Rabbi Lewis Kamrass to Conclude Two-Year Term as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

The K.K. B’nai Yeshurun/ Isaac M. Wise Temple’s rabbi’s term as President of the CCAR will end at the Reform rabbinic organization’s 2023 Convention in Israel.

Rabbi Lewis Kamrass

New York, NY — February 14, 2023: Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, Senior Rabbi of K.K. B’nai Yeshurun/ Isaac M. Wise Temple, will conclude his two-year appointment as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional leadership organization of Reform rabbis. 

He will continue to serve the CCAR as Immediate Past President and will continue to lead the Cincinnati Jewish community at K.K. B’nai Yeshurun/ Isaac M. Wise Temple, where he has served as spiritual leader since 1985.

“Lewis has led with grace, dignity, and fairness in a time of uncertainty and disruption, specifically as he began his presidency in the throes of COVID-19. With concern and compassion for Reform rabbis and the communities they served, he has been pivotal in providing CCAR members with the tools they need to fight antisemitism, isolation and burnout, an uncertain political climate, and to explore and embrace the changing rabbinate and Reform Movement. His positive impact on the CCAR will be felt for years to come,” stated CCAR Chief Executive Rabbi Hara Person.  

During a time of significant upheaval, Rabbi Kamrass helped the CCAR to achieve and retain financial stability, undergo significant internal reorganization, create a rabbinic wellness program in response to the pressures of the pandemic, pass a new mission and core strategies, which will soon be unveiled, and he greatly contributed to a significant revision of the CCAR ethics system and process.

“As I reflect on these two years as CCAR President, I am struck by the challenges to which rabbis, and therefore the CCAR, were called upon to answer. I am equally moved by the achievements we accomplished working closely with an extraordinary group of colleagues in our CCAR Board leadership, and the most devoted colleagues of our CCAR professional staff. Rabbis teach a time-tested faith and rich values that fortify the soul and enriches daily life with deeper perspective. And it is the Central Conference of American Rabbis to whom rabbis turn for support, resources, professional development, and an enduring sense of community. Serving the CCAR has been the most rewarding leadership experience for me, knowing that when rabbis are supported, Jewish life flourishes. I am also grateful to my synagogue and the Cincinnati Jewish community, including the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati for their support,” Kamrass stated. 

Kamrass has a long history of serving the CCAR. Prior to his appointment as 2021–2023 CCAR President, he served the Board of Trustees for six years as board member, Vice President of Development, President-Elect, and President. He also sat on the CCAR Press editorial committee that created two new Reform prayer books, Mishkan T’filah: A Reform Siddur and Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe. He was a member of the rabbinic team that drafted the CCAR’s 1999 Statement of Principles committee. Rabbi Kamrass also served on the Boards of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbinic Pension Board, and the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion for twelve years, the last two representing the CCAR.

Kamrass will step down during a ceremony at the 2023 CCAR Convention in Israel, which will bring together over 200 Reform rabbis from around the world. Rabbi Erica Asch will be installed as 2023–2025 CCAR President. Rabbi Hara Person leads the CCAR as Chief Executive, a role she’s held since 2019.

To connect with the CCAR, contact Tamar Anitai, CCAR Director of Strategic Communications at tanitai@ccarnet.org