Rabbi Jonathan Kraus was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1989 and has been the Rabbi of Beth El Temple Center since 1994. A child of the Reform Movement who grew up in its synagogues and programs, Rabbi Kraus was deeply influenced by the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) summer camps, its youth movement (NFTY) and its Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. All are programs he continues to support enthusiastically as a rabbi. A longtime song leader, composer and musician, Rabbi Kraus also has been nourished by his great love for and involvement with Jewish music. All those experiences, combined with several, transformative opportunities to visit and live in Israel, have been among the most defining influences on his Jewish identity and rabbinate.
Rabbi Kraus’ vision for Beth El is of a warm, welcoming and vibrant Jewish religious community that does its best to express the values of Judaism in every area of its life. He believes that the congregation’s shared life is always at its best when firmly rooted in a creative, highly participatory and deeply felt embrace of Jewish religious learning and living. Whether wrestling with profound questions of meaning, working for social justice, nurturing strong and sustaining relationships, singing, celebrating, creating, laughing, grieving, eating, praying, learning, healing or just wondering together, Rabbi Kraus’ highest aspiration is to help lead a holy Jewish community.