Arlene O. Smolar, a regional director for B'nai B'rith, was killed Sunday in an automobile accident near Wilmington, Del. She was 58 and had homes in Pikesville and Philadelphia.
She had been active in B'nai B'rith nearly 40 years. At the time of her death, she was executive director of District Three, which includes Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Founded in 1843, B'nai B'rith is a Jewish fraternal organization that emphasizes community service. With programs worldwide, it assists the elderly and the needy, endows hospitals, participates in disaster relief, defends human rights and fights discrimination.
Mrs. Smolar was described by colleagues as having an easy charm and a commitment to the Jewish people that inspired affection and respect.
"Arlene was the best of the best. She was creative, committed, energetic -- a pure pleasure. Her death is a devastating loss," said Tommy Baer, president of B'nai B'rith International.
"Arlene embodied the essence of the B'nai B'rith professional," said Dr. Sidney Clearfield, the organization's vice president. "More than that, she was a mensch. She was beloved and her death leaves a void that cannot be filled."
Said Robert Brandt, district president: "Those of us who had the opportunity of working with her knew of her love and absolute devotion to the organization. Her amazing creative mind, coupled with her desire to get the job done and done right, was a source of admiration and strength to all."
Robin B. Rothenberg of Philadelphia described her mother as "tremendously generous and wise -- a person who always had a vision. These things were sacred to her -- her Judaism, music, home, family, friends and children."
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., the former Arlene Ostrow became involved with B'nai B'rith as a student at Brooklyn College. She was active in the group's Hillel Foundation and graduated in 1958 with degrees in education and music. She earned a master's degree in Jewish studies from Baltimore Hebrew College.
While teaching music in New York City public schools, she was music director of Cap B'nai B'rith in Pennsylvania during summers.
In 1960, Mrs. Smolar moved to Worcester, Mass., where she taught music and Braille to blind students until moving to Baltimore in 1965. She taught music at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation until joining B'nai B'rith full time in 1981 as regional director for Baltimore-Washington. She was promoted to District Three director in 1992.
Services were held yesterday .
She is also survived by a son, David J. Smolar of College Park; another daughter, Laura S. Smolar of Baltimore; and her mother, Sarah Ostrow of Philadelphia.