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Rabbi Annie Tucker

Rabbi Annie Tucker grew up in Lexington, MA and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Psychology and Jewish Studies. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, she received a master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001, continuing on in the Seminary’s rabbinical program where she was ordained in 2006 with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling. At graduation, Rabbi Tucker received the Bernard & Sydell Citron Scholastic Prize awarded to the outstanding graduating student of the Rabbinical School. She also was granted the Lamport Prize in Homiletics.

From 2006-13, Rabbi Tucker served as Associate Rabbi of The Jewish Center, a Conservative congregation in Princeton, NJ. During that time, she was integrally involved in the synagogue’s education and youth community, serving as lead professional on their religious school change initiative for which she earned an Ateret Kavod award for innovation and creating dynamic programming such as an annual confirmation class service program in New Orleans and women’s trips to Israel, Jewish Spain, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, she served as chaplain for the Greenwood House Hospice.

Since becoming Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah’s Senior Rabbi in July 2013, Rabbi Tucker has introduced new opportunities for adult learning like our popular “Scientists in Synagogues” series, developed initiatives to engage children and families such as Camp Shabbat and Ice-cream Office Hours, and worked closely with Cantor Pavel Roytman to energize worship with offerings such as our monthly musical service. She has deepened our community’s commitment to Disability, Keruv (Interfaith), and LGBTQ inclusion as well as our social justice efforts, helping to launch a relief mission to Houston after Hurricane Harvey and a community garden.  She also created a Young Professionals Group for those in their 20's and 30's.

Rabbi Tucker serves as president of the Conservative Movement Community Mikvah, past vice president of the Chicago Rabbinical Assembly (RA), and member of the RA Executive Council and (Strategic Planning) Implementation Team.

She loves teaching, writing, and working with individuals of all ages and is always available for a cup of coffee or a brisk walk. You may contact her at 847.256.1214 or via email.

Cantor Pavel Roytman

Cantor Pavel Roytman is a native of Nikolaev, Ukraine. At the age of seven, he was accepted as a piano student to a music school for gifted children. He continued his studies in piano and conducting at the Kaliningrad Music College (Russia) and later at Petrozavodsk State Conservatory.

In 1994, Cantor Roytman immigrated to the United States where he obtained his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from DePaul University and Master of Music in Musicology from Northwestern University. He also studied chazzanut with such well-known masters of cantorial art as Hazzan Shlomo Shuster, Hazzan Henry Rosenblum, Hazzan Cory Winter, and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi.

From 2002-06, Cantor Roytman participated in a cantorial certification program. Upon his completion, he was ordained as a cantor by the American Conference of Cantors.

Cantor Roytman has made numerous appearances at the Greater Chicago Jewish Folk Arts Festival, Chicago YIVO Society, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center, Illinois State Fair, Chicago City Winery, Chicago Summer Dance Festival, Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration, Israel’s Independence Day at Ravinia, Sir George Solti Annual Festival, the International Klezmer Gala in Stockholm, and the International Jewish Music Festival in Tsfat, Israel.

In 2004, Cantor Roytman received first prize in Voice/Cantorial Singing at the 2nd Annual Golden Hanukkiah Competition of Jewry Arts, sponsored by the World Congress of Russian Jewry, Berlin, Germany. In 2017, he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Cantor’s Assembly at its annual convention.

Cantor Roytman has appeared on stage — both solo and with a number of distinguished musicians and musical ensembles -- including: Chicago Acapella, Renovo Strings, Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Corky Siegal and Chamber Blues,  The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, B’hai Temple Choir, The Bright Star Church Choir, Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers, and the Campanella Children’s Choir.

His voice was featured on three CDs: Journey of The Heart w/Cantor Marina Shemesh, Zing Mein Hartz w/ Klezmer Shpil Orchestra and Koleynu — with TBI Choir.

Cantor Roytman’s creative work includes liturgical and secular compositions for voice and choir. In 2017, Cantor Roytman wrote and produced “The Singing Yid” — a musical show based on his life and experience in Russia and the U.S.

He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, Chicago-Milwaukee Association of Synagogue Music and Cantor’s Assembly.

As BVHBE’s hazzan, Cantor Roytman leads services, conducts congregational Adult and Children's Choirs, oversees the synagogue's Bnai Mitzvah program, teaches Hebrew School and Adult Education classes, and shares pastoral and life cycle responsibilities with Rabbi Annie Tucker. He also maintains a presence in the larger Jewish community as a recognized BHBE ambassador. 

Cantor Roytman created the concept of Beit Musica, which positions BHBE as the premier Jewish musical center among Conservative synagogues in north suburban Chicago.

He resides in the Chicago area with his daughter, Shana. 

Click here to view the Cantor’s website and to hear samples of his music.
Click here to read more about Beit Musica

Click here to watch Tuneful Tuesdays Videos


Cantor Roytman can be reached by phone at 847.256.1213 x13 or via email.

Rabbi Allan Kensky

Rabbi Allan D. Kensky retired from BHBE's pulpit in June 2013, following 11 years of devoted and distinguished service. As Rabbi Annie Tucker assumed our pulpit, Rabbi Kensky was named Rabbi Emeritus.

Born and raised in New York City, Allan Kensky received his early Jewish education at the Hebrew Institute of Long Island in Far Rockaway, New York. He earned a BA in political science from Queens College. In 1967, he entered the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he specialized in the study of rabbinic texts at JTS' Herbert Lehman Institute of Talmudic Ethics. While at JTS, he also studied political science at New York University, which awarded him a master’s degree in 1971.

Upon his ordination in 1971, Rabbi Kensky assumed the pulpit of Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While serving as spiritual leader of Beth Israel for 17 years, Rabbi Kensky pursued doctoral studies in midrash at JTS; he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1990. His doctoral dissertation was a critical edition of the Midrash Tanhuma on the Book of Exodus.

In 1988, Rabbi Kensky moved to Philadelphia, and for three years served as scholar-in-residence at Har Zion Temple. About the same time, he began leading a seminar for JTS Rabbinical School students designed to impart strong professional skills to aid them in their spiritual development. He was associate dean of the Seminary’s Rabbinical School from 1991-99 before serving as JTS Dean from 1999-02.

Rabbi Kensky is the father of Meira and Eitan who is married to Jennifer Broxmeyer. The couple has a young son, Simon. His late wife, Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, was professor of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, until her passing in August 2006. In July 2008, Rabbi Kensky married Dr. Adina Kleiman, a psychologist in private practice, who appreciates being part of the BHBE synagogue community.

Rabbi Kensky can be contacted via email.

Sun, May 19 2019 14 Iyyar 5779