Michele & Harvey Barer
I was raised in Queens, NY. My parents were not observant but always belonged to a synagogue.
While attending Hunter College I rode to Washington with other students in support of Israel during the war in 1967. Upon arriving we learned that the war was over! There was singing and dancing in the streets. This experience profoundly influenced my life by demonstrating the power of Klal Yisrael.
I married young and was deeply involved at our conservative temple on Long Island, but after my divorce I felt alienated from the mainstream Jewish community. My children completed Hebrew School and we continued to keep a kosher home, observing holidays with other single mothers and their families. During this period, there was little time or money to give back to the community.
Harvey grew up in an orthodox home in Brooklyn keeping kosher and attending shul every Shabbat. His father was President of the shul and was involved in Jewish community life. He sponsored many people so that they could escape the Holocaust and come to America. One was a young rabbi who eventually presided over Harvey’s Bar Mitzvah. Harvey learned firsthand the importance of Jewish values and traditions. While at NYU, Harvey was Master of his fraternity (AEPi) and received a national award for fostering interfaith relations.
When my children were in college I reevaluated my priorities and committed to living a more Jewish life. I joined a synagogue, regularly attended Shabbat services, took classes and became more socially engaged. Harvey and I began dating in 1998. He loved that I had a Jewish home and was active in the community. We began attending Shabbat and holiday services together and married in 1999. We became even more active in the Great Neck, Long Island Jewish community. I served as Sisterhood President for two years, overlapping the last two years of Harvey’s four years as Brotherhood President.
We learned about Charlotte, particularly its vibrant Jewish community. During a four-day visit we attended services at Temple Beth-El and Temple Israel, and toured the Levine Jewish Community Center. We were quickly convinced and moved to Charlotte in August 2007.
Why leave a legacy? The Jewish community, particularly Temple Israel and the LJCC, have become our family. They have provided and cared for our spiritual, social, intellectual and physical needs. We feel grateful and fortunate to show our appreciation and ensure that others have the same opportunities to share Charlotte’s wonderful Jewish life.
Back to Index