By Chris Sholly
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ANNVILLE » A Lebanon woman was honored at Lebanon Valley College during the Rosh Chodesh Banquet in the Mund College Cen- ter Sunday evening.
Sarah “Sussy” Schneider, a leading mem- ber of Congregation Beth Israel in Lebanon, was recognized for that leadership and many contributions to the Jewish community in Lebanon County. She is the wife of former city Mayor Dr. Martin Schneider, who died May 29, 2005.
“Over the years, she has contributed much time and energy to many worthwhile community causes, including her devotion to Head Start, the (Good Samaritan Hospi- tal) Auxiliary, Boost and the Cub Scouts,” said Judy Horowitz, a member of Congre- gation Beth Israel.
For many years, Horowitz said, women were not considered equal to men in most synagogues, until the 1970s. She said Schneider was a leader who brought about many changes to the local community, one of which was the counting of women in a minyan. The minyan is a quorum of 10 Jew- ish adults required for certain religious obligations.
“She truly pioneered the role of women in what had always been a male-dominated group,” she said.
Schneider was the first woman to be a trustee of the congregation and chairwoman of the Rituals Committee, as well as the first woman president of the entire Congregation Beth Israel, Horowitz said.
Horowitz quoted another congregation member who described Schneider as “the glue that holds us together.”
Horowitz said Schneider’s daughter, Wendy Schneider-Levinson of Rockville, Md., is very active in the Jewish community where she lives.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Horowitz said. As it turns out, Horowitz and her husband were founding members of the congregation in which daughter is active.
“This is Sussy’s enduring legacy. The example she has set for future generations in her family and the larger community, and the path that she has helped to forge for all women,” she added.
Schneider, 87, said she was surprised by the honor.
“It means all the work and worrying, and sometimes aggravation, is worthwhile. I would do anything for our synagogue,” she said. “I’ll be in it until the end.”
But Schneider added that she enjoys vol- unteering.
“I enjoy every minute of what I do,” she said. “It rubbed off on my daughter.”
Like her husband, Schneider said she believes in giving back to the community.
“He believed, and I believe, that people have to do things for the community. He called it payback.”
Rosh Chodesh is the celebration of the new month in the Jewish calendar. It’s one of many events the college hosts, said LVC chaplain Paul Fullmer. “What we love to do is to gather folks around good food, good music, a lot of fun and a little bit of learning related to a vari- ety of holidays, so that we can facilitate in- terfaith understanding,” Fullmer said.
Initially, Rosh Chodesh was a “big festival,” but in time it became a holiday recognizing women’s contributions to the com- munity, according to Rabbi Paula Reimers of Congregation Beth Israel in Lebanon. Re- imers gave a brief presentation on the history of Rosh Chodesh during the event Sunday.
The program also included a game called All Things Jewish, styled after the popular TV show Jeopardy.
LVC student Diana Hoffman, a member the college’s Jewish student organization Hillel, helped to come up with the questions for the game. Hoffman said she enjoyed being involved in planning the festivities.“To see everyone who has come and hearing music that I know, and also to be able to help with it, really means a lot to me,” she said.