Michael and Lenora Borchardt
Judaism is an important part of our lives, serving as a historic link between our past and the future. Seven of our eight grandparents never made it out of Germany or Moldova. For that reason alone, we both cherish the relationships we have with our grandchildren, which remind us of the relationships that we never had with our own grandparents.
Lenora is originally from Queens, New York, where her father, the first in his family to come to this country from Moldova, helped start the Utopia Jewish Center. She remembers her parents sending boxes of clothing to Europe for family members left behind.
I was born in Jerusalem. My parents were both from Germany and arrived in Palestine in the late 1930’s, where they met and married. My parents didn’t want to be in Germany or Palestine once the fighting began. Our family arrived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1947.
Lenora and I met on a blind date in 1961. She graduated from Queens College in New York and I received a dental degree from New York University. We were married in 1966. Over the next six years we traveled to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia as I completed my dental studies. We visited Gastonia after learning that the Carolinas provided excellent opportunities for oral surgeons. They were building a new hospital, had a Jewish mayor and 75 Jewish families. It was important to live in a community with a temple, and we moved there in 1972. We found Gastonia very accepting and a great place to raise our children. In 2002, after our children were grown, we moved to Charlotte.
Lenora’s father always talked about the importance of supporting Jewish organizations. Our parents didn’t have the financial ability to make significant gifts and provided for others the best they could. We later learned about some of the little things my father did to make a difference in other people’s lives. When we reached the point that we were able to start making financial gifts we began to do so.
Giving back to Israel and providing for the survivors in the former Soviet Union is important to us. We also enjoy assisting animal shelters and humane societies. It is our feeling that a house is not a home without a dog, and we knew that area needed assistance.
We’ve enjoyed making a difference and giving back. We will continue the process of getting our children involved to help them to support passions of their own.
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