Volunteers Made in Heaven: An Interview with Clara Creditor

Posted on Nov 24, 2021

Where would Torah Fund be without our volunteers? The selfless act of sacrifice of one’s time, heart and soul, passion and purpose are the ingredients of a true volunteer. 

I’d like to introduce Clara Creditor to you, a Torah Fund volunteer dating back to her early years of motherhood. Clara has two sons, Gary and Bruce. When Gary was nine, he told his mom he wanted to attend Friday night services at their shul. Clara and her husband belonged to a Conservative synagogue in Belleville, NJ, Congregation Ahavath Achim.  When I asked Clara how she became more involved in synagogue life and Torah Fund, her reply was, “Our nine-year-old son took us to shul!” 

Sisterhood came next; Clara became a committed volunteer. When Gary was college-bound, he knew he wanted to become a rabbi. He attended and was ordained at Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.  Bruce studied Judaism; he attended JTS’s Prozdor (Hebrew high school) and developed a career in the music field, eventually working in management at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  

Clara has five grandchildren, two of whom are a rabbi and a Navy chaplain.  Clara raised money for Torah Fund knowing its importance to the future of Jewish educators and clergy.   

In 2004 JTS honored Clara as a Woman of Achievement for her outstanding service.  She led the Hazak Group of Women at B’nai Shalom from 2004-2014, winning the Solomon Schechter Award of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, for excellence in Hazak programming. 

When Clara’s Belleville Synagogue merged with my temple B’nai Shalom of West Orange, Clara became my Torah Fund mentor.  Just starting out as the Torah Fund chair, I had no family connection to JTS or the other seminaries.  Clara’s deep commitment, passion, and desire to teach me about Torah Fund is another link to being an effective volunteer.  I am grateful for having benefited from her teachings and enthusiasm for Torah Fund, and for becoming her friend.  Clara’s influence led me down the path of eventually becoming the Torah Fund vice president for the Garden State Region for 2018-2020 — and I still serve as the Torah Fund chair for B’nai Shalom! 

Now in her upper 90’s, although Clara has passed the baton, her good deeds, passion, and influence still remain with me and many others with whom she worked.  Yasher Koach to a dedicated volunteer! 

Please make your donation to Torah Fund to honor Clara, and all the volunteers past and present whose efforts allow our traditions to continue to thrive.

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