Charles and Debby began their lifelong commitment to the Stephen Wise Temple community when they made a contribution at the meeting of the first 100 families in the basement of St. Alban’s Church in Westwood. They had recently been married by Rabbi Zeldin at Temple Emanuel.
Charles had come to Los Angeles from Cincinnati after enlisting in the Navy during WWII. He was still a cadet, expecting to invade Japan when the first atomic bombs were dropped. Instead he was a reserve Naval Officer and engineer who took part in the early technical development of television. At the same time Debby and her family came to Burbank from Winnipeg, Canada.
Debby and Charles met at a Temple Emanuel singles’ event sponsored by Rabbi Zeldin, who they followed to Wise. Debby was on her career path at CBS radio in Hollywood where she became Director of Public Affairs before pivoting careers to produce TV and radio programs for the UAHC (now the Union for Reform Judaism). She then spent 17 years as Regional Director for ARZA, a thriving organization supporting Reform Judaism in Israel.
Their son David became Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Zeldin and Cantor Lam officiating. He is now with the IBM Watson Research Labs in New York.
The family has led an active and involved life with Wise, from young couple activities to young parent activities to empty-nester activities, from Purim Carnivals to Hebrew Classes, and more. One of Debby’s fondest memories was producing the “Farblonget Follies” a musical variety show with Les Sirlow and Bob Kadner as General Manager. That show featured the talent of many Stephen Wise Temple members and formed bonds of friendship that last till this day.
Charles served as Chief Engineer at Bendix Pacific Corporation and later worked with Hughes Aircraft. To this day, only a few of his achievements can be talked about publicly. He took part in the “Space Wars” studies that many credit with the downfall of the Soviet Union. When GM bought Hughes in the 80s, he led the program to introduce spacecraft computer simulation to the engineering of new cars. When he retired as Chief Scientist he founded his own company to pursue one of his inventions.
Debby joined the Board and became co-President of the LA Chapter of AICF (America-Israel Culture Foundation), brought to prominence by Isaac Stern. AICF provides scholarships to any Israeli citizen, Arab or Jew, in the arts, especially music. Notable recipients include Yefim Bronfman and Pincus Zuckerman. It was her great pleasure to be able to work with so many young, beautiful, and talented recipients who came to LA for fundraising events.
Charles continues to do research on the risk to our power grids and convinced Councilman Paul Koretz to sponsor a motion to study the issue. He also joined the Boards of two local neighborhood associations and supported Debby’s AICF work as newsletter photographer and compositor. He also expanded his ballroom dancing to include exhibitions which may be seen on YouTube!
Along with their two professional careers and public service, both remain as dedicated to Stephen Wise Temple as they were in St. Alban’s basement in 1962.