We are pleased to welcome Wendy Miller Gamer to the IFLC team as Program Director. As a long-time professional in Jewish communities in Boston, New York City and Chicago, Wendy has done outreach, development, programming & community organizing with students and seniors.
Although relatively new to interfaith work, she says “I have worked with individuals within the Jewish community of every persuasion – from secular and agnostic college students to ultra-orthodox families. I’m looking forward to working with all religions as well as all the different colors within the religions.”
When she saw the job description, she was drawn to IFLC’s focus on community organizing and informal education. Her background includes both, and she was excited to combine them. Miller Gamer moved to Michigan in 2010 from Chicago where she ran an informal Jewish education program for seniors living in supportive care, presenting classes about the bible, about Jewish life cycle, book talks, and classes focused on Jewish holidays throughout the year.
“What was really great about it,” says Miller Gamer, “was that there were people who would come to all 15 of my programs that would happen within a nine-month framework. We – the regular groupies and I – became a community unto ourselves.”
One of the aspects of working with the IFLC that excites her most is continuing to build similar communities of interfaith learners.
Miller Gamer will be coordinating our Religious Diversity Journeys program for 7th graders, our Exploring Our Religious Landscapes program for adults, working with the World Sabbath planning committee, and organizing the annual IFLC awards dinner.
“We are quite pleased that Wendy has chosen to work with us. We plan to lean heavily on her educational, community organizing and social media skills as we help our community understand one another and work together.” said Bob Bruttell, chair.
Prior to living in Chicago, Miller Gamer earned a Master of Arts at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, both in New York City. During that time, she was involved in an informal student group comprised of JTS students and students from the Union Theological Seminary (UTS), all studying social work with a focus on faith.
“Those of us who were interested in social work and faith were naturally drawn to each other. Jewish students from JTS and Christian students from UTS. We were able to use each other as a sounding board, to discuss why it was important for us to include a faith perspective in our social work practice,” says Miller Gamer.
Following her graduate education, Miller Gamer directed a summer leadership and internship program (CLIP) for the Jewish campus organization, Hillel.
Miller Gamer lives in Huntington Woods with her husband, Rabbi Robert Gamer, and four children, Maya, 15, Oz, 13, Aryeh, 10, and Avishai, 19 months.
She says she is very excited to delve into the programs and the community, and is “looking forward to experiencing RDJ programs and creating opportunities where youth and adults recognize they are taking home knowledge that they did not have when they walked into the day’s program or class. On the subject of her own learning, Miller Gamer comments: “I’m looking forward to learning about faith traditions and cultures that are not my own. I am looking forward to eating delicious new ethnic foods and I’m super-excited about my upcoming tour of Hamtramck from Rev. Sharon Buttry.”
Wendy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.