Sherry Ostroff has been named Congregant of the Year of Temple Beth El, and will be honored by our congregation at a special service in June. This annual recognition is given to a congregant who repeatedly volunteers his or her services to the Temple and best embodies its ideals and those of Judaism.
Sherry has been involved in Temple leadership on many levels since 1988. She discovered Temple Beth El long before she and her husband, Arne, joined our congregation. Prior to official membership, she taught 6th grade in the Temple’s Religious School on Sunday mornings.
Sherry served as Chair of the New Temple Building Committee, and she recalls that it was her proudest Temple Beth El moment. Our congregation relocated from its downtown location to a new, larger and more modern building in Lancaster in 2002. After forming the New Temple Building Committee, Sherry led the committee in raising funds to construct the new building, selecting an architect and builder, and overseeing the timeline for this huge project.
For Sherry, it was a grueling but interesting five year process, and she feels rewarded every time she walks through our temple doors.
She also was Chair of the Honor Wall Committee. This committee was commissioned by our Temple Board of Directors to create an original piece of artwork to serve as a lasting tribute to those generous donors who helped make the new building possible. The Honor Wall recognizes every individual or family that donated to the New Building Fund, and is displayed outside our main sanctuary.
More recently, she chaired the Scholar in Residence Committee, and helped bring a noted scholar to the temple for an entire weekend in 2014 to share information on a topic of interest to the congregation. Through discussions, lectures, question and answer segments, and audio/visual presentations, the congregation gained valuable information about the changing nature of American Judaism.
Our largest Temple fundraising event is our annual Jewish Food Festival, which was recently held on Sunday, May 3. Sherry became Chair of the committee in 2013, and helped introduce multiple new layers to the community event.
She was also a member of the Temple Membership Committee.
Sherry previously served as Co-President of the Temple Beth El Sisterhood., and also ran the Temple’s Wine Shop for 12 years. She is currently a Sisterhood Board Member.
Sherry taught 4th grade at the Temple’s Religious School, was a member of the Education Committee, and also assisted as a Curriculum Consultant.
Originally from Philadelphia, she grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood called Oxford Circle. Her family did not belong to a temple but she attended Hebrew School at an orthodox synagogue. She was the first female student at the school and therefore the first to request to learn a Haftorah and lead the service for her Bat Mitzvah. This was quite a dilemma for the synagogue leaders because girls do not traditionally read from the Torah or prepare a Haftorah portion at an orthodox synagogue. A compromise was made to have the service held in her home with her teacher, the other students, plus family and friends in attendance.
She graduated from Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University with a degree in Elementary Education. Later she earned a Master’s degree in History from Millersville University. She still loves to teach history whether it’s in a formal classroom or at the dinner table.
She and her husband, Arne, were married in 1972, and they moved to Lancaster while he attended Millersville University. Sherry started teaching 3rd grade in September 1972 for the School District of Lancaster. Eventually, she would teach 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades in the same school district, plus two semesters of American History at HACC. She also taught touch typing at evening school at McCaskey High School and computer camp to elementary students for ten summers.
Towards the end of her teaching career, she was an Instructional Facilitator and she developed a writing program called The Writing Process. This was offered for teacher in-service training in the School District of Lancaster. Once she retired in 2002, she became a consultant in the Lebanon School District. Additionally, she did some substitute teaching in Manheim Township, Hempfield, Conestoga Valley, Manheim Central and at the New School of Lancaster. After six years of substituting, she fully retired from being an educator in 2008.
Sherry and Arne have one daughter, Jessica. Jessie and her husband, Chris, have two sons, Ethan and Colin.
Sherry has many hobbies, but she is most passionate about reading anything historical and traveling.
She appreciates the trust that has been placed in her hands by the board of Temple Beth El, which has allowed her to chair some awesome endeavors. She also thanks the Temple Beth El Sisterhood, which has fostered leadership within its ranks and has produced many Temple leaders. And, most importantly, her commitment to Temple Beth El and the time she has given over the years would not have been possible without the patience, love and support from Arne and Jessica. They have had to put up with all kinds of crazy schedules, stories and deadlines.
You can read more about Sherry in an article written about her for receiving this recognition within the Lancaster Newspaper.