Humans of TE: Danny Mandeau

Humans of TE: One Story at a Time – #TEGivesThanks #ComeHometoTE

This November, Temple Emanuel gives THANKS to YOU, our community. Join us each day as we highlight a fascinating member of our community.

Danny Mandeau

Thanksgiving has been especially meaningful for me each year as I have undertaken a “Turkey Drive” campaign and visited the Mass. Ave. soup kitchen along with my fellow shul members to serve a wonderful holiday feast to all of those looking for a hot meal and great camaraderie. As a retailer this “break in the action” really puts the meaning of the secular holiday season in perspective for me.  This year is different though. The number of those in need is greater than ever. The money raised by this annual campaign helps to defray the expenses that the soup kitchen incurs, especially the acquisition of turkeys that are distributed during this season. I’m so proud that a record was set this year with well over $8,000 raised. What started as a grassroots effort has become a significant revenue maker for the Mass Ave Soup Kitchen.  A big Yasher Koach to the over 90 contributors who helped me raise over $8,000 for the Turkey Drive. I am also very proud of the work that has been done with Project Manna. We are truly a generous congregation that wants to do our part in Tikkun Olam. Thank you one and all.

I spend more than 40 hours a week with my Jewish volunteer work.  Between Temple Emanuel, especially Brotherhood and over the past few years FJMC (Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs) on a regional and national basis, I am very busy!  I am currently the Chairman of the 2021 FJMC International Convention scheduled for next summer in Chicago.

The most meaningful project amongst my many initiatives is running the Yom HaShoah program each year. It truly encapsulates what I am all about. My Mom did not talk about her experience as a 12- and 13-year old in a concentration camp while I was growing up. I absolutely knew that she was originally from Germany but besides that she did not share the details of this part of her childhood. That all changed in 1974 when I played the role of Otto Frank in  my high school’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Seeing me on stage in that role that so closely mirrored her life thirty years earlier really affected her. For the first time my Mom started to talk about her experience and seeing me up there on the stage brought out a sense of Jewishness that she had never expressed before. I was raised in a very non-observant home and although I became a Bar Mitzvah both my parents were agnostics at best. My Mom used to say that how could she believe in religion after what she went through? Nonetheless, after the play my parents went to Israel for the first time (and returned two more times) and came back with a strong affinity toward the Jewish state. 

The most defining moment of my life was My first trip to Israel in 1974 with USY Israel Pilgrimage.”