Remembering a warm and welcoming person

Temple Beth El names entryway for Susan Polansky


Naming the entryway into Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst after former executive director, Susan Polansky, who died in March, is an appropriate honor for a friendly person who welcomed everyone to the synagogue, according to temple President Richard Holland.

On Oct. 15 Temple Beth El’s entrance way will officially be named the Susan Polansky rotunda and a plaque will be hung, naming everyone who made contributions to the temple in her memory. “We’ve never named any particular part of the building after anyone,” Holland said. “This was done out of an outpouring of love and affection for Susan.”

Polansky was married to her husband, Harris, a Woodmere resident, for 47 years. His wife was a schoolteacher in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway and then operated Brandeis Day Camp in Lawrence before becoming Temple Beth El’s executive director for 17 years. “She had been going to the temple for a long time and had her bat mitzvah there,” he said. “She was very comfortable there.”

Woodmere resident and 45-year Temple Beth El volunteer Alvin Epstein said he’d known Polansky for more than 40 years through the synagogue. “We worked together on many social functions such as dinner dances,” he said. “We both were educators and had a lot in common.”

Epstein said Polansky was always upbeat, smiling and helping everyone. “She always knew the right thing to say and was a big asset for our temple because she was outgoing to the entire community,” he said. “She also worked well with other temples and committee chairs. When Susan handled something no one had to worry.”

Holland said, Polansky was a past president of the Temple Beth El Sisterhood as well as member of the Board of Trustees before serving as the executive director for 17 years. “She had such a leadership ability and it was a unanimous decision to hire her as the executive director,” he said. “She was born to be there.”

Harris said it’s an honor that the temple’s rotunda will be named after his late wife. “Everyone will see her name and remember her,” he said. “They’ll remember her not only as an administrator but as the caring, helpful person she was.”

The Susan Polansky memorial event is on Monday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at Temple Beth El at 46 Locust Ave.