Meet Betty Newman

Women’s Philanthropy Spotlight

This post is part of a series highlighting women who are doing great work in our local Jewish community.

Betty Newman:

Betty Newman

Each person travels a different path toward fulfilling and enriching his or her Jewish values. Some of my enthusiasm and interest toward my involvement in the Jewish community has come from my friend, Carol Weitz. She has infused me with her devotion and dedication to so many Jewish causes. I may involve myself in different ways and walk different avenues than she has, but the end results give us the same satisfactions: helping to keep Judaism strong and vibrant!

Carol and I first met in the kitchen at Temple Beth Sholom many years ago, and have literally never left it! We cooked together for various synagogue events and, some 10 years ago, we shared the bimah at our joint bat mitzvah. I think that I can honestly say that, over the years, I have pinched together thousands of hamentaschen for our annual Purim carnivals.

We each seem to reach out to what touches our lives. My mother followed a more subdued path toward her Jewish identity, as she was active in Hadassah and other Jewish organizations. And I recall my sister Thelma Colvin’s involvement and dedication as the president of the Federation’s Women’s Alliance. I continually admired and respected her accomplishments toward strengthening and perpetuating Jewish values in our community.

I found a way to become involved through the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, using the skills I had gained from teaching elementary school to impart my love and enthusiasm of reading to children. But, I also wanted to find a way to share my love of Jewish cooking. The Northern California Jewish Bulletin (now j. Weekly) seemed the best road to achieve this goal, and, for the next 12 years, I passionately shared my feelings about Jewish cooking in a weekly column, and how it is so intrinsically woven into and reflected in our Jewish lives through our holidays, rituals and Shabbat gatherings. I wanted to reach out to as many people as I could, to share my knowledge of Jewish tradition, history, and culture. This all resulted in the publication of my articles in a cookbook, The Joy of Jewish Cooking, which I have lovingly donated to several synagogues in the area at various functions, often accompanied by short talks about how my book evolved. 


October 16, 2015


Robyn Carmel