You'd be hard-pressed to find a major Jewish organization in Philadelphia that Stanley Barer wasn't heavily involved with. Barer, who died May 25 at age 84, served as a president and board member of countless Philadelphia Jewish groups, including the Perelman Jewish Day School, the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Jewish Exponent.
According to his widow, Helen Barer, much of his communal spirit came from his mother, who "influenced him to be involved in Jewish activities."
Raised in the Feltonville area and a graduate of Olney High School, Barer attended Temple University, where he studied business. He was a gunnery instructor in the Army Air Force during World War II, serving in the United States, and was later a member of the Jewish War Veterans of America. He worked in sales throughout his career.
Though Barer was involved with a slew of communal outlets, the one that meant the most to him, according to his widow, was the Solomon Schechter Day School, now the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School.
"He just enjoyed going to see the children and working with the principal," said his widow.
The family were longtime members of the Oxford Circle Jewish Community Center; five years ago, they joined Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, after the two synagogues merged. He visited Israel three times, including visits to celebrate his grandchildren's B'nai Mitzvot.
Helen Barer observed that she often felt she had to "share" her husband with the rest of the world because he was so involved in the community.
"He was such a social person, and you felt so comfortable in his presence," she said. "He made a person feel comfortable in talking with them, and he knew so many people."
Barer reduced his level of activity about three years ago due to health problems, but his widow said that Jewish involvement remained the light of his life.
"He had such an abundance of energy," she said, pointing out that Jewish living "gave him such joy and happiness. It came down to the depths of his soul; he just had such joy in doing and giving."
In addition to Helen Barer, he is survived by two daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Contributions in his memory can be made to: the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, 2100 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 or to the National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org).