Posted on March 6, 2013
In 2008, Andrew and Diana were looking to join a temple that offered an excellent day care program for their son Sasha when temple member Adina Metz, a co-worker of Andrew’s, suggested they attend a service at TBD. They loved the service, were very impressed with the ECLC program, and since then have enjoyed their relationship with TBD very much.
Andrew grew up in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and after deciding he wanted to pursue his passion of working in the film industry right away, left college and landed a job as an assistant cameraman in the Pittsburgh area. After six years, he moved on to North Carolina where he had the opportunity to work on more movies but knew he wanted to return to school so in 1998 enrolled in a Master’s program of Cinematography at AFI (American Film Institute) in Los Angeles. After completing the program, he worked at a PBS station in Virginia Beach for 2 years before returning to California to be with Diana.
Diana was born in North Platte, Nebraska and at the age of six her family moved to California and settled in Long Beach. She attended Wilson High School and went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in History from Cal State University Long Beach. She became an elementary school teacher for the Long Beach Unified School District and several years later earned a Master Degree in Education from the University of La Verne.
The two met in a very 21st century way — in an online chat room and it wasn’t until 1 ½ years later when they saw each other for the first time. They were married in 2003 by Rabbi Mark Miller at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach. Diana, who was raised Catholic, went through a conversion process under the tutelage of Rabbi Miller before they married. The couple now lives in Cypress with their one child, Sasha.
Andrew is the Audio / Visual Creative Supervisor at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. The way he describes his position is that he is responsible for all presentations that are shown on screen. He produces the films with his staff, and he is proud to say that almost all of the productions that are made are done so in house with very little outsourcing necessary.
Diana started teaching in 1989 and since 1994 has worked at the same school, Emerson Parkside Academy in Long Beach. She teaches a PALS (Primary Accelerated Learning Services) class designed for children who demonstrate the need for a more rigorous curriculum at an accelerated pace. Of her job Diana says, “I love finding ways to get the curriculum to the children through music, art, reading, writing, and literature.
Andrew sits on the Board at Temple and serves as Vice President of Education. His first two years on the Board was as Social Action Chairman. He also volunteers his time occasionally videotaping events for the temple. They belong to a Havurah for families with young children which they enjoy very much and Sasha attends kindergarten at the school.
In what Andrew describes as the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done but also one of the most difficult experiences too, the couple adopted Sasha from Moscow, Russia. The whole adoption process for couples between the United States and Russia was fraught with politics at the time which resulted in significant delays for adoptions to become final. The experience has been amazing for them since, as Andrew says, “I was adopted myself so it’s pretty incredible to give that back to somebody again.”
Always a bookworm, Andrew is now an even more voracious reader and credits his Kindle for much of that. He also loves music very much and recalls with fondness how in his earlier years he was a “deadhead” who followed the band “The Grateful Dead” at concerts for over a year driving his VW Bug from campground to campground. Diana loves to sing and finds her class the perfect outlet for her talent.
With their busy lives, Andrew and Diana are very thankful that a place like TBD is there for them and for Sasha.