Betsy Zalaznick, who earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Lehigh in 1979, was recently honored for 20 years of leadership at Or Chadash, the Reform Temple of Hunterdon County in New Jersey.
Zalaznick, the director of the temple’s religious school, received the inaugural Betsy Award, named in her honor, which is given to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional generosity, leadership and creativity to the Or Chadash community.
“Under Betsy’s direction and guidance, the school’s curriculum and activities have flourished with innovation and creativity,” said Debbie Weiss, chair of The Betsy Award Committee. “Betsy has had a lasting impact on so many children who have attended our school.”
Zalaznick, whose maiden name was Rabiner, overhauled the curriculum, expanding the B’nai Mitzvah program and adding teaching assistants and a pre-school program. All of her positions at Or Chadash have been voluntary.
Last year, seeking to enroll her daughter in a program for adults with special needs, she broached the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center to create one. What began as an idea is now J Cares, a thriving program with a waiting list.
“What I do every year is I try to figure out how we can up the ante,” said Zalaznick, who credits her time as a student in the College of Education with helping her develop leadership skills.