Posted on March 1, 2011
If you’ve ever wondered whether there were Jews in Scotland, you need only ask Temple member Phyllis Postman who is proof there were…and there still are. In the 1960’s Jews in Glasgow, Scotland numbered 15,000 and now that mighty small number has dwindled to fewer than 6,000. So how did Phyllis, born and raised in Scotland as an Orthodox Jew, end up here in the United States and as a member of Temple Beth David? It has everything to do with a man she met in Scotland on a blind date. Though born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Bob Postman had been transferred to Prestwick, Scotland as a Supply Officer for the Air Force base. It was there he would steal Phyllis’ heart, they’d get married, and soon after be transferred to Missouri for Bob’s next assignment as a Missile Officer. Now 45 years later they have many fond memories to share about places they’ve lived, the children they raised, their career paths and much more.
Phyllis was an only child of divorced parents and at times raised by her grandparents. Her father was a mill worker and her mom a seamstress, yet by age 16 Phyllis had to help make ends meet so she dropped out of school to work. Eventually she went to secretarial college and has since handled much of the secretarial work for Bob’s clinical psychology practice.
Bob and his sister were raised as Reform Jews celebrating the holidays with family. His mom was a Temple secretary most of her career and his dad the owner of a continental restaurant in New York. While earning a degree in Business Administration from Syracuse University, Bob joined Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) fraternity and also the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). After college, he began serving a three year obligation in the military. Originally he was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, until being transferred to the base in Europe – Prestwick, Scotland specifically. When the Air Force Base there was set to close Bob and Phyllis wed and came to the United States in 1966.
Though his military obligation was completed, Bob signed on for an additional year to readjust to the U.S. However, when his orders came through, they were for a three year commitment as a Missile Officer in Missouri. With Phyllis pregnant with their first of two children, Bob thought it would be good to take some child psychology courses at Central Missouri State University. With the encouragement and assistance of the Department Head, he went on to earn a Masters Degree in Psychology. From there they moved to Vancouver, Canada where Bob took a position as a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Phyllis felt more at home there with the British influence. After a two year stay and the birth of their daughter, they returned to the states where Bob completed his Doctorate at the California School of Professional Psychology and soon after began his private practice, worked in a psychiatric hospital, and taught various psychology courses. After 40 years in the field, he now works one day a week in his Claremont based private practice.
Their daughter, Michelle, is married and lives 90-miles north of the California/Oregon border in McKinleyville. She works in Humboldt County helping the indigent get sorely needed nutritional assistance. Their son, David, unfortunately passed away 25 years ago and is remembered daily.
Among their travels, the couple has vacationed in China, the Panama Canal, Australia, Egypt, and Israel. Phyllis loves reading, working on the computer, and scrapbooking. She says she drives Bob crazy – yet confesses that really isn’t a hobby! And, she enjoys baking and cooking such things as scones and matzah ball soup. Bob likes boating (and thanks Phyllis for putting up with it for 25 years!). Before selling their boat they mostly explored the California coast. The two are on an American Cancer Society Relay For Life team with other congregants. They also devote time to Temple Beth David which they joined in 2001. Bob is in charge of food for Brotherhood events. Phyllis is the historian for Sisterhood.
Amid their many homes across the globe, we are thankful they settled in Orange County, CA and at Temple Beth David. They especially enjoy the camaraderie among congregants and within their Havurah.