Richard and Terri Barnett believe that the essence of their involvement in the Columbus Jewish community is twofold: On one side, they believe that the sustainability of Jewish institutions is fundamental to the continued growth and strength of the Columbus Jewish community, and, on the other side, they believe that inclusivity within the Jewish community is of paramount importance.
These two missions have guided the Barnett’s since they chose to establish their roots in this city, nearly four decades ago. Like many Columbus residents, they attended Ohio State University, fell in love with the community and decided to build their lives here.
“We had been in Jewish youth groups growing up, and we both came from small, tight Jewish communities,” Terri says. “I came from Lorain, and Rick came from Canton. We knew how we felt as part of a caring, loving Jewish community, so we were looking for that same thing in Columbus. We needed to feel connected to Columbus. The people we met in those very first few years [of our involvement with the Jewish community] have been lifelong friends.”
In the early days of their involvement, Richard and Terri participated in a leadership program through the Federation. Since then, they have both held a number of roles within the Columbus Jewish community. To name just a few: they have both sat on the board of JewishColumbus, Congregation Torat Emet, the Jewish Community Center and the Columbus Torah Academy, and they were part of the founding families that worked with the Columbus Community Kollel.
“JewishColumbus’ impact has been very strong,” Richard says. “Through my work on the Community Impact Committee, I’ve seen them help organizations that were on the verge of financial difficulties. They were able to support these organizations so that they could focus on their priority goal to serve the community, instead of worrying about their financial needs.”
The Barnett’s have also benefited from their connection to JewishColumbus and the broader Jewish community.
“I think that we have a unique perspective in that Rick and I have been self-made. We’ve been building our business, while growing our family and our community at the same time, with a lot of faith in God that things will turn out,” Terri says. “When we were in lean years, we knew that our Jewish family was around and was there to keep us involved and keep lifting us up. They helped us, quite frankly, with camp in the summer and trips to Israel for our children, which we never could’ve afforded on our own.”
Richard and Terri now work to give other Jewish families, across every sect of Judaism, the same experiences and opportunities that they received as young professionals starting their lives in Columbus.
Join community leaders like Richard and Terri by donating to our annual campaign. Your contribution — no matter the scale — represents your pride in Columbus’ Jewish community. When you give to JewishColumbus, every dollar makes a difference.