Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler became a rabbi because of her love of Judaism and desire to teach others, share in their spiritual journey and make the world a better place than we found it.
She joined Beth Emet in the fall of 2018 along with the many families of Temple Judea Mizpah, where she has served as Senior/Solo Rabbi for over a decade. She finds great joy in participating in all aspects of the congregation from leading services and conducting lifecycle events, teaching high school students, leading worship for middle and elementary school students, guiding individuals looking to convert to Judaism and working with all the temple’s commissions, to leading trips to Israel and more. At her first pulpit as Assistant/Associate Rabbi at Congregation BJBE in Glenview, Rabbi Memis-Foler spent much of her rabbinate focused on working with the youth of the congregation. She then served as Associate Rabbi at Temple Sholom of Chicago, a highlight of which included her helping to start the congregation’s Monday Meal (soup kitchen).
In the broader Jewish community, Rabbi Memis-Foler currently serves as Co-President of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, a constituent group of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) supporting women rabbis in North America, Israel and across the globe. In this capacity she co-created and led morning worship featuring Lesley Sachs and Anat Hoffman of the Women of the Wall at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial in Boston. Other proud moments in the WRN include co-chairing the WRN Convention in Baltimore in 2017 and in Chicago in 2007 with Rabbi London. She currently sits on the Leadership Council of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and worked on the CCAR Israel Convention Committee in 2016. She has served on the Rabbinic, Educational and Cantorial Advisory Committee for Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) and in various Board positions for the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis (CARR).
A passion of Rabbi Memis-Foler’s includes building bridges with others and celebrating diversity, which has grown out of her work as a Commissioner on the Village of Skokie Human Relations Commission, where she currently serves as liaison to the Coming Together initiative for the Skokie and Niles Township board. For Coming Together’s 2018 program featuring American Muslim Cultures, Rabbi Memis-Foler hosted, moderated, and sat on the panel of “Cousins in Faith,” a program which a rabbi, imam, and Christian pastor shared commonalities. In the spring of 2018, she completed a nine-month seminar of the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project. At the Skokie Public Library, she moderated a diverse religious panel on Exploring Human Origins, an exhibit from the Smithsonian which she helped bring to the library in September 2016.
Rabbi Memis-Foler served on the task force that published The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate. Her essays have been published in a variety of journals and books including Beginning the Journey: A Women’s Commentary on Torah and Reform Jewish Ethics and the Halakhah. Rabbi Memis-Foler is featured in the exhibit Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age, which toured the country in the Spring of 2012.
After earning a B.A. degree in Sociology at Brandeis University, Rabbi Memis-Foler attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Israel and New York. Ordained from the HUC-JIR’s New York campus in 1993, she also received her Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa in May 2018.
Rabbi Memis-Foler has donated 88 inches of her hair to make wigs for people who lose their hair due to medical conditions. She lives in Skokie with her family.