Elisa Heisman has worked as the Program Director at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, PA since 2003. She serves the members of this congregation by coordinating quality programs and managing effective print and on-line communications for over 1100 families. Her priority and passion is to make the Jewish community more accessible to all. For the last four years, she has taught the Mother's Circle program which educates and supports mothers of a different faith who are raising their children Jewish. In addition to this, she served as President of the Program Directors for Reform Judaism (PDRJ), an affiliate of the Union for Reforrm Judaism from 2009-2011. She has also taught many workshops to synagogue professionals, program directors, graduate students and community lay leaders in areas relating to synagogue management. She also is a mentor to many program directors around the country.
Today's Jewish community focuses primarily around the synagogue. People join for many reasons. The challenge for leaders is how to get congregants interested in synagogue life. Where does the synagogue fit in? What interests members? How do they engage families who feel the synagogue does not meet their needs? Congregations can no longer afford to be "one size fits all." Many synagogues cannot afford to hire a designated staff person to tackle these issues. As a seasoned professional who is passionate about the Jewish community, I will work with leaders and offer the tools they need to accomplish their goals. As a result, sacred communities will exist in which members feel connected to staff, lay leaders and each other. Judaism will be relevant in the lives of members and many doors and clear paths will open to help them connect to the Jewish community.