Title: Joe Becker
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Title: Joe Becker
Series Title: Joe Becker
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INTERVIEWER: Doris Proctor and Sylvia Shorstein

February 23,1976

B: ..... '' congregation of B'nai Israel, was, I remember when

I came to Jacksonville in 1912 was about sewn or eight years old. And

during a conversation of that tine, the congregation was heldabove the

old Cunningham Building on th4Forsyth and Broad Streets.

P" Okay. When you came in 1912, where'd you come from?

B: Baltimore.

P:. Baltimore? And how long -A you livAn Baltimore?

B: I think C2)years.

P! Where there a lot of people coming to Jacksonville from Baltimore?

B: Quite a few.

S: Back up just a little bit. In fe, you said you, you were Wor ( ars old.

B. The congregation.

A '. But that, but that it's said, isn't it?

P: No, the congregation is( Or 0

SBut, then that's what he said he was about, it seems to me that there was

a it from there. Wasn't there?

P: No, we'll get it cleared out. What brought you to Jacksonville?

B: My father and mother. /4-4

P: Your father aid mother. Well, what brought, what brought them to Jackson-


U Your grandparents/ r

B; My grandparents were here api quite a bit of my family was here at that

tine. In fact, my father got here in 1898, just before I was born. And


Page 2. mlh

they opened up a shoestore in Ocala jt he didt like the South at that

tihe and he went back and the rest of the family stayed here.

SP: Why did he get to Ocala? How did he get to Ocala?

B: His uncle opened up a store in Ocala one year 4id it was a very.

neighborhood at the time.

P: Where were your grandparents from? Where were they born?

B: Lithuania.

P: -. Wat, when you got into Jacksonville, -was there much disagreement among

the Reform Jews and the Orthodox Jews?

B: They were quite a bit separatedI tta

P: They lived in separate oanmunities i,4 ?

B: Yeah. Right. The Reform Jews lived itthat time, was the Gold Coast of

Jacksonville around # // Street.

; A Yc4 L rt StEeet and Church, and Hogan/ Street.
P: What kind of businesses were in Jacksonville when your parents came?

B: The Jewish people usually had drg good stores, shoe stores and clothing


S P: Where were those stores located? I nean, the business, district at tha#//,

B: The business district at that time was on Davis Street, the, the, and

eajd Streets. And the big, big business was on Bay StreetA and Main


S : j prettyy well centralized in what yo/call the heart of downtown.

B: Downtown, right.

S#: The Reform group. I mean, were they in business with the, or were they in

the same typeof business as the Orthodox Jews were?

Page 3. mlh.

f0^ca r / "
B: Yes. Yes, the Ka brothers were in there. '/j-; IW was Jewish,
Levy's were Jewish, RosenbleGm was Jewish, Gordoarwas Jewish, and....

5P: Who were the Gordcns? What Gordons are you talking about?
B; n I ., 4 are li/i' here- noj.
(Jt2 ive in California. Is that the one's you're talking about? Like those
other big4 *,at about the, they had the leather house I e
RhinesteinjSables, the Sables?
B: The Sables, right.
A The Sables, the Rhinesteins.
B: ahey were in the leather business. vre,

A Leather. /; the Rhinesteins7the 4ablesl And then there was that other
place there. I remember lately, when we had, still had our business old
sign up there, big wholesale place there. Very camon. The9
were here toop at that tine. #-* gs^ f /g^1 A, 6 S i..r5
B: Yes, he was.
S: Who? Th Ae ffi j4e ~ ?
B: T~.~;.- You mean Hirshberg?
q '; Hirshberg. Hirshberg. I reant the Hirshbergs.
B: GoffS *Jt
SAnd Goffmans were here.
B: And Q0PbCtr. Well, the Goffmans, they were in a different, they
were in the textile, not textile, but ,~ J f,- l4 k /
'* vh oyster 4//t;^ Wasn't it oyster &A?,iZ5 ? -7 /

B: Fisheries.


B; Fisheries.


Page 4. mlh

SO: When you were growing up, Uncle Joe, what did the kids do? In other words,
did they go to Hebrew school? Did you go to Hebrew school?

B: Yes, we, we, we the first ones that organized the junior congregation

and from there went into the YMHA.

P: What was the social life 'like? Was, was it all centered around B'nai


B: Right. The YMHA was right across the street from B'nai Israel. And iat

wassuk-a-1 -kely at Duval and Jefferson Streets

P: Did you, did yall have youtouth groups? Clubs?

B: Yeah..

P: Like what?

B: Oh, the junior congregation, the....

You had debates and all kind of things.

B: Yeah. But the.main, main organization was the junior congregation. Which

Bell Gendzier, Myr7 v .

3 I didn't want to.
r B: Bell Gendzier and.....

SE: Now I want to ask you about do you, do you know mcuch about the Finkelstein

bearding' house?

B: Yeah.

S: We've talkAd to, you know, AunttZel, L .ut we, you know, we'd like

others to tell us whether they had any connection with it at all. Whether

you stayed there or whether you, you know, use to go there for socials?

B: It was a, it was a, it was a social gathering for the older boys and girls

I mean older men and women .


Page 5.


Sf: What do you mean?

B: We were, we were in the -too/t year class and they were in the year

class. iHa-ia Baker- and Lawrence Baker and all that -an they use to....

S1: Do you remember any big socials that were held there? I know some weddings.....

B: Weddings were held there.

3S~: ....took place. Do you know of anyone, did you attend a wedding of anyone

that was there? *

B: No.

P: In the boarding house, do you know ha nany people stayed there? Was it

people that gae came to town feu stayed there?

U My Uncle s stayed there.

B: Everybody that came to town,any Jewish person that came to town went to

Finkelstein's for.....

P: But these; these were not the Reform news?
B: NojMnF

P: These were the Orthodox Jews. And that was, you people would go there for

lunda if they worked downtown.

B: Rig4~L /hey lived there.

\: Well, a lot of people, outsiders, went there for dinner on Sunday and things

like that.

B: On Sundays, yeah.

': Uncle Joe lived there a long time, Rose's father) (-s -

Hea there for log time. 0

B: tere. /u nean, all theA practically all the bache-

lors lived there.


Page 6. mlh

P: LUn uh. Let me ask you something about when the B'nai Israel, the B'nai

Israel and the YMRA merged to form the Center, you remember that?

B: Yes, I mean, the/g had nothing to do with it. When we, when we tr "o
<^ X-thin^ ,
Conservative Judaism with/1Dr. Benjamin the rabbi at that time and Harry.

Finkelstein was the fisst president. He became president of the, of the

Conservative organ aop the Conservative shul. In other words, up until

that time, we were an Orthodox congregation, ,

P: So this was when....

women prayed separately. They had a gallery up....

P: So, when Bjnal Israel, that was when the Orthodox spun off-Arn the Conser-

vative group started. So you had two congregations.

5 No.

B: No. It was all one congregation.

S" And the Orthodox amwt the Conservative.

B: .Q.i

5: In other words.....
B: And then they broke off that later. Rabbi Safer did." Took, it was quite

; Z % 2~,n a few years afterwards and I think the, the Center opened up in 1925.
-- -------- P
P: Well, what motivated the move from B'nai Israel to the new Center?

B: The congregation itself was not, was not happy with a a second group was

unhappy with the Orthodox members and they wanted that. And, quite a bit
-tA- t.'Ao
of discussion went on and I think our rabbi, Dr. Benjamin, waslonel p&f
1 oT* T6 %i^(Cv <
actually -ead the congregation -iwa Conservatine congregation.

!Sp: Was ihe a graduate of the Semin ary a

B At that time, no.


Page 7. ilh

S4: Was he a rabbi or was he.... ?
A ,, d ,, Y' e ok -'
B: He was a rabbi. He well, 1 // r not, but he, he was quite

a organizer. I think he went back to Israel and organized that Aiiig there.

P: Well, wha s the feeling in the Center when the move was that....?

B: Well, there was a lot of resentment from the old, from the older group.

SB: Who were some of these members of the older group that didn't, you know,

weren't pleased with that?

B; WellA Safer wasn't happy with it. A bunch of his followers weren't happy

with it much. Old man)Shme w ra happy with it. The.... the Southers,

e4Asn Southers wasn't too happy with it.

But they went along) Jedwe opened up on Street.

5/: Was that supposed to be a Y? I had read in some of the yearbooks, I think,

that the, tha they were looking forward to a Y opening ua nd then, the

next I read,.ja it was a, you hnow, a synagogue. The property, was the

property bought to, to be a Y or a synagogue?

B: You mean across the street from the river? From a'' ?

S: No, on 3Street.

B: N

S I: That was, that was definitely bought to be the synagogue..

B: The synagogueiright.

P: Well, what ended the YMHA? Why did that close up?
B: Well, the trend was, at that time, to e Y wasn't active then after Mr.

Hertzenberg passed away. He was the main instigator of the Ygand when he

passed away, there was no, there was-no followers. By the way, the Y brought

the Conservatie,bkought the Reform and the Orthodo e together because


Page 8.

at that time, they had ytlJfyc\ r there which what's his name, wa Hia

Nis daughter-as- now I/n )am^
U _'_z___ Yeah, ike Z-ieM. Ike P,/ "2 .

B: Isaac iZ- .

L', Yeah, he was president of the, of the Reform temple.

B: Right. That's when they decided to get, .-. them together.

Sy: About what year, what was the year that they....?
*r 1
B: That was in 1920,21,22.

P: But, well,so when that closed, the Reform Jews and the Conservative Jews

split apart again?

SThey never were together.

P: Theyeal were .

\'.. They never were together.

P: ,.,oept for meeting at the Y.

B: Yeah.

P: Do you think that they came closer together as the threat of Hitler became...?

B: No, the Reform Jews were definitely opposed to Zionism. I mean, they were
l -//'/ 1'iYle S C, 4/ V
they were strictly non-Zionists7 Then they, same of them started coming

around4 ... the Zionist movement. They didn't, the Reform Jews,

even some of the Conservative Jews, I believe, were non-Zionists. But they
%,Ct>- t/- r,- -no3y-
wead mostly beax/Zionists.

P: So they've always really been a separate--community?

B: Yes, until Cy r,' t '

p;: Would you say about the time of the Second World War when, you know, all the



Page 9.



B: I would imagine so, yeah.

1: ...you kncw, they had Jewish USO gatherings and.,, How about the Community

Council? Do you remember when that started?

B: Yeah, that started, Rabbi Kaplan started that. The Community Council. He

was the fisst president.

P: And what was i/s .pupose, the Community Council?

B: Originally, it was to get all the Jews in Jacksonville together..,

B: ,,,d the community C(~Air .

P: Was it successful?

B: And it, yes, they were, they were fun isers forpeple who were in dire

distress in Russia and the Lithuanian countries and they tried to help out

the Jews that came over here. And when new Jewish families came here, why,

they'd try to help them out. Then, they became affiliated with the national

organization a year or two after Kaplan became president.
F: It wasn't / the Jewish Comnunity Council at that. time, was it?

B: No, it wasn't.

S: It wasn't the Jewish.....?
B : . ... .. .

A*, Max Rubin had a lot to do with that.

B: Max Rubin was an organizer.

U: So was F .a.lk. 7 7

P: When the new Center started do you zenember Mr. i

B: Yeah.

P: How much did he have to do with starting the new Center? Was he a big in-


Page 10.



B: Well, he was a, he was the first president of B'nai Israel. And he died

in 1926 "-

S P: Are you pretty sure? Because we've been trying to find out, you know, the

date that he passed away. There's just no record...

B: Oh yeah.

S P: ...that we....

We can't/l it.

Sf: I went to the Center and Mr. Bowden didn't know. You know, he didn't have

the record f when ...you know ........

B: He died in 19, ,uh, c.m ....

S : Where was his, where was his stone?

B: At the old cemety.

S : At the old camety?

B: Yeah.

9 'lhat's why we can't find it.

S : Yeah. We haven't been out there. It was wasn't it?

B; Yeah.

P: Yeah. Was he the religious leader of, sort of, of the B'nai Israel?

B: Yeah. He was the, he was one of the organizers of B'nai Israel. He and

his brother-in-law, what's his name?

B: No.

W1, NO. Berman?


Page 11. ahlk

B: hose two girl, those two girls..,

(; Oh, ...Weiman was.....va Wexler....

P: Well, I don't think we really, you know, need to know all those in it.

How many Jewish....?

B: Ihey have, they have, now, wait a minute, the Center has a, a document that

was pulled out of the cornerstone of B'nai Israel, isn't it?

Jf: I think that was the charter. Thatripiece of paper with the nanes of who...

B: Right.

3 9: You know, who signed the original charter.

B: (f t! '-is on there.

s P: Right.

B: Rubin A on there.

s P: Right. zi ,

B: Finkelstein ) .. Finkelstein was the first president of the Center.

P: How many Jewish families were in Jacksonville when you came?

B: When I came?

P: Um uh.

B: T here must have been about a hundred.

P: A hundred?

8LA Was the &s koi0' active too, then?

B: The l5 o~k were active.

P: Did a lot of people khep Kosher homes in the.. ?

B: Oh, Gdd, yeah.

S ?: Well, where did they get their meat? Who was the...?



Page 12. mlh

B: Safer.

0S : Safer's was the....

:( Old man Safer.

S P: Were they the first Kosher butcher....?

"i Yeah.

B: Right.

S : In Jacksonville?

J P: What was the....

SOn Broad Street.

3 : Yeah. What was his name? He wasn't related to the rabbi?

B: Yeah.

He was, was the rabbi.

5?1; He was. So, he actually had his......

B: Menbership.

'. And his brother, Mo's father, had the delicatessnl...they had the business


P: Where was that located?

I.A On Broad Street.

B: originally on Avw- Street.

P: It was next door to the....

B: Next to Finkelstein's, yeah.

P. Next to the boarding house.

B.:' Next to the boarding house,

: So they were the first, I thought ,10ol 6%/was their first place. Oh, I


Page 13. mlh

don 't -4Tnr.r ~ ma F--L. --.

P: But did any more Kosher meat markets came into Jacksonville or/..

B: Yeah, c

U'. JTY'cAL. v- (dwe'
B: ___. That was the only two Kosher markets in Jacksonville.

A' : Didn't they have sore Kosher restaurants,too, later on?

U: Yeah.

B: Yeah.. ,

P: sRHPa ,? How long was Beagle's in business? Do you remember?

S : Was it a popular place for families to go?

B: .eah.

S 0: During the week Sunday /hen?

B: Sundays.

5 : Sundays? People too their families out for dinner?

S'. BeaV a. And -Beags use to have wedding receptions there, too. Had din-

ners for weddings there because wedding dinner there.

Reception dinner at That was when it was on Adams Street.

5 S: Where was it? Where was the first BRaL ?

B: Beage was first where Max....

'A- On AsChe Street?,

B: No, no. .eagfS was.....

q'. ynm Street. That's wheee, when Edith married, they %A @Adams Street.
We use to:go!to.them.and pick them up on S street.


Page 14. inlh

B: When did, when did they go into their own hotel?

I-{ Well, that was. later.

B: Later.

U They were on -Afer street before thai sQM '
Asl' h
B: They were on Asbes Street and then they were on...

U(A And they were on, on Bya H, onHD Street, right next to, to Broad Street

there. That's where Edith '.. married.

B: fla iS_ Pak

'y: Who7. the, whbo/ the BeCgle? Was it a husband/andwife who ran...?

B: Hsban and ife, yes.
S'&, yes.
S' Betty BoeaElJe mother and father.

S P: What was their name? Do you know?

(', I don't know.


u'. They died not too long ago.

P: Did Beagle's close because people weren't interested in going there anymore

or 4ere they...?

B: They were getting 6ld and they....

They just couldn't get help and they just couldn't handle it. She was do-

ing all the cooking all the tine.

P: I remember going.,

u', Yeah, we use to go there every Sunday.

P: How about when Worman's started here? Do you remember that?

U' Well, there were a lot of people before Worman'st who had Jewish delicatessans



Page 15. mnlh

B: There was Weiss.

'. Woriman's was on Broad Street, too. I mean on,.5 Street, too where the...

B: Worman's was the only.....

SR: Can you remember when Beagle's got started) or about when they got started?

B: aov' eio'. -&- L6l( 0l61r & /at

S. Okay. You don't renener his mother's, his mother's and father's name?

B: Was it /' / y Y///o r ,ou e
C1 / t/,i-t ,7 t z-. -fPro--, nut] ,
:'. I-do 't believe that's right, Heey Beagle sti- ...

P: Okay. After, after the Center started, did your.social life still revolve

around activities at the Center?

B: At the Center. All activities were the Center.

P: Everybody moved toward that area?

B: 7irda 1Athdc'reO Ve'.

P: Was there an assimilation of Americanism into the Jewish community ~where they

wanted to became more Americanized and less Jewish in the 1920 s?

B: No Ne, the Jews were pretty clannish.

P: And they still did not try to assimilate into the Jacksonville society?

B: I mean the, the Orthodox or the Conservative Jews. NotW/trp. the Ieform

Jews, they they were more for assimilation s more Christian-world,
Even Rabbi Kaplan was a firm believer in getting the Jews and the Christians

to get-to-iaq I think he, I think he started the Conference of

Jews: and Christians?

U; He did.

SP: And Rabbi Kaplan started the National Conference of Christians and Jews?

'. And having this on Thanksgiving, like they still do? He started that.


Page 16. mlh

Whei~they have....

5 0: What did they have back then?

U They had a service.

B: Service at the Temple.

L' .They had a service for everybody. Jews and Christians.
B: -JeBs at the Temple or, or the church.

SThey had it at Mount Memorial,usually downtown, Mount Memorial. They still

have it.to this day.

0 R: And the Conservative Jews didn't, didn't participate?

B: Did not, no.

P F: Well, why did you think, you know, think the Conservative or Orthodox Jews,

you know, didn't participate much in Jacksonville .....?

B: Activities?

SPI Yeah. Jacksonville, you know, Christian activities? Y ou think, that

they had, you know, enough problems of their own trying to make a living

and you know...?

B: Yes, that was part of it. And, and I think the leaders of the congregation

was, wanted the Jews to stick together. Wanted, didn't want to, didn't

want to....

S#: tHhe3e3se-of assimilation?

B: G ; i 4,-assimilation.

P: Could youstE e third generation Jews that, more or less, assimilated

into American ....?

B: Right.

5 p: Well, at the time you were growing up, Uncle Joe, what actually, I mean,


Page 17. mlh

what were some of the activities that you participated in? What did you

do on weekends? What did the families do?

B: Families did very little. It was the younger crowd in our group. We had

socials, we had boatrides, we had,. they had dances, they had any kind of

get-together, strawligh what-have-you. But it was only participated by

by the Jewish boys and girls.
P: The boatrides you mentioned, /as that the Hebrew Social Association?

P: Mr. Max Rose was in that. He...

B: Yeah, he was in that.

S: What was that called?

P: The Hebrew Social Association.

S That wasn't the Benevolent....

B: No.

P: No.

5 That was something else.
\)s^ 6 -th e Sorf 0r c1c
P: soP o- t- 'organizations you participated in?

B: Well, that was the, that was the organization of the Conservative group.

Now, the Reform Oroup j- d '-f .

P: How many nenbers were in B'nai Israel when it nosed to the Center? mea


B: Families? About a hundred.

P: And in what year did the Orthodox split off from the Center?

B: Etz iheiyim started about4o years ago?

q: "'Y^^ ^ ff^ .0 'Jlj. k.'. I/ -^^ I/^ jey-


Page 18.


,SO: I have a date. I think it's in the 4Q's. I think it's 1945.

B: 1945.

P: Were there hard feelings at that tine?

B: Oh, yes. bah, there were/hard feelings. In other words,....

5 #: What was one of the nain reasons that Etz Ghaiyim was organized?

B: Rabbi Safer.,.

5-1: Yeah, but...,

B: ,i. as the instigator.

5 : Yeah, well how did he go about doing this? He had...,

B: Well, the, the, the Conservative Jews went more to the right and they, the

older congregations didn't like it, including ny father. But my father

stuck with the Conservative group because he was not that religious. He
e md of him wee' %+
was not that fanatic-about that religious He stuck with-wa. I

Uncle Bel Baker, he went with the Conservative, although they didn't like

f ( 9-" it either. Ul-went that way, too. So the, the big leaders, like the

Finkelsteins, they went with the Conservative organization.
Odr VX A7..
I left the, .the poorer crowd, aILf people who were not so influential,

went with Rabbi Safer. They opened up a little congregation i in a home
qh ^''7fu ^ y^ f- ^ Sily;ei Sa ho-ir
.i^ m.^ - .i-.

S : And that was the beginning of the Etz Eia.r How many families was that

S that broke off?

B: I think around 0 or families.

P: Did they resent the Conservatives and...?

B: They resented the Conservatives.

P: ,. id the Conservative resent them moving ?


Page 19. mlh

B: Yes, because it, it left, it left us in a vacuum. The Conservative Jews

needed these, these families to continue their...

Si: Program?

B:,,. rogranat- e Center. So, for a few years, it was really hard. I mean, when

you/pi out, like Barry Baker and oldiman Solbith, They use to

walk around, wasn't very little cars around in that neighborhood. They use

to walk around to collect dues for the Center. So that's/how badly .-a were

situated, In other words, they'd go to a family on a Sunday and they'd see

a member and collect dues, a( l ./,

S: What date, about when this....?

B: 1925, 26.

. : Oh, so actually, from what I have l-, that the Etz Ghiy*im really didn't

start until the 140, but this group, Orthodox group, was holding services...

B: Holding services.

P5 : ... .like in a house somewhere?

B: Right. Right. Right.

S-P: Until Etz-.Chaiym got organized?
B: Right.

\A. A lot of i ijf'ernes i,'rC was Rabbi Safer. And then they felt', S 4-e
/ sh5 -r T e ,
1s7 7 him out, --a-they felt a-. That s what I heard, I don't know

S1: Uncle Joe, we plan to interview eda Ber, you know, about the /0 .

We haven't goten to. her yet. Weren't there some questions we wanted to

ask about the w inn i, i,

: We wanted,well, we were interested in, in his, his, what he did with the


Page 20. mlh

synagogue and how he helped organize the Center. But you said he died be-

fore that. So....

B: Well, he, he didn't organized He organized the B'nai Israel.

P: B'nai Israel. Well, that, that had started in that little store of the


B: Yeah.

P: And that was, there was only about( families when that first started?

B: Oh, there was more than that. I think there was a minyan there. There must

have been about or so. It was organized at the Cunningham Building.

Let's see. Who was.....

P: How did they raise the money to build B'nai Israel?

B: CAn you, can you contact -Boe Moscowitz? shee. u..

S: ?

B: Lucy. a IF ^J

S: Oh, no. We haven't, is he at River Garden, No?

B: Od1a7CarneJ i jI
Oh (/A'&n7- 1
S ? dn Carmel, he and his wife. We'll have to call him.

P: How did the families raise the money to build B'nai Israel? Through dues


B: Through dues. YeS '

P: Was it hard to, was it as hard to get the money then as it is now?

B: It was harder.

P: Harder? Even....

B: eah, dues were only a year, ( a year. And we, we had a cheder or a

Hebrew school. And we use to pay into the Hebrew school for the teachers.


Page 21. mlh

And Rabbi Safer was one of the teachers. And1zy had one other man who was

a teacher. And that was it.

S: Just the two...t

B: Just the two.

S: ,, neen. teaching.

B: And Rabbi Safer, he was a rabbi, he was a cantor....

S: Uncle Joe, were the wonen going to Hebrew school at that time?

B: No.

S: No, just the boys?

B: Just the boys.

S: What, were the girls getting any kind of Jewish education?

B: Very little.

S: Now you're talking about the20 s?

B: Right.

5: Un uh. And, so they had, Junday chl hadn't even, you know, started then?

B: No, they, I think they did try to start a sunday school .

U: They sure did have sunday Achool then. We had it and

B: They had a Sunday school, right. But it was all in, all in English. But,

no Hebrew was taught at Sunday Achool.

S: Sunday school?

B: Onel'fel just brought a note all the time. The -ittens are originally,

lived in Brooksville,Florida.. -Harry was born in Jacksonville, but-Heda.

was born in Brooksville and Stany was born in Brooksville.

S: I wonder how they got down there. Or even got to Florida in those

days? Do you know what, what lured them down here? Were they originallyI


Page 22. mlh

were the f teas from t .ba-JS. also?

B: They were, yes, they were from, they were from Lithuania.

S: Were they SI ec/Tkj A ?

B: No.

S: +We~t, they came to Florida...

B: Directly.

S: /,,i then to Jacksonville from, where did you say?

B: Baltimore.

P: What kind of business was Mr. Zi'.4t in?

B: He was in the clothing business.

P: AWere was his store located?

- B: On Bay Street.

S: When, for instance, the young people got married, I notice that there were

a lot of families, you know, married one family to another here in Jackson-

ville. Was this true in the 20 sand30 s and 40 s? ?

B: Right. They didn't go out of town /oo,'nf & -

S: A husband or a wife?

B: ..,br a husband or a wife. They were all married hl 4 4 t

P: Was there much intermarriage in the 20s and 30 s?

B: No.

S: When did, say Jewish families start going to the beach? Start buying homes

and, you know, going out to Jacksonville Beach?
-^c tO/A1^r. /f esf/-s I
B: Oh, as, as soon as they got here because we had a train that)weldt f-
tU: as th- e train Eerc "bo-y -.p o t i,.. ,, ... th. hd /
TUhe wa: e ta'i.% Er/ e

Th1t was the train. Everybody yet at one time at the beach and they had


Page 23. mlh

to br- supper2;e bring their lunch or their dinner or theyeat there. A4

send the day on the a alk.

S: So that was the big social.... gathering?

B: That was the big social.

S: So, you say in the summertime, the young people would go out there before

families bought homes?

B: That's right.

P; When did the Jewish people start moving from Springfield to Southside?

U: Springfield to Riverside.

B: First, they moved from Springfield to Riverside.

U: Riverside.

B: And Riverside to Southside.
o/u Wh-ate MWve ra,
PI Southside. What causedhe m^? Now, my grandparents moved from

Springfield to Southside.

B: Alright. Well, my parents we we moved frm...

La Villa.
k/ /1
B: ,.. La illa to Springfield. La Villa to Main Street.

U A Main Street. ,,

B: 1M Street. And then from Main, oi'&vt +roiure-ia.mn.t cNo- part of Spring-


U: Springfield.

S: Where, where was LaVilla?
B: L yilla was....

S: 1hfav, i L lc

U: Cro^A EUr-O- r)


Page 24. mlh

B: ,-. "-T,.- .

U: Davis and all that....

S: West from Broad Streed west?

B: West, yeah, Broad Street west. In other words, I went to school in LaqVilla.
S: Did you go a to high school, Uncle Joe?

B: Yes, I didn't do much.

S: Duval?

B: Yes.

S: Duval High? Was that the only high school in Jacksonville?

B: At that tine?

S: Yeah.

B: Yeah.

S: Duval High School. So that the kids that were going on, how many went on

to high school? How many of your friends and your, you know, age group?

B: ery few finished high school.

U: No, not in ny day.

B: We had to go to work. So I went to the junior grade, junior...

S: Junior high?
B: 9arry, Harry didn't finish. Bell finished, didn't she?

U: Yes, she did.

B: Of-course Harry Gendzier, he came later. But very few "esh finished high

school and very few Jews went to college at that tine. I mean, just the

upper echelon could go to, go to college.

P: When they went to college, what careers did they take up? Mostly?

B: Lawyers.


Page 25. llh.

P: Lawyers?

B: Lawyers.

P: But they had a definite purpose/ eIey just didn't go for a liberal arts


B: That's right, yes.

S: Did any women finish high school and go on to college?

B: Very few. Soon as they finished high school, they got married.

U: I went-to college. -

S: Did you?

U: Sure.

S: where did you go to school, __ ?

U: I went to the University.

S: Of Florida? Well, you couldn't have because that only became co-ed in '48.

l',-i Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. They had it, they had it, I started it when they

were having sumner sessions in there. And then they had regular classes

if you lived off campus.

S: In Gainesville?

U: The University in Gainesville.

S: I didn't know that.

: brother et, my brother Joe went there, He went there before I did.

I was one of the first oneso cA 4.

B: At that time, talking about the activities at Duval IPgh School, most of

our football players were Jewish.

U: Not most of them.

S: ....like the living conditions? For instance, what size house did you live


Page 26. mlh

in/) And did you share a bedroom? You know, and that type of thing? Just....

B: We were very, very poor. Everybody shared a bedroom. The boys shared a

bedroom. The girls shared a bedroom. e lived on Duval Street family

shared an apartment with us, the Sp aks. Mard: Spvak's mother and father

lived above us and 4Ac- thi's /ct' ie/,l v -

S: Would you call this kind of typical of what other families did too? In

other words, you know, they got r _ frff .,/

B: The s lived right across the way there. They, they had to have boarders

to supplement their income. He was a shoemaker. And...

P: Is this Archie Q or his father?

S: It's his father.

B: His father.

U: They brought, Archie family, they brought the Se6 ""1 Mrs. i

brought ,' n: / over here.

P; Were most, were most families large? Were there a lot of children in families?

How many, yo how many brothers and sisters?

B: Two sisters and two, one brother.

U: You had three sisters.,,

B: Three sisters and one brother.

U: ,,,nd one brother.

P: Well, were most families large? Like five children?

B: Everybody had three, ,four, or five children. You had how many?

U: Three.

S: Uncle Joe, what did your father do? Here in Jacksonville?

B: Here?


Page 27. mlh.

S: Yeah.

B; Had a shoestore.

S: And he had a shoestore as long as he was in business?

B: Yes.

P: Do you remreber when the Hebrew, the Women's Hebrew Sheltering Aid started?

Does that, does that have a lot of interest to begin with?

B: No, it was just a few wonen got together and to help out travelers who were

coming through or to help out on Passover and to help the families in Jack-

sonville who could not afford to have Pesach' r/, SrF d that was a, that

you should pt....

S: Yeah., we will. Well, I think we're gettingzob history from Rose Kaplan

and some you know, the homes.

P: During the r, when there were a lot of servicemen stationed in Jacksonville,

did you take the Jewish servicemen into your homes?

B: Right.

P: So every, you felt like, you know, if you were Jewish, and you came to town,

you had a friend.

B: Friend, that's right. .

P: Weren't....?

B: Every, every Jewish family had at least two or three soldiers' .

S: Would -they, like the soldiers to came off the base and stay on the weekend?

B: Right, right.

S: You know, with the family?

B: Right. And all Jewish holidays, they.. Ar~- 6Vee care o ,

S: Oh, what, you were active in several organizations. Tb uu were active
s: ohwhat, -uw4r


Page 28. Page 28.

in the Center.

B: Right.

S: And, what, were you a young man when you, you know, first became interested

or was it after you were married?

B: No, before we were married. We were, we were kids. We started at the YMHA.

We had debates, we had socials, and dances and what/have/you.

U: Put oh-plays and minstrels.

B: Put on plays, minstrels.

U: And .

P: Who was the leading star in the plays and minstrels?

B: There was Harry Gendzier,myself zere was eno -y Dill-.

U: Philip Bork ^ t L, i os-

B: Yeah, Philip lrk, ,,;#,"/, A:c'5 .

B:?/JI I-D r vJ,5 bhe. was in .ri1,,Ioe/r GCrr':'j

U: Yeah, .ei. ynv wvm n

B: y/-e dLJ. But they stuck together. It was, it was e organiza-

S '-- tions,) s I said, the junior congregation was the congregation, was the


S: And then, as they grew up,or....

B: They continued, right.

S: 'hey continued and became.... weren't you an officer in the Center?

B: Yes.

S: Were you resident?

B: Vice'Tresident.


Page 29. mlh

: Vice- resident. And also River Garden, weren't you n IL .,

B: President.

S: President of River Garden. And how about the Cacmunity Council?

B: No.

S: No, you weren't eligible?

B: I was eligible, but....

S: Yeah. I knew you were.

B: In fact, I even have to go to a dinner,

U0: Dinner.

B: Dinner...

U: Sunday night.

B: ,, Sunday night, I was y called me after they. dge-disea~edan- organized

a Cub Scout Troop, Troop 14.

U: 1937.

S: That's right.

U: 193/-

S: That's right, that's right. You were-i J'''J/5_ Hi:s by on the telephone

idfr t ~, you know, we have a picture somewhere of you with the Cub Scouts.
So you formed, was Eli and Paul, were they Cub Scouts?

B: Cub Scouts.

S: At that time, so &L l j) ylh/V-^ stk -. m

U: They couldn't have been at the sane time because....

B: No, he wasn't.

U: ,,heir age. Eli, Eli amd 't S kr 't C .a

S: What picture, now, I don't know. I'll have to ask around,


Page 30.

P: Did the parents take a lot 6f interest in the youth groups? When you were

a parent, was, did you....?

B: When I was a parent, yess jy parents did nott..

P: In other words, when you were a child, you were on your own to form your

own youth group?

B: Right. Right.

P: They were too busy?

B: Too busy making a living.

P en you became a parent, then the parents took an interest in the youth gi

B: That's right.

S: Most of the girls, did the girls go to work also? The girls, if they didn'

get marriedaid they didn't go an to college?

B: Most of them went to work.

S: Went to work? Got a job?

B: Everybody got a job.

P: Was there much interest in American politics?

C-f\-W ^^ J^<^ <5^ ^- i\h *f--^'/'-j cr^-o



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