Posted on January 2, 2015
Amid our special congregation at Temple Beth David are members Jack and Gina Rosenthal who joined back in 1987. They both grew up in Chicago with a memorable Jewish upbringing that included going to religious school. Jack was Bar Mitzvahed. (In those days, even the Reform movement didn’t include girls going through the ritual, Gina explained.) Among her favorite Jewish memories, Gina fondly recalls her aunt’s hospitality and really good cooking of many Jewish delicacies. Also, growing up in a Jewish neighborhood meant school was closed on many of the Jewish holidays.
Getting a good education was important to both Jack and Gina. Jack earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Indiana Institute of Technology (IIT) and his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. Gina’s undergraduate degree was in Medical Dietetics from University of Illinois and her Master’s degree, from Northern Illinois University, was in Nutritional Science.
It was Gina’s aunt and Jack’s mother who knew one another and felt the two would be a good match. They were right! After a two year courtship that began with an outdoor concert, Jack and Gina wed, had two children, and soon after decided to leave the cold weather and move to Southern California where their family could live a more outdoors life. Their daughter Melissa is now a Doctor specializing in nephrology (kidney care) and their son Marcus is an entrepreneur running a start up. Melissa and her husband have two children and Jack and Gina thoroughly love being grandparents.
Amid their hobbies, and especially now that Gina is retired from a longtime rewarding career as a registered dietician at Kaiser Permanente, the young-at-heart couple spends even more time enjoying the outdoors. They especially love to bike ride along the coast and Jack is a docent at Bolsa Chica Wetlands. They read best sellers and are committed to wellness and eating right. They both have very creative sides, as well. Gina designs and sells beautiful jewelry calling her business “Beadazzled by Gina.” What some may not know is that she also loves to dance having her 15-minutes of fame (actually more) dancing alongside the Kaiser float (dressed up as Cat in the Hat) during the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena. (Her Chavurah friends can also attest she did a mighty fine job of being back up dancer at a recent Chavurah “karaoke” event while her husband sang a rock song.) What some also may not know is that Jack is quite the painter (primarily using acrylics) to recreate breathtaking landscapes. He also enjoys playing poker. With retirement from Honeywell as a Chief Engineer soon on the horizon, he also finds time to volunteer with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program grades K through 12.
Recently, the couple took a very special trip to Israel with Gina’s three adult cousins. A highlight was going to Masada and hearing the story of bravery that took place there so many years ago. While Gina had been there before, it was Jack’s first trip to Israel – making the journey all the more special.
Their journey, since becoming members at Temple Beth David, has also been very meaningful. What began with finding a good religious school for their children has expanded to now being members of two active Chavurahs – one (Chai Lifers) for 15 years and the other they joined this past year. As a result, they’ve made many dear friends. While Jack used to love playing basketball, golf, and tennis, now his big social outlet is being involved with the Brotherhood’s monthly discussion group of current events. He also is happy to serve as usher for yearly High Holy Day services. Gina enjoys participating in the Temple’s holiday boutiques, does the calligraphy on the yearly consecration certificates, and later this month, on January 20, will be the featured speaker for the Temple’s Club 55 group. Her topic: “Healthy Eating – How to eat better, live longer, and enjoy the food you eat.”
While this column spotlights members as a way to help congregants get to know one another, I will never forget one introduction that relates to this story. We had just brought our adopted baby daughter home for the first time. The date was September 3, during High Holy Days. Though we couldn’t bring her out in public yet, I decided to drive by the beach where Tashlich service was about to start with the hope of introducing our newest congregant to at least one member who might be arriving to the beach at that exact brief moment. There stood Gina. Her peaceful sweet disposition with loving smile was the perfect welcome to Temple Beth David for our daughter. It’s a moment like this, and people like sweet and caring Jack and Gina Rosenthal, that makes Temple Beth David so special.