Susan Abelkop, Mensch of the Month & the Century!


Susan (right) and her sister Linda Tanenbaum Photo Credit: Peggy Litoff

Susan in Hebrew is Shoshanah , meaning “precious flower.” In so many ways and on so many occasions , Susan has helped our congregation flower.

Rabbi Liebowitz


During the days I first attended Temple B’nai Israel, I was warmly greeted by the elders. One of the first comments I heard from each was, “You have to meet Susan Abelkop!” Susan tends to stay behind the scenes working away to make all functions as perfect as possible for the congregation, but meet her I did. Susan greet- ed me with a big smile and a hug. I felt as if I’d known Susan all of my life. During my 3 years of study for conversion, I observed Susan as one of, if not the driving force behind our congregation.

I considered myself Blessed that Susan was one of the three community leaders who served on my Beit Din. I respected the challenging questions she asked. She put me to the test! I cannot think of my love for Congregation B’nai Israel without Susan immediately coming to mind. When I moved back to Spartanburg from West Palm Beach, the first person I visited was Susan at her store. Of course, since she has retired in order to work 90+ hours a week at our synagogue. I will always look to Susan for leadership and friendship. We love Susan.

Sharon Packer
If you looked up the definition of Mensch, it would be Susan Abelkop. She has tirelessly worked for our community. She has done so much it is hard to begin to put into words. She served as VP and numerous board positions. She cares! She worries. She is a person who gives of her time and energy and never asks for notoriety or praise. She has cooked in our kitchen so many times it is almost impossible to think of anything taking place without Susan. Frankly, she is a backbone of our Temple and we would not be the same if not for her. We love Susan.
Hank Steinberg
Susan is one of a kind. She’s a force of nature. I was privileged to have her as my vice president during my term as president. There was no chore or task that she would not undertake to completion, most often working behind the scenes. I could and would call on her, often, for her advice and expertise. She always greeted me with true joy and love. It’s a pleasure to know her. To call her the Mensch of the month is really an understatement. Susan is a Mensch every month.

Jack Schoer __________________________________________________________________

Among her many accomplishments within the synagogue, Susan is an avid bridge player. She was a member of Piedmont Junior Women’s Club for many years and has a community service award named after her.

Nancy Fleishman Yoffe


Susan is a warm, caring, principled, brilliant and selfless leader.  She goes above and beyond in all her endeavors:
– volunteers where there is a need; does not need to be asked
– self starter
– ability to size up situations and offer resolution
– a friend to all in need
– good listener
– rises to challenges

I am honored to call her a friend.

Peggy Litoff


It would be a serious understatement to describe Susan Abelkop merely as a pillar of the Jewish community. Susan is integral to its very foundation. As president of the temple, she guided the community through challenging times and difficult transitions. As a longtime member, her institutional memory and personal wisdom have been indispensable for the community’s continuity and growth. And as a superb cook and baker, she has enabled our congregants to do what Jews do best whenever we’re not talking or arguing. There is simply no way to say thanks for all this.

Mark Packer