Bernice Mossafer Rind

A child virtuoso on harp and long-standing champion of the Seattle Symphony, Bernice Rind’s musical career began at age seven. At age 11, she debuted professionally and retired from touring at age 23 when her mother grew ill, and Bernice longed for a more "normal" life. A Seattle native whose parents emigrated from the Isle of Rhodes, she attended both Ezra Bessaroth Congregation (Sephardic), cofounded by her father, and the Ashkenazic Reform synagogue, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, co-founded by the Rind family. In 1949, Bernice married Martin Rind, and they raised four children, combining their Sephardic and Ashkenazic heritages. A staunch supporter of the arts in Seattle and Jewish education, Bernice was the first Jewish president of the Seattle Symphony Women’s Association Board, one of the founders of the High School of Jewish Studies, and while on the board of the American Friends of Hebrew University negotiated a Statement of Understanding between the University of Washington and HU for which she was awarded the Torch of Learning. Bernice passed away on October 17, 2018, at the age of 95. 

Scope and Content Note

Bernice begins by discussing her family genealogy and heritage on the Island of Rhodes.  She discusses her parents' immigration to the US and their struggles as Sephardi Jews within the Ashkenazi establishment.  Bernice remembers her childhood in Seattle and learning about Sephardic and Ashkenazi heritage.  She highlights her childhood harp career, which ended when her mother grew ill and eventually died.  Bernice talks about meeting her husband, Marty, and raising their son in Seattle.  She discusses her various volunteer work, Sephardic rituals, and working as a musician in Seattle.  Bernice reflects on family and parenting.  She shares the story of a trip to Israel in 1967.  Bernice discusses her Jewish heritage and how she celebrates the holidays at home.   Bernice details her various volunteer work and the sacrifices associated with volunteering.  Finally, she reflects on some personal philosophies and shares her perspective on aging.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Bernice Mossafer Rind. Interviewed by Pamela Lavitt Brown. 5 June 2001, 10 August 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/rind-bernice>.

Oral History of Bernice Mossafer Rind by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.