Rachael Pevnick scrubbed her Caribbean vacation to honor husband, Jewish War Veterans

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Larry Chervitz, quartermaster of Jewish War Veterans Post 644, Monroe Ginsburg, chaplain of Jewish War Veterans Post 644, Brian Sher, Andrea Goldenberg, Debbie Sher, Rachael Pevnick, Larry Pevnick, Ellis Frohman, commander of Jewish War Veterans Post 644, Robin Pevnick, Stan Goldenberg and Les Birenbaum, junior vice commander of Jewish War Veterans Post 644

Bill Motchan, Special To The Jewish Light

Rachael Pevnick will turn 90 on Jan. 22. She could have spent her birthday sipping a margarita on a Caribbean island. Her children offered to send her on a cruise, and she briefly considered it.

“Then I came up with a better idea—for them to put the money they’d spend on the trip to better use,” said Pevnick. “I told them I wanted to start a scholarship in honor of my late husband Ted.”

Her wish is now official in the form of the Rachael and Ted Pevnick Family Scholarship. On Jan. 15, Rachael and her three children Andrea Goldenberg, Larry Pevnick and Debbie Sher presented a check for $10,000 to the Jewish War Veterans Post 644. Ted Pevnick was a veteran and active in the post, so Rachael and her family thought it fitting to honor his service.

Rachael Pevnick and Ellis Frohman

Ted Pevnick was born in St. Louis on May 16, 1923. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in World War II with the 717th Railway Operating Battalion. Pevnick transported troops and equipment throughout Europe. He returned here in 1946 and worked in the scrap metal and iron industry. He passed away on July 19, 2013.

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Ted and Rachael were married in 1954. They both volunteered for Nusach Hari B’nai Zion, where Rachael is president emeritus of the sisterhood. She is also vice president of the Covenant Place Tenant Council. Ted was a gregarious and well-liked by everyone, said his daughter Andrea Goldenberg.

“He loved people and talking to people,” Goldenberg said. “He always had a smile and he loved life. He had empathy toward others.”

Ted Pevnick had an optimistic attitude. His favorite phrase was “He who is rich is one who is happy with his lot.” He always offered a helping hand for others, Rachael Pevnick said.

“He delivered for Meals on Wheels, he was president of the PTA for the Sunday school, and he took care of two ladies who couldn’t drive,” she said.

The Pevnick scholarship will help graduating high school seniors with academic assistance, said Ellis Frohman, commander of Post 644.

“To be eligible, applicants must be Jewish, be related to a Jewish veteran and provide a short essay about their own volunteer service and how their veteran relative influenced them,” Frohman said.

The applicant’s academic record will also be evaluated. Application forms can be requested from Tom McHugh via email at [email protected] or from a school guidance office. They must be submitted by April 30. Scholarships will be awarded at the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Day ceremony on May 28. Rachael Pevnick said she knows Ted would have approved of the scholarship.

“He would be overwhelmed. In fact,” she said with a wink, “I know he knows I’m doing it.”