Sam and Reba Sandler were born in Tidewater and loved their community and the people in it. They gave from their heart, not their head. So much so that at one point, they gave up purchasing their dream house on the oceanfront to support the Federation’s annual campaign at the level they decided they needed to give. They gave of their time, their resources, and they gave with an open heart to make the world a better place. Their commitment to Jewish education is evident in their generous endowment for the benefit of the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater.
Sam and Reba met at Maury High School when they were 15, at a time when Jews prayed, socialized and studied together, segregated from gentiles. “She was beautiful in her pageboy haircut…” was Sam’s fond memory of Reba in those early days. It was a time when there was pervasive Anti-Semitism, and Jews were barred from clubs, schools and other community institutions.
How do we remember Sam and Reba? As people who believed in doing what is right, in maintaining a safe place for Jews, and in sustaining a community that embraces our Jewish ideals. It is written on Sam’s grave marker, “Here lies a mensch”. This is the truest statement of the lives of Sam and Reba Sandler.