I have been on staff with B’nai B’rith since June 1987, but a part of the B’nai B’rith “Family” since 1957. As a new resident of Michigan, I thought a good way to make friends, was to join a woman’s bowling league, so I did and then became a member of “B’nai B’rith Women.” While bowling I did make new friends and I got involved in the organization’s community services projects. Then I got involved in their International Bowling Association. Bowling in their tournaments afforded me the opportunity to visit different cities and make even more friends. When Michigan got to host the tournament, my parody writing skills were put to work, co-writing and producing the Detroit Bowling Association’s shows for their night of entertainment. That led to becoming the President of B’nai B’rith Women in Metro Detroit in 1984.
As President of BBW, I got to work with the leadership of B’nai B’rith, so when the position of Director of the Metro Detroit Men’s Council opened, I was encouraged to apply for the job. I applied, was interviewed, and based on my experience in the volunteer world, got the job as the first female executive to be employed by a then all men’s organization. My colleagues, in the other 17 councils across the country, were men. At that time there were only a few women in B’nai B‘rith, in the peer group units, so I found myself in a “man’s world” under a microscope having to prove myself every day.
As Council Director, my focus at that time was strictly on MEMBERSHIP and PROGRAMMING. Those were the days when the tag line for BB was “The larger the membership, the louder the voice when the International President speaks out on behalf of Jews everywhere.” And I believed…”If there were no BB, someone would invent it tomorrow”.
When B’nai B’rith Women, became their own organization - JWI (Jewish Women International), B’nai B’rith changed from “Sons of the Covenant” to “Children of the Covenant” and members were encouraged to bring their wives into their units and socialize under the banner of B’nai B’rith. This would go a long way to strengthen the organization and its mission, and to guarantee its existence for the next generation..
In those days I can remember telling my family and friends…”if you want to see more of me…join BB”…and many of them took me up on it…and I am proud to say, many even took leadership roles.
Because of my position, I feel I owe B’nai B’rith a great deal. It afforded me the privilege of meeting and partnering with many important professional and lay leaders in the community. It rewarded me with many lifelong friends and colleagues here in Michigan and throughout the Mid-West. It has given me the opportunity to do “feel good work” that provides the much needed “people power” in our community while promoting the mission of B’nai B’rith. And because of my position, I learned computer skills, got to travel, and above all got “on the job training” to earn my “unofficial” Masters Degree in Social Work!
It has been said…”if you LOVE WHAT YOU DO, IT’S NOT WORK." Well, I SURE LOVE WHAT I DO…so I guess it’s not work! (but if you tell my boss I…I’ll deny I ever said it.)