Sometimes it is at the end of an interview that you get ‘the hook’ for the article you’re writing. So it was with the Levi interview when an “Oh, and by the way” comment, made as the interview ended, piqued my interest, and I hope yours as well.
We were talking about backgrounds and Patty mentioned that she converted from Church of Christ, Scientist to Judaism, after attending an Introductory class on Judaism, given by an interim Rabbi at Temple Sinai. Patty felt that Judaism actually melded quite nicely with her own philosophy, which she formulated from her exposure to the different churches she attended, including the Church of Christ, Scientist. She never felt pressured to convert, but it seemed like a natural progression, after she and Paul joined Temple Sinai in April 1971. Both their sons, Andy and Michael had their Bar Mitzvahs at Temple Sinai. Paul had a joint Bar Mitzvah with his elder son, Andy, which must have been very significant for them both.
Paul has an equally interesting background that he can trace back to the Medieval times (1437). Paul is descended from a very well-known and respected Portuguese statesman, philosopher, Bible commentator and financier from Lisbon, Portugal, named Isaac ben Judah Abarbanel, also spelled Abravanel. Paul is of Sephardic background on his mother’s side and his father is of Ashkenazi descent (Germany). You might be interested in reading about Paul’s relative, Abravanel, in this excerpt.
Patty was born in New Castle PA and grew up in Cleveland OH. Paul was born in Cambridge MA and grew up in Newton MA. Both Patty and Paul said that the biggest influence on their lives were their parents, because of their liberal views and accepting ways. Patty graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH and studied Elementary Education. She graduated with a BS in Education. Paul went to St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY. After Saint Lawrence University, Paul went directly to four years of dental school, then went to Burlington for a dental residency of one year. He was required to be in the navy for two years. It was after that that he decided to return to Tufts Dental for a two year periodontal program, 1969-1971. Paul is a Periodontist in Burlington and also teaches at Tufts Dental School in Boston MA. They met one another on a blind date in Chicago. A friend of Patty’s, from Miami University, was in the Navy with Paul and recommended her as a date to the Captain’s Dance. Seems like that date went well….they got married 6 months later!
Paul and Patty have two sons, Andrew (Andy) who lives in Jericho VT and is a real estate appraiser, and Michael, who lives in Zurich, Switzerland and is general manager of apparel for Salewa, a sporting good company in Bolzano, Italy.
Burlington became home to the Levis in April 1971 after Paul had done a one year dental residency here and thought that it would be a great town in which to raise a family.
When asked what they like to do in their spare time, Patty mentioned that she enjoys tennis, reading, and travel. Paul enjoys working at both his dental practice and teaching. Patty enjoys reading mysteries and historical novels. Paul enjoys reading his dental journals and occasional book.
Both Paul and Patty enjoy travel. They visit Michael and family in Switzerland. They have traveled to Thailand for over ten years, where Paul taught. One of their favorite memories is living for a year in Barcelona, where Paul taught and they came to understand the people and their culture. Another memory for Paul is going to Toledo, Spain, knowing that some of his ancestors were from there.
Paul was President of Temple Sinai for two terms, from 1978-1980.
Thank you Patty and Paul for taking the time to allow us to get to know you better.