Norm Ebenstein: A destiny of his choosing
Childhood and early beginnings
When Norman Ebenstein was born, few could have predicted the path his life would take. Little Norm was born on October 23rd, 1928 to Samuel and Jeanette Ebenstein. From the very beginning, his life was littered with obstacles. Though his family had no way of knowing, he was born only a few years before the global economy would free fall into the Great Depression. Perhaps more consequentially, he was born at a time when global anti-Semitism was nearly at its peak. Little Norman, born into a loving home in New York City, had no idea of the way these forces would impact his life.
He also had no way of knowing how his life would impact the world.
When Norm was small, the Ebenstein family decided to relocate from New York City to Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester was an emblematic New England town. Those who lived these took a great deal of pride in their community and heritage, and it was there that Norman learned to treasure his Jewish heritage. Coming of age as a young Jewish man in the 1930s and 1940s wasn’t easy, but Norm excelled in everything he did.
Education and Youth
Norman graduated from an elite high school, Phillips Exeter Academy. Phillips Exeter is known for exacting academic standards, and Norman surpassed all of them. At a young age, he recognized the value of a good education. He was counting on his education to take him far. He enrolled at Brown, where he studied economics. After graduating, he continued his education by studying law at Boston University.
Though he was a serious and focused young man, Norman Ebenstein knew that life existed outside the walls of academia. While at Brown, he met and wooed his future wife, Shirley Gorlick. Norman knew, even as he was pursuing her, that Shirley was the love of his life. In this case, his intuition turned out to be correct. Norman and Shirley had a successful marriage that lasted 65 years. Throughout their time together, they worked to nurture a love of life and education in their children and grandchildren.
When he wasn’t busy studying or spending time with his future wife, young Norman busied himself with America’s pastime: baseball. He was a huge aficionado of the sport and was known for his tricky pitches.
A businessman and a community leader
After completing his education, Norman Ebenstein decided to embark on a business career. He knew that starting his own business was a risk, but he believed in his talents, knowledge, and ability. With Shirley’s encouragement, he formed Commercial Capital Properties, a real estate business. Though things were difficult at first, Norm never doubted himself or gave up on his dream.
With time and a lot of effort and hard work, Norman found success. Commercial Capital Properties grew beyond his wildest dreams. By the time of his death, Commercial Capital Properties owned malls and shopping developments all along the East Coast. Norman took pride in seeing people socialize and build communities around his malls. He was particularly fond of Eden Center, in Falls Church, Virginia. Eden Center became a much-needed place for the Vietnamese community to gather and socialize. Norman was proud to have made life better for a group of people in need.
Though he was most known as a successful businessman, Norman also recognized the need to give back to his community. He served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and was heavily involved in the local chapter of a Jewish service organization, B’nai B’rith. He believed that his success came with an obligation to serve and he was always ready to fulfill his duties.
Warmly loved, strongly missed
Though Norman Ebenstein has passed on, he is remembered with love and gratitude by all who knew him. His humor, kindness, and gentleness made him a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. His legacy will long outlive him.