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 been involved with local theater, notably with the Gallery Players at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. There, Scheer assists in producing plays with Jewish themes indicative of larger societal themes. In general, she said inclusion and creating a welcoming environment are key to Jewish communal success.
Was there ever a turning point or shift that made you change how you approach community service or become active in the Jewish world?
My life has been filled with turning points that made me the person I am now. I hope there will be more to come. I can be touched by very small moments as well as big ones. Becoming a parent was significant and I suddenly realized the well-being of all children was a world issue. I have been involved with Gallery Players at the Jewish Community Center for more than 40 years, stage managing many shows and participating in play selection on many more. The overriding concern regarding play selection is, “How does this script reflect the Jewish experience?” One fact has always been true is the Jewish experience reflects a universal experience. If you serve the Jewish community with an open heart, you serve the whole community.
Is there any particular cause, issue or organization you are especially passionate about? What have you done to address it?
Other than the well-being of my congregation, I spend most of my time being concerned about the advancement of live theater in Central Ohio. That’s why my husband, Ira, and I created the Gallery Players Theatre Fund to maintain the Roth-Resler Theatre at the JCC, but that is simply the end result of a long journey. And, this is a journey that I did not take alone – it was always with my wonderful husband. We met in the control booth at the old JCC, both of us were involved with several Central Ohio theaters. As a pair, we became involved with the Ohio Community Theatre Association planning local and statewide events. Eventually, I became president and, at a different time, he was treasurer. We worked to enrich community theater all over Ohio. But, along with parenthood, we returned home and focused on Gallery Players. That led to involvement with the Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable, a consortium of local theaters from university to professional to community. Again, I spent time as president and he spent a much longer time, continuing until today as treasurer. (What can I say, he’s a numbers guy.)
How did your Jewish background inform your interest in giving back?
My Jewish background has only existed for half of my life; however, I was raised by parents with a clear sense of ethics and responsibility. But I spent a summer as a counselor at a Jewish summer camp north of Toronto. Then, after I moved to Columbus, I found myself at Gallery Players at the JCC. Within a decade of walking into the old JCC, I found myself under a chupah in the new JCC. In that decade and the years that followed, there were two influences. First, there was the theater where we told stories about making the world a better place. More importantly, the people who worked to create that theater were selfless, dedicated members of the community. In fact, that was the first place where I had a true sense of community where we all worked together for a common goal.