Ina Levy

September 3, 2020

Obituaries

Sarasota, Fla.—Ina Rae Burdman Levy, age 91, passed away peacefully at the Sarasota Bay Club on Sunday, August 30, 2020.

Mrs. Levy was born on July 22, 1929 to Harry and Doris Burdman, in Youngstown, Ohio. Each of her parents immigrated to the United States from Russia in the 1920s. Mrs. Levy was raised in Youngstown, and in 1957, she married the love of her life, Rabbi Theodore S. Levy. Together for 48 beautiful years, they lived in Huntington, W.Va. and Waterbury, Conn., and then settled with their family in Syracuse, N.Y. for 30 years. After Syracuse, they spent 10 years on Hilton Head Island where Rabbi Levy died in 2004. Ina Rae moved to Sarasota, and into the Sarasota Bay Club, where she enjoyed continued community work, new friends, and being closer to her children and grandchildren.

Mrs. Levy’s life was full of educational pursuits, community involvement, philanthropic work, family, and travel. Ina Rae Levy earned her B.S. in Education in 1967 and an M.S. in Family Therapy in 1972, from Syracuse University. Her relationship with Syracuse University continued throughout the 1970s while she worked as an assistant professor and assistant to the dean in the College of Human Development.

Mrs. Levy was involved in innumerable local and world-wide organizations and received many awards as a result of her impact in those organizations. She was vice president of the New York State Federations of Women’s Clubs and was the first president of the Women’s Assembly of Syracuse Jewish Federation. Levy was also active in the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods and was the president of her district. As a vice-chair for the World Union for Progressive Judaism, she traveled extensively with her husband, visiting member Reform congregations around the world. While in Syracuse, Mrs. Levy was also the president of the prestigious Upstate Medical Center. Levy once received the Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women. Mrs. Levy was also tireless in her devotion to the equality and advancement of women. She was named by the Syracuse Post-Standard as the Woman of Achievement in Career Development in 1972 and again in 1985 she was named the Overall Woman of Achievement. In addition, she was always involved in and passionate about Planned Parenthood and The League of Women Voters wherever she lived. One of Ina Rae’s proudest achievements was being the only woman invited to participate in the first ordination of Rabbis since the Holocaust in Dresden, Germany.

When Mrs. Levy moved to Sarasota, she once again became active in her synagogue, became an active member of American Jewish Committee (AJC), chairing fundraising events in both Sarasota and Tampa. Always concerned with the plight of Jews around the world, In 2005, Mrs. Levy, was instrumental in the donation of a Holocaust Torah from a synagogue in Youngstown, Ohio to a small synagogue in a small Russian community. She regretted not being able to attend the Torah dedication herself.

Despite all the accolades and achievements, foremost for Mrs. Levy was her love for her family. She had three younger brothers, Ronald, B. Richard Burdman, and Kenneth Burdman, all who pre-deceased her. She leaves behind two sisters-in-law, Babette Burdman and Marsha Burdman, and their families. In addition to her children Seth (and wife Alice), Cyndi, Jonathan (and wife Karen), she leaves five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
They were all the joys of her life.

Funeral services were held graveside at the Temple El Emeth Coitsville Cemetery in Youngstown, Ohio. Mrs. Levy was buried next to her beloved husband and her parents and brothers.

Memorial donations may be made to: Rabbi Theodore S. Levy Endowed Fellowship at the American Jewish Archives, Hebrew Union College, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45220 or to the AJC West Coast Florida Chapter, 1605 Main Street, Suite 612, Sarasota, FL 34236

Letter to the Editor