Posted on October 3, 2013
One of the many wonderful things about Temple Beth David is how easy it is for members to volunteer their talents for anything they would like to do that contributes towards a better TBD
experience. This month’s member spotlight, Don and Gloria Schwartz, are a couple who through their talents and contributions make TBD an even more enjoyable and meaningful temple.
“All you have to do is want to do, and then you do,” says Gloria. “All you need is the desire to do… and there’s room for everybody!”
Helping out is Gloria’s daily credo. She says that as a Jew she feels that the most important thing we can do is to help each other. Among the many things she does or has done for the temple is setting up the welcoming table near the sanctuary doors for Shabbat services, creating the photo displays that you see in the lobby through the pictures she’s taken of members at TBD events, driving congregants to and from Shabbat services who are in need of assistance, and creating the beautiful onegs for every Tot Shabbat. She also helps watch little children so that their parents can take a little break!
Gloria is a proponent and practitioner of the Jewish idea of “hiddur” mitzvah, which means that when you perform a mitzvah you do it extra special, extra meaningful, extra beautiful. “Running after mitzvot” is how she describes herself and the mitzvot she performs at TBD certainly take on that of hiddur mitzvah for which we are all the beneficiaries.
Don’s lectures at TBD are one the most successful events the temple has each year. A history professor (now retired) from Cal State Long Beach, his talks have included, “Jews and the American Presidency,” “Abraham Lincoln – The First Jewish President?, “ and “Jews and Baseball.” A terrific lecturer, he’ll be speaking in November on the topic, “Jews and Comic Book Superheroes.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, Don earned his BA from City College of New York, his MA from Indiana University, and his doctorate from NYU–all degrees in History. Gloria was also born and raised in the Bronx and graduated from Fordham University with a BA degree in Theatre. The couple had a good life in New York but one day Don saw an ad for a History Professor position at Cal State University Long Beach. The couple came out to California to interview and decided to make the move. They did not want to go through another east coast winter!
Don taught at CSULB from 1987 until his retirement in 2010. His area of specialty was 19th and 20th Century European history. He established the first Holocaust Studies program at the university for which he is very proud of accomplishing. He also oversaw the training of history teachers which he enjoyed very much.
Gloria became a Jew by Choice when in 1987, sensing that she wanted to learn more about Judaism, Rabbi Michael Mayersohn approached her about her Jewish identity and the possibility of conversion. Those words changed Gloria’s life forever! She went on to convert and in 2001 had a Bat Mitzvah at TBD.
Since retiring, Don has been busy giving lectures on historical topics in the Long Beach and Orange County communities and starting in October for 8 weeks, he will be giving a lecture series on World War II each Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The lecture series will be held at Temple Beth David and TBD members who want to attend will receive a discount off of the registration fee (contact the office for more info).
The couple has two grown children. Jesse heads up the Sales Division for a start up company called Encoding.com and several times a month also plays at a piano bar. What is noteworthy about his playing is that he plays entirely by ear very sophisticated pieces–no sheet music at all!
Their daughter Julie recently was the sideline reporter for MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) covering the Washington Nationals baseball team. She now can be seen as a TV correspondent on KCAL 9’s program OK! TV–a magazine type show covering film, music, TV, fashion, and gossip.
Don and Gloria are such wonderful and good-hearted people, and are but just one of the many reasons why Temple Beth David is the place to be!.