By Stacey Dresner
WESTERN MASS. – Sydney Alderman Perry, who retired from her post as executive director of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven in June 2016, has been named interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.
A native of New Haven, Perry served on the New Haven Federation staff for almost 30 years, first as principal of MAKOM, the community Hebrew high school, then as the director of the Department of Jewish Education, and later as the agency’s executive director. At the time of her retirement, she was serving as CEO of the merged Jewish Federation and JCC of Greater New Haven.
“I have been very fortunate that my personal, professional, intellectual and spiritual lives have been fully integrated into a perfect harmony,” Perry said at the time, adding that “After serving almost 30 years at the Federation, ‘yomam v’lail,’ – day and often deep into the night – I maintain the same passion and sense of commitment as the first time I walked into the office on Whalley Avenue in July 1988.”
That passion and commitment nudged Perry out of retirement last year to serve when she agreed to serve as interim executive director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), based in Hartford.
As interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Perry succeeds Bob Marmor, who served as interim director for a year before heading to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, where he is now a program officer.
“Sydney brings substantial experience, insight and direction culminating from her years as the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and the Jewish Community Center of New Haven,” Ronda Parish, president of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass., told members of the community in an email letter. “She has served on long-range planning committees, CRC and leadership development as well as advocated for issues of Jewish continuity.
“Nationally, she has given workshops at the General Assembly of the JFNA and the 2010 conference for PJ Library and the Intermediate Executive Director’s Conference in New Orleans, LA. She has also served as the director of the Department of Jewish Education, the educational arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, where she worked to improve the synagogue supplementary schools and served as a consultant to the community on educational endeavors.”
In addition to her role at Federation, Perry is currently president of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT). On March 6, she will be honored as a recipient of the Hebrew High School of New England’s President’s Award.
“She is an outstanding woman, role model for our youth and community at large, and has an unstoppable level of energy and ideas,” Parish said.