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Rabbi Kalmar Visited Israel with Other Rabbi's (Jan 8, 2024)

"I was asked to reflect on the mood of the country, after my trip. Considering that I took a less than three-day trip at the end of November, I felt it would exhibit a great deal of hubris to claim that I know what the mood of the country is. So, I sent this to a few friends of mine in Israel to get their comments and thoughts and have them validate what I write here. 

Obviously, there has been a tremendous amount of trauma. We witnessed this on our trip. We met with the families of hostages who were suffering so deeply. Thank God, some of the children and mothers of the families we met have been returned to their families.  But just because they are home does not mean all is well. There is a trauma there that will never completely leave them and there is much work to do. And currently there are still so many hostages being held. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.  This takes a huge toll. 

We went to the funerals and shiva houses of IDF soldiers, whose stories of bravery and inspirational lives provide us with strength, but whose loss is felt so painfully by the entire country. We visited the injured at Soroka hospital.There are so many injured, physically and mentally. The recovery will not be easy.  To read the whole article click on the link:

Rabbi Kalmar Speaks on Antisemitism | Shine a Light on Antisemitism (Jan 23, 2023)

Orthodox Union awards Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah program - TeLeM program encourages return to synagogue life, wins Orthodox Union grant (August 3, 2021)

The Orthodox Union awarded a $5,000 grant to the Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah synagogue for its TeLeM program, which seeks to bring people back to synagogue life.  

An OU committee selected 35 synagogues, including ASKT in Glendale, from among 300 submissions across 34 states. The ASKT program was one of those chosen for “both out-of-the-box thinking and opportunities that are more likely to rebuild and reaffirm the value of synagogue and community and therefore encourage congregants to return for the long term,” according to an OU statement. 

The synagogue was already gearing up to do the TeLeM program when the OU sent out the request for grant proposals. The TeLeM idea is to create fun events to help get members involved in shul life again, after many months of a difficult pandemic. 

It’s already a success, said Rabbi Wes Kalmar, who leads ASKT. 

One TeLeM session was breakfast and prayer, paired with a class on cheating in baseball from a Jewish perspective. This was followed by a Brewers game and tailgating.  

TeLeM stands for tefillah (prayer), limmud (learning), and mischak (play). These are all part of each session. Read More

The Cream City was there, too - Milwaukee contingent attended D.C. rally against antisemitism (August 3, 2021)

 When thousands of mostly east-coast people gathered in Washington, D.C., to stand up against rising antisemitism, Milwaukee was there. 

The coalition of groups and individuals rallied in Washington, D.C., to stand in solidarity in the face of rising antisemitism. A Cream City contingent held up signs indicating “Milwaukee” solidarity. 

“I had a number of people come up to me who had Milwaukee connections,” said David Amrani, a retired Glendale professor with the University of Wisconsin medical school and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “We had an impact. We made our presence known.” 

The rally on Sunday, July 11, featured survivors of recent antisemitic attacks, faith leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and grassroots activists.  

 “I was struck by the courage of several speakers who had been attacked for the sole sin of being Jewish – who said with pride – I will never cover up my Judaism, I will be a proud Jew no matter what!” said Rabbi Wes Kalmar of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah congregation in Glendale. “I was proud to be among Jews who were standing up for their heritage and proud to share our message – ‘Milwaukee Jews stand proud’ – with people who couldn’t believe we came all the way from Wisconsin.” Read More

Orthodox magazine notes Rebbetzin Kalmar (July 30, 2021)

Jewish Action, the magazine of the Orthodox Union, featured a special section in its summer 2021 edition, “On Covid’s Jewish Frontlines,” highlighting the work of rabbis, rebbetzins and others, including Rebbetzin Dr. Jessica Kalmar. 

The magazine noted the congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah’s Zoom classes, plus outdoor programming, including bonfires and fireside chats for teenagers, and scavenger hunts and youth groups for younger children. The congregation is in Glendale. 

“My husband and I are a team, and we knew immediately that we had to recreate Jewish life,” the Rebbetzin told the magazine, referring to her husband Rabbi Wes Kalmar.  (See here for context)

Rabbi Kalmar Interviewed by WTJM Passover 2021; "There's a greater feeling of freedom" (March 28, 2021)

After Death of George Floyd, local rabbis had a message (July 5, 2020)

When local congregational rabbis wrote or spoke in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, with the nation around them aroused, several thought of the America’s promise, or the notion that everybody counts. 

These two themes in local rabbinic statements emerged from a place of horror and passion. Rabbi Joel Alter wrote of Floyd’s death in a June 1 letter to his congregation, Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid in Mequon: “When a man wearing the uniform of service and a badge promising integrity, a person armed by the state to protect others, an officer trained to leverage power for calm and safety when such a man presses the life out of another already cuffed with a knee upon his neck for nearly nine murderous minutes, toleration expires.” Read More

Thinking about God and humanity (March 27, 2020)

The global pandemic has local rabbis sharing thoughts of God and the human condition.

“I believe our faith in God will help us through these difficult times,” said Rabbi Marc Berkson of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun. “We’re forced to recognize our own humanity. For all that we think we have control over, we really don’t.”

Berkson added: “It’s what God wants us to do.”

Rabbi Wes Kalmar of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah congregation thinks about the possible lessons we could learn from the pandemic. Read More

Weekend and comedian reach for unity (October 2, 2019)

When hundreds of people from the Milwaukee-area Jewish community came together at a memorial event, soon after the Oct. 27, 2018 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, it reminded Rabbi Wes Kalmar of one of his convictions.

That is, he’d like to see local Jewry come together for good things, too.

The result, after much discussion with other leaders in the Jewish community, will be a “Shabbat MKE” weekend slated for Nov. 15-16, 2019. This Jewish unity weekend is to include a visiting comedian with a knack for reaching across the Jewish aisle. Read More

Torah Portion (March 25, 2019)

“You can squeeze another one or two in at the table. It likely will be the most meaningful Seder invite you ever made. We could then share our experiences at the Seder with each other by emailing the Chronicle staff at …” – Rabbi Wes Kalmar

What percentage of American Jews attend a Passover Seder? According to a Pew study from 2014, that number is about 70 percent. Read More

Salute to Jewish Educators award winners - mazel tov (2019)

The 2019 Salute to Jewish Educators awards were granted to Rabbi Nachman Levine, Debbie Silberman, Rachael Badt, and other notable individuals on March 11 during a ceremony hosted by the Coalition for Jewish Learning of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.  Read More

Opinion: After Pittsburgh, what does Milwaukee do now? (2018)

Weeks have passed since the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. What do we do now? Of course, we remember and memorialize those who were murdered. Of course, we reevaluate and improve security measures at our institutions. Read more

... If you think there are ways that we can find to come together, I would like to hear them and partner with you to make the ideas a reality. My email is Please be in touch.

Milwaukee Jewry turns out, to be with ‘family’ after Pittsburgh horror (2018)

GLENDALE — About 1,800 people filled the room, with hundreds standing at the edges for the lack of empty seats. There were Reform and Orthodox, young and old.

They came to be with their michpacha — family. Read more

Rabbi Wes Kalmar spoke at the gathering to watch his speech click here

Longtime rock for Israel to speak (2018)

You can’t put Israeli Aryeh Green in one category. He’s many things.
He’s the former executive director of a nonprofit devoted to assisting journalists in Israel. He’s chief strategy officer for an Israeli company that works to bring renewable energy production to developing nations. He’s even just published a book on his long walk along the National Israel Trail, where he gathered up life lessons and faced down the pain of his divorce. Read more

You can purchase his book, My Israel Trail through ASKT. email

​​​​​​​Rabbi Kalmar's Yom Ha'atzmaut Address at City Hall "The Israeli and American Dream"

Click on Above Image to Watch the Address Being Delivered

What is the American dream?  The American dream is that everyone has an opportunity.  That you don't need to be a gentleman, a noble, a prince or a king to pursue your dreams to the fullest - you just need opportunity - in a place of liberty, rights, equality, and democracy - no matter who you are - no matter your sex or your religion or your age or the color of your skin - you have the ability to reach for your dreams. Read More

​​​​​​​Synagogue Marks Independence Day As A Religious Holiday (2018)

It's complicated. That's how Rabbi Wesley Kalmar describes Yom HaAtzmaut.
Much like Purim and Chanukah, Yom HaAtzmaut is not mentioned in the Torah and is based on a miracle – victory by the Jews when faced with annihilation.
 Read More

Torah Tours: Spreading the Yom Tov Spirit (2018)

Now in its fourth decade, Aaron and Blanche Schreiber's Torah Tours® joint program of The Office of Student Life and CJF shares the Torah knowledge and enthusiasm of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) students and alumni with Jewish communities throughout the world. Read More

Our new chessed initiative at Torah Academy of Milwaukee (2018)

A normal day at Torah Academy of Milwaukee, located in Glendale, includes many acts of community service, or chessed, done for people in need. This can range from just simply smiling at someone who has had a hard day, to giving someone a hand with a heavy load. Read More

Synagogue raises $2,636 for trees after Israeli fires (2017)

GLENDALE – Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah congregants came together to plant trees in Israel to replace those destroyed in the November forest fires there, as part of a fundraiser. Read more

Path to Torah was through Israel (2017)

GLENDALE – “Don’t worry. I won’t come back Orthodox.”

That’s what Glendale’s Dick and Debbie Alpert heard from their daughter, Mara, as she was about to spend a year in Israel. Read more

We knew we were done with Saturday (2017)

It’s Friday afternoon, and Amy Gelfman is in the kitchen of her East Side duplex, cutting up vegetables. Challah dough is rising in a bowl on the kitchen table. Two of her six sons pop in and out of the room to grab a snack or ask a question. Read more

Jerry Wicentowski: Thanks, Mac! Songs of Mac Wiseman (2017)

On his second album, New York native and longtime Milwaukeean Jerry Wicentowski pays tribute to bluegrass pioneer Mac Wiseman. In his recordings for Dot Records in the 1950s and ’60s, Wiseman shone through with an amiable persona with distinct phrasing and diction harkening back to early 20th-century popular music. Read More

Mentalist to use 'Mind over Mortgage' at synagogue celebration (2017)

GLENDALE – Sidney Friedman is a mentalist. He performs mindboggling feats that demonstrate his extraordinary mental powers. He mesmerizes audiences across the country, leaving many wondering if there really is such a thing as extrasensory perception. Read more

Invisible 'eruv' perimeter will ease Shabbat rules (2017)

MILWAUKEE COUNTY – Adam Hellman stood at the top of a 16-foot extension ladder, holding steady in blowing snow and biting cold. Read More

The annual Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah men's retreat took place in June, 2016 at Camp Edwards in East Troy.

He Who Must be Named (2016)

In the popular Harry Potter children’s book series, the evil villain of the story, Lord Voldemort, is often referred to as "you know who" or "He who must not be named" by characters who fear to even use his proper name.  Harry Potter’s wise mentor and headmaster advises him, "Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." Read More

CJL director retires after 15-year 'temporary' job (2015)

After nearly half a century, one of the Milwaukee Jewish community’s most distinguished and influential members is leaving the paid workforce. Read More

HERC director to speak about Babi Yar (2015)

Shay Pilnik, Ph.D., will speak at Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah’s event “Memory without Memorials: The Story of Babi Yar” on Wednesday, July 22, 7 p.m., at the synagogue, 6717 N. Green Bay Ave.
Read more

ASKT to celebrate Israel's birthday (2015)

Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah on Thursday, April 23, 5:30 p.m., will hold a Yom HaAtzmaut Seudah celebrating Israel’s Independence Day.
Read More

Finishing Judges (2014)

  After more than three years and 72 classes, Rabbi Wes Kalmar of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah (fifth from left) and his class at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center celebrated finishing the Book of Judges with a siyyum, a traditional celebration held when study of a Jewish text is completed.  Read More

Kalmar elected to rabbinical council (July 29, 2013)

Rabbi Wes Kalmar of Milwaukee-area synagogue Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah was recently elected to the Rabbinical Council of America executive committee for a three year term, ending 2016. Read More

Kalmar takes third in magazine's contest (October 29, 2012)

Rabbi Wes Kalmar, spiritual leader of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale, took a third place in a contest run by weekly magazine The Week. Read More

Chanukah and a hurricane help us see what's truly important (2012)

As I write this, I am reflecting on the devastating emails I have just finished reading. The emails are from a Google group comprised of friends that attended yeshiva and college with me approximately 20 years ago. Read More

Levines look back on 26 years with ASKT (2012)

  In 1986, Rabbi Nachman Levine was a contented, full-time Judaica teacher with 18 years’ tenure at Hillel Academy in Milwaukee. He must’ve been very effective, too, because a group of Hillel parents asked his help in forming a modern Orthodox congregation in Glendale. Read more

Joel of YU: All Jews own a sacred story (2011)

Jews may love to tell each other the hoary joke about how three Jews, stranded on an island, will build four synagogues — one for each individual to pray in, and one for all three to boycott. Read more

Glendale Congregation Celebrates All Things Cholent! (2011)

Wes Kalmar (left) prepares his Packer Nation cholent as his competitor Ouri Marciano tries to sneak a peek.

March Madness may be over, but Cholent Madness goes on.
That's cholent, as in the Jewish comfort food that is quite literally a melting pot of ingredients, a meat stew that cooks for hours (and we do mean hours) in a slow cooker.
 Read More

D'var Torah: Seize the moment, do a mitzvah (2010)

As an admitted college sports enthusiast, in the short time I have been in Milwaukee, I have already developed fan loyalties for the Badgers, Panthers, and Golden Eagles.

But right now my heart truly lies with the Yale Bulldogs Women’s Hockey team. A hockey team that has added a new player: Giana Cardonita, 9. Read more

ASKT sets new program for adult Jewish Education (2010)

Congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale has announced the beginning of an educational initiative called “Program for Learning and Adult Torah Education” (PLATE). Read more

Meet Rabbi Wes Kalmar (2010)

As of Aug. 1, Rabbi Wes (Wesley) Kalmar, 36, is the new principal rabbi at Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale. His predecessor, Rabbi Nachman Levine, is now rabbi emeritus. Read More

New rabbi starts at Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah (2010)

As of Aug. 1, Rabbi Wesley Kalmar is the new spiritual leader of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah, an Orthodox congregation in Glendale. Read more

Two new eruvim debut this month Jews in Glendale, Mequon can enjoy Shabbat even more (2008)

It is a commandment to enjoy the happy Jewish holidays and particularly the Sabbath. But beginning with April 6-7, Sabbaths became even more enjoyable for members of modern Orthodox synagogue Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah and other observant Jews in Glendale. Read More

Excitement over Israel's birth suffused state Jewry in 1948 (2008)

The year 1948 would have been a busy and even historic period at any time for the Jewish communities of Wisconsin. Read more

New Glendale shul is on track (1990)

2 area Orthodox synagogues will merge, officers confirm (1990)

Congregation Anshe Sfard, Milwaukee's oldest continuing Orthodox synagogue, has disbanded, but its name and legacy will continue in an unusual merger with an Orthodox synagogue in Glendale, officers of the two congregations confirmed this week. Read more

2 Orthodox synagogues explore merger (1988)

A melding of the old and new could take place in Milwaukee's Jewish community as two Orthodox synagogues, one on the city's West Side and the other on the East Side, begin tentative discussions about the possibility of merging their congregations. Read more

'Rabbi's rabbi saluted by hundreds of Milwaukeeans (1987)

Anshe Sfard to celebrate 95th year (1984)

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784