Mrs. Tama Beck, a”h, who passed away on Shabbos, the 9th of Sivan, in Los Angeles, was a multi-faceted woman, who impacted women in Los Angeles, New York and Israel. She meant so many things to so many different people. And yet, if one has to find the single common theme about Mrs. Beck, it would be “giving with love.”
Mrs. Tama (Temmie) Beck was born in Brooklyn, and was raised in Elizabeth, N.J. until age 12. Her father, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Gluckowsky, a rav of a shul, rebbe of young talmidim, and a shochet, and her mother, Leah Gluckowsky, who hailed from the illustrious Parnes family, provided Temmie and her siblings with the finest Torah’dik upbringing, along with lessons in midos tovos and manners. Little Temmie was extremely close to her younger three sisters and two brothers. Her mother wasn’t always well and Temmie played the role of a true big sister taking care of the home front.
She was a mechaneches par excellence and raised her daughters, Carol and Linda, to eventually be leaders in their communities and role models of character and Torah education. It was a common experience to watch their
mother seek counsel and guidance from great rabbanim, including Rav Avigdor Miller, zt”l, Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman, zt”l, Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky, zt”l, and Rav Chaim Mordechai Wainkranz, zt”l.
When the children were young, the Becks lived in Brooklyn near Mrs. Beck’s sisters. One summer in a bungalow colony, someone recommended a book to Mr. Beck that, as he would say, changed his life. He decided he had to meet this brilliant rabbi/author, and he then became acquainted with Rav Avigdor Miller and began attending his shiurim. Mr. Beck encouraged the rav to tape in English (until then Rav Miller’s shiurim were in Yiddish). This was the beginning of the Torah tape revolution, leading to Torah tape libraries, in shulsand homes. Mr. Beck suggested to his wife that they move to Rav Miller’s kehilla, and although it was very difficult for Mrs. Beck to leave her dear sisters, she made her own personal sacrifice knowing this would be an opportunity of a lifetime for her husband who subsequently became the gabai at Rav Miller’s shul. Thus began a nearly 40-year relationship between Rav Miller and the Beck family.
Mrs. Beck was extremely involved in kiruv. She worked with Russian Jews, patiently bringing them closer to Torah. Also, she was mekarev public school children, under the organization American Orthodox Jewish Teacher’s Association.
Mrs. Beck had the opportunity to speak regularly to a group of women in the Flatbush Syrian Jewish community. Mrs. Beck mentored and gave myriad weekly talks and shiurim in private homes. Close relationships developed from these classes and many of these women today attribute their (and their families’) growth in Yiddishkeit to Mrs. Beck.
Mrs. Beck taught at Yeshiva University Central High School in Brooklyn, and at Shulamith High School. Many of her students recall her hashkafah and etiquette lessons. She infused the curriculum with Torah lessons as well as grooming and developing oneself as a respectable bas Yisrael.
During those years, Mrs. Beck visited Los Angeles for simchas and other occasions. The talks she gave in the community were always rich in stories of our gedolim, with down-to-earth topics and life lessons. She was an expert in human relationships, and knew how to tie the parsha to a relevant lesson. Due to her humble kavod haTorah, she gleaned vast amounts of wisdom from the great rabbonim, whose counsel she sought when she had her own dilemmas on how to approach a situation. Naturally, she passed this wisdom down to her many students.