Florence Kaufman Jaffa
I grew up in Far Rockaway, NY, as a child of the Depression. We were a family of moderate means, but my parents were committed to their synagogue and the Jewish community. Though they didn’t have much money, they gave of their time and shared what they had to help others. I learned at an early age to be content with what I had and to care about others. We always had a can to collect for trees for Palestine as a child. It was part of being Jewish.
In 1952, when I married Ben Jaffa, Jr. and came to Charlotte, the Jewish community was a very close knit community. There were still neighborhoods where you couldn’t live and country clubs that you couldn’t join.
We had a wonderful marriage. Ben was my best friend, and he enabled me to become independent. We really complemented each other. He was treasurer of Temple Israel and on their board for over 20 years. He was also president of the JCC. Ben served on the board of many Jewish organizations. I was involved in the Temple Israel Sisterhood, Hadassah, Federation and the JCC. Ben gave me the means to continue being charitable when he passed away on January 31, 2002. I know he would be proud that I am making a commitment that will help secure the future of many worthy organizations in Charlotte. It’s important to see that what we have worked so hard to create continues to prosper.
I can trace my personal giving back to a trip to Israel in 1974. These were the early years of the women’s division of Federation. Educating and empowering women to make independent gifts was a new concept. The Federation was the right vehicle for me at that time and continues to do a great job of providing for our community. It all began as a result of that trip and the Federation’s commitment to Israel.
Whatever I have given, either of my time or financial support, I have been rewarded by knowing that I have helped in some way to share what I have with others. I have always tried to do what I thought was the right thing.
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