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Archive Record

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Accession number OHC
Object Name Recording
Title Manny Charach Oral History
Collection Albert and Pauline Dubin Oral History Project
Date July 22, 2013 and October 2, 2013
Scope & Content Interview #1 - Charach discusses his grandmother's journey to North America and his family life growing up in Pittsburgh. He touches on his time spent in the Army and meeting his wife, Natalie. This interview covers his early career in different sales positions, and the founding of his own company, Manny Charach Associates. Charach talks about representing Sony when it was a relatively unknown company in the United States. He also discusses representing the Matsushita company, who wanted to break into the U.S. market. During a trip to Japan to discuss how to market the company in America, Charach came up with the name "Panasonic" for their product. Charach also delves into some of his philanthropic work, including the Janice Charach Gallery at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and funding Mobile Intensive Care Units and several nurseries in Israel.

Important Subjects Discussed:
Sony
Hastings Street
Manny Charach Associates
Panasonic
Janice Charach Gallery

Interview #2 - Charach discusses briefly his business relationship with S.S. Kresge Company and Kmart. The bulk of the interview focuses on his philanthropic work. Topics discussed include founding the Manat Foundation, funding homes for JARC and Kadima, funding the Charach Cancer Center at Huron Valley Hospital, endowing a fund at the Children's Hospital, and funding a room at the Ronald McDonald House. His charitable work in Israel is also covered, including building a dining hall for Ethiopian immigrants, a retreat for IDF soldiers, and funding Mobile Intensive Care Units for through Magen David Adom.

Important People Discussed:
Hoot McInerney

Important Subjects Discussed:
S.S. Kresge Company
Kmart
Manat Foundation
Magen David Adom
JARC
Kadima
Na'amat
Charach Cancer Center
Children's Hospital
Ronald McDonald House

Admin/Biographical History Manny Charach was born in 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Irvin and Clara Charach. After graduating high school, Charach served in the Army during World War II. After the war, he visited Detroit to attend a friend's birthday party. There he was introduced to Natalie Miller. He proposed the next day and they were married in 1946.

Throughout the first ten years of their marriage, Charach held a number of jobs, most in the sales field. In 1957, he started a company that represented manufacturers (mainly electronic) called Manny Charach Associates. He began representing a little known company at the time - Sony. Later, he obtained an account with a Japanese company called Matsushita who wanted to break into the American market. Charach thought the name would be difficult for Americans to pronounce and suggested a new one: Panasonic. Charach first sold Panasonic radios to S.S. Kresge company. When Kresge became Kmart, Charach provided the majority of the electronic products that were stocked in their stores. He retired in 1993.

Manny and Natalie have two children: Jeffrey, and Janice, who passed away in 1989. Always generous philanthropists, since retiring they have dedicated themselves to charitable causes. In 1991, they opened the Janice Charach Gallery in memory of their daughter. They've funded multiple buildings in Michigan and Israel, a children's playground in Denver, ambulances for Israel, equipment for children's hospital, and much more.
Credit line Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives
Interview place Home of Manny and Natalie Charach
Interviewer Sharon Alterman
Audio/Visual Click here to view video clip.