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Men's Club Man and Youth of the Year


2020 Beth Judea Men’s Club Man of the Year


RABBI MORRIS ZIMBALIST is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Judea in Long Grove, Illinois. Through his leadership and vision, Rabbi Zimbalist has partnered with lay-leaders to advance Congregation Beth Judea’s commitment to embrace every synagogue religious and spiritual journeys with warmth, compassion, and kindness. Rabbi Zimbalist has advanced Congregation Beth Judea’s involvement in Israel education and advocacy; interfaith and tolerance dialogues with the local Christian and Muslim communities; inclusion initiatives for all people seeking to engage with the congregation irrespective of cognitive, emotional, and physical challenges; and strategic planning to ensure a vibrant future for the congregation and for the member on their Jewish community in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.


Rabbi Zimbalist was one of the founding rabbis and educators of jCo-Op, the newest collaborative Hebrew High School program in the northwest suburbs, meeting the needs of students from both Congregation Beth Judea and Congregation Beth Am. He also serves as the treasurer of the Community Mikveh for the Conservative Movement in Wilmette. In addition, Rabbi Zimbalist is one of 22 Conservative rabbis in the world certified by the Joint Bet Din of the Conservative Movement as a Messader Gittin – one who can help facilitate Jewish divorce, including writing the writ of divorce itself.


Prior to moving to Chicago, Rabbi Morris Zimbalist served for five years as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Synagogue Initiative Director for AIPAC. As part of the regional team, Rabbi Zimbalist engaged rabbis and synagogues of all denominations from southern New Jersey through northern Virginia in pro-Israel political activism. At that time, he also assumed the pulpit of Bet Chaverim Congregation as its first rabbi and launched the first religious school for the congregation. Rabbi Zimbalist was also privileged to serve in the pulpit of two congregations in New York, totaling 14 years.


Rabbi Zimbalist earned his Bachelor’s degree from Boston University in psychology with a minor in political science, and he has published articles on genetic links to mental illness and adoption within the Jewish community. He earned his Master’s degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2002. He resides in Buffalo Grove with his wife and two children.


Men's Club Youth of the Year


2020 Beth Judea Men’s Club Youth of the Year


ABBEY FINN is a senior at Buffalo Grove High School and has been very involved in USY the past four years. She was the Communications Vice President her sophomore year and worked to keep the chapter updated and connected through engagement on a variety of media. Last year, she served as BJUSY President, and was honored to provide leadership to the chapter alongside the rest of the board. She is currently assisting in a mentorship role as the Immediate Past President. She has also had positions on CHUSY’s regional general board.


In addition to her work with USY, Abbey has also been a student council representative for four years at BGHS. She is a member of National Honor Society and started a club called Bison Buddies, where students meet to form friendships and foster inclusivity. She is on the board of directors of the Children of Abraham Coalition, an interfaith group that works to educate and promote peace. Abbey also volunteers for Keshet, which is an organization that provides programming for individuals with disabilities. She hopes to take the skills she’s learned and pursue a degree in Special Education.


Abbey would like to thank everyone at Beth Judea for being so supportive of her for nearly her whole life. She loves the community of clergy, educators, and staff that have provided her with so much. She’d also like to thank her mom and dad, Michelle and Ira, and sisters, Allison and Charley, for allowing her to engage in her passions and encouraging her every step of the way.


Abbey is very appreciative of this honor and feels so blessed to be a part of an amazing Jewish community. She can’t wait to continue her involvement in Jewish life when she goes to college next year.

Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781