Gastonia temple marks milestone, honors former senator

November 24, 2013 

Temple Emanuel marks milestone, honors former senator

The Jewish community of Gastonia celebrated a centennial milestone for Temple Emanuel on Nov. 16 at the Gaston Country Club.

Temple also recognized its first Wisdom of Solomon Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, former N.C. Sen. Marshall Arthur Rauch, to honor his contributions locally, statewide and within the Jewish community.

“As a congregation, we are proud and humbled to have a man like Marshall Rauch among us,” said Mark Epstein, co-president of Temple Emanuel. “His long and esteemed career speaks for itself. We honor him for these achievements as well as the outstanding work he has accomplished within Gaston County’s Jewish community across many decades.”

Rauch, a WWII Bronze Star Medal recipient, began his political career in the 1950s, shortly after relocating to Gaston County with his college sweetheart and wife, Jeanne Girard. First serving as a city of Gastonia councilman and mayor pro tem from 1952-54 and again 1961-63, Rauch was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1967. For more than 23 years, he filled this role, holding multiple commission chairman positions throughout his tenure, which ended in 1990.

In business, Rauch acted as chairman of the board and CEO for Rauch Industries Inc., a national Christmas ornament manufacturer in Gastonia, from its founding in 1954 to his retirement in 1998. From 1993 through today, he acts as Chairman for Rauch Foundation, Inc. Professionally and personally, Rauch’s accomplishments are many, including five Man of the Year awards, an Outstanding Citizen of the Year recognition and two Hall of Fame tributes. The former senator also received multiple honors for his work with the Jewish community. Recipient of the National Council of Christians and Jews Brotherhood Award as well as the Human Services Award from the N.C. Association of Jewish Men & State of North Carolina, Rauch’s religious contributions have not gone unnoticed.

Son-in-law to one of Temple Emanuel’s founding members, Rauch served as the synagogue’s president 1962-1964 and 1987-88. His religious service also includes chairman of the Gaston Jewish Welfare Fund, Sunday school teacher, a position on the N.C. Jewish Home for the Aged Board of Governors and chairman for Lubavitch of North Carolina. Currently, Rauch acts as finance chairman for Temple Emanuel, a position he has held since 1978, and chairman for the Rauch Endowment for Temple Emanuel Fund – this fund has helped the 100-year-old Gaston County synagogue maintain its financial health since its establishment in 2002.

“We reflect and celebrate a century of history and faith in this region,” said Temple Emanuel co-president Jim Needell. “This ‘lifetime’ recognition reaches the best hands possible as we mark this astounding anniversary.”

Temple Emanuel serves the Jewish community of Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland, York and Mecklenburg counties. For more information, visit

Christmas Bible School Dec. 14

Lake Wylie Lutheran Church, 2906 S.C. 160, is hosting its annual free Christmas Bible School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14.

Children age 3 (and potty-trained) through the third grade are invited.

A morning snack and lunch will be served. Parents are encouraged to join at 12:45 p.m. to hear the children sing.

Stay after the program to enjoy cupcakes for the birthday celebration.

Donations of non-perishable food items and toiletries for Fort Mill Care Center will be accepted. Child-friendly items include macaroni and cheese, canned pastas, soups, children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste, and tear-free shampoo and body wash.

Registration is required. Visit for more information.

Dine Mondays for HOPE

The Waffle House-Lake Wylie and Knights of Columbus of All Saints Council No. 14475 are raising money for Operation HOPE (Helping Other People Everyday), a statewide campaign to help people with intellectual disabilities.

Every first Monday of the month, Waffle House will donate 20 percent of its proceeds to Operation HOPE.

For more information, call 803-746-5464.

Community Cafe serves lunch Tuesdays

The Community Cafe offers free weekly lunches 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly.

The Cafe at Lake Wylie Lutheran Church in Fort Mill serves lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Donations are accepted.

For information, call 330-289-1243.

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