President Rabbi Vernon Kurtz is the Rabbi of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. He was born in Toronto, received his B.A. from York University (1971), his M.A. and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (1976), and his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary (1981). He also received a Doctor of Divinity degree (Honoris Causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2003).
Rabbi Kurtz is an associate member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has been elected to its Executive Board, and serves as deputy chairman of its Russian Speaking Jewry Committee. He is past President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis, and was a member of the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Rabbi Kurtz is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and he previously served two terms on the Board, including one as Vice-Chairman. Rabbi Kurtz has also served in leadership positions in the areas of Jewish communal and interfaith activities and has received many awards for his work.
Rabbi Kurtz is adjunct Professor of Rabbinics at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. He has authored teshuvot for the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly and has published many articles in periodicals and books. Currently, he is a monthly Torah commentator for the Chicago Jewish News and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Kurtz and his wife, Bryna, are the parents of two daughters, Hadassa (Haim), who lives in Israel, and Shira, who works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., as a neuropsychologist. He is the proud saba of Shmuel Binyamin, Meytal Dvora, and Anael Rina.