Home is where the heart is — or where multiple generations of your family have left a mark.
The annual fundraiser at Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park will honor two multigenerational families, with a talk led by SiriusXM host, CNN broadcaster, author and columnist Michael Smerconish on May 21.
Aside from the famous local speaker, the evening focuses on families whose combined lineage with the congregation goes back almost as far as the synagogue’s founding: Ty and Marge Steinberg and Michael and Tammy Steinberg, and Marvin and Annette (z”l) Black and Mickey and Barbara Black.
Lana Dishler, who co-chaired the event, said these two families are being honored for their commitment and service to the congregation.
“These are two families that are multigenerational families. [The Black] family goes back 67 years, and [the Steinberg] family goes back 57 — our congregation is 159 years old,” she said. “They’re like the heart and soul of our congregation.”
The event includes a dinner before Smerconish speaks, followed by mentions of and gifts for the honorees. A dessert reception will conclude the evening.
The money raised will go toward congregation programming, Dishler said. She estimated 500 people will attend.
Dishler wants attendees to take away an understanding of what families mean to the congregation — and what the congregation has meant to them.
“And to further bolster all the good things that Congregation Adath Jeshurun is about,” she added, “because they do represent the best of us.”
About 500 families belong to the Conservative shul, Dishler said, and many of those include the Steinberg clan.
Many members of Ty and Marge Steinberg’s family remain active members at Adath Jeshurun after growing up there.
Ty Steinberg was a vice president of the congregation and chairman of the Endowments Committee. He and his son, Michael Steinberg, are members of the board of trustees.
Ty Steinberg’s daughter-in-law, Tammy Steinberg, is a past president of the congregation’s PTA. Both she and Marge Steinberg have been involved in many of the shul’s activities.
“AJ is my family — my second family,” Ty Steinberg said. “My whole family was raised at AJ.
“I led the morning minyan for 52 years every Wednesday — Wednesday was my day — until I got older and decided to sleep in the morning,” he laughed.
When they first joined Adath Jeshurun, Ty Steinberg said what convinced them to join was Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg — “who we fondly called Yaak,” he said.
He was Marge Steinberg’s confirmation teacher at Har Zion Temple before he switched to Adath Jeshurun in 1960. They became close, even going to Israel together.
Ty Steinberg said he refers to Adath Jeshurun as a “heimish synagogue — everybody likes everybody.”
“I’m very proud of my family,” he said. “AJ is an integral part of our lives.”
Since 1865, Adath Jeshurun has had only five rabbis take the pulpit. Ty Steinberg remembers “Rebbe Klein” — formally Rabbi Max D. Klein — from more than 50 years ago, who led the congregation from 1911 to 1960.
Mickey Black remembers him, too. His family includes five generations at Adath Jeshurun.
“There haven’t been that many rabbis,” he laughed. “We’ve known them all.
“Rebbe Klein married my parents, and I remember him. Yaakov Rosenberg came next, and he married Barbara and me. Seymour Rosenbloom married our children. And Rachel Kobrin is the newest rabbi.”
Maybe she’ll marry Mickey Black’s grandchildren, he joked.
Marvin and Annette Black contributed youth activities at Adath Jeshurun, and Annette Black also was the first female officer of the congregation and the first woman to sit on the bimah.
Their son, Mickey Black, grew up at the congregation, becoming a Bar Mitzvah, confirmed and married there. His wife, Barbara Black, was also a vice president of the congregation. Mickey Black is still on the board of trustees.
Mickey Black’s grandparents chose Adath Jeshurun in the 1930s for something that still plays a big part today in services.
“They interviewed other synagogues, but they loved Adath Jeshurun for the musicality,” Barbara Black recalled.
Mickey Black said the chorus and organ along with “articulate rabbis and a beautiful ark” create a majestic atmosphere during services, especially during the holidays.
“We’ve always felt it was a very warm congregation,” he said. “It was the center of our social life. It was the center of my parents’ social life. Our closest friends were members. So we really grew up together at AJ and raised our children, as did my parents. It’s been a touchstone for our family for good times and bad.”
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