Erven Rovinsky, 94, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2022. He was born April 3, 1927, in Fort Worth to Idell and Mike Rovinsky of blessed memory. He attended Texas A&M and during his sophomore year was drafted into the Army during World War II. He was placed into the medical corps and stationed at Halloran General Hospital in New York. He had grown up in his parents’ tailor store and could use a sewing machine by the time he was 10 and could alter pants by the time he was 12. The Army needed men who could sew, so they placed him in the orthopedic brace department. At that time, fitting prostheses required leather body fittings that needed to be sewn.
Following his two years of service, he returned to Texas A&M, graduating as a Second Lieutenant with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. He and his father started an air conditioning repair business in Fort Worth. He then decided to move to Dallas and accepted a position as the head of the electrical and mechanical engineering department with George L Dahl, one of the top 10 architectural engineering firms in the world.
Erv met the love of his life, Shirley Millstone of St. Louis, when she was visiting her aunt in Dallas. The couple married Aug. 31, 1961, in Dallas. They were blessed with a son, Michael, in 1962, and daughter Robyn followed in 1964.
In 1969, he opened Erven Rovinsky and Associates, specializing in apartments, restaurants and office buildings. He provided ongoing pro bono services for the Jewish institutions in the community. Erv continued to serve as owner and president of the firm, working with clients until shortly before his death.
Erv grew up in a modest home and never expressed a desire for or coveted something that another person had. He lived and taught his children to always be grateful for the blessings Hashem gives them.
He worked with youth as an advisor to a BBYO chapter. At a young age, he had experienced antisemitism, having to fight off knife-wielding classmates. As an adult, he became involved with ADL and attended a KKK meeting, gathering information to bring back to the ADL.
Erv was known for his level-headedness and wisdom in the ability to arbitrate for peace in communal challenges but never at the expense of truth. During his presidency at the J he was instrumental in having the Holocaust Center located in the building. He taught by example and was modest about his accomplishments. He would list them only when pressed to do so for an interview or article. He followed the Torah and the dictum of Shamai — “Speak little but do much.”
The Hebrew letter samech has a numerical value of 60 and looks like a circle. The word means to support, and Shirley and Erv supported each other for over 60 years. In addition to tending to their family, they chose to also tend to their community. Both often served together on the same committees and boards of directors.
Family was very important to him. He was active in Robyn and Michael’s schooling at Akiba Academy, attended all their events and continued doing so with his grandchildren. There were countless family camping weekends with lifelong friends, Hanna and Raymond (z”l) Lambert and Leslie (z”l) and Howard Schultz. Erv loved fishing and taught the children, grandchildren and anyone else how to fish. Perhaps the biggest challenge was teaching Shirley how to deal with minnows and worms. He enjoyed relaxing on his boat with a fishing pole in his hand. On Fridays, you could find Erv having lunch at one of the kosher restaurants with Robyn or her daughter Mollie; it was their special time together.
Their first trip to Israel was when the children were nine and seven, visiting the sites that they had learned about at Akiba. Additional trips followed for Shirley and Erv, with three of them being a part of the Federation Mission leadership. He was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of Hella Shrine Temple, a Hadassah Associate, a Life Member of Hebrew Free Loan and a member of the Jewish War Veterans. He also served on the Israel Bonds Cabinet, Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, District Boards of B’nai B’rith and BBYO, and the Vaad HaKashruth.
Erv attended minyan every morning and evening at Tiferet Israel. He loved learning and taught the younger men how to daven and the appropriate rituals to follow. When there was an empty pulpit, Erv served as the rabbi and gave the d’var Torah. He was honored with the appointment of gabbai emeritus. There was a special bond between Erv and his mentor, Reb Yitzhak Malka z”l, with whom he learned.
While he served when called upon by his community, the following are some of the major positions and awards he received.
District Board of B’nai B’rith, 1964-1970
President of Ike Sablosky Lodge, B’nai B’rith, 1966-68
President of the B’nai B’rith Council of Presidents, 1968-69
Jewish Community Center Leadership Award, 1974
President of Akiba Academy, 1976-78
President of the Jewish Community Center, 1980-1982
President of Tiferet Israel, 1984-1987
Louis B. Brandeis Award, Zionist Organization of America, 1987
President of the Zionist Organization of America, 1994-1996
Akiba Academy Civic Service Award, 2000
Tiferet Israel – Pillars of Influence Award, 2005
President of Tiferet Israel, 1992-1994
Erv is survived by his wife, Shirley, and children, Robyn Rovinsky Mirsky and Rabbi Michael (Selina) Rovinsky; grandchildren Mollie Mirsky, Joshua Mirsky, Ariella Rovinsky, Yossi Rovinsky, Avi (Lizzy) Rovinsky, Saara (Moshe) Moskowitz; great-grandchildren Akiva Moshe Rovinsky, Menucha Rus Moskowitz and Eva Miriam Moskowitz.
Rabbi Howard Wolk officiated at funeral services at Tiferet Israel on Feb. 28.
The family expresses great appreciation for the medical care and friendship provided by Dr. Allan Shulkin and Dr. Ladan Bakhtari.
Please consider a contribution in Erv’s memory to one of the following or the charity of your choice.
Tiferet Israel Synagogue
Rovinsky Scholarship Endowment — Akiba Academy
Aaron Family Jewish Community Center — Senior Programs
Funeral arrangements by Stephen Blend, Dallas Jewish Funerals.