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Sen. Christopher A. Coons

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Mr. President, today I wish to honor Irving and Phyllis Levitt and their lives of service to my home State of Delaware and their community in Dover.

For over 40 years, both Irving and Phyllis have been consummate activists, educators, community leaders, and patrons of the arts. Their contribution to Dover and to the First State can be measured in the thousands of lives they have enriched. Since arriving in Delaware in 1966, Irving and Phyllis have tirelessly demonstrated their concern for others and their commitment to the causes they hold dear.

For decades, Irving Levitt worked passionately in public service, filling a number of important roles at the Social Security Administration in Dover and Wilmington. Later, he served on the Dover Utility Commission and was elected a city councilman. For 15 years, Irving served as the Governor's appointee to the State's Accident Referral Board, and he was also a member of the State Board of Nursing.

Phyllis brought the joy of English language and literature to hundreds of students during her 25 years as a teacher at Dover High School. In addition to her teaching and her devotion to the Dover High students, Phyllis served on numerous State education commissions and led the Delaware chapter of the National Organization of Teachers of English. She also spent several years teaching English at Wesley College and an English teacher training course at the University of Delaware. Following her retirement in 1992, Phyllis chaired the State Humanities Council, served on the Governor's Committee on the Arts, and transformed the Dover Art League from a small volunteer group into a major nonprofit that enriches lives throughout Kent County. Moreover, Phyllis chaired the Delaware chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and, during her retirement, continued to advocate for causes of justice on the street corners of our State capital. Irv and Phyllis together regularly participated in marches, protests, and campaigns to improve conditions for the poor, for migrant workers, and for all who suffered injustice. They became fierce advocates for human rights.

As members of Congregation Beth Sholom, both served in leadership roles, with Phyllis presiding over the Sisterhood and Irving leading the Brotherhood and later presiding over the synagogue. Their involvement included roles with Hadassah, Israel Bonds, and the Jewish Community Relations Council in Dover. Jewish life continues to flourish in our State in part because of their devotion to the Delaware Jewish community and their involvement with interfaith and multicultural outreach programs.

Together, Irving and Phyllis Levitt exemplify that ancient commandment found in Deuteronomy: ``Justice, justice you shall pursue.'' I am proud to be their friend, and I join in congratulating them on the occasion of a dinner in their honor on April 3. May they continue to serve as a beacon of justice in our community and an example for young people throughout our State.