Interview with Moshe Smolkin, March 31, 2017

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Rabbi Moshe Smolkin was born in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1970s, though he grew up in Clear Lake City, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a child, he practiced as an Orthodox Jew, but he experimented with both other faiths and Hasidic Judaism while attending the University of New Mexico and Brandeis University in the late 1990s. Near the end of his college experience, he changed his affiliation to Conservative Judaism, and a few years later he chose to attend rabbinical school and become a rabbi. In addition to discussing his life experiences as a young adult, Smolkin touches on his experiences and the intergenerational differences in the Lexington Jewish community. Specifically, he explains how these differences can be put into context on a wider scale that covers the greater Jewish American community. As the interview progresses, the focus shifts to Smolkin's role as a congregational rabbi, and how he impacts the community both inside and outside Ohavay Zion Synagogue in Lexington, Kentucky. He talks about his family, and especially how he feels antisemitism will impact his young children. He also describes how synagogues of the Conservative and Reform movements differ in their teachings and practices. He then discusses how he integrates politics and modern day events into his preaching and how preaching to different generations requires different levels of care due to their varied experiences. Finally, he delves into the discrimination faced by modern Jews and how regional locales shape their experiences. He provides examples of how he has personally witnessed discrimination, before finishing with a brief reflection on the Jewish community's relationship to Israel.

Interview Accession

2017oh225_jk050

Interviewee Name

Moshe Smolkin

Interviewer Name

Megan Yorkey

Raiffa Syamil

Interview Date

2017-03-31

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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Smolkin, Moshe Interview by Megan Yorkey. 31 Mar. 2017. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Smolkin, M. (2017, March 31). Interview by M. Yorkey. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Smolkin, Moshe, interview by Megan Yorkey. March 31, 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/xt79057cv98q