Interview with David Wirtschafter, March 30, 2017

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Rabbi D. Wirtschafter is a religious family man, who was raised with three other children in 20th century United States. His father, Dr. Jonathan Wirtschafter, was a doctor and founder of the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Kentucky Medical School. Rabbi D. Wirtschafter describes what it was like to be a Jewish youth in Lexington in the 1970s and the family traditions that were celebrated within his household. Rabbi D. Wirtschafter explains Jewish terms and history for those unfamiliar, and describes how growing anti-Semitic viewpoints of non-Jewish people in 2016 have influenced the feelings of his congregants. He explains the discrimination that is becoming inexcusably normal in 21st century United States, especially following the 2016 United States presidential election. He elaborates on the need to help refugees and those in need during the current Syrian refugee crisis.

In 1978, Rabbi D. Wirtschafter moved to Minneapolis when his father got a job at the University of Minnesota. Rabbi D. Wirtschafter was an English major and went to the University of Minnesota for a year before switching to the private college of Brandeis University. He explains his rationale for becoming a rabbi and recounts his experiences at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of New York. He describes his first rabbinical jobs in Huntington, New York; Santa Ana, California; Burlingame, California; Ames, Iowa; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rabbi D. Wirtschafter touches on how he arrived back in Lexington later in life primarily because he found a congregation --Temple Adath Israel-- that shared his visions and values. Rabbi D. Wirtschafter touches on the leadership roles of a Reform temple and the programs offered for youth and adults. Lastly, he explains how being a rabbi influences his home life, and contrasts 21st century Jewish practices to those of the 20th.

Interview Accession

2017oh220_jk049

Interviewee Name

David Wirtschafter

Interviewer Name

Amanda Holbrook

Matthew Starks

Thomas Hart

Interview Date

2017-03-30

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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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, 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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Wirtschafter, David Interview by Amanda Holbrook. 30 Mar. 2017. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Wirtschafter, D. (2017, March 30). Interview by A. Holbrook. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Wirtschafter, David, interview by Amanda Holbrook. March 30, 2017, 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/xt766t0gx759