Meet our team
Our clergy, non-clergy staff and board of trustees together are instrumental in the life and growth of the Temple. They set the warm and inclusive tone that defines TKA. They are also the leaders of our innovative programming, contemporary worship and trail blazing congregational membership model.
The TKA Clergy, staff, board and other members are leaders at TKA and in the Greater Detroit community, as well as the national and international Jewish communities.
We are all here to help you have the best TKA experience.
Rabbi Brent Gutmann
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 of 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. The Rebbitzen, Jill, is a bio-ethicist and health policy analyst by profession, but also holds a Master’s degree from Hebrew Union College. Among numerous other accomplishments, she has served on the faculty of the Melton School of Adult Jewish Education. Jill and Rabbi Gutmann are the proud parents of three 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!
After meeting Rabbi Gutmann, everyone is inspired by his intelligence, charm and wit. In particular, his love for and dedication to Judaism is overflowing. Meet him once and you will agree!
Contact Rabbi Gutmann 248-661-0040 x222 | Email
Rabbi Emeritus Norman T. Roman
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 live in West Bloomfield.
Contact Rabbi Roman 248-661-0040 x226 | Email
Sean Samitt – Cantorial Soloist
Cantorial Soloist Sean Samitt has many years of experience and service both on and off the bimah. Before joining the Kol Ami family Sean served as Cantorial Soloist, Director of Music, Choir Director and taught in Religious Schools at various congregations in Arizona. He was very active in the leadership of the Hillel at Arizona State University and has worked with Jewish youth in both youth group and camp settings. In addition to singing, Sean enjoys playing guitar, piano, violin, cello, and bass. Sean is also a licensed pharmacy technician.
Contact Sean Samitt 248-661-0040 x223 | Email
Gail Greenberg – Lifelong Learning and Religious School Director
Gail Greenberg, RJE, has been working in the field of Jewish Family Education and Religious School Education for 18 years. She is thrilled to be a part of the Temple Kol Ami staff as the Lifelong Learning and Religious School Director and looks forward to helping people find joy in Jewish life and learning.
Roles in Jewish education have included being the Director of PJ Library, a member of the JFamily team, and Assistant Director of FedEd and Melton in Metropolitan Detroit. She has been a religious school teacher and in school leadership at Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy Michigan as well as at Temple Kol Ami. Projects have included creating large and small scale programs, development of curriculum, and teaching. Prior to this, she worked as a Music Therapist for 15 years with Senior Adults helping promote socialization and dignity for those she worked with. Gail received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy from Wayne State University and her Master’s Degree in Jewish Educational Leadership from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She has been granted the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) which is based on established academic and professional standards.
In her free time Gail enjoys making and listening to music, being outdoors, trying new foods and Jewish life. She lives in Oak Park with her husband, Howard and dog Savannah. Her son, Seth, lives in Warren, and daughter, Tami, made Aliyah an lives in Israel.
Contact Gail Greenberg 248-661-0040 x224 | Email
Cheryl Chaben-Friedman – Executive Director
Contact Cheryl Chaben-Friedman 248-661-0040 x229 | Email
Julie Phillips – Bookkeeper
Contact Julie Phillips 248-661-0040 x228 | Email
Cheryl Spektor – Temple Assistant
Contact Cheryl Spektor 248-661-0040 x225 | Email
Steve Gershman — Administrative Assistant to the Rabbi
Contact Steve Gershman 248-661-0040 xt. 227 | Email
The Kol Ami Board leadership is all volunteer, rotating, and represents members from various parts of the Temple family. Board members include business people, teachers, attorneys, physicians, as well as retirees, parents, grandparents, and young adults. Sisterhood, Brotherhood, the Religious School, and Social Action committees are represented. Board members approach their Judaism in divergent ways, but all have a commitment to the Reform movement and to Temple Kol Ami.
The 2018-2019 Board of Trustees is listed below:
|1st Vice President||Jason Gold|
|2nd Vice President||Karee Strome|
|Vice President||Paul Gross|
|Secretary||Amy Klein||Past President||Jim Stegman|