Posted on April 3, 2013
Recently, we had a speaker at temple who addressed the topic “Why do Jews excel in life?” One factor cited was the positive impact a strong family unit has on one’s ability to succeed. Such is the case for the Korn family,
temple members since 2004. Jerrold, Ellen, and daughter Marissa continue to make their mark at our temple and in the community living with the values their own parents and grandparents handed down to them.
Ellen was recently named Teacher of the Year at the Westminster’s Eastwood Elementary School where she stands out as a leader who attends teacher trainings, presents workshops, is involved in the PTA, and has taught for 21 years (16 at Eastwood). Last year, Jerrold was bestowed the temple’s Brotherhood “Man of the Year” award for his tireless longtime dedication on their Board as chair of Ways & Means, Publicity, and VP of Membership. He is credited with initiating the group’s annual poker tournament. Marissa excels academically, artistically, within Girl Scouts, and socially. She is proud to be Jewish, has a deep love for animals, and is wonderful with babies and toddlers.
Before making his way to the states, Ellen’s Romanian father was born in Cuba where he enjoyed the vibrant Jewish community and the way his mom would blend Yiddish and Spanish to make her own unique language! Ellen’s Polish grandparents immigrated to New York where Ellen’s mom was raised, married, and had three children – she and her two older brothers. When Ellen was 5, the family moved to California, joined a Conservative synagogue, and kept kosher. Ellen went to Hebrew school, had a Bat Mitzvah, and enjoyed B’nai Brith Girls (BBGs) and Shabbaton-like weekends at Hess Kramer/Hill Top in Malibu. While in high school, Ellen worked at a preschool which fueled her passion to become a school teacher. She earned a Liberal Arts degree and teacher credential from Cal State University, Fullerton.
Jerrold was a first generation southern Californian. His grandparents were from Russia, Poland, and New York and his parents were from Chicago where they first met at a dance. Yet, it was in California where his parents reunited, married, settled down and had their only child, Jerrold. After the passing of his dad at a very young age, Jerrold and his mom moved to Fountain Valley. Raised a Conservative Jew, Jerrold went to Hebrew school, had a Bar Mitzvah, and was involved in USY (Jewish youth group). He also enjoyed swimming and model trains. With a Business degree from Arizona State University, he did sports PR for the Rams, Angels, and the University of Houston before going into hardware sales and currently the electrical distribution industry. Since his mom was the youngest of 9 siblings, Jerrold learned quickly that, “If you don’t speak up you don’t get nothin’” This explains his spirited demeanor and success in sales.
After meeting at a couple Jewish events, it was Ellen who asked Jerrold to join her for a concert. Due to the ’92 riots, the concert was postponed and by the time rescheduled the two were already engaged. They fondly recall talking on the phone for hours and hours soon after meeting and each quickly knew they had found their bershert. This summer the happy couple will celebrate their 20th anniversary.
The family learned of Temple Beth David from longtime member Laurel Jarrick. More important to the Korns than whether it was Conservative or Reform was to keep the tradition of attending temple going – which they do so often. It helped the temple was close by and the pre-school top quality. They say, “The temple is now our extended family,” and are happy to be in a wonderful Chavurah. Of all the accolades, they especially appreciate how people truly care how you are doing.
The dog-loving family (they just got a new Labrador) will go on their first-ever cruise this year and someday plans to go to Israel and retire in either Palm Springs or Phoenix. How lucky we are that they add to the Temple’s family tree by planting deep roots into our community.