Volunteer Spotlight

Bari Ziegel

When did you join The Community Synagogue?  OR How long have you been a member of The Community Synagogue?  
I joined The Community Synagogue fifty years ago in 1967.  I was in first grade.  My family was very involved.  The synagogue was like a second home to us, as it still is to me.  My mother was active in Sisterhood and my father was active in Brotherhood.  My father also chaired the Ritual Committee (now known as the Religious Living Committee) and sat on the Board of Trustees.  We went to services every Friday night and I remember being one of the few kids who enjoyed going to Religious School.  I was in both the Junior Choir and the Adult Choir and had the pleasure of singing with my mother for a number of years in the Adult Choir.  I also was the President of Junior League and Senior League, which is what our youth groups were known as when I was growing up.

What brought you/keeps you here?
My parents both grew up going to conservative shuls, but felt more comfortable here at The Community Synagogue once they moved to Port Washington.  While I was in college, I still sang in the choir. I moved to Connecticut in 1984, but still continued to sing in the choir for the high holidays for a number of years.  I left the synagogue for around 13 years, but rejoined in 1997 a few years after I moved back to Port Washington. The Community Synagogue is a very important part of my life.  I love being here and enjoy sharing my love of the synagogue with others.

In what capacity/capacities do you volunteer?
I've been very involved in the synagogue since I rejoined.  I'll never forget in April 2000 when I attended a Sisterhood board meeting when no one was stepping up to become president. Having grown up here, I knew how important the women of Sisterhood were to the synagogue.  Even though at that time I had no experience serving on any board, I volunteered to be one of three co-presidents.  It was a decision that changed my life and began my journey as a volunteer.  Following my four year term as co-president, I became one of the Sisterhood Fundraising Vice Presidents, a role I held for a long time.  I currently serve as a fundraising trustee on the Sisterhood board.  I also served as co-chair of the Clergy Committee.  One of my most important roles as a volunteer was as the Vice President, Member Services.  It was during my time in this role that I introduced the Gift Membership Program.  We are in our sixth year with this program and I'm so proud that it has become so successful, from our first year with 29 new member families to our current year with 61 new member families.  

What do you find meaningful in being a volunteer?
My current role as a Board Member and the New Member Concierge is also an important one to me.  In it, I engage with our newest families, from those in the ECC (Early Childhood Center) who haven't yet joined as members to our new member families.  I make it a point to learn everyone's name and to greet them whenever I see them.  I love transmitting the joy I feel at the synagogue to everyone in our synagogue community.  

Tell us one interesting thing about you that people might not know.
In 1972, the year in which I became a Bat Mitzvah, the first female rabbi, Sally Priesand, was ordained.  From that time through when I went to college, I thought seriously about becoming a rabbi, even going as far as receiving a minor in Judaic Studies.