Congratulations to Melissa Buckner and Pamela Lear, 2015–16 recipients of The Harry Gunther Service Award, which is presented to a deserving Beth Am member who has worked for the benefit of the Temple community in a way which would be considered “above and beyond.”
The award was presented at the Temple Beth Am Annual Meeting on May 22, 2016.
Melissa Buckner was Chair of the Temple Beth Am Day School Board for two years during 2014–2016, and as such served on the Temple’s Board of Directors. Over the course of several years, she has played an active leadership role in PATIO, the Day School’s Parent and Teacher Involvement Organization. In 2013, she served on the committee which presented the highly successful Women of Valor luncheon, honoring four extraordinary Temple Beth Am women.
Melissa is actively involved in our Jewish community as well, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, among numerous other endeavors. For several years, she was South Dade Chair of the Jewish Volunteer Center’s “Everything but the Turkey” event at Temple Beth Am in the week prior to Thanksgiving, where volunteers help prepare thousands of kosher meals for people in need.
In December 2013, she Chaired PJ Library’s Community Chanukah Fest at Temple Beth Am.
For two years during 2014–2016, Pamela Lear was President of The Sisterhood of Temple Beth Am. During her term, Pamela worked tirelessly in the creation of the Lynn Cromer Leadership Initiative, named for Sisterhood’s founding President and her mentor, who passed away in 2014, and is dedicated to carrying on the leadership model that Lynn created. Pamela also was a driving force in the creation in 2014 of the Caring for the Soul series, the Mishloach Manot Purim project in 2015 and the Breast Cancer Today program in 2016.
In 2013, Pamela served as Co-Chair of the Shabbat Under the Canopy Shabbat, when Sisterhood presented a new Chuppah to the Temple. She also scripted and produced the video “A New Chuppah for Temple Beth Am.”
In 2015, Pamela was elected to the National Board of Directors of Women of Reform Judaism, which has promoted Reform women’s issues and leadership for more than 100 years. She was installed at WRJ’s 50th Assembly November 4–8, 2015.
This award is named for Harry Gunther, a special man and founding member who made Temple Beth Am a high priority during his lifetime. His widow, Ethelle, remained an active member of the Temple Beth Am family for nearly 60 years until her death in 2013.