Interview with David Shraberg, April 18, 2016

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

David Shraberg describes his family's immigration from Lithuania to Somerset in 1900 and how his grandfather worked as a peddler to bring his bride-to-be over from Lithuania. His family eventually moved to Lexington in order to be part of a larger Jewish community. He discusses his grandfather's establishment of a scrapyard on Manchester Street. Shraberg's father took over the family scrap business when his father fell ill with Hodgkin's disease. Working in the scrapyard as a child gave Shraberg insight into human behavior, eventually leading him to a career in neurology.

Although he enjoyed attending services at Temple Adath Israel, Shraberg discusses the difficulties that existed while he was growing up in maintaining a Jewish identity in a smaller Jewish community, such as having to miss school to attend High Holiday services. Shraberg discusses the anti-Semitism he experienced while growing up in Lexington. He remembers seeing racism against African-Americans in Lexington during the 1950s and 1960s.

While attending the University of Kentucky, Shraberg rushed for Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) and became aware of the rampant anti-Semitism and racism in Greek life on campus. The incidents would range from comments and slurs to refusing Jews into fraternities. He also discusses the political tensions, ranging from the Civil Rights Movement to demonstrations against the Vietnam War on the University of Kentucky's campus during the 1970s.

Shraberg discusses the choice to raise his family in Lexington and the meaning of Judaism and the Jewish community across the generations. While a leader at Temple Adath Israel, Shraberg wrestled with the problem of dwindling temple membership due to intermarriage and acculturation, and an aging congregation. He served as Temple president from 2006 to 2008. The issue of human rights in Israel is a contentious issue within the Temple Adath Israel congregation because Reform Judaism tends to be more politically active in social justice issues. As a result, Temple leadership is very careful about how certain events are executed and tend to avoid politics altogether.

Interview Accession

2016oh053_jk019

Interviewee Name

David Shraberg

Interviewer Name

Arwen Donahue

Interview Date

2016-04-18

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Shraberg, David Interview by Arwen Donahue. 18 Apr. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Shraberg, D. (2016, April 18). Interview by A. Donahue. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Shraberg, David, interview by Arwen Donahue. April 18, 2016, Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt74tm71z54n