Marc and Elaine Lowen: Giving the Gift of Family Stories

As parents of Beth Tfiloh alumni and grandparents of current Beth Tfiloh students, Marc and Elaine relate to this project as their own Jewish history has been shaped by the influence of Beth Tfiloh.
It was their 50th wedding anniversary, and Marc and Elaine Lowen planned a celebratory getaway to Paris. Unbeknownst to Elaine, she was in for a surprise. They cruised the Atlantic from Florida to France, then made their way to the “City of Love.” Their blissful Parisian vacation for two was just beginning when, stepping off the elevator and into the hotel lobby, Elaine noticed a man bearing a strong resemblance to her son-in-law. Before she could say anything to Marc, she was surrounded by her three daughters and sons-in-law, in a thrilling and emotional reunion. “What could I give my wife for our 50th wedding anniversary that I knew she would love?” Marc asked. “The gift of family.”

To Marc and Elaine, family is their highest priority. Family is where they invest their time and resources. It came as no surprise after learning about My Family Story from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School Director of Education Dr. Zipora Schorr that the longtime Beth Tfiloh couple made the important decision to endow it. The initiative, which is a part of BT’s eighth grade curriculum, connects the students to their unique genealogies, traditions and Jewish stories through in-depth research and interviews. Their final projects culminate in an artistic installation at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, uniting the broader story of the Jewish people. “This was a project that spoke to us,” Marc explained. “Anything tied to family is where we place emphasis.”

As parents of Beth Tfiloh alumni and grandparents of current Beth Tfiloh students, Marc and Elaine relate to this project as their own Jewish history has been shaped by the influence of Beth Tfiloh.

Both New York natives, Marc and Elaine relocated to Baltimore just after Marc’s graduation from New York University Medical School. They arrived with 18-month-old Lori in 1967, shortly before Marc began his medical residency at Sinai Hospital. Just as they were falling in love with Baltimore, Marc was drafted to two years of military service in Georgia as part of the “doctor’s draft” during the Vietnam War era. The Lowens vowed to return to Baltimore; when they did, Beth Tfiloh became the epicenter of their lives.

Their daughters Lori Pleeter, Donna Perlmutter, and Amy Brody ’91 “learned to be Jewish at BT,” Elaine noted. It was the joyous atmosphere that engulfed Beth Tfiloh on Jewish holidays, the Shabbatons, and the relationships their daughters forged with their teachers and friends of all Jewish backgrounds that led them to lead strong Jewish lives.

In addition, Marc and Elaine reflected on the outstanding education that led to a pleasant surprise while Lori was studying at the University of Rochester. “Lori called to thank us for sending her to BT,” Elaine recalled. “She said, ‘Mom, I feel so prepared for college.’”

Marc and Elaine served as BT school and synagogue board members and volunteers. Today, they are involved as grandparents of BT seventh grader Aryeh Perlmutter ’24, and of Beth Tfiloh alumni Marty ’15 and Kayla ’18 Perlmutter. They used to frequent Marty’s basketball games, including the times he played in the Weiner Basketball Tournament. They also regularly attended Kayla’s soccer games. Marc reminisced, “The games had such a warm feeling, and so much camaraderie.”

As longtime synagogue members, the couple loves listening to Hazzan Avi Albrecht daven. Elaine participates in a Tehillim group led by Ahuva Albrecht, and together, they thoroughly enjoy the many offerings at BT. “Beth Tfiloh is like a fine restaurant,” Marc mused. “And the restaurant just happens to be kosher!”

“BT just feels like a family,” Marc said. By endowing the My Family Story project, the couple hopes to encourage family values in others the way BT did for theirs.
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BETH TFILOH Dahan Community School
Roz & Marvin H. Weiner Family Campus | 3300 Old Court Road, Baltimore, MD 21208 | 410-486-1905 | mail@bethtfiloh.com