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Our Educators

Am Shalom is so proud of its youth and learning team.

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer served Am Shalom as Associate Rabbi since 2003, and became Director of Congregational Learning in 2014. She is a native of Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003, and in addition to Am Shalom has served congregations in New Iberia, Louisiana and Billings, Montana.

Rabbi Phyllis is passionate about Jewish life and learning... and baking... and technology... and reading... and quilting... and posting regular (!) updates on Facebook... and pretty much everything! She spends part of every summer on faculty at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, where she also leads a well-attended spring quilting retreat for adults. She has blogged the Exodus at, and the ins-and-outs of balancing her life as Rabbi, wife, and mother of four as Ima On and Off the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting and Living (

Rabbi Anne Persin joined Am Shalom as an Educational Consultant starting in 2016. Rabbi Persin has been teaching Hebrew School and tutoring B'nai Mitzvah students with Am Shalom since 2013. Rabbi Persin was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003, and has previously served as a Rabbi, Education Consultant, and more at a variety of different congregations.

Rabbi Persin is an amazing teacher and educator who we are proud to add to our team at Am Shalom. Nothing excites her more than when she sees the lightbulb go off over someone’s head or when someone is truly transformed by a new understanding from information that she was able to share with them! She has a passion for Judaism and Am Shalom and aids in running our religious school, our redesigned 6th grade curriculum, Hebrew School, and more!

Email Rabbi Persin or give her a call at 847.835.4800 ext. 304.

Matthew Altman, Youth Director

Matthew Altman is Am Shalom’s full-time Director of Youth Programming. Matthew loves being at Am Shalom, where he feels right at home teaching Hebrew School, making announcements on Sunday School or running a chocolate seder - as long as it’s with Am Shalom's amazing kids!
Matthew lives in Chicago right near Wrigley Field with his wife, Camila.

Prior to working at Am Shalom, Matthew had some cool jobs. He helped kids get into college and he helped Mr. Obama get into the White House. He graduated from Northwestern in 2010 with a degree in Communication Studies, where he was involved with Hillel, Chabad and AEPi. Growing up in Maryland, right outside Washington D.C., Matthew attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, which is where he learned a lot of great Jewish stuff. He has been involved with the Jewish community his entire life, and is thrilled to be continuing to follow his passion as part of the Am Shalom team. Make sure to ask him about his favorite ice cream flavor.

E-mail Matthew Altman or give him a call 847.835.4800 ext. 201

Kadi House, Youth Programming Advisor

Kadi House moved to Chicago from her native Los Angeles in 2014, after a year spent teaching English in Rishon Lezion, Israel. Her passions for Jewish identity formation and youth education have grown year after year through her involvement at Temple Menorah (Redondo Beach, CA) and her summers on staff at URJ Camps Newman and Kalsman. Kadi graduated with a B.A. in Psychology in 2012 from UCLA. Kadi is so excited to bring her love of music and creativity to the Am Shalom community, where she is now very much at home. You can e-mail Kadi House or give her a call at at 847.835.4800 ext. 303.