After a seven-year courtship and 25 years of marriage, Ohef Sholom Temple board president, Ed Kramer, and his wife, Anne, exhibit a warmth and sense of humor with each other that extends outward, embracing everyone they come in contact with. It’s this warmth and humor that have helped the Kramers channel their commitment to each other into becoming a positive force in their support for Ohef Sholom Temple, as well as the entire Tidewater Jewish community.
“I am most proud of all the activities and events Ohef Sholom has going on that help Jews find and express their Judaism,” says Ed. “I think what’s important to most Jews is that they have an outlet for their social action. We have been very involved in making opportunities available, such as our soup kitchen, NEST, work with JCOC, and Mitzvah Day, and that is all just from one of our many active committees.”
Having grown up in the area (Ed’s parents were natives, Anne’s moved here around the time of WWII), both of them come by their philanthropic natures honestly. “My father said to me ‘When I’m gone it’s up to you’,” says Ed. “Both my parents felt the community was worthy of support. Their methodology was typically writing a check to the various agencies whenever they could. My father was very much a behind-the-scenes kind of person.”
“We started off with our kids in preschool and that’s how we initially got involved with the JCC,” adds Anne, referring to their children, Carra, a recent college graduate, and Franklin, a senior in high school.
While both Kramers confess they prefer to keep a low profile in terms of their philanthropy, they also understand the importance of promoting planned giving.
“There’s huge potential in letting people know, ‘Hey, you’re not the only ones making this gift. There are a lot of us out here who may not be making as big a gift as you are, but we’re doing what we can,” explains Ed. “I think it’s important to get the message out that some of us are out there trying to help where we can. It’s not necessarily about how much, it’s that you participate.”
The Kramers are also outspoken in their support of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s role in creating permanent resources for the future of the Jewish community.
“I think what’s so great about Philip (Rovner) and the Foundation is, they will find a way for you to participate. It doesn’t take a whole lot; you just have to want to do it. This is a challenging economy. The congregation needs to understand the building carries with it certain expenses, and that the staff represents a certain expense, and somebody’s got to pick up the tab. If we can spread it amongst all of us, it’s a lot easier to nibble on it than to choke down the whole thing. That applies not just to Ohef Sholom, but all the Jewish agencies and congregations in Tidewater,” says Ed.
“People need to understand the Foundation represents a tremendous benefit to our community. To be able to help that planning, to facilitate the gift, to make sure that when all is said and done those beneficiaries get the proceeds. Not everybody’s going to have an appreciated asset that can fund a life insurance policy or bequest. But maybe there’s a different number or vehicle that works for you. It’s readily apparent to me that Philip has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and that he will find a way to keep you comfortable in giving.” says Ed.
Summing up their feelings, Ed states it plainly for both Anne and himself: “If we cannot figure out how to rise on the same tide, we’re all going to sink. Unfortunately, this is a major issue—not just for my congregation or the JCC, or the Federation—it’s for all Jewish institutions locally, because there just aren’t that many Jews available to support them. We have the capability. It’s now making everybody aware of the need, following through, and saying, ‘What can you do?’”
To that end, as Ohef Sholom’s president, Ed has been an integral force in the creation of the congregation’s Eternal Light Society, which honors all those who Create a Jewish Legacy for the temple.
For more information about how to Create a Jewish Legacy, call or email Philip Rovner, 757-965-6109, email@example.com.