Max & Florence Sudakow

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 in Member Spotlight

Even before they met, Max and Florence had a lot of things in common.  Both were born in New York.  Florence grew up in Long Island.  Max was born in Brooklyn, but raised in Miami, Florida and went to college at the sudakow-familyUniversity of Miami.  Florence also attended college in Florida, although wound up at the University of Florida.

While at their respective institutions of higher learning, both were active members in sororities and fraternities.  Their social responsibilities in no way impeded their academic ambitions.  Florence had aspired to become an attorney.  Discouraged by the high cost of law school tuition, she decided to pursue an alternative career path in special education earning Masters Degrees and related credentials. Meanwhile, Max received an engineering degree.  After working in the aerospace industry, Max came out to California and earned an MBA, which led to him managing several businesses: aerospace, traffic light manufacturer, and more.  Then he became a consultant and has been doing so ever since.

Their careers have brought them both acclaim and positions on several boards.  Among them, Florence became a Resource Specialist in Orange County and was President of the Orange County branch of the California Association of Resource Specialists (CARS).  Max served as member and President of the Oceanview School Board.

Speaking of success, the story of how Florence and Max were brought together many years ago also counts as a success story.  Like many tales within the Jewish community, a mother was involved.  Specifically, while Max was home for the holidays, his mother gave him a list with three names on it. He arranged the list alphabetically and called up the girl at the top of the list – Florence.  He never called any other girl on the list.  The two went out for two weeks and three days.  Then they spent four months writing letters to each other while Max was in Spain.  When he was transferred to Scotland, Florence went with him.  They got married in a civil service and later had a Jewish ceremony.  So Max and Florence have been blessed with two anniversaries, two kids and two grandchildren, and this year will celebrate their 48 year wedding anniversary.

If all of the above wasn’t enough to keep these two busy, they devote time to their hobbies as well.  Florence likes to bake cookies and race walk. Congregants also marvel at her speaking prowess! Max likes to go to the gym. Both of them like to read.

They are also very active members of Temple Beth David – currently both serve on the Temple Board. Max has been on Temple Beth David’s board for thirty-some years and has held nearly every position on it –including President.  He now also serves on the Brotherhood’s board.  Likewise, Florence has held nearly every position in the Sisterhood’s board –including President and has been bestowed the Temple’s “Woman of Merit” award. She also sings in the Temple choir and has served as the choir’s President for the past five years.  They were very honored to be recognized last year by the temple for all the hard work they have done.

Members since 1973, Florence likes how the congregation is a very eclectic and welcoming group. Max especially appreciates the community aspect of it.  Neither of them had a devoutly Jewish upbringing.  (Florence’s father was Italian Catholic.  Max’s family was more culturally than religiously Jewish.)  Thus, Temple Beth David became the first congregation Florence became a part of.  It was also where they each had their adult B’nei Mitvah.  Max’s and Florence’s devotion to Temple Beth David has been passed on to their children.  For the past twenty-five years –since he was a child –their son James has always played the Kol Nidre service.  Their daughter is always a dedicated vendor at Temple holiday boutiques with her beautiful handmade table runners and placemats.

With all these accomplishments, you may think Max and Florence would consider slowing down.  Yet as they say, “We just keep going!”  Where this attitude will take them, they do not know.  Florence speculates it will lead them to Australia, an African safari, and cooking classes!

The dedicated duo will surely continue to create many more stories at Temple Beth David…and for all they’ve done and will continue to do, we are forever grateful!