Interview with Madeline Abramson, September 14, 2016

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Madeline Abramson was raised as a Catholic in Louisville, Kentucky. In this interview, she explains her family's involvement in the Catholic church and her dissatisfied feelings with religion before discovering Judaism. Abramson offers a unique perspective and elaborates on the similarities between Catholicism and Judaism. Abramson describes her education and career as a young adult prior to meeting her now husband, Jerry Abramson. Abramson discovered Judaism through meeting him in the early 1980s before marrying in 1989. She examines the role her husband played in her journey converting, and how the Louisville Jewish community welcomed her. Jerry Abramson's political career began as Mayor of Old Louisville from 1986 to 1999 and mayor of Louisville Metro from 2003-2011. Abramson introduces her husband's career and the effects it had on her, including the influence it had on her own service in the community. Madeline Abramson was passionate about her civic duties and became particularly involved in the women's effort, arts and Jewish community. She became the chair of both the Kentucky Commission on Woman and the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. She is also involved with the National Council of Jewish Women. Abramson elaborates on their time as first family of Louisville. Although they were a religious minority, they embraced their faith in the public realm. Her husband eventually accepted the position of Lieutenant Governor under Governor Steve Beshear and later the position of Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama. Jerry commuted between Louisville and both Frankfort and Washington D.C. to avoid moving his family. She describes the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between politics and family and discusses her role in both positions as a supporting wife, community leader, and mother. In this oral history, Madeline Abramson reflects on her past and elaborates on the future by discussing the influence Judaism has had on herself.

Interview Accession

2016oh399_jk034

Interviewee Name

Madeline Abramson

Interviewer Name

Carol Ely

Interview Date

2016-09-14

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.

Interview Usage

Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, 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.

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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Abramson, Madeline Interview by Carol Ely. 14 Sep. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Abramson, M. (2016, September 14). Interview by C. Ely. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Abramson, Madeline, interview by Carol Ely. September 14, 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/xt7f7m041n26


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