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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                      DAVID SARNAT

INTERVIEWER:                 SANDY BERMAN

LOCATION:                       ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                                JULY 19, 2005

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

David Isaac Sarnat was born on July 25, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Leo and Alice (Herman) Sarnat. During his childhood, his family spent time in Chicago, and in Los Angeles, California. In 1942 he married Sharon Lee Brodsky, and they went on to have three children, Jeremy, Jonathan, and Annual.

David received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History from Roosevelt University in Chicago in1965. He received his Master of Science (MS) in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio in 1967.

He began his long career of community service as Director of Education for Grace Hill Settlement House, in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1967-1969. In 1969 he moved to Cleveland for a job with the Jewish Community Federation. He began as an associate in the Community Relations department, working on the Heights Area Project. He ultimately became Director of Planning for the Cleveland Federation. He worked in Cleveland for ten years, from 1969-1979, then transferred to Atlanta in 1979, where he served as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta for 21 years.

David has had a long and distinguished career of service to the Jewish community. In addition to his work at the Federation level, he was Executive Vice President of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a member of the Association of Jewish Community Organization Personnel, and helped establish the Jewish Community Legacy Project. He received the Louis Kraft Award, National Conference of Jewish Communal Service in 1973. David was influential in establishing the Cuba Family Archives for Southern History and the William Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum of Atlanta. After retiring as Executive Director of the Federation of Greater Atlanta, he has continued to work as a consultant to non-profits.

Scope

Sarnat describes his early years at the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland and his 20+ years as Executive Director of the Federation of Greater Atlanta. He describes his work with colleagues in the Jewish community including Sidney Vincent, Judah Rubenstein, Hank Zucher, Sidney Feldman, Erwin Zaban, Betty Ann Jacobson, Bill Schatten, Barry Shrage, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, and many others.

David is interviewed by archivist Sandy Berman who worked with him at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Sarnat and Berman also worked together with Jane Leavey to establish the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History. 

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