Temple Emanu El

Event Chairman Nat Rubinfeld, fifth from left, is flanked by honorees, from left, Ray Marks, Barney Meskin, Jerry Moss, Lois Bennett, Pearl Lipner and Sonny Siegel. (Courtesy photo / November 27, 2012)

No matter how well one has mastered the use of the English language, to properly communicate there are just times you have to resort to a word or phrase in Greek, Latin or Yiddish to really get your point across. A case in point would be in describing Burbank’s Temple Emanu El as a “haimish mishpocha.” Of course you could simply say the temple’s congregation serves as a “nurturing family,” but the description just becomes so much more vivid when you employ the Yiddish.

Abiding by their tenant that they are “many generations, but one family,” the temple clearly displayed that family caring by honoring eight of its most cherished congregants, all of whom are between the ages of 90 and 99, at their Glenoaks Boulevard social hall this past week.

Chaired by Nat Rubinfeld, coordinated by Tobi Lippman, and emceed by Martin Small and Peter Chernack, the event hosted over 150 temple members and friends to honor the octet of nonagenarians for their lifelong dedication to their families, faith and the temple.

The evening’s honored dignitaries included Barney Meskin, perhaps best-known in Burbank for his role facilitating adult support groups at the Joslyn Senior Center for the past 25 years; Ray Marks, a former commercial printer for the Los Angeles Times who also set type for every telephone directory in the United States; and Pearl Lipner, who is a recipient of the John Jewell Prize in journalism and recounts one of her more noteworthy life experiences as having had lunch with then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943.

Lauded for her dedication and commitment to the temple was the evening’s “most senior” honoree, 99-year-old Lillian Grodsky, a former social worker, has been creating textile art for the majority of her life, and is still volunteering as a docent at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Rounding out the list of the evening’s honorees were Seymour Waterman, Sonny Siegel, Lois Bennett and Jerry Moss who, in 1947, was among those responsible for the establishment of Temple Emanu El. As a founding member, Moss today serves as the chairman of the temple’s board.

Among the group who enjoyed the evening of music provided by Howard Levine and dinner by Gina Feeds Catering, were members of the event committee Rebecca Chernack, Stacy Schnaid, Ira Lippman, Alma Rubinfeld, Barbara Starkand, Robin Schwartz-Kapper, Sandy Murphy, Laura Snow, Rosalyn Feldman and Philleen Meskin.

DAVID LAURELL can be reached by e-mail dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.