Posted on April 1, 2015
It takes one to know one. They both are kind. They both have a deep love for Israel. And, they both know what it is like to find love again…with the second time around finding their beshert. So is
the beautiful lives of Yehuda and Mary Treiger, members of our temple since 2012.
Mary was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Much of her childhood, alongside her sister, was spent living by and enjoying the ocean. However, after her parents divorced when she was six, she and her sister did live for three years in a boarding school (solely for economic reasons) which was an hour’s bus ride away. There all the kids were like one big family who spent lots of time playing together. Coming home on the weekends was a joy for both them and their loving mom. Sadly her sister, a teacher, died at age 20 and then her mom passed early, too, by age 52.
An only child, Yehuda (called then by his English name “Edward”), was born in Philadelphia just like his mom. His dad was of Russian, Polish dissent. Yehuda grew up in Jewish neighborhoods, had a Bar Mitzvah, and they observed Jewish holidays. It was during junior high that Yehuda – who is in the Temple choir – first began to sing and dance. The truth be told, if you joined the school show, you didn’t have to go to Social Studies class. He continued performing in high school and also joined the Fencing team which won City and State Championships two years in a row. For college, he stayed close to home to be near to his mom since his dad had passed when he was only 14. Yet by age 18 he married, left college to pursue full time employment, and began a family (two boys and a girl).
Over the course of his life, Yehuda worked in many different occupations – often elevating to supervisor or manager. They included: medical x-ray tech, industrial radiographer, jet engine factory worker, raising turkeys (which he especially enjoyed the physicality of), work at the Navy Yard, and was owner/operator of a truck transporting hazardous materials. He retired three years ago after spending 23 years driving smaller vehicles to deliver packages. Mary, too, got her Class C license and helped drive big rigs. Her past jobs were as a bookkeeper and bank teller.
Yet much earlier in her life, by age 19, Mary had completed some coursework in psychiatry, got married, and had a daughter and twin sons. After 12 years, the marriage ended and six years later she met Yehuda in Israel while volunteering on the Moshav where he and his family lived after making aliyah. Moving to Israel was a dream come true for Yehuda, yet once there his wife felt the opposite. They lived on a Moshav Shitufi – where one could look down the mountain and see the Mediterranean. Living was independent and work communal. They ultimately divorced, yet Yehuda will never forget the 2 ½ years there. Once back in the states, he realized how special his friend Mary was. Eventually he went to Canada, proposed, they married, and are now celebrating 36 years of marriage. In the process, Mary converted to Judaism and they moved to Orange County to live closer to Yehuda’s son and his family.
Currently the Treigers are moving from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa while keeping involved with Temple Beth David. Yehuda is the incoming Brotherhood’s Historian, and currently sings in the choir and actively serves on the temple’s Membership Committee. They are in the “Clan Yehuda” Chavurah, attend many temple happenings, and serve as Shabbat greeters one Friday a month. The participatory music and warm congregation remind them so much of their temple back in New Jersey. They greatly admire our Rabbi and Cantor and the very dear friends they’ve easily made since joining.
Mary enjoys computer games and romance novels. Yehuda exercises daily, enjoys TV, and collects magnets, ducks, and pewter items. They also enjoy visiting family which includes three half-sisters for Mary and eight grandchildren between them. Mary’s kids still live in Canada. One son is a lawyer, another a pharmaceutical consultant writing for medical journals, and her daughter is in customer relations. Yehuda’s son who lives here owns a laser measurement service.
The couple especially enjoys one another. Yehuda appreciates that when he reaches for Mary, she is always there. She’s warm hearted, tender, and happy. Mary especially enjoys Yehuda’s sense of humor saying they laugh a lot together. She also likes how he keeps her organized and is so loving. While they live a very full life, including having travelled to all 50 states and most provinces in Canada, Mary hopes to take Yehuda to Italy to see all the historic sites. The Mayan ruins in Mexico is also on their bucket list.
A mantra they live by is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Mary adds, “We also look forward to every day.” Thanks to the kind of people they are, we at Temple Beth David very much look forward to seeing them often.