In an effort to learn about one another, we have started a blog entitled, “Getting To Know You."
Drs. Joel Goldberg and Barbara Burroughs interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Our next interview is with our now immediate Past President and his wife. Click here to read more.
Cantor Mark and Deb Leopold interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Mark and Deb met at Temple Sinai at a High Holy Day service in 1976. Deb said that one of her friends was engaged to Mark’s older brother and she took Deb to Temple that day to supposedly meet her future family. Deb’s impression was that her friend was actually acting as a matchmaker! The rest, they say, is history.
Mark’s parents were founding members of Temple Sinai and they brought him to Temple as a 13 year old. He knew Hebrew prayers from Hebrew school and started singing at holiday and Shabbat services. He was the first member of the Temple youth group to attend a leadership conference in Boston at 14 years old. He said that Temple Sinai was a great place to be as a teenager.
Deb was born in Burlington and grew up in Lyndonville VT until she was 9 and then the family moved to Essex Junction because her Dad worked for IBM. She is the eldest of 6 children. Mark is the youngest of 3 siblings, and has lived in Burlington VT for 44 years. Both have also lived in the St. Albans and Georgia VT area together.
Mark attributes his happiness to Deb, who helped him survive his divorce to his first wife and separation from his two eldest children. He says that Deb has made him happier than he ever thought possible.
Eldest daughter and granddaughter are not in this photo
Both Mark and Deb have three children together and Mark has a son and daughter from his first marriage. The Leopold household is joyfully alive when all the grandchildren gather at their home.
Music figures prominently in both Deb and Mark’s lives. Deb says that her mother said she was singing before she could talk. Her father’s mother and sister were both singers and played the piano and she and her aunt use to sit at the old upright piano entertaining everyone at family gatherings. Picture 5 year old Deb belting out “It Had To Be You”! Deb started piano lessons at age 9 up through high school and did a couple of musicals in high school. She now sings in the Temple choir. Both Mark and Deb did a show at the Stowe Playhouse a number of years ago. Mark was on stage and Deb was the assistant stage manager.
Most of us know Mark as our cantor. When asked about his cantorial work at Temple Sinai, he gave some very thoughtful answers.
When you retire from being cantor, what is it that you would like to do instead?
Interesting question, I haven’t given this much thought. It might be nice to have a Friday night social life that is not centered around being at Temple and doing that at sundown, not after services. It would also be nice to feel free to not be at Temple 52 weeks a year, as well as holidays. My day job now is a bit arduous in that I commute and the day starts with a 5 AM wake-up to be at the office for 7:30. 8 hours computer work followed by the commute home arriving between 5:30 and 6. By Friday evening, I am exhausted! Many nights getting myself to go to Temple is a mental challenge. But once I am there I feel energized.
What do you like most about your cantorial role in our congregation?
When I arrive for services I am often the first person at Temple. My definition of on-time is 15 minutes early, and at Temple I tend to arrive 30 minutes before, to coordinate with a keyboardist or guitarists. Often I go alone without Deb so I find the Temple empty when I arrive. After a few minutes I find some inner peace, the space is conducive to that. When strangers arrive many come early and I get to greet them and this brings me much joy. While I am challenged in remembering names I never forget a face and enjoy welcoming them. I think I succeed in making newcomers comfortable from the moment of their arrival. When possible during their visit, I connect them with congregants that have common background, interests or geographic history. When these people or any others tell me that the worship was enhanced by the music, that is my greatest joy. Recently on NPR a famous heavy metal musician said in an interview that “music is emotion.” I agree, and when that emotion moves people, that is wonderful! No matter how tired I might be at 5:15 or 7:15 within minutes after a service begins, I am energized by the music and the congregants. I feel the energy reflected back to me. Whether they sing along or not, and I sense their engagement, it is immensely pleasant and joyous.
What would you tell the next cantor who takes over your role about our congregation?
If I had the time, I would make recordings of the various melodies we sing, available for easy access on our website and also use this site to introduce new melodies. Fifteen or twenty years ago we made a cassette tape and circulated 30 or 40 of these and this helped people learn the melodies. Few attend services regularly so it is hard for me to balance introducing new music and keeping the music familiar so that congregants feel at home when they do come. I have been told that some of what I sing is traditional solo music but at Sinai people join in. Not being formally trained, I have not been schooled in the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of the tradition for the prayers. When I find a melody I like for a prayer that feels like the mood I believe is appropriate for a particular service, I introduce it and hope others find it moving too.
The most grueling of cantorial preparation must be the High Holy Days. How do you prepare yourself for this marathon?
Before we had a choir or in years when we don’t, I rehearse the music alone or with the holiday keyboardist. For most of the last 40+ years that has been Wendy Valastro. For the roughly 16 hours of services I spend more than 30 hours reviewing the music and rehearsing. In addition, I do vocal exercise for the 4-6 weeks before trying to get 30 minutes minimum daily. For Fridays I try and do my exercises at least twice a week, but lately finding time to do this has become very challenging. When I lived in the St. Albans area and had a 35 minute drive to Temple, I often did my voice exercises during the commute. Deb would join me. For many years I had a voice coach and Deb shared the same coach so she would do many of the same vocal exercises.
What would you most like to be known for in your cantorial repertoire?
Not one particular piece but that I “made a joyful noise before the Lord” and encouraged others to let their own internal music come out and that this gave them satisfaction. When I have tutored a student for a b’nai mitzvah and they have previously thought that they could not sing, but do quite well, this is something I want to be known for. If I were to pick a piece of music, high on the list would be ADONAI ROI ( The twenty-third psalm) by Gerald Cohen. Lately I have sung it alone, but for many years Deb and I sang it in sections and part of it in harmony and this was memorable for me.
Professionally Deb owns her own massage therapy practice and Mark is a computer programmer and was an information systems manager.
Deb answered several questions about her massage therapy practice and how she got into that profession.
What first attracted you to massage therapy?
I've always been interested in healing/holistic wellness and complementary healing. I've had family members throughout most of my life with chronic conditions that were not well served by allopathic medicine. I always felt that there must be something else that could be done to relieve their pain. My mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1986 when she was just 50 years old. Her pain is what drove me to begin studying alternative healing through books. My daughter was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 13 years later and that really kicked my desire to learn more into high gear. A nurse friend of mine turned me onto Healing Touch and I began training in early 1999. I toyed with the idea of going back to college and then on to become a naturopathic doctor, but at 40+ years of age I had visions of receiving my medical degree in my walker!! My son-in-law, who is an orthopedic surgeon was actually very encouraging of this line of thought and said he felt I'd make an excellent doctor. He said that you're never too old to follow your dreams and that there was a man of 75 in his graduating medical class at UVM. I decided I really didn't want to spend years getting prepared to help people. Since I had already started down the path of "hands on" healing, massage school seemed like a natural choice. I've always been amazed at the benefits conferred by caring touch. I also had noticed that my kids were very rarely ill and hardly ever had to go to the doctor, other than well-baby visits. I think that was because I always massaged them as children. It was part of our daily bedtime ritual.
How long have you been doing massage therapy and where do you do it?
I have been a certified massage therapist since July 2001. I work from my home now. My first office was on S.Champlain Street in Burlington. My last office was at Severance Corners in Colchester. It was nice, but the area was getting a bit too noisy. I contemplated finding a different location. One day it occurred to me that I had a perfectly good room in our house and why not just work from home. So last December I moved my practice home and it's going great. My clients like it and my dog loves it. Rather than lose clients, I've actually gained clients! People seem to like the relaxed atmosphere of the home office and the personalized greeter, Sophie, our chihuahua. One of my gentlemen clients says she's like a massage therapy dog!
Do you work with other massage therapists? If so, how many are there of you?
I work alone. In 2000, I started doing "in room" massages for the Essex Resort to give me an opportunity to work with other therapists once in a while. Then when the resort decided to build a spa, I went to work there and worked with a lot of other therapists. It was fun, but after a while it was a mixed bag. When it was the busy season, you were often booked solid for days on end and when it wasn't busy, you sat home waiting to be called in and could not really plan to do anything. So, I got tired of that and decided to go back out on my own.
How long does it take to become a massage therapist?
That depends. Vermont is unlike most states in that there are no minimum training hours and there is no licensing. Theoretically, you could take a weekend course of say, 20 hours, and hang out a shingle as a massage therapist! That’s nuts! There are massage schools in the state with very thorough training programs. I chose to attend a program at Community College of Vermont in 2000. It was 2 years long. I drove to Montpelier every other weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), 3 semesters/year. I calculated the hours once and it was over 1200 hours of training. Most states require between 500-1000 hours of training. Fortunately, most people do take training seriously and go for more rather less.
Is there a certification process?
In Vermont therapists are certified by the school that they attend. There is no state licensing, as I mentioned. We can also opt to take a national certification test. I haven't done that because I don't believe that a written test really proves that you're a qualified massage therapist. I think possessing a state license or certificate gives consumers a false sense of security. I'd rather talk to them and have them ask questions, before the massage, and then get their feedback as to how they feel.That gives a truer sense of whether or not I'm qualified.
What do you enjoy most about the profession?
Oh, that's easy--the clients! I love my clients. Some of them have been with me since the beginning and were my ‘practice bodies’ when I was in school, so they've seen my evolution as a therapist. I love it when they get off the table and feel better. I enjoy feeling that I've helped make their lives better in some small way. I also appreciate that the field is always changing. At the end of the day, I don't believe it's about the bells and whistles and fancy techniques, it's about touching someone in a way so that they feel safe and cared for and when needed, comforted. When they feel safe, they can let their guard down and relax and when that happens, that's when the real healing occurs.
What are some of the challenges you face as a massage therapist?
I would say one of the biggest challenges I've faced is the tendency to try and "fix" someone. There they are, lying on your table and you’re massaging and the body just isn't relaxing or that muscle knot isn’t letting go. There is a strong urge to push harder or work the area longer and I've found that is the worst thing to do. If things aren't releasing, it's because the body just isn't ready. Despite what the client says about wanting more pressure, you really do need to back off, go massage somewhere else for a bit and then check back in to the "trouble" spot in a few minutes. Often, that tough spot magically has disappeared! I want massage to be affordable for more people, not just people with a lot of discretionary income. I don't consider massage a luxury. I consider it wellness/preventative care.
In their spare time both Deb & Mark enjoy reading. Mark likes historical fiction, mysteries and science fiction, while Deb enjoys books on body massage and yoga. She attends Pilate sessions and yoga at least twice a week. As far as hobbies go, Deb also likes to knit and crochet. She is currently learning to drum! In his spare time Mark likes to swim, cycle and garden a little bit.
When asked about activities that they would like to see the Temple try, Mark suggested dance and Tai Chi classes. While Deb suggested starting a Jewish meditation group or a chanting group.
The greatest influence on Deb’s life was her Mom who was raised on a farm on the Vermont-Canadian border and was the ninth child of ten. Deb teased her that she was the Queen of Make Do because she could make something out of nothing when it came to sewing. She was creative and extremely hard working.
There are two people in Mark’s life who had the greatest influence on him. The first, he said, was Deb who he credits with his present sense of well-being and happiness. The second was his Professor Harry Kahn, who taught Hebrew Scriptures at UVM and made him realize that he could find in Judaism all that he had been seeking in Buddhism.
Thank you Deb and Mark for helping us know you a little better and for sharing your lives with us.
Gene and Barbara Sklar interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
(Hover on photos for descriptions)
Gene grew up in Sunnyside NY in Queens and later in Oceanside NY, on Long Island. Barbara grew up in Burlington VT. So how did these two end up meeting, marrying and spending their lives together in beautiful Burlington VT? They met through Gene’s best friend in Burlington and went out on a blind date. Barbara’s father had work in Burlington and that is what brought the family to Burlington. Gene has lived here for 55 years and Barbara 70.
I knew that they enjoyed traveling around the world and asked them to share some stories and photos from their travels. Amongst their favorite trips were to both China and to Africa. Seeing the Masai warriors and the African safari in Kenya and Tanzania were memorable trips in Africa. Being dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Tanzania, where the airstrip workers had to wave a red blanket to rid the field of wildebeests, before the plane could land.
Serengeti Plain, in Tanzania, with the captain of the balloon ride, where they were served a champagne breakfast after they landed.
Three highlights In China were strolling in the vast Tiananmen Square, as well as walking along the Great Wall of China. A car bomb had exploded in front of Mao’s photo the day after they were there. A boat trip at night in Shanghai Harbor was also memorable.
The Statue of Liberty climb to the top is something that both Barbara and Gene remember. Barbara counted the steps as she ascended with her Grandfather Abe, counting the 268 steps. At another time, Gene remembers going to the top of the statue with his parents and looking out the small windows in the crown and thinking how dirty they were!
I asked them about their volunteer work, now that they are retired. Gene worked with Beth Pearce, our current Treasurer for the State of Vermont, on her campaign, and also manned phone banks for the Democratic Party. At Temple Sinai, Gene was a past president, and was Treasurer for many years. He served on several different committees, and now is on the Cemetery committee. At COTS he was assigned to a person with limited abilities, assisting her with all of her financial dealings. Barbara says she is “fully retired” but was very active on the recent 50th Jubilee committee for Temple Sinai, as was Gene. Barbara was involved with the Vietnamese Refugee Settlement program and was a mentor to a Vietnamese family with whom she still keeps in touch. One of the daughters is like a second daughter to Barbara.
Both Gene and Barbara joined Temple Sinai in September 1966. Barbara’s parents were two of the founding members.
Professionally Barbara was a second grade teacher in the Burlington school system and later was a reading specialist at Hunt Middle School after receiving a Master’s degree in reading from St. Michael’s College. Gene managed a company, Ladd Research Industries, involved in electron microscopy research and sales.
For hobbies, Gene loves gardening and taking care of the landscaping around their home. He also likes hiking and taking fall foliage drives in Vermont. He enjoys reading news both on the computer and in print, as well as books on travel politics and science fiction. Barbara likes to knit, play Bridge and other card games, Mah Jongg, solving crossword puzzles, reading books, such as historical fiction, travel and craft books. She makes latch hook kits and fleece blankets, as gifts. Barbara enjoys cooking and baking, especially chocolate desserts and her specialty, lemon bars!
Barbara and Gene have two adult children: David Sklar, who lives in St. Albans and Deborah Sklar who lives with her family outside of Modena, Italy.
Thank you Barbara and Gene for allowing us to get to know you better.
Barbra Marden interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Barbra, Doug, Emma, Eli & Natalie (Doug’s Mom)
Many of you have seen Barbra and her family at Temple and probably had some of the same questions that I had when first meeting her. It is unusual to have a native born African attending our services and I was intrigued by her. She has a lovely accent and an animated face which draws you in immediately. She is also a very open and friendly person.
We had lived in Ghana, West Africa and I knew instinctively that she was not from there. So I asked her, “Where are you from originally?”
Barbra was born Barbra Kasana near Kampala, the capital of UGANDA, which is located in east Africa (see maps below), surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC )to the west, Sudan to the northeast, Kenya to the east, Rwanda to the southwest, Tanzania to the southeast where beautiful Lake Victoria borders both Tanzania and Uganda. She is one of 9 siblings who now live all over the world, a brother and a sister in Uganda, 2 in Europe and 4 in Massachusetts. She grew up in Rubaga (sometimes spelled Lubaga), a suburb of Kampala. She grew up in a Christian home with many different influences including Catholicism and Born Again Christianity.
When asked about some of the differences between schooling in Uganda and schooling in the US, Barbra explained that schooling in Uganda is very severe, and the exams are tough. You have to be at a certain academic level to pass to another grade. Teachers had full control over the children at school and they were allowed to physically discipline the children in their charge.
Below is a map of the continent of Africa. Uganda is bordered by 5 other countries.
Barbara moved to Ancona, Italy in 1994 because she has family there and she wanted to go to school to become a travel agent, which she achieved. She eventually worked in a travel bureau there, where she booked and sold corporate airfares and student air fares. She lived in Italy for six years and is totally fluent in Italian. She taught herself Italian while living there.
Barbra and her children travel every summer to Chivasso in the Torino Province (northwest corner of Italy) where her sister now lives. Both of Barbra and Doug’s children, Eli and Emma, are bilingual in English and Italian, because for 8 months they went to a regular Italian public school and learned the language while attending that school. Barbra is trilingual and speaks Luganda (spoken by over 5 million people), Italian and English. Barbra enjoys sightseeing, drinking good wine, cooking and meeting people while she is visiting with her sister.
Barbra moved to the US in 2001 to attend Northeastern University in Boston to begin a Management Information Systems program. She studied and went to classes by day and at night was a health care aide in a nursing facility. It was in this facility that she met her future husband, Doug Marden, while caring for his father. She moved to Vermont and later began and completed a program in Business Administration. Presently Barbara is enrolled in a Master’s program in Public Administration, which she is doing part-time, while working full-time at Allscripts. She hopes to graduate in December 2017.
I asked Barbra what she does at Allscripts. “My current role is a support Technician. I troubleshoot and resolve client issues, related to the electronic medical record software we sell.” When asked what prepared her for this current position she said, “When I finished at UVM I interned at Allscripts and slowly made my way to where I am now.”
“When I was expecting Eli, we made a decision to join a Temple and bring up our children in the Jewish tradition. UVM gave me contact information for a rabbi, whom I called, which happened to be Rabbi Glazier.”
Barbra is presently in the process of converting to Judaism. She expects to complete the process very soon. She has lived in Burlington since 2003. Running and cooking are two hobbies that Barbra enjoys, in addition to working full time, studying for a Master’s degree, raising a family and studying in order to be able to convert to Judaism. She is an active member of our congregation and serves on the Board of the Temple as a Trustee.
Thank you, Barbra, for sharing your very interesting life story with us.
Dean & Linda Snider interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Where were you born?
Dean - Birmingham, AL
Linda – Ardmore, OK
Where did you grow up?
Dean - Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida
Linda – Ardmore & Tulsa, OK
Do you have any siblings? Younger? Older?
Dean - Two Sisters and one brother all younger
Linda – One younger brother
Who was the biggest influence on you growing up and why?
Dean – My grandparents were role models. My mother and I lived with my grandmother during WWII, while my father & maternal grandfather were both in the military. I also spent many summers with both sets of grandparents.
Linda – Paternal grandfather, Polish immigrant-peddled his way across the country in a wagon with anything that would fit on the wagon, and ended up in Oklahoma, opening a clothing store, family shoe store, and a founding member of a Reform Temple. His courage, honesty and religious values were inspirational.
Any interesting or humorous stories that you would like to relay about growing up in your family?
Dean - My Dad and I went fishing when we first moved to Hollywood, FL and forgot to bring any mosquito repellent. Luckily for us, Mom came to check on us about an hour later and we left quickly.
Linda –As an older sister I generally was more adventurous about trying new things. When my father bought a zip-sled (a floating device that you sit or lie on which is pulled behind a boat) my brother insisted on me going first. After figuring out the balance that was needed without falling off and being pulled faster, I really enjoyed it. My brother then said, “Darn, now I’ll have to do it!” (he was around 6 or 7 at the time)
Where did you go to school Grades 1-12?
Dean - Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, New Albany, IN, North Miami, FL
Linda – Ardmore & Tulsa, OK
Where did you go to college?
Dean - Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Linda – University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
What brought you to Burlington?
We chose Monkton because we wanted to live in the country, had family living in the Burlington area, and Vermont seemed like a great place to raise a child. We lived there for 20 years and then moved to Grand Isle in July 1994 and refurbished a camp.
Where did you and your wife, Linda, meet?
We met in New Orleans, LA at a criminal justice educational seminar
What did you do in your professional life?
Dean – 18 years as a professional firefighter, 18 years in juvenile corrections and 20 years in development
Linda –adult corrections, social worker, certified paralegal
What positions did you hold in your careers?
Dean – Fire Department, full time paid positions including chief of the department (chief directs all administrative and operational activities).
Juvenile Corrections, taught diving and marine skills, Operations Director, Executive Director & Regional Director
Development, Director of Development at Fanny Allen Hospital and Fletcher Allen, Principal Gifts Officer & Director of Major Gifts-School of Business- UVM
Linda – Program Director of half-way house for men discharged from prison, State Adult Parole Officer, Vocational Rehab Counselor, Director of Mexican-American Neighborhood Center and pre-school, paralegal for bankruptcy firm and Florida Supreme Court Mediation program, DCF social worker for foster and adoptive children that were abused or neglected.
What first attracted you and Linda to Temple Sinai?
We attended services several times while visiting family in the Burlington area, and found the members friendly and active.
What made you decide to buy a home in Corpus Christi TX, and live there in the winter and Grand Isle in the summer?
We planned to retire in both Corpus Christi and the Champlain Islands for a number of years. Linda has relatives in Corpus Christi and she has visited them and loved the beach all her life.
Do you belong to a Temple in Corpus Christi? If so, how would you compare the two Temples both in size and activities?
We also belong to Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) in Corpus Christi, Texas. Both Temple Sinai and CBI are similar in congregation size. The only Reform Temple and Conservative Synagogue in Corpus Christi merged four years ago to create CBI. CBI has more seniors in the congregation. They have more activities, are well organized and staffed with many active volunteers. One fund-raiser is a Jewish Food Festival which generates significant income, and is supported by the community at large. Nueces County is double the size of Chittenden County and this has an influence on the amount of activity and involvement. The music and choir at Temple Sinai is far superior. CBI “choir” consists of a husband that plays organ and wife that performs soprano old-style tunes. There is no Cantor and their folk-service is one guitar-player/singer.
What is the rhythm of your life like in Corpus and how does it differ from your life here in Vermont?
Very similar. We call it chasing 72 degrees year-round. We are active in both places in different ways. Linda is a member of an international social/service sorority in both cities (not college sorority). Linda is on the boards of Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) and the Jewish Community Center in Corpus Christi. She ran the 2nd night Passover Seder at CBI and is chair of the Social Action Committee there. She is a member of the League of Women Voters in Texas and has lobbied in Austin.
Linda also does volunteer work in South Hero for a senior program called CIDER (Champlain Island Developing Economic Resources).
Dean is assisting CBI in increasing the size of their endowment in preparation for future needs.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
We boat in both places, fishing, some golf, music festivals, spend time with family and friends, like to travel, theater, movies
Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they?
Dean – boating, fishing, golf, good wine & fresh seafood from the Gulf
Linda – reading, card-making, photography, politics
When you have time to read, what kinds of books interest you?
Dean – Often read more than two books a week year-round. Love historical fiction with excellent research and writing. Have read everything from Leon Uris to Diana Gabaldon. Our library consists of several thousand volumes.
Linda – mystery and crime themes, spirituality, self-help/psychology, and humor.
What kind of activities would you like to see at Temple Sinai?
We both like the Sunday morning lecture series that Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), that Corpus Christi offers. Similar to the Robert Alper program but usually educational. I believe they are monthly, September - May. Another program CBI offers is the New York City 92Y Jewish interest series. The next one is September 13th. They are Wednesday evenings. We connect through a laptop and project the program on a screen in one of the religious school classrooms or in the small chapel. After the program the Rabbi leads a discussion on the topic. We get 15-25 people normally for these programs. In both programs people are asked to bring snacks to share and CBI furnishes beverages. We get people from the community for many of these. I believe the Rabbi advertises through the ministerial group in Corpus Christi by Internet. We have a speakers fund that covers both programs that was created by individuals who were interested in adult education.
Thanks Dean and Linda for sharing your interesting and varied life story. We look forward each summer to seeing you in our Temple and sharing the High Holidays with you and your son, Aaron.
Andrew Orringer interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Andrew Orringer was born in New York City and later lived in New Rochelle NY. When he was 13, he and his family moved to Lake Placid. He has one sister, who lives in New York City, is married and has a 13 year old daughter. Andrew went to grade school in New Rochelle and attended Northwood School in Lake Placid. He later attended SUNY Plattsburgh. Andrew lived and worked as a Special Agent, of the US Secret Service, in Burlington in the early 90s. He and May met in San Francisco in 1998. He and his wife, May, moved back to Burlington in 2008. They had their daughter, Lucy, in 2012, who was born at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
I asked Andrew about his professional life as a Secret Service Agent, which sounds very interesting, and brings him in contact with challenging assignments around the world. He joined the Secret Service in 1983, before that he was a bartender and part-time ski coach in Lake Placid NY.
There are two branches of the Secret Service: Special Agents and Uniform Division Officers. Both branches work together to protect facilities like the White House and Vice President’s Residence. The Uniform Division Officers guard the White House and the Vice President’s Residence. The Special Agents also guard the President, Vice President and visiting dignitaries.
The Secret Service is a dual mission agency, which conducts major bank fraud and computer investigations, and protects the President, Vice President, former Presidents and visiting foreign Heads of State and government. The Secret Service coordinates the efforts of other agencies like the Transport Security Administration (TSA), US Park Police, The US Capitol Police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the US Department of State, and events like the 2002 winter Olympics, the opening of the UN General Assembly, the Presidential debates, the State of the Union speeches. The Secret Service also is the lead agency in major events in the US such as the Presidential Inaugurations, Democratic and Republican debates.
While in the Secret Service, Andrew was assigned to the Presidential Protective Division for President George W. Bush (43). He was also assigned to the Vice Presidential Protective Division for Vice Presidents, Quayle, Gore and Cheney. In addition he was a Department of Homeland Security Attaché at the US Embassy in Canada. With his assignments in the Secret Service, he travelled all over the world, including Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, the Arctic circle, Middle East, including Israel for the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the founding of the State. He was in the West Bank and the Palestinian Territories for the 2006 elections with Former President Carter, who served as an election monitor.
When asked what attracted him and May to Temple Sinai, he said, “I had belonged to the Temple when I first lived here in the early 1990s, and I liked the Temple and Rabbi Glazier. We want our daughter, Lucy, to identify with her Jewish roots and have her Bat Mitzvah there. We enjoy going to the events at the Temple and have made good friends there”.
Besides his professional life, Andrew enjoys playing golf, skiing and going to his daughter’s activities. For reading, he mostly enjoys books about politics and history. This is a good year for both!
For those thinking about a career in the Secret Service, I asked Andrew if there were any specific college courses that would prepare them for this profession. He said, “There are no college courses that prepare you for the Secret Service, the best thing to do is to get a college degree and some work experience either in the military or law enforcement fields”.
Thank you Andrew for sharing your life story with us and the next time you see Andrew and his family, perhaps you’ll have questions of your own.
Louise Stoll interviewed by Jan Zatzman Orlansky
Our first interview is with Louise Stoll, who moved here 11 years ago with her husband, Marc Monheimer of blessed memory.