Phyllis SpigelmanBy MYRON LOVE
Phyllis Spigelman says that she was raised doing volunteer work.

“My family (her parents were Mollie and David Margolese) weren’t rich,” she recalls, “but we were always ready to give of ourselves.”
As with most lifelong volunteers, Spigelman, a former program director and catering manager at the Rosh Pina Synagogue (she also worked for Mooni’s Catering), has never sought recognition for her volunteer work. Nonetheless, the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre at Syd Glow Place is preparing to give her her due.
Next Tuesday (July 24), the Gwen Secter is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a gala dinner honouring Spigelman for her lifelong service to the community.
“I go to the Gwen Secter every Wednesday with my friend, Evelyn Goldstein,” the honouree says. “I see the older people who come on Wednesdays feeling younger just by being at the centre. If not for the Gwen Secter, where else would they be able to go to interact with others in a Jewish setting?
“And not all of our members are from the North End,” she adds. “We have a bus that stops in several locations in the South End on Wednesdays to pick up members and bring them here for our programs.
“We do a huge service and not only for Jewish seniors.”
Phyllis Spigelman has been involved in working with Jewish seniors since long before there was a Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre. A longtime member of the National Council of Jewish Women, she recalls going in weekly to pour tea on Wednesdays after the NCJW founded the original Golden Age Club for Jewish seniors at what used to be the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society building basement next door to Gunn’s Bakery on Selkirk Avenue.
Twice, she served as board chair for the Gwen Secter. “I used to help with bingo Thursdays and Sundays, and help with the baking,” she says.
Spigelman’s decades of volunteering encompass more than National Council and the Gwen Secter. She has also chaired the board of the Simkin Centre.
The dinner, which starts at 6:00 P.M. at the Gwen Secter at 1588 Main Street, will be preceded by a small VIP reception in Phyllis’s honour. Her children, Robyn, Victor and Adrienne and their families are all coming for the occasion.
“We are anticipating a beautiful dinner catered by our in-house staff, Cathy and Galina,” says Becky Chisick, the Gwen Secter’s executive director. “There will be a few speeches followed by a performance by comedian Benji Rothman.”
Ticket sales are going well, Chisick reports. “Our members and supporters are excited about the dinner,” she says.
For readers who haven’t purchased tickets yet, you can drop in during the week or phone: 204-339-1701.