Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun
“The survival of the Jewish people for 4,000 years is more than a sign of endurance; it is a testament to our faith in God, to the values of our tradition, and to the blessings we bring to the world by living holy and righteous lives. As a rabbi, it is my role to instill these ideals in the hearts of our people -- both young and old -- through the study of texts, an embrace of traditions, and a relationship with God that emerges from meaningful worship and deeds of loving kindness.
As American Jews, we are uniquely blessed to live in an age of freedom and prosperity, in a world with a State of Israel. We have a debt of obligation to our ancestors, our children, and our brothers and sisters in Israel, to ensure that the blessings of this age are protected, cherished and handed on to future generations of our people.”
Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun understands that for a congregation to thrive, not only must its spiritual and social needs be met, it also requires a sense of direction and purpose. Since joining Temple Beth-El in 1995, he has provided this vision, while at the same time helping to establish a community in which opportunities for study and worship continue to grow. Under his guidance, Temple Beth-El has grown to 750 families, who actively participate in a wide range of congregational activities and are active leaders in the Chicagoland Jewish community at large.
Rabbi Helbraun strives to be accessible to his congregants and is fully engaged in the life of his congregation. You will often find him playing guitar at Shabbat Yeladims and Family services, and joining in conversations at the Oneg. He is known as a caring and compassionate man, who is proud of the hours he devotes to reaching out to the families of his congregation – in times of sickness and health, sorrow and joy. He is a gifted teacher, who finds fulfillment in bringing the Torah to life. And he is an active leader, taking on responsibilities within the Chicagoland Rabbinic community, as well as his local community of Northbrook.
Rabbi Helbraun’s love for Israel has also played a central role in his rabbinate. Under his direction, Beth-El has strengthened its involvement and investment in Israel, through annual trips, speaker programs, classes, support groups and charitable giving.
Rabbi Helbraun was ordained from Hebrew Union College in 1990. He currently serves as the President of the Chicago Region of the CCAR, and serves on the Board of Directors of the CCAR. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, is a Past President of the Northbrook Clergy Association, and a member of the North Shore Fellowship of Rabbis. Rabbi Helbraun is an active member of AIPAC, a rabbinic representative to the Chicago Jewish Federation and a member of the Community Advisory Council of Glenbrook Hospital. He helped to establish KARING – a non-profit organization providing relief to Waveland, MS in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He is married to Rabbi Deborah Gardner Helbraun and has two children, Rebecca and Jonah.