Forty-plus Years into Her PR Career, Sharla Feldscher Still Represents Philadelphia

Sharla Feldscher (Photo by Ed Savaria)

Sharla Feldscher never planned on entering public relations. She was a kindergarten teacher who, as she put it, “retired at 25” to have kids.

Those kids, daughters Amy and Hope, came in 1971 and ’74, respectively. But as they got a little older, mom got bored. The girls didn’t always need her anymore.

So, she started volunteering at Please Touch Museum in Center City. Feldscher had taken her kids there and always appreciated its interactive exhibits.

While volunteering, the young mom was placed in the museum’s PR department. To celebrate Please Touch’s move from Cherry Street to 21st Street, Feldscher planned a month-long event called Philadelphia Celebrates Children.

She got 100 organizations that had a similar mission as Please Touch to reach young families to participate. She convinced big media outlets, such as The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, to sponsor the event. Feldscher even organized a treasure hunt for kids at 12 different city museums.

After that, Feldscher started representing Sesame Place in Bucks County. Suddenly, Feldscher had two clients. She was a PR person.

This year, Feldscher is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her firm, Feldscher Horwitz Public Relations. Her partner is her daughter, Hope Horwitz.

“She’s a role model,” Horwitz said. “She just creates the most fun events.”

Feldscher grew up in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield neighborhood. And as the Philadelphia native’s reputation grew, she landed some of the city’s most high-profile clients. Those included the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Phillies, Mann Center, the Merriam Theater, Penn’s Landing, the Philly Pops, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Inquirer and the Daily News.

“When I represented the Free Library, I remembered going there with my mother. The Franklin Institute, I remembered going there on a class trip,” she said. “You name it — it was probably a part of my history.”

Feldscher was also a committed Jew who belonged to Congregation M’Kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, and her firm represented the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Jewish Family and Children’s Service.

Sharla Feldscher, right, with her daughter Hope Horwitz, left, at a Philly Pops event with Terre Blair Hamlisch, the wife of composer Marvin Hamlisch
(Courtesy of Feldscher Horwitz Public Relations)

But perhaps the hardest assignment of Feldscher’s career was handling PR for her synagogue. In 1994, the temple’s founding rabbi, Fred Neulander, hired a hitman to murder his wife, Carol Neulander.

“I was told it was the worst crisis in contemporary Judaism,” Feldscher said. “So, I felt a huge responsibility.”

Feldscher wrote statements to give consistent messages. She invited members of the media to press conferences. Whenever calls came in, they were sent to her. She had one goal throughout the ordeal: protect M’Kor Shalom’s families, and especially its children.

Carol Neulander was murdered in November 1994. Fred Neulander resigned in February 1995 and was convicted in 2002. In February 1995, the congregation had a meeting. Feldscher invited the Inquirer’s Nancy Phillips to attend. When Phillips walked in, Feldscher teared up.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening to people I cared about, that Carol was lost, that this synagogue that we’d been part of for so many years was having this terrible crisis,” she said.

But M’Kor Shalom survived. In July 2022, it united with another Cherry Hill synagogue, Temple Emanuel, to form Congregation Kol Ami. The united Reform community has more than 800 member households. Feldscher remains a member.

As she looks back over her career, she said, “What I feel most proud of is making people feel worthwhile.”

“While helping businesses and increasing attendance at different venues,” she adds.

Feldscher maintains a list of high-profile clients. The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope has been one for eight years. The musicians who had to leave the Philly Pops after its final season, 2022-’23, now call themselves No Name Pops, and they remain a client. The String Theory Schools and Bernie Robbins Jewelers are also in the network.

Horwitz joined up with her mom 10 years ago. She had worked on events for foundations, but she was in between jobs. The daughter had tried PR out of college, and her mother thought it might be a good time for her to get back into it. As a teen, Hope would accompany Feldscher to Sesame Place with a clipboard.

“I remember when I was 11. It was just fun. It wasn’t boring. You didn’t go to an office and sit down,” Horwitz said.

“It always came naturally to me. I always found it a lot of fun. I always say it was instilled in me,” the daughter added.

In 2022, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association gave Feldscher its community service award. Horwitz, as president, presented it to her.

“I cried the whole time,” the mother said.

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  1. Sharla is definately a great force for positive outcomes. I know she is a plus to our Alumni of Overbrook High School ‘63. She is loved by all.
    So good to see that she is being given such rave revues.


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