Betty Kramer arrived in the Washington area as the wife of a young Naval officer in 1973, planning to stay for three years. But what started as just another stop on the family’s military journey, which included nine moves in their thirteen years of marriage, turned into a lifetime in Silver Spring after her husband’s retirement from the Navy in 1976. In civilian life, Betty and her husband Harvey started a computer business and raised their five children, while volunteering for both Woodside Synagogue and the larger community in many ways. For forty years, Betty has served as hospitality chair of Woodside Synagogue.
That spirit of volunteerism grew out of Betty’s childhood in a family of volunteers. Her father was, among other things, the head of the Hebrew Free Loan Society in Rhode Island, a role her brother, and now her son David have both taken on in their communities. Her grandmother volunteered in her community of Worcester, Massachusetts well into her eighties. In this area, Betty drew on her career as a registered nurse when she sought out volunteer opportunities related to medical needs. As a result, she found Holy Cross Hospice and eventually Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington. She also instructs a senior citizen’s fitness program for Montgomery County and enjoys visiting the homebound.
Over the years, Betty’s entire family has become involved in volunteering. In each of their communities – in Silver Spring, Baltimore, and Teaneck, New Jersey – they run Hebrew Free Loan societies, meal programs and more. At Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington, Betty’s favorite part of volunteering is how many ways there are of contributing by visiting, driving, stocking kosher pantries, and providing or arranging hospitality. She knows that this has been said innumerable times but it’s true: You think you are giving something by being a volunteer, but the reality is the returns one receives far outweigh the time expended. The smiles you see or hear in people’s voices are the best reward!
Judi Kranz served as Executive Director of Kehilat Shalom – a Conservative synagogue in Gaithersburg MD – for more than 30 years, before her retirement in 2014. She also served on the Board of Directors of the CES Jewish Day School and was elected by her peers as president of the Mid Atlantic Temple and Synagogue Association as well as the North American Association of Synagogue Executives.
Other community activities to which she presently contributes her time and energy include serving as Vice President of the Association for Safe International Road Travel, Chair of the Montgomery Village Commercial Architecture Review Committee, Vice President of the Board of the Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park and as a member of the Chevra Kadisha, as well as her volunteer efforts for Bikur Cholim.
Judi graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in Education and completed additional coursework in accounting and management. Her career included working as an elementary school teacher in NYC and an English teacher in Lod, Israel.
She and her husband Fred are long time active members of Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, where they live. Their three sons Joshua (Ora), Jonathan (Shelley) and Jeremy all graduated from the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School. They are especially proud of their beloved grandchildren Coby, Rachel, Archie and Layla.
Max Rudmann has been living in the Washington, DC area since 1979, when he began working for the Federal government, at what became the US Department of Education. After marrying his wife Debi in 1992, he moved to Kemp Mill. Learning from the example set by friends and neighbors, he became involved in organizations that weave safety nets in the immediate community and beyond for those needing help in finding work and making ends meet.
A year after his move to Kemp Mill, Max’s mother, Renee, moved from New York City, to live closer to their family. Over the next 10 years, as Renee’s health care needs increased, Max and Debi learned more about eldercare issues.
Inspired in part by his family’s experience in caring for aging parents, and to honor his mom’s memory, Max approached BCGW about organizing eldercare workshops that would be co-sponsored by local synagogues. Programs were offered on a wide range of issues for seniors and their families, featuring healthcare and financial management professionals, vendors, and caregivers, among others. More recently, the perspective has expanded beyond aging, to appeal to all those BCGW serves. A wide range of programs have been offered, including addiction, autism, cancer, depression, genetic engineering, infertility, and making tough medical decisions. Presenters come from the Washington region, often also community members. Programs bring together researchers, health care providers, patients and, frequently, rabbis, to elucidate significant halachic (Jewish law) issues. A number of these programs have been taped and can be accessed at BCGW’s website.
David is a proud member of Southeast Hebrew Congregation in White Oak, where he lives with his wife Aviva and children Sadie, Rahm, Mirele, and Shaya. He serves on the shul’s board as corporate secretary, and he is involved in many initiatives to expand and strengthen the shul’s learning and outreach programs. David is a member of the Chevra Kadisha’s Thursday night tahara team, and he also serves on the board of Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington. In that capacity, David has witnessed and assisted in the incredible work that Bikur Cholim does, and this year, David and Aviva were blessed to be on the receiving end of Bikur Cholim’s tremendous chesed and care during Aviva’s illness.
David holds a Ph.D. in history and he works in the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State, where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. In too many years from now, David is looking forward to retirement so that he can be more deeply involved in Bikur Cholim’s daily activities.