In tribute to a beloved Congregation Beth Jacob member, Trudy Robbins, a memorial lecture by a renowned motivational speaker and the kickoff of a charitable foundation in her name took place Sunday at the synagogue.
“Anyone fortunate enough to have experienced the aura of Trudy Robbins knew of her caring, generous and nurturing heart,” said Marsha Londe, a longtime active Beth Jacob member and relative. “This fiercely determined, petite powerhouse loved Congregation Beth Jacob and worked constantly on many projects for the shul.”
Robbins was remembered Sunday for her involvement with Beth Jacob, Torah Day School and Chai Peking, along with her fashion sense.
Jodi Wittenberg, past president of Beth Jacob Sisterhood, invited anyone in the congregation who was touched by the same passions as Robbins to stand. “Look around the room. Everyone standing has been impacted profoundly by Trudy’s creativeness and selflessness. This room is only a microcosm of the goodness and the difference that this one woman has made in our world and our community.”
She was also known as a giver, Wittenberg said. “No matter what was ever asked of her, she never said ‘no.’ She generally said ‘next’ or ‘more.’”
Based on her commitment to the synagogue and its beautification, Trudy’s Treasures has been established to refurbish areas of Beth Jacob in need of renovation. For starters, the ladies’ bathroom near the sanctuary, Wittenberg said.
Beth Jacob hosted the kickoff event Sunday to launch the foundation, featuring renowned motivational speaker, Charlie Harary. Known for encouraging people to unlock their “innate greatness,” he has traveled around the world, speaking to organizations and institutions on any variety of subjects.
Beth Jacob members thought the name, “Climbing the Mountain of Life” for the Trudy Robbins memorial lecture was a fitting tribute to a woman who reached for greatness throughout her life.
Harary suggested that “while people may think we are all different, some better at math, some better as a people person, everyone’s feelings are the same regarding the quality of their lives. We all want a touch of greatness.” He cited Esther in the Purim story as triumphing over the most powerful man in the country. “She can stay quiet, and the Jews will be saved by someone else, but it is her turn for greatness.
“Sacrifice gives you power. We become weak when we don’t do what needs to be done. Even if you think you are a nobody, G-d has a plan and you have to choose between what you think you can do and what you have to do. Everyone has the ability for greatness. It might be uncomfortable because greatness is uncomfortable. Like Esther, who was uncomfortable about dealing with Haman, each of us can find greatness for a moment.”
An exclusive donor luncheon with Harary and the Robbins family followed the lecture.
Rachel Stein, Allen Lipis and Congregation Beth Jacob contributed to this article.