By Connor Linskey
On Dec. 9, the Walden Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) congregation did a drive-by event past the home of Sam Liebman, their former president and longtime member of the congregation.
The cars’ passengers held balloons and showcased signs reading statements such as ‘Good luck Sam. We will miss you.’ The event was a way to honor a man who was a part of the congregation for approximately fifty years.
“He was one of the anchors of our congregation for many years...,” said Walden JCC President Marjorie Sweet. “We couldn’t have him leave without saying goodbye.”
In addition to serving as a member of the congregation for about 50 years, he also spent approximately 15 years as its president. One of his biggest contributions to the Walden Jewish Community Center came about 30 years ago, when he restarted their Hebrew school. Sweet noted that this was key to attracting families with young children.
Liebman also served on the Walden JCC’s board for many years. He used his experience as an architect to help the congregation whenever they were building projects. Over the years, Liebman won many awards for his work as an architect. As a member of the JCC, he was a constant fixture at services, often arriving early to help in the kitchen.
“The synagogue was one of the things that I joined because I wanted to contribute to the community,” Liebman said.
He also contributed to the community as a boy scout leader. He was an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 530 in Walden, accompanying scouts on trips all over. Liebman designed the Hudson Valley Council Scout Service Center in Newburgh. He served as president of the Boy Scouts of America Hudson Valley Council. In addition, he was chairman of the Village of Walden Zoning Board of Appeals and the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
Since the drive-by event, Liebman has headed to his son’s home in the Finger Lakes Region. He plans to travel to Saint Martin when the state of the COVID-19 pandemic improves. He grew fond of the Carribbean after working on several architectural projects there. He also enjoys that region after being stationed as a pilot in Cuba from 1960-1962. Liebman is thankful for all the time he spent in Walden.
“I believe that in the 50 years that I lived in Walden, I got involved with many things that helped the village,” he said. “And that’s my legacy. And that’s my way of thanking those who helped me when I was involved early on.”