Welcome to “Leadership Spotlight”, where Jewish Federation of Macon and Middle Georgia recognizes the achievements and talents of our outstanding community members.
“Spotlight” currently focuses on the service of our many women Presidents who have successfully managed and led the congregations of either Temple Beth Israel or Congregation Sha’arey Israel.
Today’s Spotlight Q & A is with Ann Dodson who served as President of Temple Beth Israel in Macon from June 1986, to June of 1988, after having served as Vice-President under President Michael Kaplan from June 1984, until June 1986.
How did you arrive in the Macon/Middle Georgia area and how long have you lived here?
I am not a native of the Middle Georgia area. I came here in 1981 to go to law school at Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.
Do you have a particular memory or challenge that stands out for you during your time as President at Temple Beth Israel that you'd care to share?
In 2006, Teri Frolich and I joined forces as chairs of the Middle Georgia Jewish Film Festival. What I enjoyed the most was that congregants from Congregation Sha'arey Israel and congregants from Temple Beth Israel worked together to screen the proposed movies to produce a thoroughly memorable event for the Middle Georgia community. People, Jewish and of other faiths, have continued to ask for us to hold this event again. The festival was supported by the educational arm of the southern Jewish foundation which sponsored the curriculum both congregations used in the individual religious schools.
Unfortunately, the amount of time necessary to invest by the committee members of the Festival could not again be replicated with their busy schedules for another year.
Tell us about your heroes, someone you admire, or someone who inspires your faith and why we should get to know more about them.
David Frolich is someone who I admire on many levels. When he was in a full body brace, he honored his mother's Yahrzeit by doing the Haftorah on a Saturday morning.
Aaron Rubinstein pours out love and devotion to the Macon Jewish community and to those who become a member of the Jewish community. He is a "man of arts" and reaches out to the art community to enhance our faith experience.
Mike Kaplan as a leader in his business and in civic commitments is a shining example of a "mensch."
Abe Gittleson and Zvi Berger from the Greater Miami Jewish community as members of the Bureau of Jewish Education in south Florida were great mentors when I was a young woman inspiring me to continue my education by attending Hebrew High School after a secular high school curriculum.
Macy Hart, who led the southern Jewish institute housed in Mississippi for many years brought a love of southerners as Jews for which I shall ever be grateful.
What is special about the Macon and Middle Georgia Jewish Community to you?
What is special about the Macon and Middle Georgia Jewish Community is that the individuals no matter what level of Judaism they encountered when they were younger, each person seems to be willing to be open to having a journey of movement in their faith commitment.