Ron & Frances Liss

Ron & Frances Liss

I grew up in Philadelphia as a child of the depression. My Dad was raised orthodox, and although I knew we were Jewish, it didn’t play a significant part in my life. The stock market crashed the year after I was born. We didn’t have anything, but I didn’t know any better because neither did anyone else. In 1941, when I was 17, we moved to Charlotte and joined Temple Beth El. We weren’t one of the original members but were certainly in the second wave. As a result, I’ve known every rabbi who has ever been employed by the temple. It wasn’t until my engagement with Hillel at UNC Chapel Hill that I truly connected to my Jewish roots and found something I had been looking for my entire life.

Frances was raised in Rock Hill, SC. Her family belonged to Temple Beth El, the conservative congregation there. Her father, who played a major role in her life, was also raised orthodox. While Frances never received a formal religious education, she was confirmed by a circuit rabbi who served the congregation. There weren’t many Jewish families in town so the congregation closed soon after Frances left for college. Her parents joined Temple Israel while she later became a Temple Beth El member.

Temple Beth El brought us together. We got to know each other through our mutual involvement with the synagogue and our commitment to Jewish life. I served as President of the congregation in ’71 and led the brotherhood and couples club. Frances worked in the religious school for over 50 years teaching multiple generations of Beth El families. Her commitment to educating children is truly amazing. We were married in 1998 followed by a religious ceremony the following year. We’ve attended Friday night services regularly since 1992 and have served on more committees than one can imagine.

It was easy for us to create a legacy gift. We have 9 children and 30 grandchildren, so Jewish tradition and education are very important. Why wouldn’t we give back to something that played such an important role in our lives? Temple Beth El has given us so much and being Jewish is who we are. Philanthropy and sharing whatever we can as a legacy gift is very important to us.

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