Staff and Leadership

The rabbis, staff and Board of Trustees work closely together to lead, inspire, challenge and empower congregants to create our kehilla kedosha: our holy community.

RABBIS

Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass

SENIOR RABBI

Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass is the Senior Rabbi of Isaac M. Wise Temple of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has spent his entire rabbinate of thirty-five years. 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 Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He served for 25 years as an Instructor in the Theology Department of Xavier University and as adjunct faculty at Hebrew Union College.

In the national Reform movement, Rabbi Kamrass currently serves as a Board Member of HUC-JIR and as the President-Elect and Board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the 2100-member international body of Reform Rabbis. He was involved in the creation of the Reform movement’s two newest prayer books, serving on the CCAR’s Mishkan HaNefesh Editorial advisory committee, the Mishkan T’fillah Editorial team, and has also compiled Wise Temple’s congregational prayer book, Avodat HaLev. He was also a member of the CCAR’s 1999 Statement of Principles committee, on several committees, and served as Vice-President of the CCAR.

In the broader local community, Rabbi Kamrass has also served on the Boards of: Cincinnati Pre-School Promise, the Cincinnati Jewish Federation, Cincinnati Board of Rabbis, Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, American Red Cross Cincinnati Chapter, Hospice of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Community Action Now, Family Services of Cincinnati and other community organizations. He has been active in local social action endeavors including establishing synagogue and Jewish community involvement in soup kitchens and homeless shelters and maintaining that involvement for nearly 30 years. He has helped lead the growth and development of Wise Temple’s endowment fund and Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund, as well been deeply involved in the ongoing preservation and maintenance of the historic Plum Street Temple.

Rabbi Kamrass is married to Renee Slotin Kamrass of Atlanta and they are the proud parents of three children and five wonderful grandchildren.

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Rabbi Karen R. Thomashow

ASSOCIATE RABBI

Rabbi Karen Thomashow is originally from Worcester, Massachusetts. She attended college at Brandeis University, where she majored in sociology and minored in social policy and Near Eastern and Judaic studies. Rabbi Thomashow earned her rabbinic ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) here in Cincinnati, where she wrote a thesis entitled, “A Lily and an Apple: A History of Jewish Interpretation to the Song of Songs.” She worked as a rabbinic intern for Wise Temple in 2006-2007.

From 2007 to 2013, Rabbi Thomashow was an assistant and then an associate rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada. While there, she served on the boards of ARZA Canada, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto and URJ Camp George. In addition, she was a part of the leadership team for the URJ’s Campaign for Youth Engagement.

In 2013, Rabbi Thomashow returned to Cincinnati to join the rabbinic staff of Wise. In addition to providing leadership in the areas of young family engagement, adult education and B’nai Mitzvah preparation, she is pleased to participate in the breadth of life and programming at Wise Temple. Outside our organization, she currently serves as the rabbinic co-chair of NOAM, the North American Association of Reform Mohelim.

Rabbi Thomashow is married to Yonatan Eyal, a historian of nineteenth-century America who is from the San Francisco Bay Area. They are the parents of Alma and Ethan.

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Rabbi Michael E. Danziger

ASSISTANT RABBI

Rabbi Danziger is a native of Memphis, TN, where his father served as Rabbi of the Reform Congregation, Temple Israel. Upon graduating from The University of Texas with a degree in Organizational Communication and Leadership, he became the assistant director of the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp (our sister camp) in Utica, MS for several years. He then returned to Memphis and Temple Israel, where he was the Youth and Family Life Director for five years before working for several years in property management and on the side as a professional stand-up comic.

Realizing his passion for Jewish life and fostering Jewish identity for others, he decided to pursue the rabbinate and entered Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and then Cincinnati. With his rich background in youth, teaching, informal education, music, and congregational life, Rabbi Danziger brings rich experience and many talents to Wise. During his time at HUC, he worked at Rockwern Academy and taught religious school in several congregations, including the Reform Jewish High School Program, Kulanu. He served several student pulpits throughout the Midwest and Cincinnati Hillel and as a Rabbinic Fellow for Temple Sholom.

Rabbi Danziger says he loves Wise Temple for many reasons, including “its rich history and its innovative look toward the future, the great teens I’ve met and worked with, the highly regarded clergy and staff, and the passionate members and leadership.” He hopes to “help make Wise Temple a place where people of all ages can engage in the richness of Jewish life, and are comfortable taking advantage of all the ways to learn, pray, and connect.”

Rabbi Michael Danziger is married to Rabbi Lindsey Danziger. They have just welcomed their third child.

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SENIOR STAFF

Sally Harding Schott

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sally joined Wise Temple’s senior staff in 2016. She has many years of experience in finance, human resources, events and facilities management both in the nonprofit and for-profit arenas, which she applies to her role as Executive Director. As a lifelong member of Wise Temple, Sally values her relationships with the rabbis, staff and congregation, and looks forward to building many new relationships at Wise in the years to come

Sally grew up in Cincinnati. She received a B.A. in Economics from Williams College, moving back to the Cincinnati area after some time in Boston so that her children could grow up near their grandparents. Sally has a passion for the martial arts, having achieved third degree black belt in Taekwondo and taught both Taekwondo and self defense for many years. She is married to Tom Schott and has three sons, who also grew up at Wise Temple, and three stepdaughters.

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Kari Fagin

DIRECTOR OF MEMBER ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION

Kari joined the senior staff in 2015 after over 20 years as a Wise Temple member and active volunteer. She wears many hats at Wise Temple, all with the goal of helping congregants feel more engaged. Every day she asks: How should we communicate? Who should be involved? What is our goal? How will we gain feedback? How will we determine success?

During her fifteen years as a Facilitator and Organization Development professional in the for-profit world, Kari played key roles in performance management, leadership development, and coaching for a global company. Her experience taught her that the keys to success are relationship building, communication, goal setting, planning and recognition.

As a mom of two young adults, Anna and Jacob, who grew up at Wise Temple, Kari is passionate about the Jewish community. Without a doubt, Kari believes the best part of her job is working with the bright and passionate congregants of this Temple.

Kari grew up in Indiana and is a graduate of Indiana University, where she met her husband, Dan, who also works as a Jewish community professional. When she’s not at Wise Temple, you’ll find her peering at her family through the lens of her camera, capturing those precious moments.

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Professional STAFF

Courtney Anthony

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL DIRECTOR

Courtney brings a warm spirit, a passion for Jewish education, and a wealth of experience to this role. She comes to us from Temple Emanuel in Winston Salem, NC, where she served as the Director of Education. Prior to that, Courtney served as the Principal for grades 7-12 at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, a large congregation similar in size to ours. Joining the Wise Temple team was a sort of homecoming for Courtney, as she spent three years teaching religious school at Wise Temple while she was pursuing a Masters degree at Xavier University.

Alex Burte

MEMBERSHIP AND PROGRAM MANAGER

Alex Burte is a lifelong Wise Temple member and a fervent supporter of the Jewish community. He has been in numerous Jewish leadership roles where he has focused on actively engaging people in Jewish life. He considers his Judaism to be the most formative part of his identity.

Alex came to us from Alpha Epsilon Pi National organization after a brief stint in sales. He is interested in the individual traits that every congregant brings to the table and channeling those traits to create a vibrant community. Alex attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where he received B.A.s in Psychology and Philosophy. He was recruited to North Carolina to participate on their Division 1 fencing team and serves as the assistant coach at the Queen City Fencers Club. When Alex isn’t busy working or traveling the world with his fencing students, he enjoys playing chess, reading classic literature, and exploring nature, art, and music.

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Chad Doritan

Communications Director

For the past 20 years, Chad has combined strategy, leadership and creativity to develop and lead the marketing & communications initiatives for a wide array of organizations and industries (including building marketing departments from the ground up). The strategies that he has created, and the marketing teams he has led, continually surpassed corporate expectations, significantly increased revenues and market presence, and garnered both local and national media coverage and multiple industry awards.

In addition to his corporate leadership experience, Chad provides an extensive background within the nonprofit sector. He has been employed by, volunteered for or served on the Board of Directors of seven different nonprofit organizations including social services, healthcare and child & animal welfare.

When asked why he is so passionate about leading the communications initiatives here at Wise Temple, Chad sums it up simply, “I have found nothing more rewarding than utilizing my marketing experience and skills to help an organization that brings people together, provides hope and helps others!”

Chad holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Denison University, where he was also a four-year letterman on the men’s tennis team. When not thinking of the next great marketing idea, Chad loves playing fetch with his dog Rufus.

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Robyn Friend

INTERIM FAMILY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Robyn is excited to join the Wise Temple staff as the Interim Family Engagement Coordinator. One of the aspects she loves most about Wise is the emphasis placed on relationships, and in this role she hopes to contribute to the meaningful programs connecting families to this special community.

Robyn has spent her career in various aspects of Jewish education. Prior to joining Wise, she was the Director of Education at the Valley Temple Religious School and, before relocating to Cincinnati, she was the School Counselor at The Davis Academy, Atlanta’s Reform Jewish Day School. There, she helped develop each student’s academic and social/emotional learning, while fostering their Jewish identity. Further, she provided regular consultation and education to both teachers and parents to ensure student success. Additionally, Robyn has spent time teaching in Xavier University’s counseling graduate program.

She holds a Masters and Specialist degree in Education and licensure in mental health counseling, specializing in children and families. Along with her husband, Scott, and their two sons, Jordan and Joshua, Robyn loves the Wise community and is eager to join the staff in this meaningful role.

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Rhys Ivan

DIRECTOR OF YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

Rhys grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, where he was a member of Suburban Temple Kol-Ami, and the NFTY-North East Lakes region. He spent his summers attending Goldman Union Camp Institute as a camper, and went on to become a counselor, song leader and music specialist. Rhys graduated from Ohio University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music in Choral Music Education, and he enjoys singing almost as much as he enjoys teaching.

Andrea Rapp

LIBRARIAN

Andrea often introduces herself as the lucky person who gets to be our Temple’s librarian. Lucky because we have one of the largest synagogue libraries in the land, with wonderful support from our rabbis and members.

Her family has belonged to Wise Temple since they moved to Cincinnati in 1979. That family now includes two baby granddaughters. Andrea has Master’s degrees in history and library science, taught history in public school as well as Wise’s religious school, and was a day school librarian. You can see why she thinks being the Wise Temple Librarian is the perfect position. Sharing a love of Jewish history and literature with children and adults at Wise Temple is hardly what she’d call “work.”

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Stephanie Rozakis

YOUNG FAMILY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT

Stephanie and her family are fully engaged in the Wise Temple community. Stephanie believes that Wise Temple’s programming and warm welcoming community are what helped her family adjust beautifully to their move to Cincinnati in 2016. She is passionate about helping others engage in Temple life and about supporting others as they choose their Jewish path.

Originally from New Jersey, Stephanie attended the University of Delaware, where she majored in Elementary and Special Education. Stephanie loves to learn and instills that lifelong love of learning in all of her students.

When Stephanie is not in the classroom, she enjoys working out, reading and scrapbooking. Her family (husband, Jim and three children) is her pride and joy. Their weeks are busy with Krav Maga, gymnastics, swimming and school, but special family time is always set aside for Shabbat.

Stephanie connects and welcome families who are new to Jewish engagement or new to Cincinnati, helping them meet other young Jewish families and try out the variety of Wise Temple activities. She’s looking forward to meeting young families interested in a warm, fun and engaging Jewish and social community!

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Nina Kieffer

PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS COODINATOR

Jenny Schaffzin

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGER

Cindy Schroeder

ACCOUNTING MANAGER

SUPPORT STAFF

Michael Freeman

DIGITAL MARKETING ASSISTANT

Luana Heinemeyer

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO SENIOR RABBI

Kathy Schlaeger

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Terri Snavely

EDUCATION ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Heather Spegal

ASSISTANT TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Scherrie Wabbington

BOOKKEEPING ASSISTANT

BUILDING STAFF

Matt Rice

Facilities Superintendent
Custodians
  • Lia Smith
  • Celia Tinsley
  • George Triggs
  • Mike Williams

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

President
Stuart Susskind 
Vice President
David Snyder
Secretary
Sue Voos
Treasurer
Gayle Warm
Executive member-at-large
Julie Kantor
Executive member-at-large
J. David Rosenberg
Immediate Past President
Elissa Habib
Board of Trustee Members
Lisa Cooper
Jeff Goldstein
 
The Hon. Brad Greenberg
Shelley Heinen
 
Phyllis Jackson-Murray
Howard Kaplan
 
Amy Magenheim
Laura Rapp
 
Sherri Weiss
Caroline Wells
 
Felicia Zakem
 
Sisterhood President
Cara Alpern
Brotherhood President
Joel Fogel
URJ Representative
Karen Sim
 
Past Presidents
Jonathan Chaiken 
Bruce J. Baker
 
Amy J. Katz
Mark S. Kanter
 
Mitchell B. Cohen M.D.
Andrew R. Berger
 
Deborah R. Herman
Dianne M. Rosenberg
 
Michael R. Oestreicher
Lynn W. Warm
 
Patricia H. Passer
Peter M. Bloch
 
James J. Friedman
Richard Snyder
 
Louis J. Ullman
David J. Schiebel
 
Robert Kanter
Dr. Edward H. Saeks

We are always looking for volunteers to join us on this journey. Contact any of us to talk about how you can use your passions, skills and interests to help make this a vibrant community. Call us. Introduce yourself. Reach out. We would love to get to know you better. We’re here to answer your questions, support you and partner with you.