Congregation Beth Shalom has planned a weekend
of activities to celebrate the upcoming retirement of Harvey Gold, the
congregation’s Executive Director for 42 years.
Gold’s commitment to Jewish life began early. He was a volunteer, USY officer, Torah reader, Hebrew tutor and young adult service leader at his family’s synagogue, Congregation B’nai Zion in Rogers Park, which continued during his college years at Roosevelt University.
He first worked as Youth Director at Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie before joining a still young Congregation Beth Shalom in 1972 as Youth Advisor and Administrative Director. His move to Executive Director came three years later, and his management and guidance helped Beth Shalom become one of the leading Conservative congregations in the country.
Gold explained his role as “chief executive officer” of Beth Shalom this way: “What it comes to expenses, a synagogue is a business. When it comes to receivables, a synagogue is a shul. The executive director’s job is to make that work.”
Gold’s professional experience has been valued beyond Beth Shalom’s walls. He has been affiliated with the Chicago association of Temple Administrators, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USJC) Midwest Board and Youth Commission, and North American Association of Synagogue Executives as a past board member and as the fourth guest lecturer at the Emma Lee Ettinger Lecture Series.
In 2007, Gold was honored at the USCJ Midwest Region’s annual concert for 40 years of service to the Conservative movement. In 2011 Beth Shalom honored him with the writing of a Sefer Haftarah in his name and establishment of the Harvey R. Gold Sefer Haftarah Fund.
Of all the highlights of his career, one of his favorites is when he helped arrange the appearance of Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winning author and human rights activist, for a day of activities at Beth Shalom in November 2006.
“Harvey has boundless energy and enthusiasm, and it has been his tireless effort and investment of hard work that has made dreams become reality,” Rabbi Carl Wolkin said. “He has had a respect and sensitivity and a deep love and devotion to our community and its members.”Gold’s retirement will be celebrated the weekend of June 6-8 with a special Friday “Shabbatone” Service and a festive lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday