Meet the Presidents

February 28, 2014

Other News

Ron Kramer
Chairman Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Profession
Former owner, Kramer Tire Company

Education
Bachelor of Science, University of Richmond

Family
Wife, Cindy; Children: Will, June, Alex, and Austin; and new Labradoodle puppy, Bella.

Jewish organizations
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
Past president, Past General Campaign chair Past Major Gifts chair, Past Allocations chair
Sandler Family Campus, Past chairman

Favorite Jewish holiday
My favorite Jewish holiday is Passover. I love the Seder. I have a favorite Seder memory of a time that my folks were out of the country. I was maybe 18 – a senior in High School. My sister Joyce was away at college. And so I had Seder with my two grandmothers and my great cousin. They were all probably in their 70s. It was Mickey’s mother, Bertha; June’s mother, Hanna; and Mickey’s cousin Ida. We all sat down together at an old card table with a nylon top. It was really special, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Most memorable personal Jewish milestone
The events that stand out most to me are my children’s Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. It was so meaningful for Cindy and me to be surrounded by our family and friends—members of the Jewish community that we love so much—as we welcomed our children one by one into the ranks of Jewish adulthood. But more than that was the time leading up to the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, as we watched our kids study and work hard to become proficient in their Torah and Haftorah readings, to consider that it would mean to be adults in the Jewish community, and to carefully decide their mitzvah projects. The entire experience (weather cancellation and rescheduling notwithstanding on the last one) is something that I will always reflect on with great satisfaction.

Ties to the Tidewater Jewish community
I often say how grateful I am to have grown up in this wonderful Jewish community with my parents Mickey and June (of blessed memory) and my sister Joyce. My parents taught us by word and by action the importance of community involvement, leadership, and unwavering commitment to Israel and to our Jewish faith. Today, Cindy and I try to teach those same lessons to our children.

If it truly “takes a village” to raise a child, than we can all be proud. With our Jewish schools, community center, family service, nursing home and synagogues, this “village” meets our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, every day. The Federation, through its network of partnerships, insures that none of us are ever alone in the world. It addresses the needs of vulnerable Jews at home and abroad with compassion and honor. And our Foundation gives us a way to invest today, so that our children and grandchildren inherit a thriving Jewish community tomorrow. These are my connections to the past, present and future of the community.

Most admired Jewish leader
Nothing could be easier for me to answer. Without a doubt, the Jewish leaders I admire most are my father Mickey (of blessed memory) and his cohorts. This group of Jewish community leaders was devoted to each other, devoted to Israel, and devoted to securing the health and future of our Tidewater Jewish community. They didn’t just “talk the talk.” They “walked the walk.” These were men of action, who took inspiration from one another, and in so doing inspired their own sons and daughters – many of today’s current Tidewater Jewish community leaders.

What other positions have you held with Tidewater Jewish Foundation?
Chair-elect, Nominating Committee chair, Finance Committee member, Investment Committee member, Grants Committee member

Why have you chosen to devote so much time to TJF?
I truly believe that it is our job (the present generation of community leaders) to build on the hard work and successes of previous generations to help ensure the community for the generation who follows us.

What would you like people to know about TJF?
TJF benefits all parts of our Jewish community at home as well as overseas, through family and community philanthropic funds. For those of us lucky enough to have participated in Federation missions, we’ve seen examples of TJF dollars at work— providing programs for young and old at the Jaffe Family JFS in Budapest; bringing a “first Jewish experience” to campers at the JDC summer camp in Cristian, Romania; helping students at the Tel Aviv Dental School; and dozens and dozens of other important and valuable programs for Jews in need. At home, TJF funds span the gamut to meet the various needs of our diverse Jewish community—benefitting local agencies and synagogues, as well as other programs designed to improve Jewish life in Tidewater.

What are your goals as chairman?
My number one goal as chairman of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation is to encourage folks to endow all or a part of their Jewish giving. With the future of our Jewish community in mind, I will encourage every member of this community to create a philanthropic fund whose dollars benefit the Jewish community. If we agree that we should do all that we can to ensure the future of our Jewish community (just as previous generations did before us), then it only makes sense to invest today. If we believe in the vital importance of our local Jewish agencies and synagogues, and in our responsibility to assist fellow Jews where ever they reside, then we must create endowments whose benefits will outlive us and whose message will resonate with our children and our children’s children.

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