One of Margie Moskovitz’s volunteer activities is a docent at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Margie Moskovitz’s working life was just as dynamic as her retirement. Holding various positions in different states, Moskovitz knew she had to continue keeping herself on her toes through retirement.

Retired for 16 years, Moskovitz keeps busy by volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Art as a docent, The Temple-Tifereth Israel’s Museum of Jewish Art, Religion and Culture as a chairperson of the museum committee, the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy in Cleveland as a tutor and her temple’s board, specifically in the print club and women’s council.

“My volunteer activities are so personally rewarding, as has working with wonderful people and learning from them as well,” she said.

CJN: What inspires you to be involved in the community, especially in the arts?

Moskovitz: The arts were important throughout my marriage, maybe a little more because my husband, David, was a painter. I also took art history as a student at Case Western Reserve University and loved it. I became a docent at the museum before my husband died and it’s a wonderful link to him. The more I got into it, I ended up loving it. It’s extremely rewarding. 

I find that people respond to art in very emotional ways and that’s part of my role to engage them with objects in the collection. I love that whole process.

Being a volunteer at the Cleveland Museum of Art feels like a privilege to be able to have this close connection with our world-class collection and to help the public engage with it.

CJN: How did you get involved at Thomas Jefferson School?

Moskovitz: Surprisingly, this came out of an art exhibit. At the Temple museum more than a year ago, we had a wonderful exhibition of photographs by Amber Ford. They were photos of refugees and immigrants in the community. We tied it in with programming. I heard about the school and we made this connection at the time of the exhibit and asked if people wanted to volunteer at the school too. The Temple is very involved with the school, not only through tutoring. 

The school itself is incredible. It’s all refugee and immigrant children and the only qualification is the students can’t speak English. They spend two years there. I work with kindergartners. These are beautiful kids who have been through a lot and it’s very satisfying to see them grow.

CJN: What does volunteering mean to you? 

Moskovitz: Volunteerism is an offshoot of the Jewish idea of doing a mitzvah. You get back more than you give. The only thing is it makes for a better community. It’s something really meaningful and it makes the community stronger. I’ve picked projects that I love and that are personally meaningful, but whatever it is, it makes everyone better.

CJN: Do you have a favorite volunteer memory?

Moskovitz: Students were spending winter holidays and the teacher asked if I could talk about Chanukah at Thomas Jefferson School. I had enough dreidels to give to everyone and they all caught onto it. There was this little boy who mastered spinning a dreidel in both hands. It was awesome to sing the dreidel song with them too. 

Whatever it is, whether it’s a discussion or what have you, we can talk together and connect. It’s a wonderful experience.

CJN: Was volunteering something you were taught growing up?

Moskovitz: I remember my mother doing a lot of volunteering, so I would say I grew up with it. In high school, I was involved in creating the very first high school chapter of the federation in Akron. That was the beginning of my personal involvement. But I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t involved in some way in the community.

I also grew up in a very nice synagogue, Beth El Congregation in Akron, so that was always part of me.

As for the rest of her retirement, Moskovitz said she wants to further explore her hobbies as well as continue her community involvement.

“I’m in two French-speaking groups, which are fun, and I’m also in a hiking group,” she stated. “But, I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do. I have a lot of interests and I’m so very lucky to be able to enjoy everything Cleveland offers. I also love to read, so there is no chance in being bored.”

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