Barry Bobrow & Karen Knoble

By Karen Knoble

Barry grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and I was raised in Northern Virginia. We met in 1983 at graduate school at the University of Michigan and married several years later. Although Barry’s family was not particularly observant, his parents wanted him to have a strong Jewish education. His family belonged to Temple Beth Shalom, a conservative synagogue where Barry thrived in Hebrew School and became Bar Mitzvah. I am a Jew by choice. After meeting Barry, I came to love Judaic traditions and perspectives. Barry and I lived in sync with the Jewish calendar and decided to raise our family within the Jewish religion and traditions, but I did not have plans to formally convert to Judaism — until Barry’s father died. Through his death, I experienced how Judaism encourages family members to grieve and provides rituals for grieving. I began the conversion process and completed it several years later.

When we moved to Charlotte in 1996, as an interfaith couple with three young children in tow, we were unsure what kind of Jewish Community we would find. We were welcomed by a vibrant and strong community — a community made richer and stronger because of the pluralistic structure of Shalom Park. Our children enrolled at Charlotte Jewish Preschool and enjoyed a variety of offerings at the LJCC. They graduated from Temple Israel Religious School and became bar/bat mitzvah at Temple Israel. In our eighteen years in Charlotte, through our Jewish community we have found spiritual fulfillment and established lifelong friendships.

We are part of an unprecedented generation in American history. We are fortunate to have financial resources so much greater than our parents, and it is not at all clear that future generations will have the same wherewithal. Yet the needs of our Jewish community will still exist for those future generations. We know that families and individuals will still seek spiritual guidance and Judaic education; require assistance from Jewish Family Services; and desire sacred burial places for their loved ones. We know that they, too, will benefit from of a strong Jewish community. As we evaluated the merits of leaving legacy gifts, we wanted to help reduce the cost burden of those future generations, and ensure that the diverse needs of our community members are met well into the future.

During our lifetimes, we have given back to our community through financial contributions and by taking on leadership positions throughout Shalom Park. For us, leaving a legacy gift was a logical next step. We want to continue to give back to the Charlotte Jewish Community after we are gone. We hope that our legacy will help build the financial security of our community for generations to come, and by doing so to inspire others to do the same.

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