The houses sit side-by-side on Tanglewood Trail, a wooded cul-de-sac in a spacious Chastain Park neighborhood in Sandy Springs. They appear both gracious and innocuous, yet are steeped in Atlanta Jewish history and lore. Chances are, if you lived in the city in the late 60s or 70s, you were solicited for funds in support of Atlanta Jewish Federation or the state of Israel there, or you attended a party or BBYO sleepover.
The houses appeared on our radar when present owner Andrea Davis Goldklang emailed the AJT, saying, “Apparently I have a somewhat famous Jewish house. Every time someone who grew up in Jewish Atlanta comes to the house, they say, ‘I know this house,’ or ‘I came to so many BBYO parties here,’ etc.”
Formerly owned by Alan and Renay Levenson of Turtle’s Records & Tapes fame, this house has an outdoor pool and features a tennis court that is on shared land with the next-door neighbors, with whom they are still dear friends.
Renay said the children were also good friends and the court brought lots of people. All three Levenson children were in BBYO, and the girls hosted many sleepovers and BBYO meetings. Renay said they also had lots of parties at their home for young couples that were getting married.
Said Renay of her home for 38 years, “I felt like it was really a good luck house. We had a good life there. I told the new owner so. I hope they’re having good luck in it too.”
Sharing the tennis court, the house to the right was designed and built on 2.1 acres by architect Earl McMillen in1966 and features reclaimed brick flooring from the Old Grady Hotel. It was owned by Jerry and Judy Dubrof, whom also had three children.
Jerry was not a golfer and wasn’t interested in joining a country club, yet as a Federation campaign chair in 1973 and staunch Israel advocate through the Community Relations Council, he desired a place to entertain, solicit funds and hold meetings. He was also on the community center board and was active in the then National Conference of Christians and Jews.
The Dubrofs added a sizable structure to their home. Beyond a weight room, his and her bathrooms, a steam bath, a bar and a kitchen, the addition has an indoor pool with a ceiling that, when lowered, becomes a cover for the pool, creating an area that can be used as a dance floor, or for meetings and entertaining. The ceiling can be hoisted down atop the pool on six cables, which are then unhooked and hauled back up, fitting into the ceiling behind plates, which then conceal them.
Jerry said he also wanted an indoor pool because the Atlanta winters are cold, so this one could be used year-round. The dimensions of the room are considerably larger than the 20 by 40 foot pool, to leave space for surrounding tables and chairs.
With the ceiling down, he described it as a ballroom or entertainment room, “most often used as a room to collect money.” He said the running joke was that if you didn’t give money, you would be closed in under the floor. “It was a good place to gather people and solicit them,” he said.
Daughter Cydnee Dubrof remembers “all kinds of funny stories” of their years in that home, including the time a streaker came through Jerry’s very elegant surprise 40th birthday party. The brainchild of a mischievous friend, according to Jerry, the streaker sat on his lap and gave him a kiss before running off.
“We had tons of parties,” Cydnee said, many of which were “quite memorable for whoever came, even the police.” One such party was held while Jerry and Judy were out of town, and was only revealed when “the maid squealed on her,” said Jerry.
Cydnee said she got her love of entertaining from her parents and spoke of fond memories of the neighborhood, adding, “It felt like a nice, safe place to grow up.”
Although the house is not yet on the market, please contact Kathy Ghirardini for information, at 404-583-9771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While both Jerry and Renay initially seemed baffled at the interest in their former homes, Jerry conceded that, in retrospect the combined features did make them “rather memorable.”