Today is June 19, 2019 -

Chisuk Emuna Congregation

of Greater Harrisburg, PA

3219 Green Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-5507
Phone: 717-232-4851 |

Our Director of Lifelong Learning


Our Director of Lifelong Learning

Rabbi Ilyse S. Kramer

Before joining Chisuk Emuna as Director of Lifelong Learning, Rabbi Kramer served as Educator at the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, developing congregational-based interfaith educational initiatives for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim adult learners, educators and clergy in Baltimore and Atlanta.  Prior to that position, she and her family lived in Jerusalem as a recipient of the Melton Senior Educators fellowship at Hebrew University. As an accomplished educator, she has taught in a number of adult education settings in the Greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas.  She also served as the Jewish Chaplain at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. 

Rabbi Kramer was ordained and received her M.H.L in 1992 by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, her M.A in Foundations of Education from Temple University in 1991, and her B.A in History from Lafayette College in 1984. She has lived and studied in Israel for four additional years at Hebrew University, Neve-Schechter, and The Shalom Hartman Institute. Her published curricula include “Tales from the Talmud,” “Makhloket: Sacred Arguing in Jewish Tradition,” and “Bridges: from Jewish Learning to Jewish Living.”

Ilyse and her family moved to Columbia, MD in July 2000. During this time, she and her partner, Sonya Starr (rabbi, Columbia Jewish Congregation), adopted three children: Luigi (21), Victor (19), and Rodney (13); and raised two dogs, Shimmi (cocker spaniel) and Tamara (sharpay/lab mix). In her free time, Ilyse enjoys nature walks and photography, and a variety of sports, like basketball and football.

GESHER is a collaborative educational initiative forged by Beth El Temple and Chisuk Emuna Congregation to create an innovative approach of offering supplementary religious, family, and adult education experiences open to our members and our broader community. Rabbi Ilyse S. Kramer was hired and began work as the Gesher Director of Lifelong Learning in July 2016, to work with both congregations and to offer innovative and impactful educational programs.

GESHER supplementary religious school is home to approximately 30 students and their families—including some from Temple Beth Shalom, Mechanicsburg—looking to experience a living and vibrant Judaism. The program offers classes for Pre-K to Grade 1 students on Sunday mornings; and for Grade 2-7 students on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The Gesher program offers a wide variety of creative educational opportunities for parents (and family members) to learn along with their children in family education programs and Shabbat and Jewish Holiday programming throughout the year.

GESHER: Adult Learning Program is a new cooperative educational effort between Beth El Temple and Chisuk Emuna Congregation, intended to bring together a wider variety of adult learners in specially-crafted educational programs, both to study and to experience particular aspects of Jewish tradition and Jewish living.

Contact information:; cell: 410-660-9910