Paula & Richard Klein
Paula and I first met in 1963 at a Bar Mitzvah in Danville, VA. We met again a few years later at High Holy Day services in Greensboro, where she was a student. There was special meaning in those two Jewish encounters. We were married, two years later, in 1968.
Paula grew up in Hampton, Virginia and attended a very traditional synagogue. A Charlotte native, I attended Temple Beth El, although my grandfather often took me to Shabbat services at Temple Israel. We were both raised with a strong connection to Judaism, our local synagogues and the Jewish Federation. Giving back was important and we have passed along those same teachings to our four children, who all became B’nai Mitzvah at Temple Israel. Paula was Sisterhood President at Temple Israel while I served on congregational boards and was President of the Jewish Federation. I was also active with UJA (later, The Jewish Federations of North America) on a national level. When I retired, after 30 years in the family business, I was invited to join JFNA professionally serving unaffiliated communities throughout the country.
Over the years, Paula and I have contributed to numerous local Jewish institutions because of their impact in our lives. Our hope is for our children and grandchildren to continue similar practices of giving. Our decision to create a legacy gift, and perpetuate our giving, was made in consultation with our children since it would impact their inheritance. They did not hesitate for a second and encouraged us to make tzedakah part of our legacy.
Judaism teaches us the importance of passing down values and stories from one generation to the next. We were reminded of this by our grandson, Adlai Martin, following the passing of my mother, Elizabeth Goodman Klein on March 1, 2015 at the age of 89. He was seven years old. Our grandson was concerned that his parents’ anniversary would be ‘bittersweet’ since it is a day before my mom’s birthday. He was saddened that Grandma Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to celebrate and equally determined that she would not be forgotten.
“On her birthday we should do something generous because she was a generous person. That would make her happy”, said Adlai. And so began the plan to collect canned goods for Jewish Family Services to help feed the hungry.
My mother inspired us and taught us all to give back.
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