Kerem Shalom of Concord is pleased to announce that Rabbi Sam Pollak has been appointed as Kerem Shalom’s first director of congregational learning.

“I am so excited to welcome Rabbi Sam Pollak to Kerem Shalom this summer as our new director of congregational learning,” exclaims Kerem Shalom’s Rabbi Darby Leigh. “I know Rabbi Sam will invigorate the entire community as he brings his love of Torah and of Jewish learning to our Hebrew school students. Rabbi Sam brings joy, warmth and a love for community. I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him and to begin this new chapter in Kerem Shalom’s history.”

Kerem Shalom board president Elisabeth Sackton adds, “Rabbi Pollak will bring a strongly relational approach to Jewish education. He has an infectious enthusiasm and warmth that draws students, parents and teachers, and he brings a love for Jewish education and community building. Kerem Shalom is fortunate to have Rabbi Pollak coming on board to direct our school and to create opportunities for learning for young children, teens and parents, as well as connecting across the congregation to our extensive adult programs.”

Pollak received a BA in philosophy and comparative religion at The Ohio State University, where he held leadership positions at Hillel and sang in a Jewish a cappella group. He attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he received a master’s in Hebrew letters and was ordained as a rabbi in 2017.

Pollak most recently served for three years as one of the rabbis at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York, where his responsibilities included teaching religious school classes and Torah study; leading early childhood classes; establishing an adult education initiative; creating a group to guide interfaith families; serving on a newly formed inclusion committee; and officiating lifecycle events. During his rabbinical studies, Pollak worked at a number of small congregations in the Midwest.

He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and will be moving to the Greater Boston area with his husband, Rabbi Ari Abelman, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Pollak looks forward to leading Kerem Shalom’s dynamic Hebrew school, which offers a full range of children’s religious programming, beginning in pre-school and continuing through high school. Specialized pre-school holiday programs and Tot Shabbats bring young children and families together to celebrate and learn, and the unique, creative kindergarten through seventh grade Hebrew school gives students a deeply routed Jewish identity and solid foundation in Jewish studies. Hebrew school classes meet once per week, and the program is offered to members at no additional charge. Post b’nai mitzvah students are offered a range of opportunities from formal study to youth programs and volunteering.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Kerem Shalom community, and I am inspired by how the congregation and the Hebrew school emphasize joyful, inclusive Jewish life,” shares Pollak. “I look forward to meeting everyone and working toward that vision together.”

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