No results.

Legacy Stories

To ensure that today’s stories are preserved for future generations, The National Museum of American Jewish History embarked on a video interviewing project, beginning in April 2016. The Museum partnered with documentary filmmaker Andrew Goldberg – who had previously created a promotional video for the Museum and whose film The Jewish Journey: America was co-produced by the Museum – to record and edit interviews with forty-five prominent American Jews, as they shared insight into their personal experiences and family backgrounds. The Museum selected interviewees whose stories were unique yet resonant, and who represented the far reaches of the country, from Los Angeles to New York, from Connecticut to Oklahoma, and beyond.

Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, discusses growing up in poverty

The son of Russian immigrants, Bernie Marcus originally wanted to be a doctor, but unable to afford Harvard Medical School, became a pharmacist instead. After being fired from his job at a hardware store, Marcus and his coworker Arthur Blank founded a rival store, Home Depot. Marcus is a dedicated philanthropist, primarily funding programs involving Jewish life, as well as mental health, education, and public affairs.

In this video, Marcus tells the story of how his mother and father migrated to the United States from Russia, settled in Newark, and Americanized themselves by learning English while maintaining an orthodox house. Despite his current billionaire status, Marcus reveals that he grew up with very little, unable even to afford Sunday school. Although he strayed from his parents’ orthodoxy, he holds that it is “important to believe in something other than yourself.”