Interviewer: This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and Congregation Beth Tikvah is being recorded on February 21, 2018, as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society’s Oral History Project and for inclusion in the archives collection of Congregation Beth Tikvah. This interview is being recorded at Congregation Beth Tikvah, 6121 Olentangy River Road in Worthington, Ohio. My name is Abby Goldbaum and I am interviewing Ernie Mandell. Rose Luttinger is helping with this interview.
Interviewer: What is your full name?
Mandell: Ernest P. Mandell.
Interviewer: What is your Hebrew name and who were you named for?
Mandell: Elie Pesach and I don’t know who I was named for. I believe, from what I understand, it was a brother of one of my grandparents. I couldn’t get affirmation of that.
Interviewer: How do you spell Pesach?
Mandell: I spelled it the same way you spell Pesach.
Interviewer: How far back can you trace your family?
Mandell: Mainly to great grandparents. It gets fuzzy after that, especially with name changes.
Interviewer: Can you tell me what the P stands for in your middle initial?
Mandell: Paul, my English middle name is Paul and my name in Hebrew is Pesach.
Interviewer: What can you tell us about your grandparents?
Mandell: On my father’s side, my great grandfather, Abe Mandell, was born in Austria. Early on he made cigars by hand. Then he eventually ended up in the scrap metal business when he came to the United States. It’s interesting because my wife’s father had his own scrap metal business and my Uncle Bernie, on my other side of the family, had a scrap metal business. So, for some reason the family had radiated toward recycling for many years. He was also a contributor, I know, to the Jewish United Fund in Chicago. I don’t know if it’s still in existence, or they call it something else now. My grandmother, Cecelia Mandell, was born in the United States. She worked in a department store called the Boston Store where my grandfather courted her. She sold gloves and handkerchiefs. He would walk her home. These were some fun stories about the past. She was a housewife and back then, in the 50’s and 60’s, she was very much involved with the Chicago Home for Retarded Children, as it was called at the time. On my mother’s side of the family, who were from Russia, the Ukraine, Arthur Morgan, my mother’s father, was a sergeant in the czar’s army, artillery division. He came to the United States in 1914, which was the year my mother was born. He became a tailor once he was in the United States. That’s the story of my grandfather and my mother coming to the United States. My mother was born in December of 1914. Earlier that year, presumably nine months earlier, my grandparents married and, at that point, my grandfather secured passage to the United States. They lived through a pogrom and there were issues that were happening. He ended up coming to the United States alone, waiting to send for my mother who was an only child that year, and my grandmother. He wasn’t able to send for them very quickly. He got to the United States and had to raise money to get them here. So it ended up that he could not get them here for eight years. He ended up getting funds for them to come in 1922. They secured passage on a ship that would go to Ellis Island. Unfortunately, on that trip they had to take a train. My grandmother was very fearful of what they did to little girls traveling through the Ukraine so she cut my mother’s hair very short and, on the train, let her pretend that she was a boy. On that train someone patted my mother on the head and said you’re a good little boy. At that point she said I’m not a little boy, I’m a girl. They ended up saying some derogatory things to my mother and my grandmother and they threw her off the train. They ended up eventually being able to get to the ship and come to the United States. It was a very difficult time for them to do that. My grandmother, Sheva, was born in Russia. She was always grandma Sheva. No one gave me her official name if there was one, Margovsky was the last name. Their name coming over was Margovsky. It was shortened to Morgan when they came to the U. S. She was a seamstress. They also ended up coming through Ellis Island, living in Baltimore, and I think she was mainly a housewife. From my understanding, she ended up being a runner for the polling stations when they did voting in Baltimore. She died when I was fairly young. My big memory of her, she was a very short woman. She was, I don’t even know if she was five feet. She’d always give me this pinch on my cheek that would leave me hurting for days (laughs).
Interviewer: What were your parents’ names and where were they born?
Mandell: My father was Irving B. Mandell. He was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and my mother was Jeanette Marovsky, born in Kiev, Russia.
Interviewer: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Mandell: My family traveled a lot. Let me back up a little bit, back to my mother’s name. Another interesting issue with her coming to the United States, her passport. When she arrived she was logged in as a boy. She eventually got a social security number and then when she became old enough to collect Social Security, there was a conflict because of her passport. She didn’t have a birth certificate, she had her passport and it said she was a boy. She went through a year and a half trying to prove her identity so she could collect her Social Security because of this issue with her coming over. Where did I grow up? My mother and father lived all around the country. Both of my brothers were born in Baltimore, my sister in Detroit, and I was born in Davenport, Iowa. I grew up in Davenport. We ended up moving to Des Plaines which is a suburb of Chicago. Then we eventually moved to central Ohio, living in Bexley and then Berwick.
Interviewer: When did you move to central Ohio?
Mandell: It would have been about 1968, 69. I would have been in fifth grade. I went to fifth grade in Bexley schools.
Interviewer: What school did you go to?
Mandell: In Bexley, Montrose Elementary School.
Interviewer: Okay, and then you mentioned Berwick?
Mandell: I ended up, finished up sixth grade in Berwick, at Berwick Elementary and Johnson Park Junior High School on the East Side and then Eastmoor High School.
Interviewer: Okay, who were some of your friends from high school and are they still in the area?
Mandell: Back in high school, a lot of the people I graduated with stayed in central Ohio. In Fact, I occasionally hear from them, stayed in the Bexley area and Berwick, probably more Bexley then Berwick. It’s funny, when you start talking to people on the east side, the connections that are there from the school years.
Interviewer: Did you play sports or do music?
Mandell: No. When I was 14, I was too old for camps anymore, and I had one summer that I didn’t have anything to do so when I was 14 I went and applied to work at the Dairy Queen. They thought I was older than I was for some reason. That started something that didn’t end until 45 years later. I ended up having such a good time. I went to school and I originally thought, well, this is a great high school job. After I got to high school I thought well, this will be a good way for me to pay for college, and it did, and then I never left.
Interviewer: Where did you go to college?
Mandell: Ohio State University.
Interviewer: What did you major in?
Mandell: Business Administration and Marketing.
Interviewer: You mentioned brothers and sisters. Did you want to say their names?
Mandell: My sister, Sandra Overstreet, lives in Berwick as we speak. She was the oldest. There were thirteen years between us. My brother, Jeff Mandell is in the process of moving to the Arlington area and I have a brother, Ira Mandell. He lives in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He’s a professor of animal science.
Interviewer: What is your age?
Mandell: I’m 60, will be 61 in April.
Interviewer: Congratulations! What were the occupations of your parents?
Mandell: My father was in the home improvement business. In fact, in the 50’s, maybe even the late 40’s, he was a pitchman at some of the fairs. In fact, he worked with Ed McMahan for a short time. That’s where he started. For years he did that and then ended up in home improvement sales for siding or carpet. When we lived in Chicago, he was in the carpet business and he had met a person who was looking for someone to start a business here, in Columbus. That’s what brought the family here. In the late 60’s they opened up a carpet store.
Interviewer: What was that called?
Mandell: Better Value Carpets.
Interviewer: Was your mother involved in the business?
Mandell: No, not in the carpet business. She was also in sales throughout my younger years. I think she worked in a jewelry store. Both my parents liked to collect antiques a lot. Eventually, when my father stopped the carpet business, there was an antique store in Clintonville. Most of the merchandise that was in there was consignments from them. The owner of the store asked if they had any interest in taking the store because he wanted to retire. They ended up getting the store. They worked there for years, in the antique business. In fact, my mother worked up until two days before she ended up in the hospital and passing away. She loved doing that.
Interviewer: What was the name of the store?
Mandell: Uncle Sam’s Antiques. My mother ended up being “Uncle Sam”.
Interviewer:Was it on High Street?
Mandell: On High Street, near Pacemont.
Interviewer: Where was your father’s store?
Mandell: Coincidentally, the first location was on High Street, near Pacemont in the next block from where they ended up with the antique store. There used to be a Rexall Pharmacy. Were you both from Columbus?
Interviewer: No, but I lived in Clintonville for a while.
Mandell: Okay, so years ago, there was a Rexall Pharmacy store at the corner of Pacemont and High Street. To the right of it was my mother’s antique store and to the left of it, in the next block, was where my father started in the carpet business.
Interviewer: Were your parents affiliated and involved with the Jewish community?
Mandell: When we were growing up, I was the youngest and my sister, at her age, she was born in 1944, she didn’t have the Jewish education that we had because she was a female. Both my brothers were Bar Mitzvahed in the Chicago area, in Des Plaines. I was born when my parents were 42 so my older brothers were more in line with normal kid ages with parents and they were very much involved with the synagogue then. In fact, the congregation that they were affiliated with was Maine Township Jewish Congregation. We didn’t have a building at that time. They would set up an Ark in my elementary school’s gymnasium for Services every week. We would have Services there and that’s where my brothers were Bar Mitzvahed. My mother was very much involved. In fact, the garage sales we do today remind me a lot of what she did. They called them rummage sales then. She was a fundraiser for the synagogue to raise money to put the building up. Unfortunately, we moved away before the building got built. It did get built and, unfortunately, I think it was about a decade ago, that congregation had closed, it folded and I was sorry to hear about that.
Interviewer: That was in Des Plaines?
Interviewer: What about in Columbus?
Mandell: My parents or me?
Interviewer: Well both of you.
Mandell: They were disconnected just because of work and what they were doing. I think it was mainly an age issue. They made sure that I was affiliated with the synagogue and got my Jewish education.
Interviewer: Where was that?
Mandell: I was at Agudas Achim. They joined Agudas Achim. Rabbi Rubenstein was the Rabbi there at the time. I went to Columbus Hebrew School which was on the second floor of the old Jewish Center before it was torn down.
Interviewer: So you had a Bar Mitzvah?
Interviewer: Did you go to any Jewish camps? Tell me about that.
Mandell: I have great memories of camp. I didn’t go to an away camp. Two summers I went to the JCC camp, which were wonderful times for me, and I made some great friends there. Of course, there were many more kids, Jewish kids, centralized in that part of town. A lot of the kids you went to camp with, you went to school with as well. It created an even more impressive bond that we have, that lasts longer, that I really miss for my son that he didn’t have that. In fact, my son was always amazed. I would tell him stories. There were so many Jewish kids going to my elementary school that two school buses would come twice a week to the school, after school, and pick up all the kids to go to Hebrew School. One went to Tifereth Israel and one went to Columbus Hebrew School. So we had friends, too, that were going to different places to school. After Hebrew School we’d load up on the bus and they’d drop us all off at our houses.
Interviewer: Did you maintain a really good friend from that time?
Mandell: Yeah, there’s a couple that have moved away, probably haven’t had a lot of contact since, but yes. I didn’t find out till years later, it made a lot of sense. I think a lot about all of the teachers at Columbus Hebrew School being Holocaust survivors that were teaching us then.
Interviewer: Or Israelis.
Mandell: Yeah, Mr. Solomon, Mr. Kass, Mr. Harrison.
Interviewer: I don’t think Mr. Harrison and Mr. Solomon were but Mr. Kass certainly was. Was Mr. Seltzer there?
Mandell: That doesn’t ring a bell.
Interviewer: I had a lot of Israeli teachers. Did you do any additional Jewish education as a youngster?
Mandell: I did not. My parents, I think, were at a point, once I was Bar Mitzvahed, as happens with many families, figured, okay we’ve done what we were supposed to do. I didn’t really reconnect formally with Judaism again after my Bar Mitzvah until it was time for my son to get a Jewish education.
Interviewer: Were you or your parents involved with the general community?
Mandell: No, I think because of working. I think because of how busy they were working and I was working, making money to go to school, so not so much back then.
Interviewer: How did you decide to move to Upper Arlington, as an adult, rather than going to the East side?
Mandell: Number one, fighting the traffic for years going to OSU from the East side. I purchased my first three Dairy Queens when I was 23.
Interviewer: That’s impressive!
Mandell: Thank you. They were all Northwest so it made sense for me to be Northwest. I did live out East for awhile but then it made more sense to come up North. I did live in Dublin for a number of years and then moved to Upper Arlington.
Interviewer: You mentioned your son’s education. Where was he Bar Mitzvahed?
Mandell: He was Bar Mitzvahed here (Beth Tikvah).
Interviewer: Rabbi Huber?
Mandell: Yeah, Rabbi Huber did his Bar Mitzvah. We got involved with Beth Tikvah when he started religious School. Now there’s a back story with Paul that continues into his older years. Paul is 25 now. When Paul was two, he was at the JCC North Pre-School. As you both know, even back then, the parents were being told that Beth Tikvah is building a new building and we’re going to be moving the pre-school into that new building. Looking back to those days, and what happened with the history of the synagogue, I think that tells a lot from my history with the congregation, and what I tried to do to help make that happen and we ultimately did. After Paul’s Bar Mitzvah, he kind of did the same thing his father did. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in being involved with the synagogue so he didn’t move on with his education. He ended up going to a school in Philadelphia, Drexel University, and he got involved with AEP, a Jewish fraternity. He got involved with their leadership and then, more importantly, got involved with Hillel there. He was in a five-year school program. I’m proud to say that in the first four years of his program, he ended up visiting Israel five times, the first time with Birthright. It meant a lot to him, the country. Even now it’s not a religious issue with him, he just loves the country. We ended up going to Israel with him for a 16-day trip which I could see why he loves the country so much. Now he graduated from Drexel and he’s now living in Tel Aviv and working there.
Interviewer: How interesting. What is he doing there?
Mandell; He’s working for a start-up company that handles, it’s hard for me to describe what it is. He’s an account manager in companies that own 200 rentals anywhere in the world, They can hire this company to manage their rentals, properties. It’s called Guesty.He started work for them thinking that this would be something that would pay the rent for him and then they had about 30 employees. Within seven or eight months they were up to 90 employees. There are a lot of start-ups in Israel so it’s been a good experience for him.
Interviewer: It’s so far for you though.
Mandell: Oh, yeah, we talk two or three times a week though.
Interviewer: Your son’s name is Paul Irvan Mandell?
Interviewer: What do you think he thought about growing up in Upper Arlington?
Mandell: I think he liked it. He thought, you know he knew he was kind of in an island. He knew there were many families that didn’t have the things that he had and he didn’t have what other families had. There were only probably two other Jewish kids that he knew going to the high school there. As I said earlier, I wish that he would have had more of a connection in that way. He did get involved with sports there, was on the crew team for four years and worked very hard at that. I think he liked Upper Arlington.
Interviewer: Was there anybody from the congregation in the high school?
Mandell: He has some people that he connects with still, mainly from pre-school and he ended up going through religious school with.
Interviewer: Nobody from high school.
Mandell: Nobody Jewish that went to high school that I know of that he still connects with.
Interviewer: Back to education, if there was a teacher that inspired you, please tell us about that.
Mandell: I don’t think there was any particular teacher that created inspiration for me through the years. I think that I had a great education. I had a wonderful childhood. It was a good experience for me. One doesn’t really stand out as being that much a part of my life.
Interviewer: If there was a leader, either Jewish or non-Jewish who inspired you to become a leader yourself, please tell us about that.
Mandell: I don’t think a particular leader. I think my inspiration for what I did here at BethTikvah was mainly to help the congregation. It’s kind of a payback for what they’ve done for me through the years, my family.
Interviewer: When did you get married?
Mandell: June 15, 1997.
Interviewer: And to whom did you get married?
Mandell: Cheryl Rubenstein.
Interviewer: You have one child?
Mandell: Paul is from a marriage before Cheryl. Don’t ask me that date. I don’t remember. We have one son, Paul Mandell, and he was born in 1992, October 10th.
Interviewer: Is he married?
Mandell: No, he’s not.
Interviewer:What is your occupation and tell us about your work experiences.
Mandell: DQ, I really had a great time working with all these high school kids when I was 14 and 15. I stuck with it. In looking back, I think I lost a lot of my high school years because I was working a lot.
Interviewer: At Dairy Queen?
Mandell: Yes, at Dairy Queen. It really paid off. I bought three stores when I was 23. In the mid 80’s I had six stores. A decade ago, was down to four stores and then slowly was getting out of the business. Three years ago I sold the last two stores. So I’m basically retired now from the DQ business. I had about 45 years that I truly enjoyed.
Interviewer: That’s great! What was the occupation of your spouse?
Mandell: She was a 30-year plus retired schoolteacher, Columbus Public Schools, and she worked with learning disabled kids all those years.
Interviewer: What schools?
Mandell: She was at Central. She was at Walnut Ridge for several years and she was at Mohawk Middle for one year. Mostly her time was at Central and at West High School. When she retired, she was at West.
Interviewer: Where did you meet her?
Mandell: A friend introduced us and we met for lunch one day. It’s history from there.
Interviewer: She’s retired now?
Mandell: Yes, she’s retired. She does a lot of work with sick and injured dogs. She’s a trustee with Friends of the Shelter, which is a fund-raising organization. When dogs come into the Franklin County Dog Shelter that are ill or have a broken leg or have some sort of medical issue. They’re not allowed to use taxpayer money to help those dogs. If another group doesn’t step up, or her group, the dog has to be euthanized. They save about 300 or 350 dogs a year. I’m very proud of her for her efforts at doing that. She does a lot of fund raising to make that happen.
Interviewer: That’s wonderful. Now that you’re retired and you’re past president of Beth Tikvah, what’s your big interest?
Mandell: We want to travel. Right now, we thought we were downsizing but we purchased an acre and a quarter lot in Dublin (leaving our one quarter acre lot in Upper Arlington), we’re selling, we’re just about to put our home on the market. We thought we were going to down size. The house will be smaller but the lot is bigger. We’re very excited. This next year and a half, probably, everything will be associated with getting the house built. So we’re doing that. Once we get settled into there, I think traveling will be the big plus in our life. I think, later on this year, if Paul’s not coming home from Israel for a while, we’ll probably meet him somewhere in Europe because we do miss him.
Interviewer: I’ll bet. You could do what Gary does, get an apartment (in Israel). Did you or your spouse serve either in the military or the Peace Corps?
Interviewer: Can you describe your involvement, as a volunteer, with Jewish organizations?
Mandell: Early on I think I did the normal volunteering that any religious school parent would do, trying to get involved with helping on committees at Beth Tikvah. I was on the Federation Board for a two-year period for the community.
Interviewer: Was that recently?
Mandell: No, that probably was in the early two thousands. I’m involved with the Friends of the Shelter Group as well. When you’re the spouse, you can’t avoid it (laughs).
Interviewer: Do you have pets at home?
Mandell: Oh yeah, we always have had dogs. When I got married we each brought a dog into the marriage. Unfortunately, Gumby and Rudy are gone. We have a couple other dogs now that are rescue dogs that we’re enjoying immensely.
Interviewer: Wonderful. Have you been involved with any non-Jewish community organizations as a volunteer besides the Friends of the Shelter?
Mandell: Probably just Friends of the Shelter.
Interviewer: Pets are very important.
Mandell: They have a new program with the Columbus Jewish Foundation. I have been asked to be an ambassador for the Foundation which, as we move toward future planning for endowments to the community, they’ve asked me to get involved with some household meetings to try to get people more involved with estate planning for the future and funding the Jewish Federation and Foundation for the future which is very important to me.
Interviewer: It is important. From what I hear, the Foundation and the Federation are merged.
Mandell: Yeah, they’re in a search now because Gordon Hecker, who was the Federation president retired last year and Jackie Jacobs, with the Foundation, is retiring in July. They hired a firm to do a search to find a person to really run, head up both organizations. Both organizations will exist in some form but they’ll come together under one umbrella.
Interviewer: Backtracking a little bit, please tell me more about your service to Congregation Beth Tikvah culminating in your presidency.
Mandell: Being a member of the synagogue I think somebody thought, he already owns a business, he’d probably be good with numbers. Let’s ask him to be the Finance chair. I ended up being asked to be on the Board. I served two terms as the Finance chair which then evolved into two terms as the Treasurer. Because of the projects that were going on, I stayed connected with the Board.I was Trustee-at-Large for, I think, two terms as well. Then I was First Vice-President, Second, and eventually the presidency.
Interviewer: What were the high points and the most significant accomplishments as President?
Mandell: As President or as joining Beth Tikvah?
Interviewer: Well, you can talk about both.
Mandell: Joining Beth Tikvah in that part of my life was a wonderful high point. Cheryl and I both had affiliation with another synagogue. Although we lived on this side of town we were kind of religious school shopping. Although we both considered ourselves Conservative, we came to Shabbat Services here one night. At first, we were a little aghast that there was a guitar player on the Bema. Neither of us had ever seen such a thing (laughs). It ended up being a perfect fit for us. We had certain needs for a congregation that would accept Cheryl and I and especially Paul. Beth Tikvah had its arms wide open and (Rabbi) Gary Huber especially. There was no issue with Paul enrolling, even though his birth mother was not Jewish.
Interviewer: This is the Reform Movement.
Mandell: That’s right. This was, you know, I didn’t realize how much of an issue this would be in a Conservative synagogue. It weighed heavy on my heart at the time. Because of the acceptance that Cheryl and I had here with Paul, it felt wonderful for me. At that time, I remember having a conversation with Cheryl. This is great. We’re going to take care of everything we need as far as our Jewish family is concerned and one day we should figure out what we should do for Beth Tikvah.
Interviewer: Great, great, now talk about your presidency.
Mandell: Early on, back when I joined the Board, it was during the time the congregation was looking to move. I didn’t realize how much of a turbulent time this was until I ended up being right in the middle of it, on the Board of Trustees. Looking back, I feel very proud of being part of the team that eventually helped the synagogue evolve into the current state that it’s in now. As you know, we lost members because of what happened. We didn’t end up moving but a lot of money was raised and a lot of money was spent. I think it ended up, in looking what the congregation is today, being a very good thing. Another high point, but a turbulent time for me, is when I was asked to be the Fund Raising Chair, the Chairman of the Capital Campaign when we built the sanctuary. Here I was charged with figuring out a way to credit all the people who had given money for a building that we didn’t build and land, and raise another two million dollars to get done what we needed to get done. I really appreciate all the volunteers that are here at the synagogue. By no means was my service on the board a single-handed success story. It amazes me the members that we have that lent their hand and their expertise to get things done that we need done here at Beth Tikvah. Because of that and the leadership that we’ve had, I think the congregation has really benefited immensely.
Interviewer: Do you want to sum up the changes and improvements that have occurred?
Mandell: I think I was on committees that helped change many policies of the synagogue. For example, the Finance Chair, when I first came on, unfortunately there’s a lot of people, for whatever reason, couldn’t afford to pay the amount that was expected for them to belong to a synagogue. Back then, the normal synagogue model would have someone in the congregation contacting them every year and saying, hey can you do a little bit more. We know your family is in need and I’m glad that I was a person that was on that team back in 2003-2004 before the rest of the world caught up, maybe five years ago. Many members with financial issues have enough tsuris in their life, let’s concentrate on maybe asking those people that can afford, maybe to give a little more and let’s help the people in need, as much as we can. I was also very involved in improving the physical part in the building. I participated in committee work creating what we call the “sanctuary and the garden”. I’m proud of the service I had on that board and all those presidents and board members that made that happen, not to mention all the committee people. The new Administration Wing, the Religious School. I’m especially proud of the JCC North incorporating their program here. I thought Paul would be attending back when he was a kid, a little kid, I guess I should say. Remodeling a lot of the existing structure into what it is today, an addition to the library that we are sitting in right now. The Gary A. Huber Library makes me very proud.
Interviewer: You spoke a little bit about this, but did you encounter any other challenges and if so, what were they?
Mandell: Well I think that, you know you can’t keep 450 to 500 families all happy at the same time. I think that we facilitated trying to do that as much as we possibly could. When we were unsuccessful, I think that we were as gracious as we possibly could be and tried to do the right thing that we’ve all been taught to do.
Interviewer: What kinds of life messages and wisdom do you wish to give to Paul?
Mandell: Well, for Paul and also my grandchildren for whatever year that might be, that they should put that communication device down and talk to the person next to them would be the first thing. Just to be accepting to everybody in the world today. Maybe at first glance it doesn’t seem like it should be something you should be accepting but you know we all have our own back-story. I would hope that they would get enough information before they make a judgement in life, before they move forward. Probably the most important thing, when they get up every morning and look in the mirror, they’re happy with what they see. If they’re not, they fix it or find somebody to help them to make that happen.
Interviewer: Well put.
Mandell: Thank you.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to say that hasn’t been asked?
Mandell: Being a past president, I want to acknowledge the friendships and all the volunteers from this congregation. I’ve been on the Board I guess a long time and I’ve seen a lot of transition. Truly, people have no idea how many hours people put in to this congregation to make it work. There is no way that any synagogue could function without the volunteer base that we have, even the work that you two are doing to make these interviews happen. When I look back at all of the committee work for the building projects, ideas that people had that maybe we didn’t go through with. You know there’s 20 Board members. Most of them sit on committees and they work many hours, not to mention, the Board hours that they put in. A lot of members that work for social action want to make the world a better place. I just want to acknowledge all those people. I can’t name them all but it’s a wonderful thing what this synagogue does for the community.
Interviewer: Great. I want to ask you something that wasn’t on the list, what your feelings were when Cheryl got her Bat Mitzvah? I was in her class.
Mandell: It was such a wonderful thing. It took a little arm twisting to get her to do that. The class was two years earlier. I tried to push her a little bit and she said, oh, no, no, no. She grew up during that time period that there was no expectation for women to do that. I think, afterwards, seeing how strong she was to get it done and how proud of herself that she is. I think it was a wonderful thing. I think it was even a more wonderful thing for our son to see that happen, experience that with her. A funny story, Cheryl and I were, when Paul was home visiting, we would hear Cheryl chanting in the study of the house. Paul and I would be in the kitchen. I’d look at Paul and I’d go, “You know Cheryl and I used to be out here listening to you.”
Interviewer: Do you possess any historical records or items that you would consider donating to the Columbus Jewish Historical Society?
Mandell: Nothing in particular, I think the most important piece of Judaica I have are my grandfather’s Tfillen, which I don’t want to let go of.
Interviewer: Understandable, if you find anything, even news clips, or things like that of your activities, feel free to contact the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
Mandell: I did find a letter, which was very interesting. I think it was dated in 1967 when my father traveled to Columbus. It was before the family got here. It was a thank you letter from Rabbi Stavsky, from Beth Jacob. I don’t know the back-story on this but he donated carpet to the synagogue for the High Holidays. We were going through paperwork, that’s something.
Interviewer: I bet they would like that. That would be wonderful. I want to thank you so much for giving this interview and we appreciate all the hard work you’ve done for Beth Tikvah.
Mandell: Thank you.
Interviewer: This concludes the interview.