Serving the Jewish community is ingrained in Donald S. Scherzer. Growing up, his family emphasized the importance of participating in the community and helping others. He continues to live by these values today. 

As a child, Scherzer personally experienced how impactful help from others can have on a person. He received help from a variety of people who affected his life in many ways. 

“As a 7-year-old boy, I lost my dad and I still remember the many people who made a difference in my life. As an adult, I have always wanted to help others because I was fortunate to have had the help of so many,” said Scherzer, a partner at Roetzel & Andress.

His volunteering started in high school on Long Island more than 50 years ago. To this day, he strives to ensure that people have access to the same type of help that he had. 

“I’ve tried to work with community organizations in an effort to make them stronger so people can benefit from them,” he said. “Every religion and culture, including those associated with Judaism, should sponsor strong community institutions to sustain and continue their values and beliefs and to help those who need assistance. The Jewish religion is very important to me and the institutions that support Jewish life are equally important.” 

For the past 28 years, he has been a committed member of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, where he recently completed a three-year term as president. He currently serves as a trustee of the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and as a life director of both Montefiore and the Temple-Tifereth Israel. Previously, he served also as chair of Montefiore, a trustee of AJC Cleveland, Bellefaire JCB, Mt. Sinai Hospital and Laurelwood Hospital.  His volunteer work also includes the greater Cleveland community through outreach programs at his synagogue, past work as president of the Shaker Heights Youth Center and president of the Federal Bar Association.

“Jews have always reached out to provide support to the general community,” he said. “Many people need our help and fortunately we’re in a position to provide that help. We have a responsibility to help others both in the Jewish and general communities.”

As one who has volunteered actively for decades, he wishes there was a way to provide a better life to everyone who needs one.  

“Each person deserves a decent quality life whatever her or his religion or background might be,” he said.

For other’s looking to make an impact, he encourages them to join an organization and to be active. While it’s always important to provide financial support to community institutions, he is convinced that there are other ways to support worthwhile causes, including devoting one’s time and energy to them.  

“Joining an organization is very important, but each of us should consider putting some amount of time and energy into,” he said. Giving of oneself is incredibly rewarding and he said he firmly believes that by doing so one receives great personal satisfaction. His view of volunteering is that one can “get far more from the experience than you give.”  

“Knowing that I have participated in improving the lives of other people, is a great reward,” he said.

Alyssa Schmitt

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