Among an array of service projects, David M. Neubauer volunteers as a Jewish inmate mentor at the North Central Correctional Center in Marion. Within that role, he aims to help Jewish inmates keep or gain a sense of Jewish identity, which otherwise may be neglected during their time in prison. However, more broadly within his range of volunteer roles, Neubauer believes in creating opportunities for all segments of the local community – Jews and non-Jews – for the betterment of everyone.

What inspires you to give back to the community?

I am a first generation American being the eldest child of Holocaust survivors. I keenly appreciate the safety, freedoms and high standard of living that this country afforded my parents and my immediate and extended family. I will never be able to repay this debt to the United States, but my inability will not prevent me from trying to do so.

Was there ever a turning point or shift that made you change how you approach community service or become active in the Jewish world?

Shortly after Temple Beth Shalom built its first house of worship, our congregation faced a severe financial crisis. Our budgets over the first 20 years of our existence were not accustomed to bearing the on-going cost of “home ownership.” My wife and I had never been more than standard dues-paying members of TBS for approximately 10 years. However, our son was scheduled to have his bar mitzvah in 2004 and I was fearful this financial crises might prevent our family from being able to celebrate this lifecycle event in TBS’ new building. I indicated my interest in serving on the board but was not accepted as a candidate by the nominating committee. I was so motivated by the crises and this rejection I gathered enough member signatures on a petition in order to get my name on the ballot. I then distributed a flyer with a not very flattering critique of the board to all the congregation’s members. As a result of one candidate’s withdrawal from the election, I was elected by default. I hope most TBS members believe I have matured a bit over the last 20 years and made a positive contribution to the congregation’s vitality.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Central Ohio Jewish community? What should be done to promote change?

Maintaining our important societal and moral leadership positions as we become a smaller part of the larger community. We should welcome and intensify our support for people who come to Central Ohio from all over the world even if they do not share our religion. We should promote opportunities for our fellow Buckeyes to maximize their potential by providing “safety net” measures such as decent housing, improved public education, living-wage employment and other important life-supporting/affirming service initiatives.

The 2019 Class of 18 Difference Makers

For Richard Barnett, a driving force has been trying to make the Jewish community more inclusive, as it relates to religious, income or other …

For Emily Cammeyer, an experience helping her great-grandmother at the end of her life led Cammeyer to find a way to make a difference for oth…

In more than 35 years working at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, Carol Folkerth ensured making a difference was part of both …

Connecting with others in the community while serving it is one factor that inspires Meri King to continue to give back. As coordinator of Pro…

Amy Klaben’s interest in promoting equality for minorities and women began as a teenager, when she realized the power and persistence of socie…

For Saul Laub, it’s simple: tasks to better the community need to be completed and someone – who might as well be him – needs to do it. His le…

Giving back for Cheryl Rose means finding ways to use unique personal strengths and experiences for the betterment of others. Among many servi…

For Pam Scheer, giving back is a way to provide a good example, while also lending a hand and engaging in personal interests. Scheer has long …

After growing up in an Orthodox synagogue and becoming involved with Congregation Tifereth Israel as an adult, Jerry Sigal realized the import…

Coming to the United States from the former Soviet Union as a child refugee, Inna Simakovsky has channeled her experience into helping others …

Michael J. Weisz’s interest in giving back stems from the idea that the United States was built on a bedrock of religious heritage and hard wo…