Thom and Betty Seaton

We have lived in Berkeley since 1971 in the same home. We recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. Our household is managed by our Goldendoodle Posey who enjoys taking the family on hikes on the Fire Trail, in Tilden, at the Berkeley Bulb and the Berkeley Marina. We have two adult children. Jonathan, who lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two daughters, is a political consultant. He worked on several campaigns for the late Sen. John McCain. Our daughter Phoebe lives in Sacramento and is a co-director of a nonprofit, Legal Counsel for Justice and Accountability that has increased California’s investment in providing water and government services to underserved communities in the Central Valley. Her organization was honored with an Irvine Foundation award this year.

Thom, a retired attorney, grew up in New York. His parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1938. Members of their families who remained in Europe would die in the Shoah. After retiring, Thom assisted on an Innocence Project Case and helped free a man who had been wrongfully incarcerated for twelve years. Betty was raised in America’s Hometown, Plymouth, MA. Betty was a school librarian in various public schools and a couple of Catholic schools for many years.

We joined Beth Israel in 2017. What particularly drew us to CBI was the rabbi’s commitment to being a congregational rabbi and his wisdom. We were drawn to Rabbi Cohen’s modesty, humor and insights. His commitment to the welfare of the Jewish people in Israel is very important to us.

Soon after we joined CBI, Betty’s mother passed away. She found it very comforting to attend CBI services during the year following her mother’s passing.

Thom’s connection to the Jewish people is the primary focus of Thom’s Judaism and he finds support for that at CBI.  Rav Soloveitchik’s Fate and Destiny, to which Rabbi Cohen referred in a drash, expresses Thom’s belief that all Jews across the world are interconnected. He attends the Talmud class, now via Zoom, and Maharat Victoria’s class on Kings. Thom used to volunteer with serving meals at the men’s homeless shelter and hopes to do so again before too long. He has joined the 2020-2022 CBI Board.