Nancy & Samuel Bernstein
Sam and I saw our parents and grandparents set high standards for us to follow. Growing up, our Jewish experiences were much different than our daughters. I attended a small temple in Shreveport, LA where there were only about 200 Jewish families. We were active in our community as my Dad was a member of the Temple Brotherhood, and my mom served on the boards of both the Temple and its Sisterhood. Both of my parents were also active in the Northwest Louisiana Federation. Shabbat was always spent with my family. After high school, I attended the University of North Carolina and met Sam in Chapel Hill. We met at a UNC basketball game in January 1984, while I was a student and Sam was working in Charlotte. We were married eleven months later.
Sam grew up in eastern North Carolina where his parents were leaders in their community. Sam’s father has been president of three different synagogues while his mom has led three different Sisterhoods. They continue to be active in their congregation today. Sam grew up with a large extended family and all were active in their respective communities. Sam attended East Carolina University and then moved to Charlotte.
Growing up in small southern towns, we learned from our parents and grandparents that everyone has to do their part to get things done. Seeing that same attitude here in Charlotte has made it easy for Sam and I to get involved in a variety of Jewish organizations. Sam is a past president of several organizations including the Federation and Temple Israel. He currently serves on the Boards of Foundation of Shalom Park and Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community. My experience includes serving as President of Temple Israel’s Sisterhood and on the Boards of Levine Jewish Community Center and Jewish Family Services.
We have enjoyed working with others to make sure that Jewish institutions are there to support our children. We see the good work that is taking place and want to sustain this. Today, people express their Judaism differently than when we were kids, and all Jewish organizations will need to continue evolving to meet their needs. With our lifetime and legacy gifts, we are helping to sustain Jewish life. And even if our daughters’ should settle elsewhere, it is our hope that others will do the same for them in their cities as we are happy to do in ours.
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