Margaret “Marty” Weger Koplin served as president of Macon’s Congregation Sha’arey Israel (CSI) in 2007 and 2008 after serving several years there as chairperson of the Board of Education and various other committees.
Koplin grew up in Richmond, Virginia, where her family was very tied to the Jewish community as members of the Orthodox synagogues. When she was young, she participated in programs offered by the Jewish Community Center and as a teen became involved in Orthodox youth group NCSY, attending conventions, camp, and traveling to Israel. She headed south after high school to attend the University of Georgia where she met husband Evan “Elmo” Koplin, then went on to Macon when the Koplins were married in 1982.
Koplin says her parents, Shelia and Marvin Weger, both worked behind the scenes in Richmond for years to coordinate various events, fundraisers, and holiday celebrations that ensured the shuls they were members of were vibrant and financially stable. She and her brothers and saw how their parents’ devotion enriched their synagogues. When she moved to Macon, it became clear her in-laws, Ethel and Myron Koplin, were every bit as dedicated to the Jewish community as her parents had been in Virginia.
It was at the beginning of Koplin’s term as president that new rabbi Rachel Bat-Or was installed. Rabbi Bat-Or has been published in the Journal of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and is a leader in diversity and inclusivity. However, CSI was Rabbi Bat-Or’s first pulpit, and Koplin says they learned a lot together.
CSI also served as the pilot for the Cantor Assembly’s Cantorial Internship program during Koplin’s term as president. She says CSI was fortunate to have cantorial students training to become future clergy and music leaders.
Before serving as president, during her two years as VP and Ways and Means chair, Koplin says she was proud of two initiatives in particular. CSI hosted a Chesed Dinner to honor Amalie and Dolph Proskauer’s lifetime of dedication to the congregation. “This was an especially lovely and particularly meaningful event,” Koplin recalls. The other was My Sister’s Jewelry Box, a successful, creative fundraiser Koplin helped organize to sell previously owned jewelry.
Koplin believes Macon and Middle Georgia is “so endearing” due to its incredibly welcoming community. “If you are willing to put yourself out there and invest your time in the community, people will embrace you,” she says. “I also love the fact that deep friendships grow across generational lines. Twenty-somethings think nothing of socializing with eighty year olds.”
As Macon continues to see new industries grow and expand, Koplin says she looks forward to seeing the Jewish community grow as well. “When new families move to our area, I am sure they will find, as I did, that our religious school education is second to none. For generations, the religious school education that students have received here has fostered in them a true sense of pride in their Jewish heritage and an appreciation for what it means to be an active participant in their Jewish community.”