Peggy & John ז״ל McManus
John and I both grew up in Charlotte but did not meet one another until 1977. We dated for seven years and were married in 1984. I was raised Southern Baptist while John’s family was United Methodist. We had very little knowledge of Charlotte’s Jewish community or the Jewish faith. We knew of Harry Golden but that was the extent of a connection to anything Jewish. For many years after our marriage, and with little success, John and I sought a common spiritual home. We attended several different churches with no real connection. It was John who introduced us to Judaism. Without my knowledge he visited Temple Beth El several times and attended services. After one visit he said “there was a place I needed to go”. After we attended services several times I knew it was where I needed to be.
I remember an immediate sense of belonging. At Torah study when we discussed Moses leading his people out of Egypt I literally felt I was there walking behind him. I will never forget that feeling. Three months after our first visit to Beth El we enrolled in conversion classes. In October, 1997 Rabbi Bennett performed our conversion completing a journey for us and filling a spiritual void in our lives. We became regulars at Friday night services. Although not a “baker” I even began making our own challah.
In 2006 John got sick and we were embraced by Temple Beth El’s family. People were there for us and we knew, if needed, we would provide that same support for them. I began volunteering which evolved into a full-time employment opportunity. I have been fortunate to get to know many of the children as they attend religious school and prepare for their B’nai Mitzvah. With no children of my own these relationships have been special.
Charlotte’s Jewish community has grown dramatically since John and I grew up here. The temples’ memberships have increased and the addition of Shalom Park has made more people aware of the presence of Charlotte’s strong Jewish community. It feels good knowing that by creating of our legacy gift to support Temple Beth we are giving back to a community that has given so much to us. It is our way of saying thank you to our extended family and doing our part to support future generations of Charlotte Jews.
ז״ל Of Blessed Memory
Back to Index