Posted on June 5, 2012
As we continue to celebrate Temple Beth David’s 50th year anniversary, we now spotlight some of the people who have given their time and talents to serve as presidents of the temple.
This month’s feature spotlight is Jackie Hewitt, who served as president between the years 1987 and 1988.
Jackie was the first female president of the temple and presided at a very pivotal time in the history of TBD. It was during her tenure that the sanctuary was built and completed. Jackie has many fond memories of those days and one of those fond memories was when the Selichot services were held in the not-yet completed sanctuary when everyone sat with a candle, and as they looked straight up, all they saw were the twinkling stars! One sad memory, however, she says, was that Rabbi Front never did get to see the completion of the ark being built and dedicated, as he had just passed away.
Jackie was raised in Flint, Michigan in an Orthodox home and went to an Orthodox synagogue and attended religious school in that synagogue. The family moved to California in 1946 and lived in Hollywood. She went to Fairfax High School in the early 50’s and in those days, because the student body was predominantly Jewish, the school was closed 2 days Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, and during Passover she remembers everybody eating matzah in the cafeteria lunchroom! The family joined Temple Israel of Hollywood (there were no Orthodox synagogues within walking distance) because they had friends who were members there. Jackie had her confirmation at that temple at a time before girls commonly had Bat Mitzvahs.
She attended UCLA and earned degrees in Theatre Arts and Psychology. During her time there and shortly thereafter, she did a lot of children’s theatre which she absolutely loved because as she says, “the kids just idolize you and were so enthusiastic, it was so much fun.” Jackie became a commercial interior designer and worked in Los Angeles, but when her son Matthew was born, she needed to be with him more so
she became a realtor and was able to work out of the house. She also managed a realty office for several years but decided to go back to selling, and now 40 years later, is still active in the business with Prudential California Realty. She was recently honored with the Realtor for Life Membership Award from the California Association of Realtors Organization.
Jackie joined TBD in 1976 so Matthew could have a religious education and Bar Mitzvah. After 27 years of being a single mom, she met her husband, Don, who was the Equipment Manager for the Los Angeles/Anaheim Rams, and then the St. Louis Rams. Don passed away 5 years ago and she is once again alone, however, he left her with twin daughters and 2 more sons and she now has 11 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren along with her huge TBD adopted family.
Jackie has certainly put in her dues on the way to becoming president. When she first joined TBD, she was immediately put on the board and tapped to do publicity. She’s been Secretary of the Board, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Operations, and now runs the temple’s Sisterhood Gift Shop.
Jackie loves theatre, movies, knitting, football, reading, and watching Matthew’s Reality TV shows that he produces, and most of all, being with her children and grandchildren.
Jackie Hewitt’s contributions to Temple Beth David have been innumerable, and TBD would certainly not be the same place as we know it without them. Thank you!