Mizpah Congregation Announces The Arrival Of Rabbi Craig Lewis

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mizpah Congregation welcomes its 20th ordained rabbi, Rabbi Craig Lewis.  

“We are excited to welcome Rabbi Lewis to Chattanooga!” said Henry Schulson, president of the congregation.  Rabbi Lewis has served congregations in Mattoon, Illinois, Muncie, Indiana, Wyoming, Ohio, Irvine, California and most recently Lincoln, Nebraska. He served on the boards of Hillel, Hildegard Center for the Arts, Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, and the Jewish Federation of Lincoln.

Rabbi Lewis was selected in part because he is committed to Jewish education and family involvement. Chattanooga’s Jewish children benefit from a combined community religious school, joining students from Conservative and Reform congregations. The newly titled Machanooga (literally, Camp Nooga) meets on Sundays at Mizpah Congregation this school year, with Hebrew language education continuing Wednesday afternoons. Additional classes being taught by the Rabbi includes Introduction to Judaism, Current Events Discussions and Mussar: Sacred teachings with modern ethical application.  These classes will be offered to the public. One of the hallmarks of Rabbi Lewis’ rabbinate is interfaith outreach. “We have a sacred obligation to help bring peace among all peoples. To do that, we must get to know one another, to accept and celebrate our differences, as we build bridges of understandings. Those are ways of pleasantness and true paths of peace.”

Rabbi Lewis grew up in Prairie Village, Ks., and attended the University of Kansas, where he earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in French. He then attended L’Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Clermont-Ferrand, France where he earned a master’s degree in Management. His decision to seek the rabbinate took Rabbi Lewis to Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Lewis earned a master of arts in Hebrew Letters on his way to receiving rabbinic ordination.

Joining Rabbi Lewis in Chattanooga are his wife Jennifer and their son Eden. Jennifer is the interim director of AVA, the Association for Visual Arts in Chattanooga.

Rabbi Lewis succeeds Rabbi Teri Appleby, who guided Mizpah for one year as an interim, following the departure of Rabbi Bill Tepper who served for eight years.

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