Rabbi Dr. Isaac Nathan Lerer was summoned to Milwaukee in 1964 and accepted the position of our spiritual leader. His unique organizational and motivational skills transformed the diverse factions into a unified congregational family. Temple Menorah, the new name given by Rabbi Isaac, marked the place in time when our synagogue took on new life. The following years were marked by an ever increasing membership and several expansions to accommodate the very successful Hebrew School and Sunday School.
In 2005, the entire community took the opportunity to acknowledge the numerous contributions to the community made by the Rabbi Isaac since he came to Milwaukee in 1964. Rabbi Lerer’s years of service to many Wisconsin congregations are characterized by his love of his family as well as his striving to always serve the spiritual and physical needs of his congregants. He continued to study, teach others, understand and set an example of excellence. In October 2002, Rabbi Lerer celebrated his 50th anniversary in the rabbinate with a “Shabbat Jubilee”. In addition, the newly published MIZMOR SHIR SABBATH AND FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK compiled by Rabbi Isaac, was dedicated by the congregation and honored guests.
Rabbi Lerer had always valued education, both Judaic and secular as he followed the advice of one of his esteemed teachers at Yeshiva Torat Chaim in Jerusalem, where he studied for his “Semicha” rabbinic ordination. His concern for the continuing education is legendary among congregants and former students of all denominations. As a community activist, the results of his efforts continue to benefit the developmentally disabled, the elderly and the needy. He initiated discussion with the State Of Wisconsin to establish Equal-Opportunity Housing for senior citizens close to shopping and transportation. The building of Temple Menorah and the apartments west of the synagogue were the results of his efforts. His concern for developmentally disabled Jewish adults caused him to form the Organization for Concerned Jewish Citizens, create the B’nai Mitzvah program and work for Habush House supervised housing.
Rabbi Isaac passed away in 2009 but his legacy lives on through the many people who were privileged to have known him.