“It’s very sad; we’re very connected here,” Karp said. “It’s a very hard decision, but sometimes you have to do what’s best for your family.”
Karp will depart after 14 years working at AJL and 20 in the Pittsburgh area.
“I’m hugely disappointed to lose her — as a colleague and as a friend,” AJL Executive Director Edward Frim said. “We have a very active adult learning program that does not exist elsewhere, and Amy has been a big part of that program over the years.”
He said, though, that he will use this time to re-evaluate the position before deciding how to fill it.
“We’re going to take this opportunity to step back and consider the future direction of the program,” Frim said. “We’re going to evaluate what the needs are and determine what the job description is going to be. The bottom line is there will be work to be done and there will be someone to do it.”
As adult learning coordinator, Karp oversees all adult education programs AJL offers — Melton Mini School, legal education, special speaker series, etc. — and collaborates with Jewish institutions and synagogues on education programs. She also administers the i-connect Israel Scholarship and the Passport to Israel programs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Scott Aaron, AJL community scholar, said in an e-mailed announcement of Karp’s pending departure that the agency will arrange “an appropriate opportunity” sometime in the spring to honor her.
Karp works as a youth director at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, where her husband is a Torah reader. She was recruited 14 years ago by Tsipy Gur to work at the AJL, then known as the Jewish Education Institute.
“She was looking for someone for my position,” Karp recalled. Gur was talking to someone at Beth El who recommended me, so that started the process.
“We saw an incredible rise in the interest for adult Jewish education over the last 15 years, which I think is consistent with other cities,” she continued. “It’s a national trend. I think we were instrumental in bringing creative programs to Pittsburgh at a time when they were looking for new challenges.”
Karp doesn’t know yet what she will be doing in Chicago, where she and husband, Dan, began married life. Although, “I will … be looking to working for the Jewish community in Chicago, because that’s my passion.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)