Rabbi Michael Zimmerman
Rabbi Michael Zimmerman joined the KI community as its spiritual leader in 2003,
after serving as our student rabbi. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, where his studies and his heart were set on
congregational work from the outset. A Chicago native, he brings to his rabbinic career a
diverse background in consulting, human development, and education, especially
with adult learners and the elderly.
Among his goals for KI are helping our vibrant community grow and flourish into
the next generation, and welcoming a growing and increasingly diverse Jewish community
into our midst.
Rabbi Zimmerman also serves as a member of the Chaplaincy Advisory Council for the
State of Michigan's Department of Corrections, a hospice chaplain, and a
spokesman for the Michigan Interfaith Climate Energy Campaign. After living in various
locations in the United States and abroad, he now lives in a farmhouse outside of Lansing with his wife Elischa, daughter Lili, two rabbits, and a cat.
A Message from Rabbi Zimmerman
Rabbi Levi taught that God appeared to the multitudes at Sinai as a statue with
faces on every side, so that even if a thousand people were looking at the statue,
each one would believe that the statue was looking at him or her. I hope never to forget
that each person sees a different face of God, and that my role is to honor and
support every person's unique relationship with the Divine. In these
difficult times, it is more important than ever before to embrace diversity of
personal circumstance, values, and faith. We must swing wide open the
doors of God's house of prayer to all who gather in good faith and grace our
communities with their presence.
I aspire to a rabbinate of head, heart and spirit, of joyful laughter and the
inner depths of the soul, of smashing idols and speaking tender words of comfort.
The Torah I revere is the Torah that unites humanity and tramples cruelty. This is
the Torah that, according to Rabbi Yishma'el, is given to us in order "to smash the
ear." While the ear attuned to the literal and the mundane hears
separateness and ruthlessness in the words of Torah, the ear that has been
"smashed open" by the text itself hears the still, small voice of love, wisdom,
"For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus declares
Adonai, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: I will gather even more to those
who are gathered." Isaiah 56:7-8
D'rashot by the Rabbi
Articles and Presentations by the Rabbi
Conversion Class Information
See the course information on our Lifelong Learning page.