Meet Our Staff
Naomi Looper, NFTY Area Manager
Naomi has been active in the URJ community her entire life. She grew up as an OSRUI camper and staff member and served on the NFTY Chicago Area Region (CAR) regional board as the President and Programming Vice President. Prior to serving as the NFTY Midwest Area Manager, Naomi was the NFTY Chicago Area Regional Director and the Assistant Director at OSRUI. Naomi is passionate about Jewish youth engagement and ensuring that there are opportunities for all teens to explore their Jewish identity. She believes that Jewish summer camp and youth groups are places and communities that allow kids to find their voice, develop lifelong and meaningful relationships, and discover their Jewish identities.
Before her time with the Union for Reform Judaism, she served as the Youth and Family Engagement Director at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, IL for two years, and the Youth Group Director at Temple Beth El in Madison, WI for three years. She has a B.A. in Jewish Studies and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently pursuing her Masters in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute.
Naomi now lives in Chicago with her husband, who she met while in NFTY.
Rabbi Ricahrd Prass, Rabbinic Advisor
Email Rabbi Prass at Congregation Beth Am
Rabbi Richard Prass is the Rabbi Educator at Congregation Beth Am of Buffalo Grove. Before joining Beth Am in the summer of 2007, Rabbi Prass served as both Associate Rabbi and Director of Education at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, New York, and has experience in administration, teacher recruitment, teacher development, curriculum development, and instruction.
A native Midwesterner, Rabbi Prass heralds from Minneapolis, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in May 2000. In addition to his experience in leading Temple Israel’s education program, Rabbi Prass was instrumental in energizing and enlarging the Temple’s youth groups. As an Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel, prior to his acceptance as Beth Am's education lead, he maintained a full pulpit, with preaching and lifecycle responsibilities.
Rabbi Prass also spent several summers working at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin. He is a member of the Chicago Association of Reform Jewish Educators (CHARJE), serving as the treasurer (2010-2015) and president (2015-2017). He serves as the Rabbinic Advisor to NFTY-CAR (2009-present), being granted the honor of lifetime membership in December of 2015. He volunteers at OSRUI, currently serving on the Rabbinic, Educator, Cantorial Advisory Committee (RECC). Rabbi Prass currently lives in Deerfield with his wife, Cantor Jennifer Frost, and their children, Lyla Ann, Ruth Adina, and David Lev.