Michael Scharf

Michael Scharf

My connection to Judaism comes from my heart. My mother lit Shabbat candles every Friday night but was not observant attending only High Holiday services and celebrating Passover. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, my family moved to Tampa, Asheboro and Salisbury. In Asheboro, we were one of three Jewish families. As an 8 year old, I remember being singled out as a minority and excused from bible class. This made a lasting impression.


After graduating from the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore School of Law, I moved to Charlotte in 1971. Charlotte and its Jewish community were quite different back then. I immediately joined Temple Israel and became active in the JCC. I went to Israel as part of the Federation’s Young Leadership Cabinet and returned in ’80 and ’83 to celebrate the B’nai Mitzvah of two of my three children. Following my divorce, I focused on raising my children and building my accounting practice. As we celebrated Jewish holidays with family and friends at Rosh Hashanah and Passover, I worked to pass to my children the same Jewish values that my parents passed along to me: respecting the rights of others and treating everyone equally. I truly believe these values have found a place in their hearts, as well.


Who could have imagined the growth and evolution of Charlotte’s Jewish community? We are fortunate that a small nucleus of benevolent leaders led by example and the community followed their lead. As I worked to establish my business and raise my children, I was not able to give back financially in the manner I would have liked. Charity was not something I learned from my parents as they were never in a position to do so.  It was learned from my peers, and gratefully, I am now able to do what my parents could not.


As I finalized my legacy commitment, I was filled with pride.  Charlotte has been very good to my family and me.  My legacy gift is my way of making up for what I always wanted to do but felt I could not at the time. In my mind, there is a vulnerability to Judaism and its ability to survive. I want to help Judaism prosper and continue to be recognized and appreciated as a contributing factor in Charlotte’s continued success.

Back to Index