About the Rabbi
Rabbi Wesley Kalmar hails from Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Talmudical Academy for thirteen years. Upon graduating from high school he studied for two years at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim in Beit Meir, Israel and then earned his bachelors degree in Judaic Studies as a Max Stern Scholar at Yeshiva University. With a desire to spend more time devoted to intensive Torah study, Rabbi Kalmar returned to Israel and participated in a kollel program at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim that focused on the study of the laws of Shabbos. Rabbi Kalmar received his semicha from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University and earned a masters degree in Medieval Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, Rabbi Kalmar enjoyed working extensively with Jewish youth. He served as a dorm counselor at Yeshiva University and was very involved in NCSY (National Council for Synagogue Youth) – as an advisor in the Atlantic Seaboard region and as a madrich, teaching Torah at the NCSY Summer Kollel in Efrat, Israel. Rabbi Kalmar’s first rabbinic position was as the Rabbinic Intern at The Jewish Center in Manhattan, New York where he was mentored by Rabbis Jacob J. Schacter and Ari Berman. Rabbi Kalmar then assumed the pulpit at Congregation Mount Sinai in Jersey City, New Jersey. Rabbi Kalmar has taught Jewish history, law Talmud, Chumash and led the Israel Advocacy Club at Bat Torah Academy, Suffern, NY and Westchester Hebrew High School, Mamaroneck, NY. From 2004 until 2009 Rabbi Kalmar served as the Rabbi at the Westville Synagogue in New Haven, Connecticut. In addition to attending to the pastoral needs of his congregants, Rabbi Kalmar participated in every aspect of Jewish communal life in New Haven, including serving as secretary of the Vaad Hakashrut of Fairfield County and as a member of the: chevra kadisha, halachic advisory boards of the eruv and mikveh, Greater New Haven Board of Rabbis and the boards of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven.
Rabbi Kalmar assumed the pulpit at ASKT in August of 2010 and has benefited tremendously from the mentorship of Rabbi Nachman Levine, founding Rabbi and current Rabbi Emeritus. Since his arrival, Rabbi Kalmar has been active in creating and developing the innovative P.L.A.T.E. adult education program, teaching a wide range of Torah classes, revitalizing many of the shul’s committees and developing exciting youth programming. Rabbi Kalmar has also joined the shul softball team, participated in ASKT Cholent Madness 2010, and is committed to continuing ASKT’s tradition of being an inspiring place to pray, learn, connect with other Jews and grow in spirituality.
Jessica, Rabbi Kalmar’s wife, was raised in Queens, New York. Her “rebbetzin training” began at an early age as she comes from a family of pulpit rabbis, including her great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle. She was educated at Bais Yaakov and Yeshiva University High School and studied at Michlalah in Jerusalem before earning her bachelors degree from Stern College and her doctoral degree in neuropsychology from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Jessica’s extensive involvement in Jewish communal services included serving as an NCSY advisor, a coordinator for Junior Yachad, and teaching with Operation V’shenantem in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her work with Soviet Jewry also took her to Minsk, Belarus with YUSSR and to Israel with T’Chiya Volunteers. After marrying Rabbi Kalmar, Jessica joined him at his kehilla in Jersey City. In New Haven, Jessica conducted research in the Psychiatry Department at the Yale School of Medicine. Here in Glendale, Jessica has taken an active role in the synagogue, and teaches a popular “Women in the Bible” series. The Kalmars have been blessed with three children: Rebecca (7 years old), Eliana (4 years old) and Martin (3 years old), who love living in Milwaukee. The Kalmar family looks forward to many years of shared growth in Torah together with the wonderfully warm ASKT community.
Rabbi Nachman Levine has been an important figure in the greater Milwaukee Jewish community for over 40 years. Besides serving as the rabbi of Congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah since its founding, Rabbi Levine is an instructor of Judaic studies at Hillel Academy, the original position that brought him to the Midwest from his home town of Toronto, Canada. Whether he’s giving a drasha from the pulpit or teaching Talmud at Hillel, Rabbi Levine has influenced generations of Milwaukee Jews.
In 1995, Rabbi Levine help found the Wisconsin K, the state’s only kosher certification agency, and an organization in which he proudly plays an active role.
Rabbi Levine received rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Rav Untermann), the Av Beis Din of Netanya, and from Yeshivas Ner Israel, in Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Levine is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Chicago Rabbinical Council. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University and an M.A. in education from Marquette University.
Along with his rebbetzin, Leah, the Levine’s are known for their gracious hospitality, openness and warmth. Many times they are behind the scenes, providing counseling, guidance, and advice to those in need. Under their leadership, our shul has grown from a handful of shomer shabbat families to a congregation of close to 100 families. So many people locally are grateful for the Levine's incredible dedication to the both the Milwaukee and ASKT community