Adath Israel Congregation is pleased to welcome a new Director of Engagement and Programming, Meg Wells. Wells is a Cincinnati native; for the past three years, she worked at the University of Rochester’s Hillel and earned her BFA in in Visual Media from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
The Director of Engagement and Programming is a new position that was created to focus on congregants and fulfilling their needs. The position is made possible through a grant from the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. Adath Israel is committed to being a welcoming congregation that offers engaging programming, participates in social justice and advocacy, and cultivates a sense of well-being for its congregants. Adath Israel, which is a hundred and seventy years old and Cincinnati’s largest Conservative synagogue, is excited to incorporate this new position into their community.
Wells will be reaching out to congregants, in person and virtually, to see how Adath Israel can better serve and connect members to their community. She has extensive experience in the Cincinnati Jewish community. In addition to attending Hebrew and Sunday school at Wise Temple and then Hebrew High, Wells was a Madricha teaching 4th graders about Israel. “All the free time I had I spent with the Cincinnati NFTY chapters,” Wells said. “I spent ten summers at GUCI, 7 as a camper, including one summer in Israel, and three on staff.”
Wells has extensive experience working with Hillel, and also participated in the Jewish Learning Fellowship for professionals as well as leading it for other students. “I chose to work for Hillel as a way to make sure students did not have the same experience I had in college,” Meg said. “Moving far away from home is a lot, and to be able to find a Jewish space that is welcoming and feels like home can make all the difference. Hillel is important because as college students are developing into the people they will be in the world, Hillel can help instill Jewish values and a strong connection to the Jewish community.”
Wells’s background in working to enhance the Jewish lives around her will impact her ability to serve the Adath Israel community. “In my time as Director of Engagement and Congregational Programming (at Adath Israel) my goals are to help create inclusive communities within the synagogue in order to do my best to ensure every congregant has a group they feel at home with and a place to call their own within the congregation. I also hope to help connect the Adath community with the greater Cincinnati Jewish Community,” Meg said. She added, “I am so excited to be back in my hometown working in a Jewish community that means the world to me!”
Adath Israel’s Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Smolkin, is looking forward to the new addition, “We are so excited that Meg Wells is joining the Adath Israel team as our new Director of Engagement and Congregational Programming. This position will help Adath Israel better provide for the diverse social and spiritual needs of our congregants. Our goal is to engage each of our congregants in the way that is most meaningful for them. Meg Wells is such a thoughtful, dynamic, and caring person. She is fabulous and will surely help us reach that goal.”
The hiring committee wanted the best fit for Adath Israel’s community, and Wells was an exceptional candidate. “I was looking for an individual who could engage our congregants all across the board from our youth to our older population.” Ali Cantor, a member of the Director of Engagement hiring committee, said, “It's hard to appease everyone in any situation but I wanted someone who understood our youth but also realized the importance of family programming as well as intergenerational family programming.”
Wells exemplifies all the qualities the hiring committee was looking for. “Meg stood out because she was full of energy, creativity, and positivity. She had a lot of great ideas and was ready to jump in and implement them,” Cantor said.
Adath Israel will formally welcome Wells on July 6 to join their staff and community in her new position as Director of Engagement and Programming.