Leadership & Staff
Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky was ordained in 2004 at Hebrew Union College and served as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim from 2005 to 2016.
Rabbi Cosnowsky is committed to strengthening Etz Chaim’s presence as the center of Jewish life in the western suburbs. She believes strongly in building community by connecting people to each other and to the traditions of Judaism, as well as by participating in outreach activities in the larger community. Rabbi Cosnowsky actively works to build bridges between people of all faiths and is active in DuPage United and in the Glen Ellyn Religious Leaders group. She also teaches an Intro to Judaism course at Elmhurst College as an adjunct professor.
Rabbi Cosnowsky utilizes her passion for music, teaching, and learning to help others see the world through a lens of spirituality. Her warmth and engaging presence, along with her willingness to embrace families and individuals including interfaith families, opens the door to Judaism in an accessible manner and invites others to explore their spiritual path.
Born and raised in Ardsley, New York, Rabbi Cosnowsky earned her BA in English Literature at SUNY Empire State College. Rabbi Cosnowsky also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Xavier University as well as a Master’s in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Wainer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim. She previously served as the Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning for Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, VA. Rabbi Wainer loves working with community members of all ages, developing creative worship experiences, walking with families through their times of sorrow and joy, and bringing Torah to life for people of all ages.
Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, Rabbi Wainer is thrilled to be home to serve the Jewish community of the western suburbs of Chicago. She was ordained from the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2016. While there, she also earned as Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2015, as well as a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Xavier University in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies, with Honors, as well as minors in Hebrew and Psychology from Indiana University - Bloomington.
Rabbi Wainer currently serves as the head of faculty for the URJ’s 6-Points Creative Arts Academy where she is a founding faculty member. She also previously served on the CCAR’s Taskforce on Women’s Experience in the Rabbinate.
Outside of her work in the Jewish community, Rabbi Wainer enjoys SCUBA diving, taking long walks with her dog Tali, playing one of her various musical instruments and baking challah.
Jacob Cynamon-Murphy and his wife Rebecca joined Etz Chaim in 2013. All three of their children attend Etz Chaim's religious school. Rebecca grew up next door in Glen Ellyn and Jacob grew up outside of Syracuse, NY. They moved from the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago to Glen Ellyn in 2013 and then settled in Wheaton 3 years later. Jacob has served as a temple vice president and board member and as a member of the Education Committee and Facilities Committee previously.
The coronavirus pandemic had a big impact on how our congregation was able to meet, worship, and build community. Jacob is excited to be leading at a time that we hope will bring both a return to some of our pre-pandemic programming as well as some continued creativity and innovation. Jacob currently works at LinkedIn, so he would love to connect with you.
Marla Friedman recently became the principal of our religious school after teaching Hebrew to both children and adults in the school for 18 years. Providing engaging, meaningful and fun Jewish education has been Marla’s top priority since joining our staff.
Marla is originally from Glenview and attended Washington University in St. Louis for her Bachelor’s Degree and the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration for her Master’s Degree. Marla lives in Glen Ellyn with her husband, Steve, and their three children, Emily, Molly, and Naomi. Marla loves being a part of the Etz Chaim community and is passionate about educating our youth. She welcomes your input and invites you to stop by anytime. Her door is always open.
Rachel Wood has been a member of Congregation Etz Chaim since 1979. She began teaching in our religious school shortly after becoming a member, initially teaching Judaica but then quickly becoming part of our Hebrew faculty. Rachel has taught 3rd grade Hebrew, developed a language lab class for learners with differences, and taught 6th grade Hebrew for 28 years. She has also been our B’nai Mitzvah tutor for over 28 years. Rachel is currently working as a mentor with Matan that supports Jewish institutions to provide inclusion opportunities for their students.
By profession, Rachel is a licensed Speech/Language Pathologist with an emphasis in child development and learning styles. She has worked in a variety of settings including public schools, private practice and early intervention programs. Rachel works with students who have learning challenges as our inclusion specialist. She supports teachers and teaching assistants who have children in their classes with diagnosed learning disabilities. She offers suggestions and materials for children who need to approach learning in a non-traditional manner. Learning opportunities are available for children within the context of their class as well as on an individual basis. The ultimate goal is to provide an environment where all children have the opportunity to be successful learners in our religious school.
Rachel also helps our adult community in meeting their needs including, but not limited to, providing a sign language interpreter as well as use of a CART system (closed captioning).
Congregation Etz Chaim
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday - Closed
Friday - 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday - Closed for Shabbat
During the school year the office will remain open on Wednesdays until 6:45PM and Sunday will be open from 8:30AM - 12:00PM