Becoming a rabbi is a dream-come-true for Enid C. Lader. Born in Amsterdam, New York, to Maurice (z’l) and Sydel Coslow, Enid moved to Florida with her family, which included her sister Deborah by that time, in 1956. Her home was filled with love ‘ of family, of learning, of music, and of Judaism. Enid grew up in Reform congregations ‘ Temple Sinai of North Dade and Temple Beth-El of Hollywood; she found joy in being Jewish ‘ and from a very early age felt a desire to be a rabbi. But, women were not rabbis when she was growing up ‘ it just wasn’t time.
Enid studied music therapy and music education at the Florida State University, where she met Harry Lader, who was in graduate school at the time. Between the end of her music therapy internship and beginning work on a Master’s degree in music education, Enid and Harry married. Throughout her stay in Tallahassee, Florida she was always connected to the Reform congregation. She taught in their religious school, and attended services as often as possible ‘ looking to take a leadership role ‘ but, it just wasn’t time.
Enid and Harry moved to Durham, North Carolina for Harry’s post-doctoral work, and Enid was a music educator in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. They were active in Judea Reform Congregation in Durham ‘ participating in worship, editing the bulletin, helping out in the religious school. Enid enjoyed Eric Yoffe’s rabbinic leadership, and hoped to develop some skills of her own ‘ but it just wasn’t time.
Another move to Columbia, South Carolina’ and it was time for Enid and Harry to start a family. Their oldest daughter, Leah, was born there. Enid played her viola in orchestras, taught Suzuki violin and viola, and enjoyed being a mommy. This was not the time for rabbinic aspirations.
And on to Cleveland, Ohio, where their second daughter, Abby, was born. Enid began a Suzuki studio, worked as a music therapist, and began a pivotal association with Beth Israel ‘ The West Temple. The first time Enid and Harry went to services, they were greeted with open arms and welcoming hearts’ and Enid was taken over to the wall of Confirmation pictures to be shown their own ‘ famous ‘ Confirmation photo of Rabbi Sally Priesand (the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the Reform movement in 1972). Enid had come to the right place! A dream that had been dormant for many years was given life.
The members of Beth Israel ‘ The West Temple and the Cleveland Jewish community have been the nurturing agents for Enid’s ‘coming of rabbinic age.’ It began with playing ‘Kol Nidre’ on her viola for Yom Kippur and blossomed to conducting the High Holy Day choir for sixteen years. It began by teaching in the religious school and blossomed into becoming the principal of the school. It began by serving as the cantorial soloist and continues to this day. It began by being accepted into the Cleveland Fellows Program of The Cleveland (now Seigal) College of Jewish Studies, and blossomed into becoming a Director of Congregational and Family Education at Beth Israel and a community Jewish educator. It began by taking the Rabbinic Aide course sponsored by the Reform movement and blossomed into leading services, making hospital visits, officiating at funerals’ and baby namings’ and b’nai mitzvah when the congregation did not have a rabbi.
When Enid accepted the position of Jewish Life Coordinator at Knesseth Israel Temple, in Wooster, Ohio, eight years ago, that was the piece that pulled everything together. After three years, she knew that becoming a rabbi was something she needed to do. She remembered taking a class taught by Rabbi Cherie Koller Fox (an AJR alum) ‘ and knew about the Academy for Jewish Religion ‘ and planned a visit. The visit turned into a five year experience of learning and growing into the rabbi she had dreamed of becoming.
Commuting back and forth each week was made all the more pleasant through her newfound friendship with Jackie Kutner ‘ a friend of a friend of a friend ‘ who opened her home and her life to Enid’ and who cannot be thanked enough for her generous spirit.
These past five years have included: Classes in New York’ A trip to Israel with fellow AJR students’ Congregational life in Wooster’ Congregational life in Cleveland’ And family life ‘ Did she mention her daughter Leah’s marriage? Did she mention her daughter Abby’s graduation from medical school? Did she mention that she and Harry look forward to becoming grandparents this summer? Did she mention her husband Harry’s constant support and love, without which this whole experience could not have been possible?