Chai Lighting: Sam & Audrey Meline
Sam and Audrey Meline have dedicated their lives to giving back through philanthropy. The couple, married 61 years, were born, raised and educated in Boston. After graduation, Sam served as a dentist in the US Army, stationed in Munich, Germany for 2 years. It was from there that in 1959, they made their first trip to Israel. As Audrey so delightfully put it, “We went as tourists but came back as ardent Zionists.”
Shortly after, they moved to Hollywood, Florida to raise their family and became a part of the growing Jewish community. Within a short time, Sam joined the Young Leaders Council of the Jewish Federation, at the time known as the Jewish Welfare Board of Hollywood. As Sam became more involved in the organization, Audrey joined Hadassah and the two became members of Temple Beth Shalom in downtown Hollywood.
From an early start, the Meline’s recognized a need for a South Broward County facility for Jewish kids to gather. They formed a group to rent space in the area that housed the first Federation offices with an adjoining coffee house for the teens and the launch of the first kosher meals program. Audrey became the Chairman of the Federation Shalom Committee. This group would welcome every new Jewish family that moved to the community with wine and challah. The two witnessed the Federation move to a larger space and gleefully saw the community come together like never before.
The Melines returned to Israel in 1970 when they traveled with the Young Leadership Cabinet. In the years following, they joined every South Broward Federation mission during that decade. In 1978, they participated in the first Adult Quinn of the High School In Israel. It was at that time that they purchased their first home in Jerusalem. Audrey exclaimed it, “expanded their love” for the country. For 20 years, they hosted visitors from Broward, Mission participants, family and friends. In 1981, they traveled with the Jewish Leadership Institute to Poland and Auschwitz, then on to Israel for Yom Ha’atzmaut, the precursor of The March of The Living.
Jewish life continued back at home in Broward. Audrey became involved with Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and Sam was on the Board continuously for 35 years. Sam was also actively involved at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center and became its 2nd president. During the same time, he was President of Temple Beth Shalom and President of the Hollywood Dental Society.
As time carried on, the Meline’s continued to make their impact in the community and beyond. It was 12 years ago that they were asked to Chair the Israel & Overseas Committee of The Jewish Community Foundation. After decades of fundraising for the Federation, they were instrumental in allocating those precious dollars to worthy organizations and institutions, particularly in Israel. In their semi-annual trips to Israel, 77 to date, they enjoy meeting the individuals receiving the Federation’s grants and watching their programs grow, especially in our Sister City of Nesher.
It’s evident that Sam and Audrey Meline’s life-long philanthropic endeavors will continue to flourish for decades to come. As Sam so eloquently put it, “It’s who we are,” followed by Audrey’s sentiment of “You have to show by example.”