Keter Shem Tov

The 2020 Keter Shem Tov honoree is Nadine Wobus. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Keter Shem Tov award will be not be part of a Shabbat service. Instead we will honor Nadine on Sunday August 16 at 3:30 pm in a virtual event using Zoom.

A zoom link will be sent to those filling out the registration form on this page.

We welcome donations in honor of Nadine. Payments made be sent to the office or made online by clicking the Buy Now button on this page.

“Keter shem tov” means the crown of a good name. Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai said: “There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty, but the crown of a good name is above them all.” (Pirkei Avot 4:13) Please join us on Sunday, August 16, 2020 through Zoom, as we honor Nadine Wobus with the Keter Shem Tov Award. It is fitting that we honor her with this special award because her good name is closely linked withMishkan Torah.

Nadine Wobus was born in 1952 in Massachusetts to Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Adelson. Her father was away in officers’ training school in Alabama but eventually Nadine and her mom were able to join him. They lived there until the end of his tour of duty and then moved to Massachusetts. In 1955, when Nadine was three, she woke up one night screaming in pain and unable to move. She had contracted polio during the huge epidemic in Boston that year. Her doctors told her parents that she would live but never walk again. Since that time, Nadine has faced many challenges but has led a life full of accomplishments. Nadine has written a beautiful article about her life—her experiences growing up, her times as a singer and performer, her dream of performing in New York City, and the joys and problems along the way. This article will be included in the program book that will be part of August 16 th ’s Keter Shem Tov event.

After graduating from Hofstra University and facing obstacles to her dream of a career in New York, Nadine decided to study music therapy. While she originally saw this as a backup plan, she grew to love her work as a therapist. After Nadine defended her thesis in this discipline she moved to Laurel, Maryland and accepted a job in the Prince George’s County Public Schools. She worked in the school system as a music therapist for five years before leaving to open a private practice run from her home.

Nadine began looking for a synagogue after moving to Laurel. One Friday night in August 1979 she went to services at Mishkan Torah. Towards the end of the service, then-Rabbi Kenny Berger z”l asked people with guests to introduce them. Nadine stood up after the other guests had been introduced, said her name and that she was with nobody. Rabbi Berger replied “You are with us.” Nadine knew her synagogue search was over—she had found a home.

Nadine was still performing as much as possible and also worked as a music teacher at Temple Solel until daughter Nicole was three years old and began attending Mishkan Torah’s Torah forTots with Morah Rae Brooks. When Nicole started kindergarten Nadine became the music teacher for the Karp Family School (KFS). Nadine recently related that one of her favorite activities was teaching the students to blow shofar. “They all tried hard, but generally the kindergarten students were the most successful at getting the sound out because of their little mouths.” At that time, many of the KFS classes had twelve to fifteen students. But eventually, unfortunately, there were not enough students in the school to sustain the music program and, sadly, it ended.

Nadine never stopped contributing her time and talents to Mishkan Torah. Her beautiful voice has graced Mishkan Torah’s choir for many years. She has fond memories of her choir rehearsals and performances and says that the choir will be one of the things she will miss most when she moves to Cockeysville, Maryland later this year. Nadine has also participated in many other synagogue musical events, starting with just playing the keyboard but later performing in some of our infamous musical plays. She is always quick to lend her vocal talents to special Mishkan Torah occasions such as programs to honor someone and our fundraisers. She even debuted her CD at a Cafe Tzedakah event at Mishkan Torah that raised funds for a local charity. It’s always a joy to hear Nadine sing and our musical scene will be diminished with her departure.

Nadine has been active in many other facets of Mishkan Torah life. She first became involved with Sisterhood, originally working in the kitchen and then taking on other roles. She later formed the forerunner of today’s Chesed Committee with Phyllis Oresky to coordinate the needs of members who were ill or temporarily physically challenged. When Phyllis unfortunately had to drop out Nadine continued to run it by herself. Her efforts aided members in many different ways, providing comfort and assistance in difficult times. And it laid the groundwork for today’s Chesed Committee at Mishkan Torah.

When Nadine joined Mishkan Torah in 1980 building accessibility was a major problem. Much has changed over the years and Nadine has been in the forefront of pushing for these changes. Several years before Nicole’s bat mitzvah Nadine began asking that a ramp be built to make the bima wheelchair accessible. The ramp was built within a year of her request and now benefits many members and guests. Nadine was also persistent in pushing for changes to our bathrooms and, over time, an accessible bathroom was created. Nadine chairs the Inclusion committee that was created a few years ago as a sub-committee of Mishkan Torah’s Social Action Committee. She has helped coordinate Inclusion Shabbat services and has spoken on various occasions on her experiences and hopes for the future.

One cannot speak of Nadine without also thinking of her husband Dick. The story of their meeting, friendship and growing love reads like a book. It begins with a misdirected package, followed quickly by car trouble. The story evolves with cats, a burglary, and landlord troubles playing key roles. (It’s a fascinating story, but to learn more you’ll have to wait to read Nadine’s article in the program book.) Nadine and Dick were married in June 1982 in Columbia, Maryland, with congregant Saul Oresky assisting in the service. Nadine’s description in her article of their wedding and the celebration that followed is beautiful and heartwarming. Nadine and Dick were later blessed with their daughter Nicole and most recently with their first grandchild, Lillian Sadie.

Dick has been a frequent presence and contributor to Mishkan Torah activities and events. He helps with the sound equipment, is a welcome member of our Choir and a cast member in our skits and plays. Dick also works behind the scenes, quietly lending a hand wherever it is needed. And his love and support of Nadine is clear to all of us who see them together. They are a team.

Nadine and Dick will soon be moving and physically leaving Mishkan Torah. But, as Nadine says, Mishkan Torah will always feel like home. She is grateful for the dear friends, past and present, at Mishkan Torah who have shared many life experiences, big and small, happy and sad. We in turn are grateful for the chance to know and work with both Nadine and Dick for so many years. We will miss them and wish them well on their new adventure.

It is not the place that honors the people, but the people that honor the place. Nadine Wobus has truly honored Mishkan Torah. Let’s show her how much she means to us. To register to get the Zoom link and to make a donation in Nadine’s honor, please click on this link. If you have a story about Nadine you would like to share with us in the Memory/Program Book, please send it by August 6 th to Arlene Gottlieb at August 16, 2020 will be a truly special day!