Leslie and Larry Siegel Create a Jewish Legacy

by | Sep 14, 2012 | Uncategorized

Leslie and Larry Siegel and their family.

Leslie and Larry Siegel and their family.

Although very proud of their family and the roles they have played in Tidewater’s Jewish community for the past 38 years, Leslie and Larry Siegel were not anxious to have their names in this profile. The foundation they created, a donor-advised fund, is designed to do what they believe is what they are fortunate to be able to do—leave things a little better than the way they found them. When they are gone, their children will be involved in decision-making about where gifts will be most beneficial.

The couple has held various leadership roles in the community for many years, with both being active with Temple Emanuel. Larry has served on the boards of Temple Emanuel, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Beth Sholom Village over the past 30 years. He currently serves as vice president of Beth Sholom Village. Leslie’s contribution to the Jewish community has been in using her decorating talents to enhance countless Jewish events at the temple, the Simon Family JCC, UJFT and BSV.

Born and raised in Norfolk and Asheville, N.C., respectively, Larry and Leslie, who met in college at University of Virginia, know the importance of community. Leslie says that everything she did growing up in Asheville happened at the JCC. “That’s where I went to camp, took piano lessons, took part in BBYO in high school, socialized, and created a foundation for my feelings regarding the Jewish community.”

They began their involvement in the Tidewater Jewish community when their oldest daughter, Shaye, started school. Now, the entire family invests its time at the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Family JCC and their five grandchildren attended Strelitz Early Childhood Center and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater.

Larry talks about his father, who as a member of B’nai Israel, and with a brother who was a past president, helped to build Temple Israel in Norfolk. “People wondered why he, a member of B’nai, would do that,” Larry says, “but I learned from him how important it is to support Jewish growth and community, to assist when possible in improving the lives of future generations.”

His father taught him that “educating and encouraging others to give to community”— not just monetarily—was a way to show love for the community. As Larry says, “When I go to synagogue, I know it wasn’t built by one person; I know a community came together to do it, and that is what we are trying to do.” It is important, he explains, to remember “someone came before you, so you have the opportunity to build on what they and your parents gave you in the community.”

The Siegels see the JCC, their Temple and all of their Jewish organizations, as lively, vibrant places they hope will continue to be “a magnet for positive things for future generations.”

Clearly, it is a family affair.

by: Claudia Isler Mazur

—For more information about how to Create a Jewish Legacy, call or email Philip Rovner (757-965-6109, psrovner@ujft.org).