Leon Levine & Sandra Poliakoff Levine
We can attribute our first memories of Judaism to our parents and the Jewish homes they created for us. I was raised in Rockingham, NC, a small town with very few Jewish families. Sandra was born in Anderson, SC, and moved to Charlotte as a teenager. When I arrived in Charlotte in 1958 it represented the first time I lived in a town with a synagogue and a full-time rabbi.
Like so many others, we learned about Judaism from our parents and grandparents. My grandfather, Abraham, assumed the role of rabbi in our small town. My mother did her best to keep a Jewish home for my brothers, sister and me while working with my father in the family store. As the youngest, my mother and I were very close and after my father died when I was 12, we spent a great deal of time together. I would go to school in the mornings and spend the rest of the day working with my mother as she continued to run our family business. I cherish the time I spent with my mother and the lessons she taught me. My parents instilled a work effort in each of their children and I have carried throughout my life the many valuable lessons I learned from them.
Sandra grew up the eldest of seven children, all of whom had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Her parents instilled in her the importance of her Jewish heritage as well as the importance of being charitable.
We both have a strong desire to help those in need as well as to give help where possible to those working hard to achieve their dreams. We have been fortunate in life and are proud to have played our role in helping our community grow. As Jews, we feel an obligation to support our Jewish organizations that are so essential to the preservation of Jewish life in Charlotte, as well as to support those organizations in the greater Charlotte community that are essential to helping provide a better quality of life to our city.
We’ve accomplished so much as a Jewish community since Sandra and I first arrived in Charlotte. Shalom Park has received nationwide acclaim, the Levine Jewish Community Center serves a broad section of our Jewish families, and our Federation, Jewish Family Services, synagogues and schools play an invaluable role in providing help, guidance and education for our community.
Sandra and I are pleased to have joined so many of our family and friends in helping our community grow and we hope to continue to serve future generations.
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