Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills has named Laurie Akers as its new full-time cantorial soloist. Akers is currently a student in the cantorial ordination program through ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
Akers began her career at the age of 12, appearing in the cast of Tosca at the Chicago Lyric Opera. Having earned a degree in musical theatre from the University of Michigan, Avers appeared in regional and Broadway national touring productions for more than a decade.
In 2002, she began a year as Miss USO, traveling around the world, providing veterans and US troops with entertainment. The following year, she created and implemented a musical program for New York City’s Young Adult Institute, to provide recreational opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.
She has been involved in recording with numerous notable Jewish recording artists. Akers began composing Jewish music, including “Oseh Shalom,” featured on Jewish Rock Radio, and “Yihiyu L’Ratzon,” a finalist in the Newcaje 2017 Emerging Artists competition. She also serves as the vice president of education and convention for the national Guild of Temple Musicians and is a member of both the Women Cantors Network and the Young Women’s Jewish Council.
Mark Gaines was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for his support for the university and his leadership in the American Technion Society (ATS).
During a ceremony that took place at the annual Technion Board of Governors meeting on the campus in Haifa, Gaines was recognized for his leadership on every level of the organization and for his “passionate support and steadfast commitment toward the Technion and Israel.” He was a former president of the ATS Chicago Chapter and is
currently a member of the ATS National Board of Directors.
“I am so honored to be involved with the Technion for more than a decade,” said Gaines. “Both my wife Nina and I literally beam with pride every time we read or hear of all that those associated with the Technion have done to improve our world in the areas of Technology, Medicine and the Environment, just to name a few fields. We look
forward to our continued active involvement in the future.”
Congregation Ahavat Olam of Deerfield has named Joanna P. Lind as cantor. Lind is a sixth generation cantor in a prominent Chicago cantorial family. She descends from Belzer Hasidim of Eastern Europe. Her grandfather, Cantor Dale Lind, and his father, Hazzan Joshua Lind, were both also renowned teachers and liturgical composers. At the age of seven, Cantor Lind became the nation’s youngest Cantorial Soloist, singing at her family’s Conservative-style, egalitarian, independent Chicago congregation, Sons of Joshua. In recent years, she has sung in High Holiday choirs, helped lead Shabbat services for congregations in and around Chicago, and officiated at life cycle events for all in need.
Unity Hospice of Chicagoland appointed Daniel Goldmeier as Community Relations Representative. Goldmeier will be responsible for implementing strategic marketing sales plans and accomplishing business goals set forth by the marketing development team.
Additionally, Goldmeier will educate the community about Unity Hospice, its individualized patient programs and how the specialized care provided by hospice can improve quality of life for terminally ill patients. His marketing territory will include the North Side of Chicago and northern suburbs.