Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh serves as Temple B’nai Israel’s first full-time spiritual leader since the late 1960’s. Growing up in suburban Detroit, Rabbi Zerwekh’s Jewish identity was forged in the youth movement. As a middle- and high school – student, Rabbi Zerwekh served on various youth group executive boards in various capacities including on the NFTY-MI regional board, and continued his leadership in college, where he served for multiple years on the Western Michigan University Hillel’s executive board, ultimately becoming the Chairman.
Rabbi Zerwekh earned his BA in Political Science at Western Michigan University where he began to realize his desire to positively impact the world around him through teaching and engaging with the Jewish world through social justice. It was also during his time at WMU that Rabbi Zerwekh taught at the religious school at Temple B’nai Israel and came to understand his passion for Jewish education, leadership, and social engagement.
After his undergraduate studies, Rabbi Zerwekh served as the youth director at Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park, Michigan before he began his rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rabbi Zerwekh distinguished himself throughout his time at HUC: he was selected three times to represent the rabbinical student body to the Board of Overseers during their annual meeting, and he was elected by his peers to sit on the HUC-JIR admissions committee. He is counted among the very few rabbinical students to sit on the committee for two years. Rabbi Zerwekh distinguished himself, and was awarded for his youth work during HUC’s graduation ceremonies. In addition to his work within the Cincinnati Jewish community, Rabbi Zerwekh served as a chaplain intern at The Jewish Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Jewish Family Services in Cincinnati. Rabbi Zerwekh earned his Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2013 and was ordained a rabbi in 2014.
In addition to his work academically and in the community, Rabbi Zerwekh created a mobile app supporting Jewish families going through the hospice process entitled: “Jewish Hospice Resource”, available for free on the iTunes app store, as well as the Google Play store.
You can download Rabbi Zerwekh’s app, “A Jewish Hospice Resource” for iTunes here.
And for Android here.