‘Kids’ reflect on their dads

June 2, 2022

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While every day is a great day to honor, appreciate, and love our dads (and the dads in our lives: grandfathers, sons, uncles, friends, and neighbors), this Father’s Day there’s even more reason to enjoy the holiday. It is the first summer in recent years that it’s possible to visit and be with loved ones with virtually no restrictions. May the sunshine be abundant, even on cloudy days!

Jewish News asked a few local sons and daughters to share how their dads have impacted them…and how they continue to do so, even today, no matter their age.

Michael Nusbaum on his dad, Charlie Nusbaum

In what way do you think your father has been an excellent role model for you?

He’s definitely one of these “lead by example” types. He puts the community and his family and his faith before other items, and he prioritizes his life to be successful within the business world and outside of it. He takes the time to educate me and others in the business. I’m the third generation to come into the business.

How has he been an inspiration to you in your work or your outside interests?

Definitely in my passions, by encouraging me to find my role in the community. You don’t have to be the fundraising person; you can set up and coordinate events. On the business side, he’s taught me not to be afraid to ask questions, no matter how big or how small, and treat people all the same way and help them all out.

What is your dad’s favorite saying?

When things are copacetic and everyone’s having a good time, he likes to borrow Adam Sandler’s saying that things go together “like lamb and tuna fish.”

What is your favorite childhood
memory of him?

I played sports all through my younger years and I’m still involved in coaching lacrosse. That passion for growing the game no matter what the sport is, passing knowledge on to the next generation, and his enthusiasm for watching every player on the team improve are my most profound memories of him.

Where do you and your dad live now?

We both live in Norfolk, about two miles apart. It’s far enough that we have that separation, but in an emergency, I can go across the bridge and help him out.

How would you describe your commitment to the Jewish community?

I’m proud of being Jewish and it’s something I’ve always been proud of no matter where I’ve been. We’ve been here a long time and have a deep family history in this area. There are large shoes to fill, but it’s a challenge I certainly welcome. I’m excited to carry that beacon forward to other generations of Nusbaums.

 

Miles Leon, Stephen Leon, and David A. Leon on their dad, Arnold Leon

In what way do you think your father has been an excellent role model for you?

Despite challenges, he has lead an accomplished life and career, being the first in his family to graduate college and graduate school, and to achieve success in law and business. He worked hard and always makes a point to give back to his community, Israel, and his alma mater. He has never forgotten where he came from and remains well-grounded.

How has he been an inspiration to you today either in your work or your outside interests?

He has a positive outlook on life. He never complains. He showed us that it is important to do well in school, to go to college, and to get good grades. He has always taken pride in our accomplishments and those of our families.

What is your dad’s favorite saying?

Be careful!

What is your favorite memory of him when you were growing up?

We spent summers at the beach. We took family trips together; particularly memorable were those to Israel.

Where do you live and where does your dad live now?

We all live in the Tidewater communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

How would you describe your commitment to the Jewish community?

We think that it is important to give back and to be involved, to participate; not just with money but also with one’s time.

 

Beth Cohen Jaffe on her dad, Bob Cohen

In what way do you think your father has been an excellent role model for you?

My dad has instilled in me the core values that define who I am today. He always put his family first while maintaining a successful law practice. To this day, he is my go-to person for guidance and advice on virtually any subject. He taught me the art of negotiation, how to be a good listener, and always made me feel like there was nothing I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it.

How has he been an inspiration to you today either in your work or your outside interests?

I always respected my dad’s work ethic and how he treated people on a day-to-day basis. It served as a model for me throughout my 30-year career in marketing and public relations. Throughout my life, my dad always fostered and encouraged my love of art and design. He inspired me to create my own art studio and to start painting at the age of 60.

What is your dad’s favorite saying?

My dad always would say (and still says) to his children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, “Make YOU proud of YOU.” This expression had so much significance in our family that my daughter, Aly, actually used it as the theme of her speech when she delivered the commencement address to her high school graduation class.

What is your favorite memory of him when you were growing up?

Waiting for him to come home from work at night so we could eat together as a family where we would all share stories…but HE was always the best storyteller! (Of course, they were always a little bit embellished….)

Where do you live and where does your dad live now?

I am very blessed to have both of my parents still living in the same city with me. My dad is 93 and my mom is 90 and they celebrated 71 years of marriage on June 3. Although my husband and I are in Florida for the winter, we are so lucky to live so close to one another in Virginia Beach most of the year. I love hanging out with him at the Virginia House pool, where at 93, he is still swimming laps.

How has he influenced you in terms of your relationship with your own children?

Throughout my life, my dad always emphasized the importance of being honest, respectful, and keeping open lines of communication. We always knew he had our back and we could talk with him about anything without judgment. This is the framework that has guided me as a parent to my own children.

 -Debbie Burke
Letter to the Editor