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, and possibility.
“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