Friday, August 3, 2012

Dr. Hilda Glazer new president of Temple Beth Shalom.

Dr. Hilda Glazer, who recently was named president of New Albany’s Temple Beth Shalom Board of Trustees, said she is focusing her tenure on maintaining a healthy congregation.

“We just completed a capital campaign to reduce our debt load and have been working on facilities maintenance and planning for the past few years,” said Dr. Glazer, who is chair of the department of Education Psychology for Capella University. “Now, as the recession continues, we need to focus on maintaining the health of the congregation and supporting our membership.”

Born in Baltimore, Md., and raised in a “classically Reform” congregation, Dr. Glazer and her husband, Dr. David Stein (himself a faculty member of The Ohio State University's College of Education), became members of Temple Beth Shalom in 2000. A Beth Shalom board member since 2006, Dr. Glazer noted the congregation's many changes in recent years.

Founded in 1977, Temple Beth Shalom met for 20 years in a rented facility in Columbus. In 1997, the congregation moved to its own synagogue in New Albany. Today, the congregation boasts the membership of more than 500 central Ohio families, served by three rabbis – Dr. Rabbi Howard L. Apothaker, senior rabbi; Rabbi Benjy A. Bar-Lev, associate rabbi and director of education, and Rabbi Deborah Lefton, Jewish identity director.

“We're not the same congregation we were even five years ago,” said Dr. Glazer. “We've grown quite a bit, and we need to make sure that we keep our members involved and engaged in order to grow again in the future.”

Dr. Glazer, who earned her leadership stripes as the president of the Central District Women of Reform Judaism, noted that strengthening membership actually is a movement toward the future.

“We have to ask ourselves how much do we want to grow the congregation when we're ready to bust out of the building? Now is not the time to build a new, multi-million dollar facility. For the next couple of years – at least until the economy starts to move again – we need to focus on the engagement of the people who already are members,” she said.

To do so, she said, Beth Shalom's board has appointed a Strategic Planning Committee, led by board member Marc Ankerman. “The committee is encouraging members to find 'touch points' around the Temple where they can become more involved. Our theme is that every member should have a 'touch' in the health of the shul and the congregation,” she said.

“Now is the time for stability. Then, in a couple of years, we can ask ourselves what we need to do in the future,” she said. “We're hoping that is what the Strategic Planning Committee and its work will show us – what does the congregation want, and how will we achieve those goals?”

“We would love to see every member of Temple Beth Shalom become more active in this joyful, personal, and welcoming congregation,” she said. “It will be the foundation of what will sustain us in the future.”

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