Interview with Robin Michler, March 29, 2017

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Robin Michler, owner of Kentucky Native Café in Lexington, discusses his experiences as a businessman, international traveler, and Jewish man. He recounts how his maternal family changed their name from Katz to Kane upon their immigration to the U.S. Although his parents were less observant, Michler explains that his family nevertheless ensured he received education through Hebrew school and engagement with the Lexington Jewish community. Michler recounts his undergraduate career at the University of Kentucky, expressing annoyance at the lack of academic challenge in freshmen classes. He shares his later involvement in UK Hillel, recounting how he was hired by the University of Kentucky to revitalize the Jewish student organization on the UK campus. He also relays his extensive travel experiences in both Israel and Germany, which influenced his personal and political beliefs. Touching on Zionism, roommate situations, and cultural tensions, Michler explains how his experiences with people in Germany and Israel expanded his understanding of ethnic conflict and also connected him to the broader, international Jewish community. He also discusses anti-Americanism, cultural differences between Israel and the United States, and history. He gives special attention to the Israeli government's attempts to re-integrate Be'er Sheva. Acknowledging the rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric post-2016, Michler expresses concern over the growing antagonism in America. Michler also recounts how, in later life, he expanded his family's greenhouse, opening a new cafe and beer garden. He discusses the challenges of observing his religious practices and running a successful local business, as well as the joys of Jewish culture and community. He shares some of his favorite aspects of his business, noting both its kosher menu and its family-friendly atmosphere.

Interview Accession

2017oh218_jk048

Interviewee Name

Robin Michler

Interviewer Name

Hannah Newberry

Samantha Winslett

Interview Date

2017-03-29

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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Michler, Robin Interview by Hannah Newberry. 29 Mar. 2017. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Michler, R. (2017, March 29). Interview by H. Newberry. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Michler, Robin, interview by Hannah Newberry. March 29, 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/xt7fn29p5h88