Posted on April 1, 2011
The famous musical group, the Beach Boys, who sang “Be True to Your School” would probably agree that Eileen Tobey was the epitome of that lyric. She’s actively involved in her Los Alamitos High School Alumnae group, enthusiastically attends the high school’s homecoming football game annually, and helps plan her class reunions. Yet her high school is not the only thing she is true to; she’s one of the truest friends and members of Temple Beth David. She has served on the Board for 10 years as Chair of Membership, Adult Education, and currently Programs. She’s also very dedicated to the Sisterhood where she served as President for several years, head of Ways and Means, and now handles Onegs.
The company Verizon also knows of her loyalty. She has worked there for 32 years, 17 ½ of it with perfect attendance! As a result she’s earned six service awards in her roles as administrative clerk for their Universal Lifeline program (which assists customers needing less expensive phone rates) and operator. It’s clear she has put her Associate Arts Degree in Secretarial Studies from Cypress College to great use.
Eileen grew up in Los Angeles, Baldwin Hills, and Long Beach and was raised by first generation Americans; her grandparents were Russian. Her dad worked for the airlines and her mom for an uncle who owned Time Square Deli in Long Beach. Though her brother was Bar Mitzvahed in a conservative Jewish synagogue at age 13, Eileen waited until age 46 to experience that special ceremony saying it was “just the right time to do it.”
While Judaism has become even more special to her as an adult, Eileen does recall fondly how her parents invited their Catholic friends to every Passover. Having a great grandfather on her dad’s side a Cantor, it’s no surprise that Eileen treasures the singing at Temple Beth David…Hashkiveinu and Ma Tovu are just two of her favorite prayerful melodies. The sense of community and camaraderie within the membership also are music to her ears. She says it makes her feel so good to be part of something so special.
Aside from her spiritual pursuits and volunteer commitments, Eileen loves bowling (recently she played in a tournament) and doing crafts – from needle point, crochet, and cross stitching to knitting and toll painting. She also loves to bake, placing first at the Orange County Fair for her famous Cheesecake. The chocolate lover also makes yummy fudge brownies and mandel bread. She’s traveled a little bit –to New York to visit family and a couple of cruises. And, she’s a true fan of the soap operas General Hospital and Days of Our Life – and the TV show NCI starring one of her favorite actors, Mark Harmon. While she no longer does them, she remembers fondly her many years of snow skiing and playing tennis and volleyball.
So, if the Beach Boys had decided to pay tribute to Eileen, the rest of the lyrics would have been… “Be true to your synagogue, be true to your artistic talents, and be true to yourself.” Eileen definitely is all of this and so much more. We’re thankful to have her as one of our caring members at Temple Beth David.