At CCAR Convention 2024, the Hakarat HaTov awards will be presented in Philadelphia from March 10-13. These awards are given each year to rabbis in recognition of their recent CCAR volunteer leadership positions.
We invite you to contribute to the CCAR in their honor and learn more about other ways you can support Convention programming.
RABBI ANA BONNHEIM
Rabbi Ana Bonnheim is founding executive director of the Jewish Learning Collaborative, which matches professionals and board members with clergy and educators for personalized Jewish learning. It is incubated at Moishe House. She was the director of the Open Dor Project, an accelerator for emerging clergy-led spiritual communities; the director of HUCJIR’s Founders Fellowship, an incubator for progressive Judaism on college campuses; and the associate director of URJ Greene Family Camp. Rabbi Bonnheim is a current Wexner Field Fellow. Ana is the chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Ethics Committee (2022–2024).
She has served on the Ethics Committee since 2016 and also served as the vice-chair and chair elect, as well as the Ethics Process Review Committee and Ethics Task Force.
Ana believes that a vibrant Jewish community requires a safe rabbinate. Additional volunteer experience includes chairing the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte’s allocations committee and chairing Dartmouth Hillel’s search for its first full-time executive director.
Rabbi Bonnheim received rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and has a degree in religion from Dartmouth College. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Rabbi Asher Knight, and two children.
RABBI IRVIN ERLICH
Rabbi Ehrlich (C ’70) grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia Southwestern College and the University of Georgia. Rabbi Ehrlich began his career in Lincoln, Nebraska. After Lincoln, he served in Springfield, Ohio. In 1974 he entered the United States Air Force as a Chaplain and served for 20 years with assignments in Germany and England, as well as bases in Texas, Colorado and Illinois. Upon his retirement, he founded Temple Beit Torah in Colorado Springs, Colorado, serving the congregation until his second retirement in 2008.
Rabbi Ehrlich managed the NAORRR database for nine years and had the honor of sharing the life cycle events of CCAR colleagues for over seven years.
Rabbi Ehrlich married Vivian Mitzman in 1967. They have two sons, Joel (Devri) and Reuben
(Belinda), a daughter, Debra, and are blessed with eleven grandchildren and one great grandson. Rabbi Ehrlich currently resides in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, and is an active member of Temple Beth El in Madison. He spends his days volunteering in his community.
RABBI NICOLE GRENINGER
Rabbi Nicki Greninger is the rabbi of lifelong learning at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California, where she has pioneered new models of synagogue-based Jewish education. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Rabbi Greninger graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Teaching. She was ordained as a rabbi from the New York campus of HUC-JIR where she also earned a Masters of Arts in Religious Education. Rabbi Greninger published the widely-used article “Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Tefillah Education in the 21st Century” in the Journal of Jewish Education and authored a chapter on Hebrew education in the book Portraits of Jewish Education.
She is a recipient of the Pomegranate Prize for Jewish Education from the Covenant Foundation, a Wexner Field Fellow, and one of the co-founders of #OnwardHebrew. Rabbi Greninger is a member of the Presidents Rabbinic Council of HUC-JIR, serves as the Northern California coordinator of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and has served as co-chair of the CCAR Ethics Task Force, as well as co-team leader of professional learning for the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE). Rabbi Greninger is married to Dr. Daniel Greninger, and they have three children.
RABBI REX PERLMETER
Rabbi Rex Perlmeter is the former CCAR Special Advisor for Member Support and Counseling. In addition, Rabbi Perlmeter is the Founding Director of the Jewish Wellness Center of Montclair and the Rabbi Emeritus of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. As a former member of the Senior Staff of the Union for Reform Judaism, he resides in New Jersey with his wife, Rabbi Rachel Hertzman and family.
RABBI GAYLE POMERANTZ
After interning at Central Synagogue in Manhattan, Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz was ordained in 1989 and became an assistant rabbi at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco, which oriented her thinking on the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and outreach. She has been serving as the rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach for almost thirty years, and was the first woman rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom, and the first senior rabbi of this size congregation in the Southeastern United States.
At Temple Beth Sholom, she created “The Open Tent” to reach Jews living in the margins of Jewish life, starting such programs as Shalom Baby, a Jewish prenatal class, and worked with The Tribe, a Jewish young adult organization. Rabbi Pomerantz also opened paths for sacred living by creating original and transformative Jewish worship experiences at TBS. She was a force behind the inspiration for RAC FL, having spearheaded the Amendment 4 constitutional amendment for voting rights for returning citizens. Through creating a robust Social Justice Network and a series of “Justice Jams” she empowered lay leaders to work for justice on a variety of issues in a grassroots model. Rabbi Pomerantz also worked to ground our Movement’s work in the values of Jewish Justice through her leadership of the CCAR Peace, Justice, and Civil Liberties Committee and as the vice-chair of the URJ Commission on Social Action.
She’s been recognized by the Jewish Museum of Florida with their “Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award,” by the City of Miami Beach as “A Woman to Know,” and as a “Woman of Valor” by NCJW. Rabbi Pomerantz is also a graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s rabbinic learning program and participated in AIPAC’s mission for progressive rabbis.
RABBI AMY SCHWARTZMAN
Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, the senior rabbi of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia, identifies as one of the CCAR’s happiest and most fulfilled rabbis. Having served her congregation since 1990, she has found meaning in the daily work of the rabbinate, as well as in her service to her local community, the Reform Movement, and the Jewish people more broadly. Her thirty-four-year career has included involvement and leadership in organizations that support low-income housing, mental health initiatives, interfaith efforts, and reproductive rights. Within the Reform Movement she has served in numerous positions for HUC-JIR, the WRN, and the URJ. Amy is a former vice president of the CCAR. She also chaired the Task Force on the Experience of Women in the Rabbinate, as well as the Ethics Task Force focused on bringing needed change to our ethics system.
In addition to a full and meaningful career, Amy enjoys biking and hiking with her family, knitting, and creating her most delicious pies. She takes tremendous pride in her family–her husband, Kevin Moss, and daughters, Hannah and Eliana, all who do great work making the world a better place.
RABBI STEPHEN WISE
Rabbi Stephen Wise is the spiritual leader of Shaarei-Beth El Congregation of Oakville, Ontario where he has served since 2007. Before joining Shaarei-Beth El, he spent two years as the assistant rabbi at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, Florida. Rabbi Wise was ordained from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in May of 2005, has a BA from the University of Toronto, and an MA from Brandeis University.
Rabbi Wise is an author and speaker on Israel and her role in tikkun olam, with his first book Israel: Repairing the World. He serves on the executive board of the Interfaith Council of Halton, past-chair of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto, the Halton Police Service multifaith taskforce, the CCAR annual giving campaign, and the CCAR Convention committee. Rabbi Wise and his wife Cheryl, the director of education at Shaarei-Beth El, have three children, Jacob, Talia, and Alexa.