Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass was inducted onto the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) at its meeting in Cincinnati on October 18, 2010.
“We are honored to welcome Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, a distinguished alumnus and leader of the Reform Movement of Judaism, whose scholarship and dedication to social action and interfaith relations is a source of inspiration as we nurture the social responsibility of our students as future leaders serving the Reform Movement, the Jewish people, and the larger society,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President.
Rabbi Kamrass is the Senior Rabbi of Isaac M. Wise Temple of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has spent his entire rabbinate of twenty-six years. Appointed to the position of Wise Temple’s Senior Rabbi at the unusually 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.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, 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 in Cincinnati in 1985. He has served for twenty four years as Instructor in the Theology Department of Xavier University teaching undergraduates, and as adjunct faculty at HUC-JIR teaching rabbinical students. In 2010, Rabbi Kamrass was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College.
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, Hebrew Union College President's Rabbinic Council and Rabbinic Board of Alumni Overseers, Free Store/Food Bank, Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati as well as founder of its affiliate, Clergy For Reproductive Freedom, and on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Clergy Advisory Board, and International Rabbi for Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.
Rabbi Kamrass serves as a member of the Cincinnati Board of Overseers of HUC-JIR and has also had extensive involvement 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, and presently on the editorial committee preparing the Reform Movement’s Machzor, or High Holy Day Prayer Book.
Rabbi Kamrass is married to the former Renee Slotin of Atlanta, and is the father of three children.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu