Congratulations to Marty & Shirley Levinson, recipients of the 13th annual Talmud Torah Award, honoring a congregant who has contributed significantly to the Temple by engaging thoughtfully in our adult education programs, presented on May 13, 2011.
Here you have two kids growing up in Brooklyn where to us the world was ALL Jewish — friends, neighbors, etc. Everyone we knew basically followed the same guidelines: ate no treif in the house, lit candles on Shabbat and only the boys were expected to be Bar Mitzvah.
For some reason, Marty was determined to be Bar Mitzvah, but paying for the schooling was difficult with a family of five and a house-painter father who was far from a steady income earner. So when the bills came in the mail, Marty just tore them up. He shared his secret with his zadie, who belonged to a Shul in Queens. Together they devised a plan where Marty, when he was prepared, would take three buses from Brooklyn, go to the Shul in Queens and have his Bar Mitzvah there. They lent him a jacket and a bunch of old men kvelled and ate herring, challah and schnaps. What more could you want? Not even his mother knew about this.
After college and law school, Marty became a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate General attorney, and his first post was in Shreveport, Louisiana, where their last name clearly defined them. Three years later, they made Miami their new home, and it wasn’t long before it was time for preschool and raising three children. During those years, Marty & Shirley participated in services and children’s activities, but never Torah Study. Several years later, Judy Bittel suggested attending Torah Study, which “we did and we do and will because it gives meaning to life!”
The Temple Beth Am community proudly honors Marty & Shirley Levinson on this well-deserved achievement!