Posted on July 5, 2012
In honor of our temple’s 50th year, we continue to feature some of TBD’s first presidents. Howard Spielman was a Temple President and Diane was a Sisterhood President.
Howard was born in the Bronx, New York, yet by age four moved with his family to southern California to give relief to his dad who suffered from bad asthma. Thanks to his mom’s marvelous Jewish cooking and the Jewish neighborhoods where his family resided, Howard was raised more as a “gastronomical” and “environmental” Jew, he says. Back in 1973, since the majority of the TBD’s leadership had never been Bar/Bat Mitzvahed, not even Rabbi Front, nine of the members – Rabbi and Howard included – went through a communal B’nai Mitzvah after studying under beloved Harry Newman. Howard then became even more engaged in living and leading Jewishly. The ceremony took place during the very first service ever held in the new building at Temple Beth David.
Diane was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father was Catholic and her mom Jewish. Up until the time her parents divorced she had been raised in her father’s faith yet her mom kept her out of school at the start of Rosh Hashanah as a little way of respecting her own faith amid a tough situation. When Diane entered her teen years, she, her mom and one sister moved to southern California where one sister already lived.
The couple met through South West B’nai Brith Young Adults (SWBBYA) and two years later married in a small Jewish wedding. That was 55 years ago! They live by some basic tenants: Don’t sweat things that aren’t important. Just enjoy life – the people, yourself. Never go to bed angry. And, always kiss hello and goodbye. After listening to them playfully banter, another creed it’s obvious they live by is: Let your sense of humor laugh! Howard says Diane is a wonderful mom affecting the whole family with an awful lot of love. Diane especially admires Howard’s work ethic and loving care.
Diane initially worked for a bank, did the books for a chiropractor, was an executive secretary at Hughes Aircraft, and ultimately became co-owner of (and has since retired from) the business she and Howard established back in 1970 called Health Science Associates which provides such services as training and expert witness work in the areas of occupational and environmental health and safety.
With a degree in Public Health from UCLA in hand, Howard was immediately hired by the LA City Health Department to do preventative disease control work. After a year he was called to active duty in the Air Force and served as 2nd Lieutenant. By then, he and Diane were already married. They were stationed in Texas, Florida, and Alabama. Howard did some pilot training and Diane was very active in the USO. In Alabama, Howard was a medical service administrator at the U.S. Air Force Hospital. It was in Alabama the Spielmans experienced a great deal of segregation and anti-Semitism. In contrast, they experienced one of their greatest joys…having their first child, Debbie. Upon returning to southern California, they had their second daughter, Hallie. Howard returned to his original employer in the hygiene division, went on to work Northrop Corp. as their very first-ever industrial hygienist, did corporate management in environmental health and safety for Hughes, and then began with Diane their own company – where both their daughter Hallie and son-in-law Joel now work.
The Spielmans love the music and friends at TBD. They also enjoy spending time with family which includes two son-in-laws (the best anyone could ever want, they say) and 4 grandchildren. Howard volunteers for the California Industrial Hygiene Council (which he founded and served as president for nearly a decade), and is treasurer of a home owners association. Diane loves to cook. The couple enjoys cruising. Alaska, their 12th cruise, is this summer’s destination with the whole family (all 11) going.
The couple says it’s important in life to leave behind something that can be built upon. They continue to do so with Temple Beth David, their family, and business. For all this and more, so many people are grateful.