Rabbi Dr. Vernon Kurtz is Rabbi Emeritus of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois, where he served in the pulpit for 31 years. Rabbi Kurtz is past president of the Rabbinical Assembly (the international association of Conservative/Masorti Rabbis), MERCAZ USA and MERCAZ Olami (the US and international World Zionist organization of the Conservative Movement), the American Zionist Movement, the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. He served as chair of the United Jewish Appeal Rabbinic Cabinet and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including the Julius Rosenwald Award from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Rabbi Simon Greenberg Rabbinic Achievement Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
He has authored responsa for the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement and has published articles in a range of periodicals and books. For many years he was a monthly Torah commentator for the Chicago Jewish News and currently is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. He is the author of the book Encountering Torah: Reflections on the Weekly Portion. Rabbi Kurtz and his wife, Bryna, live in Jerusalem.