Connington’s Comment: This article shows how influential just a few Jews were in a small town such as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania.
One of the Jews held a leadership position at a Catholic College. Jesus Christ.
Honors of Generations go to two Wilkes-Barre area families
– From The Times Leader
Eric Lee says the Davidowitz and Rifkin families were chosen to be honored by Generation to Generation for a lot of good reasons.
“Love, care, respect, commitment, communication, teamwork and filial piety — that’s what I know about them,” Lee said.
An afternoon of music and dance honoring Essy and Bill Davidowitz and family, Sandy and Arnold Rifkin and family and the Jewish traditions from which they come will highlight the third annual Lee Vincent Generation2Generation Dance on Sunday, from 2 to 6 p.m.
“These families and the Jewish traditions are being honored as part of our mission to bring all generations and all cultures together,” said Joseph DeVizia, event chairman.
He said families are urged to attend to celebrate the honorees and to join with families of all heritages for a fun afternoon.
“We chose these two families because of the many things they have done for this community,” DeVizia said.
Arnold and Sandy Rifkin and their family will be honored because of their community support. The A. Rifkin Co. is a family-owned manufacturer and international distributor of security and multiuse reusable fabric lock bag systems and related products, as well as other banking supplies including GPS asset-tracking devices.
A. Rifkin Co. has more than 100 years of manufacturing in America. The company employs approximately 100 people in its factory, office and warehouse.
For generations, the Rifkin family has been involved with shaping and improving the Wilkes-Barre area and its institutions, playing a significant role in developing the United Hebrew Institute, the Jewish Community Center, Temple B’nai B’rith and others. They have served on numerous community boards.
The Rifkins donated the lobby of the Evans Residence Hall at Wilkes University, and the residence building at 80 S. River St. is now known as Rifkin Hall. They have also donated to the Osterhout Public Library, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Children’s Service Center of Wyoming Valley and many others.
The Rifkins have a daughter, Kathleen, a son, Michael, a granddaughter Laura and one great-grandchild.
Essy and Bill Davidowitz have become role models because of their achievements in the Jewish community and the Wyoming Valley community at large. They have four sons, Jeffrey, Ivan, Steven and Benjamin, and have nine grandchildren.
Bill Davidowitz has been a past chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, remains active in the Jewish Federation, and is a trustee of the Jewish Community Center. He has served on the boards of Temple Israel, the JCC, Fox Hill Country Club and Penn StateWilkes-Barre. Together with his wife he has been instrumental in the creation and dedication of many community projects, such as the United Hebrew Institute Art Room, the Davidowitz Lounge at the JCC and the building addition to UHI in 1980. The Seligman J. Strauss Lodge of B’nai B’rith presented him with its Community Service Award, and the trustees of Luzerne County Community College recognized his efforts as vice chairman of the building authority responsible for the construction of its new campus.
Essy Davidowitz has occupied leadership roles at the Northeast Ethics Institute, Luzerne County Area Agency on Aging, King’s College, Ballet Northeast, Misericordia University, Wyoming Seminary, John Heinz Institute, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, United Hebrew Institute and the Wyoming Valley Jewish Campaign, which she chaired in 1990.