Tracy & Larry Brown

I’ve always had a very warm feeling about being Jewish. My grandparents were orthodox and set the standard — exposing our family to the customs and rituals of being Jewish.

Larry is from a more traditional Jewish background, rich in tradition. His father was a Holocaust survivor and part of the kindertransport. Having lost his own parents (Larry’s grandparents) in the Holocaust, Larry’s father was adopted in Baltimore by the Browns. This gave me a different Jewish perspective and has played a significant part in our lives.

We were married in 1990 and moved from Washington, DC to New York City. Although it was easy to be Jewish in New York, Judaism was not a big part of our lives. This changed in 1994 when we moved to Charlotte. We enrolled our son at the Jewish Preschool on Sardis and our other children followed. I found myself interested in everything that they brought home. It was a reconnection to what I experienced with my grandparents.

In 2002, I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah and found something I was missing my whole life. Our children attended Jewish Day School, and the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly for us. Our Judaism is a family thing, a way for me to share with my children some of the Jewish experiences I never had. Involvement in the Jewish community adds additional purpose to our lives. There’s a commitment not just to our family but to an entire community. It’s our way of showing appreciation to what the Charlotte Jewish community means to our family.

A turning point was our experience in Federation’s first Bernstein Leadership Group. We’ve been fortunate in life, and giving back is important to us. We feel a connection to Jews around the world because of our connection to our own community. The Federation and the Day School provided the backbone of our relationship to the Jewish community.

We’ve felt the desire to give back financially, in addition to giving of our time. Larry created the Erwin M. Brown Memorial Fund in Baltimore with his first Wall Street bonus to memorialize his father and provide for fatherless children. I appreciate the way our Jewish Federation enables women to stand up and make a difference.

These organizations have enabled us to connect our children to their Jewish roots and community. As parents, we both feel this is an important message to pass along to our children and the generations to follow.

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