KarLa Wiseman

Wiseman was a devout Jewish community professional who only recently, at age 85, wound down  a 65+ year career in Jewish communal work in Buffalo, beginning with a stint at Camp Centerland when it opened in 1954.  During those years she had been active as a camp counselor, educator, youth director, Ketubah/Judaica artist, and adult programmer.  There are few Jewish Buffalonians whose lives she didn’t touch over the past half century.

Karla Wiseman - kara wiseman

Karla Wiseman Biography

As a toddler, Karla fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 with her brother (Eugene Finton, z”l) and parents, Joseph and Mary, arriving in America after a treacherous journey by train, boat, and train again,  through Ukraine, Russia, Japan, Hawaii, and San Francisco,  arriving at their final destination, Buffalo, NY into the arms of welcoming relatives.

Raised on the East side, she attended Bennet High School, was awarded her Masters Degree in Art from Buffalo State College, married her beloved, Louis Wiseman, birthed three girls and began her career as Kadimah art teacher in 1971.  She served as USY chaperone and advisor for most of the 70’s and  80’s, and BBYO Director in the ‘90s.  At some point in the 90’s she began her second  joyful career in the adult programming department at the  JCC , first under Michael Hyman, and returning to direct the department under the leadership of Rick Zakalik, after a brief medical hiatus.  She was a Centerland counselor in the 50’s and returned as art instructor, briefly, in the late 80s. 

She began her career as a ketubah artist in the mid 80s, her first upon request by Rabbi Dr. Mitchell Parker, and since then, has created and exhibited custom artwork and papercuts for clients across the country and the globe.  In 2010 she was invited by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami to design a custom piece for Dr. Steven L. Covey (z”l) based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and, when the Benderson building underwent its renovation, she was asked to design a feature for a glass wall divider on the second floor.

Post retirement, Karla was enjoying playing mahj and canasta and got back into the volunteer biz by knitting caps and blankies for premature newborns at Oishei hospital.  She deeply loved her family and  this Jewish community and was making new friends up until the end.

Karla would have celebrated her 67th wedding anniversary with her husband Louis on August 26, 2023.  She is the mother of Cindi (late John) Mikulik, Susan (late Dr. Alan) Forrest, and Marci Wiseman, and the very proud grandparent of Elianna Mikulik,  Ayelet and Liat Forrest.



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