Charlotte Jewish Historical Society

Gladys Lavitan oral history interview 1, 1990 April 22
A longtime resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, Gladys Lavitan discusses the Jewish experience in the 1930s and 1940s as well as changes to the Charlotte Jewish community during and after World War II. She describes the challenges that life in Charlotte presented for Jewish men and women, including the lack of continuity in the transient Jewish population and the resulting lack of lay and rabbinical leadership. She recalls a network of organizations stretching across the Carolinas that provided Jews with social and religious outlets. Ms. Latvian also discusses personal brushes with antisemitism in Charlotte and reminisces about her early religious education.
Celia Scher oral history interview, 1994 March 6
Celia Scher discusses her memories of life in New York City, her move to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1959 to provide a better quality of life for her young family, and her role in educating the community about the Holocaust. She talks about joining the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust board in 1981 and their efforts to get the Holocaust taught in public schools. She discusses the personal reason why she became so passionate about educating people about the Holocaust, and shares stories about the impact of her Holocaust educational work. Ms. Scher also describes her work teaching history to pre-teen students in religious school at Temple Israel beginning in 1960. Other topics include her ambivalence about Shalom Park, her children's accomplishments, and her trip to Israel with Rabbi Richard Rocklin.
Gary Silverstein and Maxine Silverstein oral history interview, 2000 March 12
Longtime Charlotteans Gary and Maxine Silverstein discuss their lives as members of the city's Jewish community and as travel industry professionals. Mr. Silverstein, whose family has a long history in the Charlotte area, recalls his grandfather, Benjamin Silverstein, who was one of the founders of Temple Israel in Charlotte. He also discusses childhood experiences in Hebrew school and his and his son's bar mitzvahs. The Silversteins talk about the important role Jewish youth groups like B'nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) played in their lives, and they discuss the network of relationships Jewish youth developed statewide. They discuss their experiences as the owners and operators of Mann Travels and Cruises, the receptivity of Charlotteans to Jewish-owned businesses, and the pervasiveness of Jewish-owned tour companies. Within the scope of their business, they recount an instance of antisemitism they experienced. Both cite the many changes within the Charlotte Jewish community, like tremendous growth and more community accommodation.