Gerri Madenberg

Gerri Madenberg

Gerri Madenberg has accepted the managing director position at Temple Emanuel of Tempe, officials announced. She will arrive in person to join the congregation in late February, having relocated from Florida.

Madenberg brings extensive experience as a synagogue administrator and a strong background in management and finance. She will manage Temple Emanuel’s day-to-day operations in partnership with Rabbi Cookie Lea Olshein and the temple’s board of directors, as well as facilitate long-term planning for the synagogue.

Her selection comes after the temple’s managing director search committee reviewed many resumes and spoke with several candidates, from which Madenberg stood out “because of her warm and outgoing personality, professional background, attention to detail and life-long commitment to Reform Judaism,” according to the announcement. “We know she will be a great match for Temple Emanuel and we can’t wait to welcome her into our community.

Temple Emanuel board president Jennifer LeGrand expressed excitement at the new hire.

“We are so excited to have Gerri Madenberg join Temple Emanuel of Tempe as our new managing director,” she said. “Gerri is warm and personable and we look forward to our community welcoming her and getting to know each other.”

Saying she’s “honored and excited” to become the temple’s new managing director, Madenberg, who grew up in Buffalo Grove, Ill., said her synagogue-related work experience ranges from assistant executive director/membership to temple administrator and executive director, and that she believes “in helping to create a strong Jewish community by connecting members to their interests while fostering congregational and community involvement.”

Madenberg said that growing up, her family joined Buffalo Grove’s Temple Chai and that she became a bat mitzvah at Kingswood Methodist Church, as the shul had yet to construct a building.

Later, Madenberg graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s in finance and returned to Chicago to begin her career and eventually start a family. Her daughter, Ellie, who earned her master’s in recreational therapy, is working in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the same time her son, Coby, is a junior at Colorado State University studying health and wellness “and dreams,” she said, “of going to medical school. I am a very proud mom!”

Madenberg added that she looks forward to meeting her new “Arizona family,” and that her “door will always be open.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to know my community and my temple members and becoming an active participant in the temple, the community and Arizona’s Jewish community as a whole,” she said in a telephone interview. “There are lots of things I’m looking forward to.”

Madenberg said she’s even looking forward to the summer in Arizona.

“I love the heat – the hotter, the better,” she said. “I’m coming from Miami, so it’s perfect. I’d rather be hot and in air conditioning than be in the ice-cold wind in Chicago.” JN

Rachel Raskin-Zrihen is a freelance writer living in Anthem.