- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte Jewish Historical Society
- Blanche Jaffa and Ben Jaffa Jr. oral history interview, 1990 April 22
Blanche Jaffa and Ben Jaffa Jr. oral history interview, 1990 April 22
Blanche Jaffa and her son, Ben Jaffa, Jr., discuss their experiences as members of Charlotte's Jewish community beginning in the 1920s. Ms. Jaffa recalls the early religious services for Reform Jews in Charlotte prior to the founding of Temple Beth El and details the home-based worship and its lay leadership. The Jaffas discuss the connections and the separations between the members of the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox congregations in Charlotte. Mr. Jaffa talks about his own Jewish religious education as a youth and credits the lay leadership of I. D. Blumenthal in inculcating a strong Jewish identity within him and many of his friends. Both discuss the effects of World War II on the Jewish community and the city of Charlotte and discuss Jewish reaction to the Holocaust and the creation of Israel. While both Ms. and Mr. Jaffa maintain that overall relations between Jews and the larger Charlotte community were good and are improving, they detail historical instances of social ostracism for Jews such as their exclusion from certain clubs and housing markets. Moreover, in terms of Jewish-African American relations, the Jaffas state that the Jewish community as a whole did little to encourage integration and that segregation limited their interaction with blacks.