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Ben Jaffa, Jr. and Blanche Jaffa, 1990 April 22

Identifier: JC-JA0013

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1990 April 22

Conditions Governing Access

11 of the 13 interviews that comprise the Charlotte Jewish Historical Society oral history interviews have been digitized and are available in the digital repository. Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use.

Biographical Note

Blanche Jaffa was a 87-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place at the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1908. She owned and managed several Southern Five and Ten Cent stores with her husband, Sol. Ben Jaffa Jr. was a 62-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in Charlotte in 1928. He graduated from Central High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor's in Business and was a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).


37 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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