Jennifer Cohen Golynsky and Leon Golynsky
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, surrounded by family and friends who were active in ORT, Hadassah, B’nai Brith and Temple. When I was 11, we moved to Charlotte and became members of Temple Beth El. I studied with Mr. Wallace and Rabbi Krantzler and was the first female on either side of my family to become a Bat Mitzvah. I continued through confirmation and was active in BBYO, serving as Chapter President of Chaverim and North Carolina Council S’gonit (Vice President). At UNC Chapel Hill, I joined Hillel while pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Public Policy and Public Administration. The JCC remained a part of my life, spending summers as head lifeguard and swim team coach.
Leon was born in Minsk, Belarus where being Jewish was almost impossible. His family left the former Soviet Union when he was 10, and with the help of HIAS and the local Jewish community, settled in Dayton, OH. His family joined Beth Jacob synagogue where he became a Bar Mitzvah and joined BBYO. Leon attended Hillel Academy then moved to public high school. He continued his studies at the University of Cincinnati, earning an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and his Master of Hospital Administration from Xavier University. He spent a year of Residency in Kenosha, WI before moving to Charlotte on his birthday in January, 1995.
We met in May 1997, when a mutual friend invited both of us to his Memorial Day cookout. That summer, we both attended a Jewish Singles rafting trip and were able to get to know each other better. We attended Jewish Singles events, temple services and community lectures together. Our Judaism provided a great common ground on which to build and sustain a lasting relationship. We are proud graduates of the Bernstein Leadership Group Class VII, and took the lessons to heart, volunteering and serving on boards and committees with Temple Israel, Jewish Family Services and the Federation.
Our Jewish heritage and being a part of the thriving Charlotte Jewish community are important to us. Our Judaism has supported us when celebrating simchas with family and friends, as well as the loss of loved ones. We believe in the preservation of the institutions that help Judaism prosper here in Charlotte and throughout the world, where the challenges are far greater. We are proud to follow my mother’s lead in leaving a legacy gift.