Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass
Rabbi Kamrass was appointed as Wise Temple’s Senior Rabbi at the unusually young age of 29. His three decades at Wise Temple has been marked by significant congregational involvement by hundreds of synagogue 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 Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He has served for twenty-five years as Instructor in the Theology Department of Xavier University teaching undergraduates, and as adjunct faculty at Hebrew Union College teaching rabbinical students. In 2010, Rabbi Kamrass was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College and was also honored by Wise Temple in a celebration and with the establishment of a Wise Temple Social Action Fund in honor of him and his wife, Renee.
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, on Cincinnati’s Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration, and International Rabbi for Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.
Rabbi Kamrass has been involved in the Reform Jewish movement nationally and currently serves as a Board Member of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He served on two Reform movement Visioning process task forces, as a member of the Reform Movement Think-Tank, and is a steering committee member of the Rabbinic Vision Initiative. He has 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, Mishkan T’fillah, published in 2007, and on the editorial committee preparing the Reform Movement’s machzor, or High Holy Day Prayer Book. In addition, he compiled and edited Wise Temple’s prayer book, Avodat HaLev.
Rabbi Kamrass is married to the former Renee Slotin of Atlanta, and finds his greatest joy in being the father of three children and grandfather of one beautiful grandchild.
Rabbi Karen R. Thomashow
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.” During her years at HUC-JIR, she worked as a rabbinic intern at 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 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.
Rabbi Michael E. Danziger
Rabbi Danziger is a native of Memphis, TN, where his father served as Rabbi at 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 to 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. During his time in Cincinnati 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. He also served as a Rabbinic Fellow for Temple Sholom.
- Rabbi Michael Danziger is married to Rabbi Lindsey Danziger. They have just welcomed their third child.
- Rabbi Danziger says he loves Wise Temple for many reasons, including “It’s 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 even 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.”
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