. She has been an active member and former chair of the Youth Education Committee and is excited to take on this new role as a Sunday School teacher! She grew up in Lake Forest in a Reform Jewish household and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching—Elementary Education. When she is not preparing for Sunday School, you can find her surrounded by children’s books as she is an Independent Consultant and Educational Services Representative with Usborne Books & More. Karen lives in Long Grove with her husband Chris and two daughters, an 8th grader who celebrated her B Mitzvah in April 2018 and a 3rd grader.

Mark Friedman (6th/7th/8th Grades) is a second-generation Humanistic Jew who completed a Humanistic Kindergarten-thru-Confirmation Sunday School education in his childhood; his father is Rabbi Emeritus Daniel Friedman. In the past, he has taught both Sunday School and adult education at various Humanistic congregations. In 2003 he joined the Kol Hadash Sunday School staff and created a new 4th/5th grade curriculum focusing on 19th – 20th century Jewish immigration to America; in 2006 he created the second new curriculum for that class, Heroes and Choices. In professional life, Mark has worked in the children's educational publishing industry for more than 25 years. Mark has been chair and vice-chair of the Kol Hadash Steering Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, chair of the Marketing Committee, and editor of the Shofar newsletter. Mark and his wife Dawn, Youth Education Director, live in Deerfield.

David Hirsch (9th/10th Grade Confirmation Class) is a product of a Humanistic Sunday School; his Confirmation Class teacher was Rabbi Daniel Friedman, one of the founders of Humanistic Judaism and Rabbi Emeritus of Kol Hadash. David and his wife Glynis have two children who celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and were confirmed at Kol Hadash, as well as working as classroom aides. In addition to teaching Sunday School, David sings in the choir and has served as chair of the Steering Committee and the Development Committee. David has been teaching in the English Department of Deerfield High School for more than thirty years.

Mara Heichman (Hebrew & B Mitzvah tutor) (Mara is the one on the right!) has been a B mitzvah tutor since 2000 for a variety of congregations in the Chicagoland area. She was raised in a conservative congregation in Cincinnati and was the first female to have a Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah at that congregation to help create a more egalitarian community. Mara has a daughter who is a freshman at Colorado State University and a son at Stevenson High School.

Sunday School Quick Links

Sunday School Calendar            Youth Education Handbook

B Mitzvah Guide                              FAQs

Youth Education Home               Holiday Celebrations

Sun, August 25 2019 24 Av 5779