Posted on December 1, 2010
One of the luckiest experiences in Mickey Lewin’s life was when she won $5,000 in the Arizona lottery. While the odds were low for her to win, I can tell you that the odds of temple members being lucky enough to be on the receiving end of Mickey’s sweetness is definitely good. She is a self professed happy person – rarely if ever giving into negative thinking and instead seeing the good in people!
Having grown up in an Orthodox Jewish family in New Orleans to a father who was originally from Poland that worked as a tailor and a dear mom who died when Mickey was just six years old, she learned early on how important it was to be friendly, caring, helpful, and also creative. As a child into her teens Mickey would help her dad prepare people for the annual Shriner’s carnival ball (Mardi gras) …he would act in the Yiddish plays and work on people’s costumes and she would do their makeup to ensure each year’s theme was carried out to the finest visual detail. To this day Mickey is very artsy from designing centerpieces for temple events to creating beautiful handmade greeting cards, floral displays and in the past cross stitching.
Yet her greatest passion she says is her husband Mel who she’s been married to for 57 years after just four blissful months of courting. His time in the Air Force during their 30-years as a military family led them to reside in such places as New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and up and down the coast of California. A testament to Mickey’s warmth is that she still enjoys friendships with people from all over the U.S. as a result. She also very much treasures her precious daughters (Debbie a fellow Temple member, and Sandy who resides in Texas) and their husbands and her three grandchildren. For many years the grandchildren fondly referred to Mickey and Mel’s home as “Camp Lewin” and loved visiting each summer. Family has always been her top priority and a great source of joy. Even as a child she understood this. Having lost her mom at such an early age, she was thankful to have what she called a “bonus mom” when her dad remarried.
While some join Temple and then join the Sisterhood, Mickey actually was a Sisterhood member for more than a decade and just in the last three years joined Temple Beth David. Her closest friends are fellow members and part of a Lunch Bunch who explore different restaurants every Friday. She herself is a very good friend to the temple. She co-chairs the Sisterhood donor committee, volunteers in the gift shop, co-coordinates the bake sale at the annual Chanukah carnival, bakes goodies for every 2nd Oneg of the month, and is known as a “duster-bee’’ keeping the temple gift shop tidy for shoppers. She herself loves to shop – Brighton is a favorite – yet she would rather give than receive as those touched by her kindness know only too well.
Temple is a place that has touched her deeply. She doesn’t miss an opportunity to hear her granddaughter Amy sing in the temple’s junior choir. Also bringing her joy is the Rabbi’s compassion. She’ll never forget the Rabbi’s calls and visits to comfort the family during difficult times – even during the hectic week of High Holy Days. The Rabbi’s words of comfort still remain embedded into Mickey’s memory.
It’s worth mentioning that Mickey – which is a nickname she has been called since childhood – loves Disneyland! She says the place is magical. It may be the same kind of magic that so many of us at Temple feel when Mickey is around us! I know first-hand her kindness. Soon after meeting her she learned that my mom had died many years ago. To that Mickey replied, well I’ll be your bonus mom…and now she is my new daughter’s bonus grandmother. Now how lucky am I? Very! And I didn’t even have to play the lottery!