Rabbi Stephanie Kramer, our Assistant Rabbi/Education Director, oversees all aspects of congregational education, including STaRS, the B’nei Mitzvah program, Tot Shabbat, youth activities (including helping with Chaverim) and Lifelong Learning. As Assistant Rabbi, Stephanie is also involved in other aspects of temple life. Stephanie’s roots in Judaism go back to her youth and the influence of amazing rabbis she met along the way. Stephanie recently moved to Santa Rosa with her husband Adam and their one-year old son Micah.
Rabbi Kramer and her husband Adam met during high school on their first trip to Israel, ten years ago, and have been together ever since,. They have a thirteen month old baby, Micah, which makes for a busy home life as well. However, Rabbi Kramer and Adam are used to being busy. Over the last ten years, one or the other, or both, has been in school. Rabbi Kramer graduated high school in 2002 and matriculated from the University of Houston in 2005 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Religious Studies. She recently graduated from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Her Rabbinic Internships were in El Centro, Long Beach and she worked at Stephen S. Wise in Los Angeles. Rabbi Kramer’s thesis was the creation of a curriculum for women designed to build community through learning about 21st century issues through a biblical lens. She has implemented parts of it, and would love to do more.
Rabbi Kramer’s roots in Judaism go back to her youth and the influence of amazing Rabbis she met along the way. Her Bat Mitzvah experience was so profound that it left with her a desire to become a Rabbi. She loved youth group activities as a teen and found it a great way to connect with Judaism and discover life through a Jewish lens. Growing up in Houston, there was a large Jewish population, and Rabbi Kramer felt participating in youth group was a great way to come together with other Jewish teens and learn leadership skills while feeling part of a majority. Through all these avenues her love of Judaism was nurtured and strengthened. Her hope is to pass this love on to the next generation.
Judaism weaves its way through Rabbi Kramer’s life, and as she discovered as a teen in youth group, Judaism is her support as she goes through her life. She loves the Jewish philosophy that allows for time and space in one’s life; the ebb and flow of a year, of the holidays, as we go from season to season. Of particular importance is rabbinic Judaism, with its roots in debate. Its philosophy allows room for many voices and opinions to be heard, and Rabbi Kramer honors that. She values searching beyond face value and always leaving room for multiple points of view. To Rabbi Kramer, social justice is truly bringing the prophets to life. Judaism also makes its way into her and Adam’s child rearing. One of the most powerful times of her day is when she and Adam sing the Shema to Micah before he falls asleep. As Judaism guides Rabbi Kramer through the year, she particularly values the holidays. Passover and Hanukkah are her favorites, as they are times for large family gatherings.
Rabbi Kramer has been to Israel 3 times. She spent a high school summer on a BBYO trip, a semester on a WOOJIS trip in the Negev living in an absorption center, and a yearlong stay in Jerusalem as part of her rabbinic training. These trips to Israel were profound influences and wonderful experiences. She was lucky enough to travel a bit when she was in Israel visiting Turkey, Greece and Prague..
As they set roots in Sonoma County, Rabbi Kramer and Adam are looking forward to exploring Northern California and spending time with Micah. They love spending time as a family, cooking and entertaining. In her spare time, Rabbi Kramer has been known to explore the crafty world of stained glass and mosaic tables. And Rabbi Kramer has a secret hobby… Shhhh… She loves biblical fiction!
Rabbi Kramer is excited to have moved to a new city, and is eager to be part of our community. She is looking forward to getting to know all of us and sharing our life cycle events. What has drawn Rabbi Kramer towards the rabbinate is what she hopes to give back to the community. Her door is always open and she hopes you’ll stop in to introduce yourself and chat.
Growing up in Houston, where there was a large Jewish population, youth group was a great way to connect with other Jewish teens and learn leadership skills while feeling part of a majority. Her hope is to pass this love for Judaism on to the next generation. Rabbi Kramer earned a degree in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Houston and was recently ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC/JIR) in Los Angeles. Rabbi Kramer’s thesis is a community building curriculum for women that views 21st century issues through a biblical lens.
Rabbi Kramer can be contacted at RabbiKramer@shomreitorah.org