Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elizabeth Crane, March 24, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Introduction and family background

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Partial Transcript: Hello, our names are Saisindhu Marella, Marisa Varone, and Matt Bell.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Saisindhu Marella begins by prompting interviewee Elizabeth Crane to share a brief summary of her life thus far. Crane goes on to give a brief description of her family. She discusses how little she knows about the specifics of her family origins, especially with respect to her father's family. Crane also speaks about her parents and their occupations in the fields of gastroenterology and statistics.

Keywords: Anne Banks; Charleston (S.C.); Dietetics; Ellis Island (N.Y.); Grandparents; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Mark Bronner; Miami Beach (Fla.); Missoula Children's Theatre; Mount Pleasant (S.C.); University of Georgia; Virginia

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Family histories.; Genealogy; Immigrants; Jewish families.

GPS: Mount Pleasant (S.C.)
Map Coordinates: 32.786, -79.876
00:03:45 - Ancestry and family tree

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Partial Transcript: Um, Beth, from Janice's interview with your father, I know that your great-grandfather Nat Levy originally had his last name changed when he was coming from Russia to the U.S.

Segment Synopsis: Crane recounts an anecdote about her family's origins in the United States, where her great-grandfather accidentally changed his last name upon arriving. She goes on to describe her grandparents, siblings, and step-siblings, as well as their respective occupations.

Keywords: Ellis Island (N.Y.); Grandparents; Siblings; Step-siblings

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Family histories.; Genealogy; Immigrants; Jewish families.

00:08:47 - Childhood experiences

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Partial Transcript: Um, tell me about your experiences growing up.

Segment Synopsis: Crane gives a brief description of her childhood, specifically the summer camp she and her siblings used to attend called Camp Thunderbird in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Keywords: Bemidji, Minnesota; Cousins; Family; Girls' camps; Summer camps; Theater

Subjects: Bemidji (Minn.); Childhood; Families.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Recreation

GPS: Camp Thunderbird for Girls
Map Coordinates: 47.376, -94.906
00:12:10 - Early education and extracurricular activities

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Partial Transcript: Um, as a child, where did you go to school, like elementary, middle, and high?

Segment Synopsis: Crane details how she moved schools very frequently in her youth because of ethnicity ratios in Louisville public schools, placement into advanced programs, and moving across town. She also speaks briefly about her most lasting friendships. She then recounts her childhood involvement in sports, as well as her initial love for theater, which stemmed from her involvement at the Jewish African American Christian Kentucky Youth Royale Program.

Keywords: Advanced programs; Ballard High School; Childhood friends; Clubs; Dunn Elementary School; Ethnicity; JACKY Royale; Jewish African American Christian Kentucky Youth; Jewish Community Center day camps; Kammerer Middle School; Karen Hunter; Norton Elementary School; Private schools; Soccer; Synagogues; Tennis; Theater; Walden Elementary School

Subjects: Childhood; Education--Kentucky; Jewish children; Recreation

GPS: Tom Sawyer Park

Map Coordinates: 38.286, -85.558
00:15:25 - Judaism in childhood

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Partial Transcript: Um, with activities that you were involved in, were you involved in anything in the JCC?

Segment Synopsis: Crane describes her involvement in the Louisville Jewish Community Center and the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization. She explains the influence of her parents and grandparents on her personal experiences as a Jew, especially in terms of holiday celebrations. She recalls fondly spending time with her cousins for the holidays.

Keywords: B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO); Bat mitzvahs; Community; Cousins; Culture; Faith; Family; Food; Grandparents; Hanukkah; Hebrew; Heritage; High Holidays; Holidays; JACKY Royale; Jewish; Jewish Community Center (JCC); Jewish background; Lord's Prayer; Ohavay Zion; Passover; Seder; Services; Shabbat dinners; Shema; Sunday school; Temple Shalom; Ten Commandments; Tradition

Subjects: Families.; Family histories.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: B'nai B'rith Youth Organization Louisville
Map Coordinates: 38.225, -85.650
00:31:44 - Higher education

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so we're going to move more on towards your like adult life.

Segment Synopsis: Crane explains the rationale behind her decision to attend the University of Georgia for her undergraduate degree in theatre. She then explains her decision to pursue another degree in dietetics. She earned this degree from the University of Kentucky in 2015, after completing some prerequisites at the University of Louisville.

Keywords: College search; Colleges; Degree; Dietetics; Education; Performance; Prerequisites; Theater arts; University of Georgia; University of Kentucky; University of Louisville

Subjects: College environment; College students.; Education, Higher; Universities and colleges.

GPS: University of Georgia Department of Theatre
Map Coordinates: 33.952, -83.375
00:35:24 - Undergraduate extracurricular involvement

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Partial Transcript: Um, what kind of student organizations were you involved in during undergrad?

Segment Synopsis: Crane explains how she was involved mainly with the theater organization at the University of Georgia, which consumed much of her time. She talks about pledging but not completing the joining process of a sorority, and how she instead worked as the house manager for the university.

Keywords: House managers; Sororities; Sorority; Theater; Working

Subjects: College environment; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Employment.; College students--Social conditions; College students.; Education, Higher; Greek letter societies.; Universities and colleges.; University of Georgia

00:36:28 - Jewish identity at the University of Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Um, what kind of like Jewish student life was there at UGA, if there was any?

Segment Synopsis: Crane talks about how little she was involved in Jewish student life on campus at the University of Georgia. She recalls finding a temple where she attended High Holiday services, though she did not particularly like the rabbi, which caused her to somewhat lose her Jewish identity during that time.

Keywords: Colleges; Community; High Holiday services; Hillel; Jewish; Jewish fraternities; Jewish identity; Rabbis; Student life; Temples

Subjects: College environment; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; College students.; Education, Higher; Greek letter societies.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Universities and colleges.; University of Georgia; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: University of Georgia Hillel House
Map Coordinates: 40.741, -73.989
00:37:58 - Professional career and career change

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Partial Transcript: Then, um, kind of going back towards your professional life after college. How did you begin your professional career after graduating all the schools you went to?

Segment Synopsis: Crane describes the process by which she got her first job in the theater world, with Missoula Children's Theater Company. She explains how much travelling she did with the company, both in and out of the United States. She recalls how her decision to settle down and start a family led her to ultimately switch careers. Crane then goes more in depth in her explanation of her career change to dietetics.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Careers; Clinical; Curves; Eating disorders; Home health; Insurance; Medicaid; Missoula Children's Theater Company; Monologues; Musical theater; Nutrition; Nutritionists; Rehabilitation facilities; Science; Theater conferences; Trilogy Healthcare; Weight; Weight-loss coaches

Subjects: Children's theater.; Dietitians.; Employment; Theater.

00:43:42 - Influence of Judaism on her career

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Partial Transcript: Kind of redirecting it back to like relating things to Judaism, do you think that your Judaism has affected any parts of your career or kind of influenced it, or your lifestyle even, after college?

Segment Synopsis: Crane explains how her knowledge of the Jewish faith has allowed her to help the people she works with, especially in terms of special food for High Holidays. Specifically, she mentions her work in a nursing home and ensuring that the Jewish residents received traditional foods of honey and apples on Rosh Hashanah.

Keywords: Careers; Food; High Holidays; Jewish community; Kosher; Rosh Hashanah

Subjects: Dietitians.; Employment; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

00:45:03 - The impact of Judaism on assimilation and dating

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Partial Transcript: And, okay, uh, yeah we'll kind of go towards, like--do you think assimilation has kind of affected your religious practices throughout your life?

Segment Synopsis: Crane discusses her move to Lexington and the transition from living in one place to another. She also mentions the initial meeting of her now-husband. She then recounts her past romantic relationships and the demographics of her dating history not being entirely made up of people of the same race as her. She tells the story of her main experience with anti-Semitism while dating.

Keywords: Anti-Semitic; Assimilation; Community; Conservative; Dating; Interracial dating; Lexington; Moving; Non-Jewish partners; Reform

Subjects: Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Dating (Social customs); Discrimination.; Interethnic dating; Interfaith dating; Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Identity.; Race relations

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.030, -84.504
00:51:39 - Relationship with her husband

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So now to talk about your husband. Uh, where’s he from? Where did you two meet?

Segment Synopsis: Crane tells the story of how she and her husband met once she moved to Lexington, explaining her first few interactions with him at work and online, then recounting her first few dates with him. She talks about how she eventually decided that he was the one for her when he gave her a sandcastle building kit to give to her nephews when she went on vacation.

Keywords: Businesses; Local businesses; Online dating; Village Host; Waitresses

Subjects: Dating (Social customs); Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington

GPS: Former location of Village Host
Map Coordinates: 38.040, -84.491
00:57:21 - Judaism's influence on her wedding and marriage

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Partial Transcript: Um, towards like your wedding. Do you feel like--did Judaism play a role in the actual ceremony?

Segment Synopsis: Crane describes her wedding and the pre-existing societal expectations of Christian-centric ceremonies. She talks about the struggle she faced with incorporating her religion into the ceremony and celebration through meals provided and the order and type of ceremonial events associated with Judaism. Following this, she explains the impact marriage and motherhood has had on her in respect to her daughter and how she wishes to raise her with a stronger religious upbringing.

Keywords: Chuppah; Community; Goyim; Hebrew names; High Holiday services; Jewish preschools; Jewish traditions; Jewish weddings; Ketubah; Kittel; Kosher; New generations; Parenting; Passing on beliefs; Preschools; Purim; Rabbis; Raising kids; Reading Hebrew; Shabbat; Small towns; Synagogues; Values

Subjects: Child rearing; Families.; Family histories.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Marriage; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: Gan Shalom
Map Coordinates: 37.997. -84.471
01:05:29 - Jewish education for her children

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Partial Transcript: And, okay, um, kind of going to--towards education for your daughter.

Segment Synopsis: Crane expresses her wish to give her daughter an early childhood Jewish education. She enrolled her in Gan Shalom, the preschool program at Ohavay Zion Synagogue, to help her gain a Jewish foundation. She then explains her family's recent involvement in the Jewish community in Lexington as her daughter has been growing up and introduced to the culture and practices through events and festivals.

Keywords: Board of Gan Shalom; Building community; Daycare; Earl Levy; Gan Shalom; Involvement; Jewish literature; Jewish roots; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; PJ Library Organization; Passover; Preschools; Rabbis; Shabbat; Sunday school; Synagogues

Subjects: Childhood; Education--Kentucky; Families.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: Ohavay Zion Synagogue
Map Coordinates: 37.998, -84.471
01:09:15 - Relationship to Rabbi Smolkin

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned him a little bit earlier. And you got very excited. Um, what is your relationship to your rabbi like right now? And how does--what does that mean to you?

Segment Synopsis: Crane explains her liking and veneration for her rabbi at Ohavy Zion Synagogue, Rabbi Smolkin, describing how he has helped her with understanding her faith as she transitioned to the Conservative denomination from previously being in the Reform denomination. She also further recounts some stories about how he explained things to anyone who was curious, like why eating a kosher diet includes not eating chicken and drinking milk, and the specific practices in the synagogue she attends concerning women's involvement.

Keywords: Bris; Chicken; Egalitarian synagogues; Gender; Hebrew names; Kashrut; Kippah; Kosher; Reform; Tallis; Traditional; women

Subjects: Jewish leadership--Kentucky--Lexington; Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Judaism.; Rabbis; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

01:13:42 - Judaism in adulthood--Comparing the Louisville and Lexington communities

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Partial Transcript: Um, so with that question we’re going to kind of transition into more of Judaism in your adult life.

Segment Synopsis: Crane describes what she hopes to gain from her faith in the near future, explaining that she wants to give her daughter a faith-filled upbringing because she feels it is very valuable. She also expresses regret that she was not raised in a similar manner to the way she wishes to raise her daughter. Crane then explains the differences in the two communities she has been a part of in Kentucky--currently living in Lexington and being raised in Louisville--and the specific forms of Judaism she practiced, starting with Reform traditions and changing over to more Conservative traditions.

Keywords: Commemorating candles; Conservative; Divides; Generations; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Grandparents; Great grandparents; Jewish Community Center (JCC); Lighting candles; Loss of culture; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Orthodox; Politics; Reform; Relaxed practices; Summer camps; Values; Weakening

Subjects: Child rearing; Families.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Religion; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: Jewish Community Center, Louisville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.225, -85.650
01:17:29 - Transition of religious affiliation

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Partial Transcript: Um, so we talked earlier about your transition from being, uh, raised Reform Jewish to now a member of OZS.

Segment Synopsis: Crane describes her transition from Reform Judaism to Conservative Judaism while also explaining her struggle with figuring out the differences in customs and practices.

Keywords: Bimah; Conservative; Differences; Kippah; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Prayers; Reform; Religious services; Singing; Tallis; Torah

Subjects: Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

01:19:21 - Anti-Semitism and the perception of Judaism

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, um, so mostly when talking about, um--when we were talking about, uh, you--when you tell people you’re Jewish, and they might be surprised or whatever.

Segment Synopsis: Crane recounts the small exposure to anti-Semitism she had experienced growing up; in particular, there was a specific event with a past boyfriend's mother's feelings towards Jewish people. She also mentions the painting of anti-Semitic symbols on her childhood synagogue during a high holiday service and her feelings at the time compared to how she perceives it now. She describes people finding out about her faith and the community's perception of her once they are aware. She talks about the hesitant nature of those who teach or talk about the Holocaust in schools or at museums.

Keywords: Bomb threats; Christians; Democracy; Democrats; Experiencing hate; Fears; Holocaust; Holocaust museums; Jewish Community Center (JCC); Politics; Positive interactions; Public; Superiority; Swastika; Temple Shalom

Subjects: Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Discrimination.; Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Identity.

GPS: Temple Shalom
Map Coordinates: 38.223, -85.609
01:25:50 - Jewish identity and values

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, this is a very broad question but, uh, how would you describe your Jewish identity?

Segment Synopsis: Crane explains her identity as a Jewish person, connecting it first to food. She also connects it to her roots; Jewish immigrants that brought their culture to America. Also she praises those who have strong biblical beliefs, since she currently only sees herself as a cultural Jew but wishes to one day grow to be a more religious Jew. Crane then describes how her roots with her faith and family history reflect on her everyday life while raising her daughter.

Keywords: "Chicken Hyman"; Bagels and lox; Bar mitzvahs; Bat mitzvahs; Brunches; Connectivity; Cultural Jews; Estranged family; Family values; Food; Founding synagogue; German immigrants; Hyman Levy; Jewish values; Matriarchs; Russian immigrants; Soul food; Ten Commandments; Traditions

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Family histories.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Immigrants; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)

01:31:15 - Impact of Zionism and Israel

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, kind of switching gears again, so, um, what role has Israel or Zionism played in your life?

Segment Synopsis: Crane recounts a 5 week high school trip to Israel as a junior, with the B'nai Brith Youth Organization funding it. She then explains the connection she felt when she was there, as well as her feelings toward the issues arising around Israel's existence politically, and her belief that everyone can find their own place and live in peace.

Keywords: "Melting pot"; B'nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO); Connections; Divide in Israel; Family in Israel; Jerusalem; Jewish Community Center (JCC); Jewish graveyards; Moving to Israel; Safe havens; Safety; Travel; Wailing Wall; Western Wall

Subjects: Family histories.; Genealogy; Israel.; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion

GPS: Western Wall, Jerusalem
Map Coordinates: 31.7767, 35.2345
01:34:50 - Closing remarks and additions

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you guys have any other questions?

Segment Synopsis: Crane ends the interview by discussing Southern culture, its connection to her Jewish identity, and the fear she and others may experience in the South. She also goes on to mention the pride she feels for her identity as a Jewish person and how much she likes being who she is.

Keywords: Bomb threats; Fears; Growing up Jewish; Jewish Community Center (JCC); Kentucky; Perceptions; Southern culture; Temples

Subjects: Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Judaism.; Religion; Worship (Judaism)