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Rabbi Brent Gutmann - Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Brent Gutmann

Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Gutmann is a native Midwesterner who was raised in Dayton, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Gutmann’s’ first rabbinic experience was serving as Student Rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Petoskey, Michigan, for two years. Under his leadership, the tiny congregation began bustling with life, never failing to draw a minyan, even in the heart of winter. Still today, Rabbi and his wife Jill reflect on their earlier days in Michigan as some of the happiest moments serving the Jewish world.

After Michigan, Rabbi Gutmann served as Rabbinic Intern under Rabbi Irving Wise of Adath Israel Congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Gutmann initiated numerous programs and cultivated friendships with every age demographic of the congregation. There he received the expert mentorship from Rabbi Wise in managing and leading a diverse, large Jewish congregation.

Next, Rabbi Gutmann was appointed Rabbi of Beth Shalom, a 220+ household congregation in the exotic locale of Auckland, New Zealand. As the only non-Orthodox Rabbi in the country, he created a forum of five liberal New Zealand congregations, and was elected to the Executive Board of the Auckland Interfaith Council. In 2014, he helped the congregation balance its budget for the first time while supporting a resident rabbi.

Above all his professional accomplishments, Rabbi Gutmann is proudest of his family. Rabbi and the Rebbetzen Jill, are the proud parents of four daughters; Daria, Tzipora, Lyla, and Vered.
Rabbi Gutmann and his family are excited to be part of the Temple Kol Ami congregational family! Jill and he frequently open their family home to their congregants for meals and socializing. They welcome everyone to be a part of their own and the TKA family!

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Rabbi Norman T. Roman - Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Norman T. Roman

Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Norman Roman served as the senior Rabbi at Temple Kol Ami for 30 years. Since he joined the Temple in 1986, it has grown in both size and stature. His knowledge and love of Judaism, his spiritual presence and his leadership have been at the forefront of Temple Kol Ami’s existence moving into the 21st century.
Rabbi Roman, born in New York City and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area, was educated at John Carroll University (1971) and ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati (1975). He received the title of “Reform Jewish Educator” from the URJ and the National Association of Temple Educators in 1991.

Additionally, he earned a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR. He has served at congregations in Cleveland, Santa Monica, California, and Bloomfield Township, Michigan, before coming to Temple Kol Ami. The Rabbi serves on numerous civic committees and boards and is an Adjunct Instructor in Religious Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Rabbi Roman is an accomplished folk singer and guitarist, performing at Temples, Universities and community functions throughout the United States and Israel. He is recognized nationally for his work with Jewish youth and his service as Rabbi-in-Residence at the NFTY Leadership Institute (Camp Kutz) and the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. His love for and commitment to Israel are very strong. He is descended from chalutzim (pioneers) who were early settlers of Zichron Yaakov, and he visits Israel at least once per year.
The Rabbi and his wife Lynne are living in Arizona.

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Janet Christensen

Janet Christensen

Cantorial Soloist

Janet Christensen is a cantorial soloist born and raised in Northern Virginia and Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station. She has guest performed with Jewish artists such as Rick Recht and Beth Schafer. Her teachers and mentors include Cantor Rosalie Will, Robyn Helzner, and Rabbi Amy Perlin. Janet graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids MI, with a Bachelors of Music and continued on for a Masters in Music at Boston University, where she was very active in BU Hillel leading Reform Friday night services. She was the founder of Joco Jobim, a Grand Rapids Bossa Nova ensemble and Klezmatics, a Klezmer trio based in Grand Rapids. Janet Christensen is also a notable composer and arranger. Most recently in 2015 the Detroit Chamber Winds premiered Ocho Kandelikas, a Spanish Hanukkah holiday brass quintet piece.

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Professional Staff

Daniel Mesa

Daniel Mesa

Executive Director

Melissa Mesa

Melissa Mesa

Religious School Education Director

Cheryl Spektor

Cheryl Spektor

Rabbi & Temple Assistant

Jordan Wagner

Jordan Wagner

Audio and stream engineer

Lec Jaku


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