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Curriculum Vitae

Rabbi Martin Vesole was born in 1947 and grew up in Rock Island, Illinois (former home of the Rock Island Line, made famous by a country and western song of that name).  He matriculated at Washington University in St. Louis, earning a BA in history in 1969, and received a law degree at DePaul College of Law in Chicago in 1979.  In between those two degrees, he served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as a translator and he found his roots in Israel during a two year visit, first taking classes in Judaic Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then working as a volunteer at Kibbutz Naot Mordechai (famous for Naot sandals) in the Upper Galilee region of Israel.

Rabbi Vesole worked as a legal writer in Chicago for Commerce Clearing House (since bought out by Wolters Kluwer, a Dutch company) until the age of 55.  He was active as a layperson in his synagogue Temple Menorah in Chicago for several years and served as President from 1992-1994 and was on the Board of Directors from 1987 through 2017.  He was ordained as a Rabbi in January 2018.  He has a step-daughter and two grandchildren, and now resides in Florida with his companion Linda Silva, former textiles entrepreneur.

Goals and Interests

Rabbi Vesole is concerned about the significant and continuing loss of American Jewry to assimilation, intermarriage, and disinterest.  He believes that traditional Judaism does not speak to large numbers of secular Jews and therefore needs to change.  He likes to say that if something isn’t selling, don’t blame the customer, blame the product.  A Judaism that worked in anti-Semitic Europe for 2,000 years, and before that in the ancient land of Israel, does not appeal the same way in democratic Western societies.  Rabbi Vesole believes that several things need to change:


  • Judaism needs a satisfying afterlife theology.
  • Religious services need to change to speak to the lives and concerns of contemporary Jewry.
  • Judaism needs to be more spiritual and less legalistic in its observances.
  • Barriers to entry for meaningful converts need to be removed.
  • The definition of who is a Jew needs to be broadened.
  • Judaism needs a better explanation of why there is evil in the world.
  • Judaism needs a more meaningful mission in the world.


Rabbi Vesole also believes that the future and survival of Jewry significantly depends on the survival and viability of the State of Israel.  Programs such as Birthright Israel are very important in giving American Jews a feeling of closeness to Israel.  He believes that the peace process is a farce because the Arab side does not intend to ever acknowledge the legitimacy of a Jewish Israel.

Rabbi Vesole is concerned that the United States is quickly becoming a plutocracy instead of a democracy, where the rich and powerful increasingly control the politicians and the political agendas.  America is the greatest country in the history of the world, but our ideals are being hijacked and perverted to disguise what is really happening here. And now, after Trump, there is a strong movement toward one party governance and autocracy.

4 thoughts on “Biography

  1. JessicaeAntonio on May 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

    No, hell and eternal torrute as punishment are both pagan’ concepts from Hellenic salvation religions. They’re not part of Judaism in any way.Christianity thinks of Israel as the Holy Land because they’ve been treating everything Jewish as if we were little more than characters in their play for a couple of millenia. Many of the Christians who get the most excited over Israel as the Holy Land expect to see all but 144,000 Jews perish horribly and the land utterly destroyed during Armageddon. Same word’, same location, different roles in different stories.

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