Dorothy Salkin has been an integral part of the Los Angeles Jewish community for almost 60 years. She sits on Women & Philanthropy at UCLA board and is vice president of the Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai.
“I have always wanted to devote my life to something for the Jewish community, for helping other people and for tikkun olam, making the world a better place,” Salkin said.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Salkin was voted “the busiest girl in the senior class” in high school and was elected vice mayor of Cincinnati during Girls Week.
After receiving her master’s degree in social work from Ohio State University, Salkin worked for the Cincinnati Jewish Center as the director of its teenage program. It was during a staff trip to the Centro Deportivo Israelita (the Jewish Sports Center) in Mexico in 1961 that she decided to visit family in Los Angeles. During her stay, her aunt and uncle encouraged her to go out and meet people, so she attended a lecture on jurisprudence by tax attorney Bruce Hochman and found herself sitting next to “a gorgeous, tall, dark, handsome hunk named Avram Salkin, and the rest is history.”
They married in1962 and had two children, Valerie, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, and Ken, who has blessed them with twin grandchildren. “I never dreamed in a million years that I would end up in California and have the privilege of having such a wonderful husband, my soul mate, my love, and successful children and be able to do what I’ve been able to do in the community,” Salkin said.
A member of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, it was Senior Rabbi Jonathan Aaron who suggested she get involved with ChaiVillageLA, which allows people to remain in their homes and communities as they age.
“This is really a fine program and it does something for older adults that is really interesting, and I thought I could be helpful,” Salkin said.
She met with Temple Emanuel Rabbi Laura Geller and the ChaiVillageLA program chairs and proposed a program called “Discussion and Dessert,” which would take place one Sunday a month in a different home. Each host would choose the subject and Salkin would find a speaker for each event.
“We are seven months down the road and have had a ChaiVillageLA discussion and dessert with really interesting subjects, ranging from politics to sex,” Salkin said.
This year, Salkin and her husband will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary, and they’re looking forward to the b’nai mitzvah of their grandchildren in 2020.
Salkin continues to take everything in stride. “You make time for what is important to you, and for a Jewish person, I am happy that I have the energy and the desire and the excitement of doing this,” she said. “It is a pleasure and a joy and I hope that I can do it to 120."