Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in Cincinnati on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at Isaac M. Wise Temple (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati). Rabbi Kamrass was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Kamrass is the Senior Rabbi of Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH, where he has spent his entire rabbinate of twenty-five years. Appointed to the Senior Rabbi position at Wise Temple at the young age of 29, his tenure has been marked by significant congregational involvement by hundreds of the synagogue’s members in a variety of Social Action projects including service in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, educational projects, and other civic activities. He has also spearheaded the creation of a Wise Temple congregational prayer book, Avodak Halev, and been involved in leadership with the expansion of the congregation’s suburban building, the historic restoration of the Plum Street Temple, and the development of endowment funds for the congregation.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Rabbi Kamrass is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia in Sociology and Psychology, with a Master of Hebrew Letters and Rabbinic Ordination from HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. With his love of teaching, he has served for twenty-four years as Instructor in the Theology Department of Xavier University teaching undergraduates, and twenty-three years as adjunct faculty at HUC-JIR teaching rabbinical students.
Rabbi Kamrass was a 2007 “Bridges for a Just Community” honoree, having served the larger community in many volunteer positions of leadership. He has served as President of the Cincinnati Board of Rabbis, and as a board member and/or officer of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Jobs for People, American Red Cross-Cincinnati Chapter, Center for Holocaust Education, Cincinnati CAN (Community Action Now) as a member of the Police and Justice Team, Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Agenda 360 Task Force, Coalition for a Drug-Free Cincinnati, Family Service of Cincinnati, Hospice of Cincinnati, HUC-JIR President’s Rabbinic Counsel and Rabbinic Board of Alumni Overseers, Free Store/Food Band, Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati, as well as founder of its affiliate, Clergy For Reproductive Freedom, and International Rabbi for Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.
Rabbi Kamrass has been involved in the Reform Jewish movement with the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the international association of Reform Rabbis, having served on its Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. He has served on the CCAR’s Youth Committee, Nominating Committee, and Patrilineal Descent Task Force. He was honored to be selected as one of a dozen rabbis to compose the “Statement of Principles” adopted in 1999 as the Reform rabbinate’s platform of beliefs, and to have been selected for the Siddur Committee of the CCAR, charged with preparing the new prayer book for the Reform Movement, published in 2007.
Rabbi Kamrass is married to the former Renee Slotin of Atlanta, and finds his greatest joy in being the father of three children.
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