Two momentous events on the same day bring joy to longtime Peninsula couple

Talk about a double blessing. On Feb. 11, not only will Marvin and Marilyn Greenwald of Millbrae be celebrating 60 years of marriage, but also on that same day, their first great-granddaughter will be having her baby-naming ceremony.

Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo will be the site for the blessing of Jordan Rachelle Gold, who was born March 31, 2010. In addition, the congregation will say a blessing during Shabbat services that night for Marvin and Marilyn.

Marvin and Marilyn Greenwald

Peninsula Temple Beth El has always been a special spot for the Greenwald family. Marvin and Marilyn are charter members of synagogue, which was formed in 1950, and Marvin was president of the brotherhood in 1961. It was also where his daughter, Susan, had her naming, in 1955, and where she got married.

Susan and her husband, James Gold, are the grandparents of baby Jordan. The baby’s parents are Roger and Amy Gold, who live on the Peninsula.

Marvin, 82, and Marilyn, 79, met in the 1940s, after Marvin’s family moved from Los Angeles to New York. Struggling to find a place to live, the family finally came across a friend who had an apartment house in Brooklyn.

“We got to the apartment, and there, right across the courtyard, was Marilyn and her family,” Marvin said. “She was 13, and I was 16.”

Two years later, Marvin and his family moved back to California, to San Francisco, but he and Marilyn corresponded with letters and postcards.

“I never forgot her. We wrote to each other. And one day I called her up and asked her to marry me,” Marvin said. “She said, ‘I always thought you were crazy, and now I know it.’ I said, ‘I’ll see you in four days,’ and I hopped on a bus. That’s all I could afford. Six months later, we were married.”

Marvin was 22 and Marilyn 19 on their wedding day, Feb. 11, 1951 in New York City. After that, they settled in the Bay Area. Marvin went on to have a long career in restaurant management — he was president of the old Pepper Tree coffee shops — and Marilyn was a legal secretary.

Also, Marvin said, he was “the first Hebrew teacher on the Peninsula, even before Temple Beth El existed.” He taught classes at the American Legion hall in San Bruno on Sundays.

“It’s always a great pleasure when I run across someone that I taught,” he said.

But that pleasure pales when compared to celebrating one’s 60-year wedding anniversary and a great-granddaughter’s baby naming on the same day.

“Good fortune has smiled upon us,” Marvin said. — andy altman-ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr was J.’s managing editor and Hardly Strictly Bagels columnist until he retired in 2016 to travel and live abroad. He and his wife have a home base in Mexico, where he continues his dalliance with Jewish journalism.