For Jerald B. Lurie, it all leads back to “tikkun olam,” a Hebrew phrase that means “healing the world.”
And Lurie is not alone in that belief at the Baltimore office of Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler LLC, where he and three other partners have taken on leadership roles at their synagogues.
“You put aside liturgy and dogma,” Lurie said. “Most religious organizations want to give spiritual guidance and want to help the greater good.”
Lurie has been legal counsel for Temple Oheb Shalom for more than 20 years and will become its president on June 8. The post includes budget responsibilities as well as dealing with the concerns of the 850-member congregation.
Lurie said he expects to be at his synagogue in Baltimore about two to three times a week dealing with presidential business like signing checks for the group and will likely serve for two years.
He said the nominating commission has asked him to consider the presidency for many years; he decided to do it now, after serving terms as president of the Bar Association of Baltimore City and the Baltimore Bar Foundation.
Lurie’s fellow partner, Yale M. Ginsburg, is returning to his congregation’s board after a 10-year absence. He was voted to the board by the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah congregation in Montgomery County’s Kemp Mill neighborhood this month.
“It just occurred to me that it was time to start giving back again,” Ginsburg said.
He will serve a three-year term on the board and will likely be asked to be treasurer, he said. In the long term, he said he may also be asked to be president.
During his term, he said, the board will likely deal with issues like funding to support the 400-family congregation’s two buildings in Silver Spring.
“Part of it is keeping that family tradition going,” Ginsburg said. “I want my kids to see that.”
Partner Oren D. Saltzman served a two-year term as president seven years ago at Temple Emanuel of Baltimore, a 260-family congregation.
Saltzman has been a member of the congregation since 1997 and said the biggest issue he dealt with as president — and the congregation still deals with today — is raising money and membership. As president, Saltzman said he concentrated on creative methods to make money. For example, the synagogue added a porch to the back of the building and sold its members the naming rights to individual bricks.
David B. Rudow, a name partner at the 22-lawyer firm, served as president in the Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills during the mid-1970s. His parents became members of the congregation when Rudow was in second grade. Now, his children and grandchildren are part of the community.
As president, Rudow helped created a legacy and endowment fund for the congregation. The congregation had about 850 families then; today, that has dropped to 500 families, and the synagogue is trying to figure out how to rebuild, Rudow said. Rudow remains on a board of past presidents, which can be called on to deal with pressing issues at the synagogue.
“It’s always very challenging,” Rudow said. “We are there to support them and make sure the congregation is financially healthy and people are treating each other responsibly.”