Henry and Sylvia Yaschik


Henry and Sylvia Yaschik were the inspiration for the Jewish Studies Program. Their vision created the program. Their contributions sustained the program, and their interest enabled the program to flower.

Henry was born on December 9, 1909 in Tucuman, Argentina. His parents, Nathan and Elka, immigrated to Argentina to escape the poverty and lack of opportunity that they experienced in their hometown of Kalusyzn, Poland. The family stayed in Argentina for three years before returning to Poland, but left again in 1913 to seek a better life in the United States. 

They found the opportunity that they were seeking in Charleston, where the Yaschiks had family, and where ten other families from Kaluszyn had recently immigrated. Nathan ran a small grocery store in the city and with its success, expanded his business by moving to larger locations and selling clothing and general merchandise. 

As a child, Henry grew up among Orthodox Jews, but his own household was decidedly split when it came to religion. His father, Nathan, was a secular man, socialist in political philosophy. His mother, Elka, was Orthodox in both practice and belief and ran the family accordingly. Henry’s adult perspective was shaped by this dichotomy. His philosophy was in accord with his father’s and yet he put on phylacteries everyday in respect for the Orthodox tradition. 

Sylvia Vlosky, the daughter of Bernard and Anna Vlosky, was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 21, 1915. Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised largely by her aunt and uncle, Rose and Max Horowitz. There was little luxury in her youth, but from her childhood experience, Sylvia took away a sense of optimism and perseverance that would be a mark of her character in years to come. She worked as a bookkeeper for Breakstone Dairy in Newark and Manhattan until the time she moved to Charleston to be with Henry. The two were married on February 11, 1940. 

The Yaschiks have always been active volunteers within the Jewish community and the community at large. Sylvia was a president of the B’rith Sholom Beth Israel Sisterhood for two years, patron chairman of the Charleston Choral Society, a member of Hadassah, a member of the Council of Jewish Women, and worked for the Red Cross for many years. 

Henry was also extremely generous and committed to community causes. He was President of the Charleston Jewish Federation, President of the Jewish Welfare Fund, President of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, Vice-President of the Jewish Education Loan Fund, Director for Jewish Social Service, and Director of the Charleston Community Center. For his tireless fundraising efforts, Henry was awarded the coveted “Lion of Judah” award from the Charleston Israel Bond Committee and the Man of the Year award from the United Jewish Appeal. 

Two things have made the Yaschik’s impact on the community possible, their deep-rooted sense of social responsibility, and their willingness to give back to the community, the result of their significant financial accomplishments. 

As a good friend stated at their fiftieth wedding anniversary, “Sylvia and Henry are the epitome of the adage that the greatest use for life is to be productive and provide a better future for generations to follow.” This they have done in full measure - a legacy of charity and philanthropy, and now an academic institution that has come into existence largely through their efforts.