Title: Interview with Philip Bork, II (March 18, 1976)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006430/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Philip Bork, II (March 18, 1976)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 18, 1976
Spatial Coverage: 12031
Duval County (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006430
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Duval County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: DUV 3

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DUV A-seccnd side of tape-different interview


INTERVIEWER: Doris Proctor and Sylvia Shorstein

March 18, 1976

P: We're talking with Mr. Philip Bork on March 18, 1976.

B: Do you want me to start?

P: Well, we'll start and ask you some questions.

B: Okay.

Alright. Where were you born?

B: I was born in Poland, which was part of Russia. At that tine, if you said,

if you applied for citizenship like my father did, you would have to say

you were Russian. But actually, it was in Poland in the province of -O-n/-Z-AZ

anz,, in a small city,ismall shtetl, somewhat similar, not quite as bad as Fiddler

On the Roof, you see.

P: When did, how old were you when you came to the United States?

B: Well, let me say this. Shortly after I was born, within a year, my father

left for America. He didn't like t bi ify. Somehow, he happened to

came to Jacksonville, nd he sent for us in 1905. And I never saw him,

I never knew my father until I came to Jecksonville.

P: You were real young when he left?

B: He leftA I was less that one year old, you see.

P: And how old were you in 1905?

B: Years old..

P: Right.

B: Very easy. I go with the years. January 24, 1900, I was born.

S'. Philip, who else was in the family besides yourself?

B: At that time, ny sister, who still lives in New Orleans) ho doesn't mA


Page 2. mlh

telling her age, either. She' s 8 going on( and myself) d four were

born in, in Jacksonville.

S: But it was you and your.:sister and your other?

B: And my mother. We cane down the .Basatrt Stredes ; Yeah, believe it or not,

I renenber the trip better than an sister and she's years older than I am.

P[ Let's stop.

P:, Alright, so, you were(years old when you cane to Jacksonville?

B: When I came to Jacksonville.

P: And, what business was your father in when he came?

Bi My father vas a, when he first came to Jacksonville, he was working, actually,

he was working, he use to nake boots in Europe, .d sell them at the weekend.

So I was born in a shoe factory, in a sense.

P: You were born.....?

B: You see, he use to make, they were only allowed to do certain things. Just

__ like i) Mfler oce ec-, so here, he made boots C .Vi, boots by hand. And,

at the end of the week, whether he made one pair or two pai#, and that's

something I don't kncw, there would be a certain place they'd go, they would

sell them. That's how he made a living. So when he came to Jacksonville,

he got a job with, with, at that tine, EmiB e Finkelstein,who, who was, who

was i'good friend of, you know, Gendzier's wife, what's her first name?

- Bell.

5, Bell. That was Bell's father. And shortly after that, in about a year or

so, he opened up a little shoestore, And we came to Jacksonville had a

shoestore called "A. Bork." The initial "A" and Bork. Bork is a Polish

name, of Polish origin that's supposed to be "wood"/% "woods". It's never


Page 3. mlh

been changed. We had relatives from here and another place-Bork. I dcn' t

believe in changing names, but I shouldn't say that. For the reason is, be-

cause, you can't tell what you would have done had your-name been different.

But it was Ber, '_' ''' as they say.

S; But -he didn't make shoes or boots?

B: No, actually, actually, here, he was, he had an old shoestore, 500 block

West Bay Street, which was the only street in town,,faln street in town,

when I was young. Now, I came here shortly prior to Rosh Hashanah. 4C

that year, we had no shul. But, -/. ori r,/ Cunningham, who I knew per-

sonally, had a furniture store just the opposite where Cunningham is called

now, '.x-atLt Cdnningham' s on, and above there, and above his place

on the second, there was a shul that I attended in 1905, 190& 1907 or
1908, the other shul was finished, the B'nai Israel. HIiever, I lived within,

within a block of that shul, so I saw them build it. And across the street

from ne was living, was living the Witten family, Scotty, Bcpr, Morriftht' s

before some of them turned _______ You see, across the street from me,

on Jefferson Street.

S: What was it, Jefferson Street?

B: Jefferson Street and the shul was built on Duval and Jefferson. So, actually,

I could say I saw them build it.

P: I would like to go back and ask you about what it was like to came owner on

the boat in steerage.

B: Well, to the best of ny recollection, we didn't know too much, we didn't

have too much and, and when we got to Antwerp, Belgium, I don't know why

they sent us by way of that port, but we missed the boat. So we had to wait


Page 4. ilh

several days for another ship. And we, we were happy to leave where we were

and to go on to see our father.

S. I want to ask you something. Why did you leave? Was it because you were

so restricted as Jews?

B: My father, my father had gone to America once prior to th1a time I was born

and my sister was born. And samehow, he didn't make it, he wasn't happy here.

So, he went back after I was born. Well, he went back after I was born and

finally, he went, he went to New Drk. He didn't like it. It was too big.

Sacebody sent him to Buffalo. He went.4e- Buffalo. Saoehow, from Buffalo,

it was either coming to Fernandina or Jacksonville. The reason I mention

Fernandina, a lot of people don't know that at the beginning of the century,

a lot of people didn't know whether Fernandina was going to be the city or

Jacksonville. Harry Finkelstein, Eli's father, was settled in Fernandina.

My late wife's family, the Baker's, they also lived in Fernandina a while.

And one brought the other back to Jacksonville because Jacksonville had

the railroads and everything. Fernandina didn't get them, so Jacksonville
~' 4^ 0 or 4,0-io 4o__ _
became the city, up onlabout, maybe 19 9m t. So, when I got here in

1505, it was approximately 50-60,000 population and there was only one bu-

siness street) d that was Bay Street. eub Brothers was on Bay Street,

Sh was on Bay Street, Levy started on Bay Street,and Drew's, and-ny-

one you could mention started on ... you know, I never realized what kind
,41 /
of southern accent I have ;er the first time years ago, I heard my voice.

I said "that couldn't be me" ou see.

P: Where did you,where did your family live?

B: In Jacksonville?

DUV zr

Page 5. mlh

P: Un uh.

B: We lived in a section where most people lived which is practically not known

to people today.

S' La Villa.

B: The section was La Villa, you see. And, I first went to school in La lla

in 1906. And then, somehow, after a year or two, we transferred to, to

Central Grammar School, even though I still lived in La Villa. Central

Grammar School still stands. It's on East Church Street. Go past the Church

of the Immaculate Conception and, and I only went through the seventh grade.

I never got a, never received a certificate in my life.
r nC
P: Was that common that most children did.not finish school?

B: It was common that most of-the children did not go to high school and very

few of them, in my time, that I remembered, the boys and girls around my
u ho ,1
age, it was only Joe GlicksteinA incidentally, one of the wmoen, there today

is 4ra. friends for all these years. Joe Glickstein's father

was in the pawnshop business. And incidentally, he's on, was on the original

board of the-B'nai" Israel. And, and another fellow we thought was going

as to be a big success was Louis Joel. His father. L.D. Joe,was one of the

first vice-presidents of the Center. It's his wife, in most cases, the wife

would put them over thE yichas to be.....do you understand Yiddsh?

h: For the temple....

B: To Temple. The Temple didn't want a fellow like ne. They only wanted,

the only Jews they would accept outside of Germans, in those days, would

be rich people, well-to-do people, and Germans. You wouldn't believe this.

I'm, I'm vacillating here and there, but I was the first member to iG

DUV 22'

Page 6. mlh

the B'nai B'rith from ur group2 and that wasn't my choice. I was very friend-

"ly with A.B. Weil and some of the other men back there, Isaac Fieser. But

SA.B. Weil was a very fine man.

SWas it Wiel or Weil?

P: Weil.

B: We called him Weil.

$1 Weil.

P: Weil.

B: Yeah. His daughter wasn't 5 heO .crAkc 0 0 n 0 0 ^..

-- P: Carol Bartlei?

B: Carol. The mother wasn't that type. But he was a very dedicated, grown-up

Reform Jew. And I highly respected him. And once he came to me with a

friend. He said 'We want to put on an initiation, the use of, the use of

the Hebrew c fe don't have any". It was a man named Marcus Handel Senior,

he was .the r_-4_ic' not Junior, that you may have known of later. And,

of course, he didn't know a word of Hebrew. And my Hebrew was much better

than they. So I got Abe Newman, who was my closest friend and myself, Mor-

ton Hirshberg, a fellow named, a fellow named Leo Mack, not Julius Mack, a

fellow named leo Mack, and we formed this team. Actually, the meetings

were all held in the temple. And we were the first, Abe and myself were
"-(k./ d i'('+ t r,
the first two members. _have our members there.

S'. What are you talking about? B'nai B'rith?

B: B'nai B'rith.

S: Yeah.

P: Well,....


Page 7. mlIh

B: Yeah)

P: When you joined, when y/all started B'nai B'rith,.....

B: I, we didn't start it.

P: Not star it, I know you didn't start it. When you joined,were you dedicated

to Zionism at that time?

B: I, since I've been old enough to think for myself, I've been a Zionist.

', Well, Btnai B'rith is not a Zionist organization.

B: No, no, no, no connection.

q N6.

B: But maybe she bringup a different thing altogether. You see, at the, while,

while we're talking, there was in the early 20 there was no Hadassah

here and theee was no Zionist Organization. The best woman, and she was

also possibly a member of the temple too, was, believe it or not, is, is the

Rubins. Not-46a" Rubin, but his wife aI names fail me all of a sudden

this morning.

<, Name's Max?

B: Oh, Max, come atL Lucy.

5"j Lucy.

B: Lucy, Lucy was a first class businesswoman. She use to be in business with....

7: Was this Rosalie's mother?

B: Yes. Rosalie's not like her mother.

P: The point I was getting at was you were with in a B'nai.../

B: B'nai B'rithe

P: ...B'rith was.that A.B. Weil....

B: Ihere was no Zionist organization,

DUV 21

Page 8. nmlh

P: That, that's right. That,....

B: There were, more or less, none, n Zionist. Mostly all the temple mem-

bers in Jacksonville,1 that was our, one of our worst problems. Kaplan, well,

I don't want to go ahead of that.

P: That's okay.

B: Kaplan was anti-Zionist, although Kaplan was raised by an Orthodox family and...

5 Really?

B: Yes. Raised in an Orthod6x family it Kaplan didn't run things. Sfe was

much smarter taimhis wife 4M Cora was much smarter that he. And if it

wasn't for Cora, in-spial opinion, that's not y, I don't think he

Swoulcdhave lasted a year or two or three.

P: Because the Reform Jews are not noted for being Zionists.

B: Well, originally, you see, you've got, since you've asked questions, two of.

the greatest Jews we had in the Zionist movement were Rabbi Habba Hero Silver

of Cleveland. He was a great orator, a great worker. And the other one

that's known to everyone was Stephen S. Wise. He was a Reform Jew. How-

ever, he, he broke his affiliation with the Hebrew Union College, war -in

Cincinnat and that's why they call his place the Free Synagogue. But

he was Reform, you see. And these two, two of the greatest Zionists we

ever had here, And there were several others, but 4 of the Zionists were,

were not Reform. In fact, I recall there was a rabbi...

S: ast back in the early days.

B: Yeah. There was a Rabbi Silverman from Temple Emanuel C L" ivc etlovk c.t

who was a Zionist. You know, Temple Emanuel was the finest, still .the fin-

est tmple inaybe -in America, onyI Avenre. And Rabbi Silverman was to here,


Page 9. mlh

was to come here and he wanted to speak at the Temple. And we had the time,

I had something to do with it, get Israel Kaplan to allow him to speak on

Zionism when they use to allow to speak goyim there, ministers there, and

finally, we got after him. I was one of them. I don't know how many more)

'd he agreed to let him speak on Zionism. A man from his own group, from

the Temple Emanuel, you see. That would have been disrespectful to him and

a colleague of Is, see. So, sure enough, things were going on. And, you know,

under Kaplan, you had no bas-mitzvah., no bar-mitzvahs, nothing, you see.

And why sane of our Jews joined, I'll never know. Because they thought it was
Mino& yre-Pte-
something to be ninbers, to be members of Temple. So happened that 9% of

my married friends now are Temple ember that's account of my wife. You

see. But I wouldn't talk, I wouldn't talk politics or religion to a fellow

like Herman Rosenberg. I wouldn't waste nmy time..

P; Well, did, did...I know that...

B: ,,, even Joe Glickstein.

P: ,,, t the Reform Jews were sort of snobs towards the....

B: Well, yeah.

P: Alright.

B: They didn't ant us, unless you had a lot of money.

P: Did, did the Orthodox Jews feel the same way to the, you resented this feeling?

B: Let me tell you this. I told- /(ad9 aid I think I speak for Bell Finkel-
stein, Joe Becker's late wife that was raised here, and myself, we had our

own group. We, we had nothing against them. We felt no, I feel the same

way now. I never, I don't feel any better than the next person and the next

person's no better than I am. I have friends who are worth millions, I have


Page 10. mlh

friends who are poor, and they don't mean a thing to me. You see,1the per-

son, the individual, you see. for instance, last Friday, Cindy Stein was

there. I like Cindy, I'm a kissing cousin, I know all her, I was fortunate

to be friendly with all -these thfee wies. They had three wonderful wives,

-. But Cindy's different than Ruth. wasor even Sadie, who I was friendly with.

S: What was his first wife? Ruth?

B: Was one of the finest women that ever lived in Jacksonville and one of my

closest friends. A lot of people don't know that outside the family. We

were with her the night before she committed suicide.

S: What was this, his first wife?

B: Yes. She made him what he was wasn't for that, Ben wouldnc never have

been president of the Temple. ..Ben would never have been active, I think.

She pushed him, you see. She helped make him.
GL_ tr^TSU<-> /i
S: Was she sick ahiae or what?

B: No. She was a woman that worried about everybody. Her sister Theresa was

her COnc -. She still worried. s .er mother was always

a problem. DaveA when he was young, he was a, he was, he was a very; wild


P: Bandit? -)3AlkJ

B: He was worse than bandit. I'd go to the house. He'd be under the chair

or something like that there.

S: A lot of people /1j chairs. Sj/j-l5XJ,

B: No, no. Not like that. Dave would, and n hm ,

was e worst- Ham- and Dave war the nicest of the three,

you see.


Page 11. m1h

P: Let 'ie ask go back to when theA he Orthodox congregation was meeting at

Cunningham's. How did the congregation decide to build the, the B'nai Is-

rael synagogue?

B: Well, that I can't give you any details outside. Weda. ker' s father...

S: Elias i en.

B:,,. Elias He was the, the prime organizer. And they decided to build

a shul. Most of the Jews there lived in La 'Villa see, so naturally,

they build this little shul. They never had a lot of money. Believe it

or not, I remember my father told me he gave VM father died March' 1,

1919) Xut he was in the forties. And I had a family o half a dozen peo-

;' ple to take care of. But that's beside the point, you see.

S: You were the oldest boy?

B: I was the oldest boy and my sister, incidentally, my sister got married at

the early age of about (. And she was married across the street, where

Cunningham is today, part of that building we had rented or errom for the

YMHA )ou see and she was married in this YMHA.

S: Across the street from Cunningham's?

B: Yes.

S: A basement?

B: No, Cunningham's owned the site. UThe place is called Cunningham's now, but

it also changed. uuse to be a good Catholic that I was friendly with, oh,

wait a minute here. You ought to know about that. I tell you, come to

think of it, that's a close connection there.

S: My father-in-law was ...

B: Your father-in-law was manager there at one time. And he was considered


Page 12. n1lh

one of, one of the best furniture men, one of the best furniture man in town.

Since I'm talking so much, let me tell you something else. The one efW-he,

the one who lives in Tampa, what's his name?

S: at.

B: t Shorstein 4]? */ ti we lost our wives around the same

time. So a peculiar thing is that, to get back, I was talking too much.

We both use to take out Esther, Esther Hack. And t was a better dancer

than I was. He was good on the floor. I never .A -e Andat never

had anything I'r tn;as. andte use to work for the Rosenb]Ans. Didn't

have a dime on him. So anyway, I finally broke with Esther. In fact, she

broke with me. I thought that was clever of me, right or wrong I made her

so mad that she broke with me. And then she wanted to r up -t.,c d e..

So anyway, in Tampa, there was living a woman named Wolf, Wolfson or same-

thing. And Abe Newman was my closest friend. And he had a sister that's

married to a Stein there. See how the, how little changes can change the

whole picture. It happened wonderful for him. Well, so he brought her to

Jacksonville. So I took her out. You see, she came to, actually, because

Abe's sister gave me a big line and I knew her husband too. I knew the Steins

there7a very fine family. And Abe was my closest friend. So I took her out

the first time. Finally, we all ____. Then she came back

the second time Abe expected me to take her out again and have it.

Somehow, I didn't want to. So they called kat. A I'm just giving you the

connection. at wasn't in the picture at all because I had the buildup
''0 Y_'n'-
right or wrong, you see. So)turned out-to be,I said "well, this Qam'g been

married a couple of times. She's lost a couple of husbands. She lives in


Page 13. mlh

b /^ifSS 6?Ad
Tampa. She has herldeist, her money in Tampa. I'm not looking for a wife

like that." So, I didn't just take her out the second tine. So they called,

somehow, they looked around and t was available. You see how things

turn out sonetires.

S: Yeah, t married her.

B: rd yes) nd she has, she has position in Tanpa. See, I was told all about

her. Wat kind of business she had, the position Tarpa, and everything

else, well-liked by the Jews and even/Yhe non-Jews. So she would be the

type of person for ne*' At nd-eal4a Hattie, you see, because I felt very

close to Hattie May. That's the only house I to without being in-

vited, when I was single, see. Others would tell me "&e for dinner".II

never would cone unless they told me exactly when and what date, you see.

And we're talking about Louis Joel. Wat's his name use to ask me "'me to

dinner." "Why don't you come to the house?" And I never did go.

S: Let's skip that.

B: Okay.

S: Because....

B: Time is running out.

S: Not sormuch the time, but we, we want to get the important facts...J

B: Okay, so....

S: of what happened.../

B: I'm through.

S: ... /o. Wat happened in Jacksonville during the early 1900o s as far as the

Jewish community is concerned@

P: When, when you were going to school, you went to Hebrew school also, when

Page 14. mlh


B: Well, that, that was the base, one of the basic problems. We had one, we

had one main floor, and then we had a basement. I'd call it a basement.

But we had one teacher, one _3 /,_7. '_ Sometimes the man was qualified.

Sometimes the man wasn't, you see. So, I didn't receive a good Hebrew edu-

tion, but none of us did. Neither did, now Abe Newman, Joe Becker, Harry

Gendzier7they came later. But we didn't. That was one problem. The se-

cond problem was was "a house divided within itself." The parents, let

us say of, we mentioned Rosenbljim, Frank Rosenbl
mother always went to he Center.They went to B'nai Israel w-l tvrc a-"-

rI wo { ,./-. 'p' .c", ,a.But none of their children ever wiA, with a book in their

hand, in the thing. They od.e -under Kaplan and they.have no feeling

and nothing else. And I,. I-lkeep bringing other things and I ask these same

people often f you had the chance to be born again, would you born a Jew or

Gentile -; ?" out of of that bunch said? "I'd rather be born a goy

__d_._______ I said "I don't feel that way at all. I would

rather be born a Jew." Anyway, same thing happened to, to Eli Fink, who

I'm still friendly with. Somebody, I think he's on the Center list, but

I can call him any time. Or Sofie. She's sick and she's over. Eli had

two sisters who I wasn't friendly with. They all went to the Temple. We

had a house divided within itself. They didn't like the basement. They

didn't like the school. And then the women. The first, one of the first

women that started was Marie Finkelstein. She was Neil Finkelstein's wife.

Neil's a little short fellow about five feet tall 7 a dynamo. And he's the

one that had Leonard. You know, Leonard's the only brother living. There


Page 15. mlh

was four of them. And incidentally, the one that, that Harry, no, Frank

6,/fiS; is married to, was previously married to one of the, one of

the Finks.

S: 1r, f Ibe ^I fsr/[
B: Yeah

S: I didn't think Leonard, Leonard, is he the one from the luggage ?

B: No, Leonard B- still married. He and Jo, Jo Fink, see. Josephine was known

as Jo. He's the only one that' F/16e Ea use to be several brothers.

They all died. .You see, Leonard's the only one living.

P: Mat, what kind of youth groups did you belong to?

B: Oh, that's the, that's the, that's very important. When we were about(i

we had a youth, you known as the junior &ngregation. In this uior cn-

gregation.was Abe Newmn, myself, Bell Finkelstein at that time, Libby Gend-

zier, eny Figten who later became Becker, and my late wife) d we had

a group. We use to go on -ides. We use to go here. And we use....
S: When did you say, about 1914, you think?

B: Appr6ximately 1914, you see.Ao we were, and actually, in this group, as we

went along about 1916, 17, 18, 19,20, we became rather unhappy with the,

with the B nai Israel congregation. And fellows like myself, and late-r-'

Harry Gendzier came in and Abe Newman started reading about Solamon Sche er.

And fe felt that Judaism in Jacksonville is dying out. We had nothing much.

And the other side had nothing much. So, we studied about the Conservative

movement. Solomon Schdecr, when he came over from Oxford, where he was

professor at Oxford, Aid although the, the Conservative movement was started

reviving and coming to everybody, Bform Jews,but it was not successful


Page 16. m1h

until he cane over. And we were the early congregation, believe it or not,
Pj,# h(14) of0r- Cfcs-C
but, utA we couldn't have done it ourselves. What happened was this.

We were very fortunate to get them to hire a rabbit alap ' //y/- d. /S /i
nvore ;D Jo )/-4'/J,rz
He hag -/ ,; so let him have the credit. But I ,talked to him

and we all talked to him. It was Rabbi Sanuel Benjamin. He was a dynamo.
He made enemies friends...

S: You know....

B: .. .you see. And, he was that kind. All the Safers were against him.

S: Was Reverend Safer already here at the time?

B; Oh, yes. He was here before I was here. He came here about 1903, I'm told.

S: Okay.

B: You see. So, and then beside, beside that, we got same older people. Max

Rubin was the first older man we, of that kind, we, that we got in, see?

S: Yeah.

B: And then, -4e Rabbi Samuel Benjamin, we got Harry Finkelstein to accept the

president, to be the first president, see? Actually, I didn't do that. It

was Rabbi Benjamin.

S: Harry Finkelstein?

B: Yeah, he was our first president. Just like Sofie, and I've always been

friendly with her. So, I should go see her. I haven't seen her lately.

And, he was our first president. L.B. Joel, for instance, Bess Stein's

father, he was, Max Rubin, were two of our first vice-presidents, you see.

They should bring that tablet over. And I was the youngest man on the board

that was an officer and a board menber, because I was six months younger

than, than Abe.


Page 17. mlh

S: ......... ... .... hen did they change over from B'ani

Israel to, to the Center?

B: Actually, we changed over in the early, in the h0s, when we talked about

it. The first building was dedicated in either.'27 or '28.

P: I think it was '27.

B: You see...

P: Within your B'nai Israel congregation, was everybody in agreement to changing

to Conservative Judaism?

B: Noveryone was not in agreement. Here's what we did/ ewe put up the

first building the....

P: This is at and Silver?

B: No, yeah, > and Silver. The, the main auditorium, I mean the sanctuary,

the synagogue, we had the Conservatives. Then, in the auditorium downstairs

4trL, was only one building there, I ean one rom there. It wasn' t cut out, see?

And we had an Orthodox service there, you see. Because some of the older

people didn't like.... some of the older people didn't like the .idea of

men and women sitting together and involving women and so forth and so on.

P: But shouldn't....

B: So we had two services

P: But didn't before Etz -GCiyim was formed in 1940, ...

B: I know about that.

P: didn'tn't, but didn't they feel like they wanted to break off from the synagogue,

from the 6rter -fler, ?

B: Yes 7 rta, yeah.

P: And they formad;heir own congregation and met in a house somewhere?


Page 18. mlh

B: That's correct. That's Etz QhaiYim

P; Yeah. Who started that movement? Was that the Solbiths?

B: No, no, no, no, no, no. You've got the wrong people. I'll tell you about

that. This isn't Y/ s e C)T. I want to finish this one.

P: :Okay.

B: We had, we use to meet monthly and prior to that ae 1919, we were, we

finally persuaded the older people to hire a rabbi. The first professional

rabbi they hired, Safer was a/w V_ our rabbi t was a rabbi named ale

'Sq Siein.
S: I've never heard that name before.

B: No, you've never heard that name before. And that, and I know the-.exact

date for this reason; there was Leonard Moore, Scotty Witten, and myself.

Leonard -. -.had a T-model Ford and he had a son. In 1919, we drove down

to Miami and he had to, he didn't tell his father, the rabbi, that he was

going. Anyway, he stayed with us a couple of years. And then about 1921

_--- or '22, Abe =yr o when he and myself, when we went through the seventh

grade, represented Jacksonville in a debating society there) id who was the

--- rabbi? And he was the only rabbi in Miami at the time-was 6j-

S: Yeah.

B: Stable Stein.

S: When you had thisJrunior congregation, you know, all were a young group?

B: Yes.

S: Did you ever have any non-Jewish friends? Were you friendly with anybody?

B: Oh, yes. I tell you. We were friends with non-Jews because we lived wig

in a tough neighborhood. You see, we lived in a tough neighborhood. Some


Page 19. mlh

Jewish fellows, like Mickey Safer, you knowA Mickey Safer was, an butcher


S: Ch yeah.

B: Mary, Mary's husband.

S: Oh yeah,Mary, Mickey, yeah.

B: I wouldn't play with him. Harry tor, you know he died, they was, they

was tough just like the gcyim. They'd have fights, they'd steal stuff,steal

bicycles and I wouldn't ge 5- get involved in it. Then we had fellows

that were Jewishe, he fellows use to play baseball..: Next to the YMHA there

was an empty lot. And we'd play baseball and everything went on, Now

dhurc/i '5ce 1, (k I,/- A"was all schfartzes. So the white yiddisha boys and

the goyisha boys would take bricks- and then we'd throw bricks throu the

church i s and they'd throw bricks at us, you see.

P: Did you4 t' there was a lot of anti-Semitism in those days or did you

get along well in the community?

B: I always got along well as an individual.

P: Yes, I moFr- In general, was there a lot of anti-Semitism?

B: Yes. There was, it was always here, it was'always here. It's, like even at

the present time, I was just at a funeral that was Catholic. I've been to

a funeral that was Protestant, I mean as a pallbearer. cause we had good

friends, you know, that were Gentiles to this very day. Just like the fel-

low that runs all the concessions down the beach. 7 Evegpeculiar situation.

His name's Frank Worten. I nean, the rides and everything. He owns all

that land. He-never goes on a tripwitl his wife got sick theR (And

they re about V5)or (2 years younger unless he calls us. But he never goes


Page 20. milh

on a trip intil after Labor Day on account of all the concessions. But
-the- (t",'(,1 -tue omv~ter 7 '
he hates schfartzes like poison. I said "Frank,what4?- He never called

them, he always called them "niggers*. So I was, I said, "How can you like

me?" And he says "Well, you're just like my daddy. I feel to you just like

qa my daddy." See?

S: Yeah.

B: And, but, that's, those are the kind of people....

P: So, as an individual, you didn't find any anti-Semitism?

B: I, yes, I knew it was here.

P: But you knew it existed but not toward you?

B: But I never ran, ran into it personally,myself, to any great extent. Oh,

when we were kids,l gotit like hell, Robert use to be like, a boy like

Sanity As had one wooden leg. He said, "I2waJews'-g

it9 a Christ-killer." You know, the basis of all anti-Semitism,

I'm sure you know, .ause in my way of thinking, is the New Testament be-

cause it, it, it points out the Jew as the, as the evil person, the Christ-

killer. And youlthis- the New Testament was not closed till 400 years

after Chrit. And it was mostly rewritten by Rcmans and Greeks that, that

livedere Christians at the time 4d they took this down and Pontius

Pilate, I like to study these things, Pontius Pilate ade him a nice guy,

but he was a scoundrel. He hated Jews and he was not protecting anybody,

you see. But since the, the people that were writing the New Testament,

we don't call it the OldA the Old, we don't call it the Old Testament, to

us, it's the Bible, but we got in the habit of calling that, just like some

people call it the Wailing Wall. It isn't the Wailing Wall. It's the Western


Page 21. mlh

Wall., you se. So, the basis of anti-Semitism is actually the New Testament

because it shows the Jew as the villain and everything else.

P; When you were, say, in your, in the 1920 s, were there a lot of Jews that

came into Jacksonville at that time? A lot of immigrants?

B: Well, the people that came in about 1920 and we became, we, we were prejudiced,


S: In other words, they were different?

B: I, I was one of the exceptions. Those that came here know. Those that came

here from New York, not Chicago, especially New York, were disliked. New

York Jews7let them go to Miami. That's a fact. Not only the Temple group,

but even people now. If I said "A Jew's a Jew' it'd have to depend on the

individual. Oh, them New Yorkers. They do us more harm than good. Until

this very day, there are people here that don't like New York Jews. See,

even though a good percentage of them/here. At that time, and incidentally,

the NewYork Jews didn't think much of us, either. [/4,4 XX

P: How about the Russian Jews that came i., that came directly from Russia?

B: Well,the, most of the Jews here, the majoritypfour group came from Russia,

Poland, and all these places that the Soviets now control, see. And did

control almost at that time, see.

P: Did you feel a closeness towards them that you needed to help them?

B: I always felt part and par-til of the city wherein I lived, see? And I've

been, more or less, good or bad, active in affairs maybe since I was (or

years old, see? And this junior congregation was really a good organ-

- -- ization since a fellow like Benny Setzer, I'm talking about....

S: Was he here then?


Page 22. mlh.

B: Oh, yeah.

S:l Benny Setzerwi here then?

B: This is an interesting story. Benny Setzer came here about 1912 or '15.
He use e use to drive an ice wagon and sell ice, you see, Ad then he'd

sell wood in the wintertime off the wagon. The girls, when I was ,

would want to go out,.with me. They figured I'd have a much better opportu-

nity than him. He wasn't considered a good date, you see. I'm not being

S-disrespectful, but that's the truth. came from so he started

dating her, see? Because even my late-wife)who was a very pleasant woman

., with Benny Setzer? 4Brmy Setzer's such a 4.4

You see how people can be wrong, see? So, he was not considered in the groui

there at that time before Harry Gendzier, Abe Newman and myself, and to some

extent, Joe Icker. We were the favorites.

P: So, in other words, so not only did the Reform Jews look down on some peo-

ple, but even the Orthodox Jews di d get along with everyone?

B: Yes, in....oh, no. We got along.

P: Got along, but I mean you didn't still.....

B: This, what I am talking about is a social thing.

P: Yeah.

B: When you, somebody called you for a date, you may want to go, but the fellow

I'm not, you see. 4t

P: Well, how about within the4youth club?

B: We were a very homogenous group,very friendly Ae? We were very friendly

as a group. And why, we use to have, like I told you, the s ides, boat-

rides, but we always worked for the Center. I was anrusher in the old B'nai


Page 23. mlh

Israel synagogue when I was 1, )and I remained to be an usher till I was

about .

S: Was this junior congregation started in B'nai Israel?

B: Actually we, the young people from, from B'nai Israel started themselves.

"Those of us that remained there. See, half of those people over at the

Temple now, I believe, are Temple members, you see.

S: No.

S B: I rean what I call, not like A.B. Weil. He was a genuine Temple member

and he was, he was a fine man. And so was Isaac Kaiser, who was before your

tine, see? Ie still has his daughter here. She's a living in.....

P: How about the Richwallers? Were they in that group-too?

B: The Richwallers, I know them/too. They, they wasn't any good for the Tem-

ple or anybody, They thought they were too good for anybody. They gave
r4 4
nothing to the Temple even. I don't know what they did prior tofSc a coming

here, but in the early 1900s, the Richwallers had a building an West Bay)

WZ 54eMAStreet and dl that. They thought they were better than anybody else. I

never was overfriendly. The Goffrans I knew. You see, they were rich

from the first World War and the fact of the matter is I knew her well. One

of the daughters came back to live. She doesn't remember meam I don't re-

menber her. Ray Coleman introduced me to her same time ago and she's been


P: How many organizations were you a member of? hen you were, you know, a

young man?

B: Well, as a young man. was only one actually. It was the, it was the, it

was the i' ior ngregation as I came....
In4S- Ir-


Page 24. mlh

P: What I iean as you got older, like when you joined B'nai B'rith?

B: Well then, of course in the early 20 Max Rubin and Lucy Rubin not only

started Hadassah, but they also started a Zionist moveent.

S: That's _

B: They also started a Zionist movement and Max was the first president and I

may have been the second or third. I was president of the Zionist organ-

ization in Jacksonville somewhere in the 20 in the 20s. And then Lucy,

Lucy, a peculiar thing about Lucy) ike children that first went to

Temple, you see, because all her friends.....

S: Were ITmple members?

B: good percentage of therrand thet didn't like her because she use to get

after them about their dldi ie j about being Zionists, about being Hadassah.

So she was clever enough to start the Hadassah movement as a social club,

you see. She didn't tell them too much about the organizations.

P: Yeah.

B: In fact, I talked it over with her,. She says "I'm not going to tell them

too much. I don't handle much of it." She says,"But I'11, this' ll be

a good social, the main social organization in town."

P: S, in other words, people really weren't too interested in Zionism at that


B: No. She got a lot of people in, even from the Temple that wasn't interested,

9, And those, and a good percentage of those people later dropped out.

But she got them in on socially. And incidentally, that's how the Council

of JudaismAno, I mean....

S: The Jewish. Cmmannity Council.


Page 25. mlh

B: The Jewish Ccnmmnity, 4 not the Council, the National Council of Jewish

Women, you see. Originally, it was only open to. Tmple members. And all

of a sudden, they were so nice, y opened gates. And you ought to see so

many of our wamen flock in. They made me mad, you see. Originally, it was,

the only Temple things that they would belong to would be the Temple and

the Council of Jewish Women. Anything else, no. And there is a lot of them

that way till this very day, you see.

S: i ere were bother groups, K-4*rother social groups, weren't there?

B: Social groups maybe, yes. There were the Jesters, with....

P: Speaking of the Jesters, wasn't the Phoenix Ti the forerunner to the


B: Well, that was a club I have very little recollection. The Jesters was a,

was a club here, that I was never was a member of the original Jesters. But

I use to eat lunch every day at Bernie's with a lot of them that were. So
4A/, ..././.er1.i.1
SI w;s Q&J4 3 C But Buddy Gerver, s the originally our

members and there was Martin Sack when he came to town. And Lou S lsky

Martin S/ck was still friendly with Lou Splsk, who never gives anything.

.her was the marriage of Vivian, who's a friend of ours, too. And we usa
to have a round table. We) e together there every day. And there was Sam

Rosenberg, who originally was our group, but all the Rosenbergs, including

Jack Rosenberg who was the father, moved over to the Temple, you see.

P: When did the Jesters Club start?

B: That I don't know. I was never a member of the original Jesters. I was a

member for a short while of the Jesters which were, when they opened the

gates and I had,, because I was, friendly with a lot of them, but my late wife


Page 26. mlh

didn't care for it and I didn't care for it and we got out.

P: Was this when they moved over on Highway nd ... Avenue?

B: Yes. When I, when I joined, there was actually, they had two different

places on F' Highway, you see. They had one place and then4ied to

another place.

P: Yeah.

B: This was the first place. It was originally a night club.

P: I remember that.

B: See, not the one that's a restaurant now. Swan's or whatever they.... you

see. But that was a different group. They made a big deal out of it.

And then they had the junior group that even ny son, who's not, today who

wouldn't join any.kind of a social organization, was a member of.1 Te

the name of them. They had a junior group, you see, is all. So, but actu-

ally, they kept to themselves, most of them. But certain people like Mor-

ton Hirshberg, I can't recall any of the _...... my Uncle Ben ,r-ts

He's, he's been an old friend of mine and his father and mother were very

nice people 4rCdl,:^;//'. They were strictly Temple members and they were

high class people. And they were one of the first rich families in Jack-

sonville. Jewish families, I reant there. Now I always tell Morton when

I see him if I want to get, try to get him a little mad, I say)"One thing

I can always say about you grton. I always liked your another and father

better than I liked you. So P can't say anything back, you see. And

he still lives in that same house where they lived.

S: Wasn't that near the Center?

B: It's near the Center.


Page 27. mnlh.

P: Yeah.

S: Right across from....

B: An house .....

P: On Boulevard. It's on Boulevard.

B: On Boulevard.

S: Yeah.

B: He still lives in that house.

S: Wasn't it on the corer?

B: N it's not n the corner.

S: /ot on the corner?

B: It's the middle of the block.

S: I thought it was on.....
B: He has his office) A has his office there and he also has his, his.....

S: Never moved,huh?
ro IweJ A)/
B: He's supposed to have an apartment in ST, 5- oh r because theyobfcggs
"tlii of 41ree -f-+tY^'. f
ret-i t I asked Morton about, that. d he said,"No". I said

"I'm going to get you to came to minyan". And you know, then he, I was

just kidding him, because, you know, because I say anything to him.

P; How, during the Depression, before World War II, were the Jews a close-knit

group then or were they starting to separate then?

B: The Jews, prior to World War I, the Temple groupiwhich was mostly German

Jews, with the exception of a few rich Jews, you see, they, we were not

regarded socially as their equals. I never felt that way Ad our group

didn't feel that way. They didn't meanMa to us and we didn't mean any+h I

to them. The fact of the matter, came to think of it, Joe Glickstein was one

Page 28. mlh

of the first members from our group that married one of the girls from their
Group. Because the -$r 4 were all just Germans. See, Myra and s
Gertrude is a very fine personIA t p

end of tape one-side two interview with Philip Bork


INtERVIEWER: Doris Proctor and Sylvia Shorstein

March 18, 1976.

B; ..... .get the, the support of very few, of a very few of the Temple members.

We wanted to make this a joint effort. Possibly, they may had good reason

but.maybe they didn't, possibly they didn't like the location, other things.

But that was irrelevant, so far as I am concerned. But, with the movement

itself, they were not interested. And a lot of them in later years.... and,

and from then on, we had a joint group. We did have a joint group. This

was organized by Rabbi Morris Margolis and Rabbi Kaplan. But PMrris Mar-

golis brought our idea to Kaplan. Kaplan came to hI, and 444ma .

P: So you would say that is the first time that the Reform and the Conservative

congregations met on common ground?

B: Well, let me put it this way. Prior to that date, we also had drives and

they took, participated in those drives too. But we didn't have a set or-

ganization till we formed this organization. But prior to that, when we did

have drives, we'd see some of them and so forth and so an, you see. So, it
W/r/7 it c/ e3ole "('0
was all, we were not organized, but we were a group. 'nth -ease UJA

and other things, more or less a group. Until this very day, we have Tem-

ple nmebers who I won't nenticn, close, saoe of them close friends of mine

that, that,one of them is an officer in the Temple right now -very able

man, but when it cames to Israel, -11l mention his name. /Irving Roberts 4-

Svery good friendof ours. He's a high class gentleman. She's a fine

woman. And de'll be one o ix women there today. They live right here.

They moved downstairs over v year. He's the treasurer. I don't think

t w, i M wlrir SlSi The only thing she's a member of is a, is

DUV 3A3'

Page1Z^ mlh.

the Temple nd -'' ihza i o the Council of Jewish Women. As far as

he's a member, he's only a member of, only of the Temple, you see. And

I wouldn't take Irving's card' I think too imch of him. So I took another

friend of minelho's a close friend and he gave me $10, he gave $10. His

wife gave nothing at al 7d he's in better shape than I am. A lot bet-

ter shape than I am. And I don't give a whole lot, but I give something,

you see. So, they have no feeling. A lot of them ti/ this very day be-

cause they were brought up that way, you see. And I just mentioned Irving

Roberts, the other family that I was talking about was Walter Levy's. i

They're'friendly because he, I like a lot of things. We like, Ruth likes

plants and things like that. And if .you-want to go to a place like Okee-

fenokee, the Walter Levy's are the best people to go with. But7teey comes

to Jewishness-they don't know A from 9 -t I shouldn't talk

that way hd he gives a whole $10 a year to the Community Council. One

year, he started not to even give the $10. 4 said )'You want to talk to

Philip?" "Oh, I made a mistake. Yeah, put me down for $10". You see?

But then, incidentally, they're nice people in a way, but they have no feel-

ing. They make trips, but so much for Israel. Once he's made a slip.

Actually, i be the last place he'wouldcwant to go, see? I'm talking about

people, _____ And Irving Roberts is a high class gentleman, a

graduate of Harvard, d, you know, he works for Blo there at the

I hru) i,,-itM N ---- / he use to be one of the r persons
retired 8 ce,
beforeyc- He came here from New zrk. Anyway, theyrever nice

people. They give a dime to JJA and ... ../trsee. L the Hf

because see, both of them had their mothers there. Both lived to be over


Page 31 mlb.

ninety. And he g on Friday afternoons and he puts on a concert

for them, you know. He puts on records and these things, you see.

S: Tell us Mat-a the organizations that you were involved with which were

the ones that-you, you know, sort of favored or that you were the most active?

B: Well, in all my life, and I still ti/ this very day, I feel the most 7^^o

and most important organization is, is the Jacksonville Jewish Center and

B'nai Israel.

S: Were you president of the Center?

B: In '52, yes.

P: Did you feel that....

B: That's me!

S: Yeah, it does look like you.

P: Do you feel that after World War II that people had more of a feeling of

Jewishness than before? I'm not talking about you individually.

B': I/ don't think so. I think people are mostly motivated selfishly. A lot of

people don't have any real strong feeling, you see. And, they're the first

people to criticize, you see. See, I'm getting too personal .

Ike and Gertrude went to a wedding about two weeks ago. Ike and Gertrude

are good friends of ours. Ike calls me -p and my wife got mad at me because

I interupjed him half a dozen times He didn't like the way the

Center's built, d'I/ t/k, he didn't like that. So, a alb y T

do / ________ _. And the rabbi spoke too long. Says the.
woan, she had, one of the women/ another, I wasn't invited to the wedding

S: That was, I know which one that was2the ise

B: Yeah., evine, yeah. See? And h.._ complaints. And you


Page / mlh

know, between us, I know why he vw 3 d wasn't for So e, and gt was

Lt den they would have given-the 100,000. Not he can't afford it,
but Ike is basically stingy. They want to give me his f Yi to get,

to get $35. Now, I said "No, Iwasn't too well". He's the wrong man .

YWL got about e
I got about 0 r( nams on top of his or more. And ,h dvje sn'

S: Yeah, yeah.
B: You see. That's, that's my wife's strangc"n l feel close to
zte been h=ro1u7 ,
one or two. I think the-, -i the schools in South America and my wife

and also Israel, they've done a wonderful job. But to me, there, among the

women's organizations, Hadassah would beu rmber pe. My wife gets mad at me.

She says "Don't listen no more". J I 4s

P: Do you remember when the Ladies rew Sheltering Society was formed?

B; Yes. The Ladies Hebrew Sheltering Society was founded by women from the
Center. Even my mother was not one of the offers or anything, but she was

one of the, maybe an original members or not. _Fe at that time was

A^JA -guess what the word meant? If a person or family, Jewish family "vU./
come to you and needed help, they would, $50,$100, or $200, they would lend

them the money. And among the original starters of it was Ben Stein's mother,

you see. He was four or five when they came to Lake City to Jacksonville

/ d she was one of the a starters. And then is one of the,

her mother, I mean, was one of the early starters. An mwas mostly all mem-

bers of our QM group. Originally, they had, the Temple had nothing to do

with it. The Temple first got interested in the Hone and I was never in-
terested in the H&me myself, so I can't take any credit and I was no bet-

DUV 3A /3

Page/ mlh

ter, I wasn't any better than the others. So, they wasn't much better than
parents started to go there. And others, in fact, Irving Roberts, he's
very much interested in it. They're going to have a dinneri$10. I'm de-

bating whether I should go o tiis dinner for $20. I have a limited ,very
tS S 44-4-, Aot -4) /1
limited income.A. ss than the Levy's I talked about and I gave away over a

$1000 .last year, $1200, which isn't much, but in proportion to my income,

it's a good, I'll tell you -y businessV It's nearly see. Because you

see, so it's how you feel about it. So the, but later on, the Temple members

became interested also because its a good home. It's one of the best hones

and they can take care of older people -just like they took care of a lot

of folks when others lived, came here. Her mother and his mother, they both

died at the HQ at a very ripe age. So you went to the funeral about a

year ago. One of them, I think it was her other, she was9, you see.

P: So, it just started as a group of wanen that were helping Jewish families

moving into Jacksonville?

B: Yes, helping poor people. In fact, that's why they called The Hebrew Aid^as4

Sheltering Society. And then, Ben Stein and Ben Yoff started making a

little money and some of the others "/ndAhef s gotlinterested, see? And

AI as not a bign it, but he was working for them. And they made

Ira the first president of the present ,as we know ncw, see. But was

no great worker. Ira and his wife were good friends of mine from the very

beginning and I know their story, t that's another story, you see. So

that's, but actually, almost everything was started, outside of, f'

course of the Temple was founded before we were, see they, they, theypenQa
a hundred years
a hundred years ago"

DUV 3A 5

Page ." 1 alh

P: No, they started in 1882.

B: See, I said they opened, they ........

P: Close to a hundred.

B: Yeah. See, so they were here. Now how far B'nai Israel goes back, I don't

know. r know when I came here that year, they, we had services on the second

floor of the old Cunningham...

P: I think that started about 1905 when they started having the services e4


B: Well, that I don't know. I came in 1905 .. -'. s C -

P: Um uh.

B: I/T assuming they had services prior to that year.

P: Well4 prior to that, there were only a few Orthodox.Jewish families and they...

B: Ch, we had.a, a fair-sized group,not a large group, but they had a fair-

sized group. I wouldn't know 7aybe a hundred people, more or less, you

see. And and a lot of these names that became big Temple members were ori-

ginal, the (vis the Neil-Finkelstein$ the L. B Joels, the Harry Finkelsteins,

they al originally and in many cases, the people that became active in
the I C +ATeJ av n
the Center ere originally parc. the Temple, I mean, t active in the

Temple were originally from the Center.

P: Did, when people first came to Jacksonville,did a lot of them stay in the

Finkelstein boarding house until they could get started?

B: A, yes'. 1, we di i n',tstay, We stayed, incidentally, about::that1 -n

people first came to Jacksonville, if a man was in business, like, let me

mention one in particular, Mr. Rothstein.- /beL Rothstein's father, Jake

Pothstein? mI had a shoestore. He -use to open about six o'clock in the


Page.f^ mlA.

morning and close about ten, And in his shoestore, in back of the store,

they partitioned it off and that whole. family was born back in that store

in one, in one little, in one little roam. And lived there for years.

S: Who was this now? The...,

P: Abe pothstein's father,

B: Abe Rothstein's father.

P: David Rothstein's father?

B: David Pothstein's father. Not a good guy, He never gives a dime to any-

thing, And he's worth quite a little mcney, You can have him, too. Abe's

a nice guy. I see he's a enple remrber and he's married to a Pankr Mrs.

Pn was a Finkelsteiother was a Finkelstein.

< -. "r ',
~B- ah, long .-as Abe. Abe'sa lot __

S: Abe was a nkn?

B: Abe IRothstein's wife. Herbert Pank' s sister You know Herbert Pankr?

S: U uh.
B: And there s Albert Pank, see? There's Albert Pan ....

S: f' I 1'w A"7 vmo
14", 114 A e V,- t- AJ" AW
B: Herbert Pan and there's incidentally, I'm ne of the few thak%'

to go over to the other side. Most of them, over fifty yearsXu,f' F

went over to the other side. And they had nothing. Rabbi Kaplan did a lot

of harm in Jacksonville. He didn't turn out one Jew. Now that comes from

my late friend Sam Buchos. Used to be one of the Sunday school teachers.

And I was friendly with him. He was a peculiar sort of a guy. And, el!a!

Sthe Sunday school teacher, with the top, one of the top ones because he


Page/- milh

// wasi college, see? And if he didn't knoTw itho-are q? He use to kid

me. He use to say" You know what I talked about 'PGh I ?" I go "What

*doo-r talk about?" "The lesson this Sunday" he said "was about Jesus
o i ,-,____
Christ". Yu know, it wasn't but i u see. But they were so indif-

ferent, you see. And that's all they had was Sunday school by people who

were no more qualified than I, I would have bee5 and I never was a Sunday

school teacher, you see.

P: Back to the Finkelstein boarding house. How Tmany people stayed there at times?

B: They, after leaving the boarding house, the, and they don't have to owe

anyone. But we came to Jacksonville. Estelle r's another named gendrick...

P: Fendrick?

B: Pendrick. She also ran a boarding house. Now, my father lived in the Ven-

drick boarding house) 1d we stayed there-two weeks. My father wouldn't

allow us to stay in the back of the store. So he a E rented a house,

see? But those were the two boarding houses and of course, eventually,

it was only one. And, and that was Bell, that Bell Gendzier's mother..,.

P: Yes.

B: .you see. Then, Neil Finkelstein was a short fellow with a beard, one of

the first ones I net here with a beard.

P: Were both of the boarding houses Aosher?

B: I would say yes. I, I'm, Il supposed to the best of ny recollection I

would say they were strictly kosher I have no way of knowing. But I know

the Finkelsteins were jsher and I. think the *eeed place was kosher ,

P: ecejs L-atLia .... I'd heard, you know, that a lot of men that worked down-

town would go there for lunch because they could get a osher meal at the

DV 3A r

Page '<1 mUl

Finkelsteins. / It yr/,r'.l;ld i -$lj

B: Well,, I remember, 1 remember O'7r .'-.'i/ Once,

P: Yeah.

B: And J'd follow,:=rmn cne of these guys that had, I had a smattering of ig-

norance and a lot of studying, I always followed the arts ahd the music

and the symphonies and,. ,the first time he came hereA44e Finkelstein board-

ing house was already there and that's where hefi ..

You know he's ,90years old,

P: Veah, I know.

B: He s one of the....

P: Yes, he just gave i a concert in New York.

B: He's im g giving his final concert and incidentally, I've been a member of

Symphony Music for over years) and neither one of you I've ever seen


S: I'm there all the time. We belong.
B: Now how long have you been a member? I've been a member for over years.

S: I don't know. About,' years -?,';.''/ /-(

B: Oh well, I'm talking about the old times. The only old timers I knew was

Harry Katz, OWE! fi0 was a member. Harry Gendzier since he's been here.
Joe Be kter/i his late wife was alive. Jack C k fC,.

S: There are many more Jews th are Saw- members?

B: Oh. yes, Of course. But I've been see I1 know who's who)because I've been

To-t almost the beginning. I loe it, see? I Wej4qfgo6ethere Satur-
{d =- '' 7^

DUV 3A j

Page 7. hIlk

A -,

day night again, you see. So anyway,, r-tw -reo S r-C .

I didn't see him then, but I've heard hm play at least three or four times.

He's been here with '" but so' S Horowitz, who's also Jewish.

Horowitz is younger than he is, but he's sicrly-!.,

S: Well...

B: A nd he's Jewish, but he s married to, to, he's married to an Italian wamn.

P: Where was the.... I

B: Who was the great conductor? The great Polish conductor?( Toscanini. He's

married to Toscanini's daughter.

P: Where was the Fendrick"s boarding house located?

B: It's s smewheres. l..

S: Is it F endiekJ.T- P -7

B; Yeak. Fendrick was the name of the, I think it's hyphenated

with an apostrophe. That was the smaller one. They had a few I've known

Estelle since she was a baby.

P: But where was it?

B: It was, everything was in La Villa.,,

P: Yeah.

B: becausese nobody had a car and people use to walk to everything. But she,

her place, to the best of my recollection, was either on JMonroe Street or

Duval Street. See, there use to be old man Crane there, He use to sell

ice tubing. And that's howj how he knew the streets. Duval Stree e

couldn't remember Duval. Duval Street was Shul Street, you see .4toe

Street was Streetcar Street. Adams Street was Finkelstein Street. And if

you buyr north of ice, he'd have marks of a certain size. He'd know, you
you buy

DUV 3A)6

Page mh.

see.' If the mark was this, it would be If the mark was like this, it

would be 5. The markj jand his main competitor was,

was Benny Setzer. AndBenny Setzer had to get out the, the ice business be-

cause when came, that's the best break he ever had.

P; Yeah.

L_ B: At that time, he was already married to Hyna. So they, so they rented a
building at Fifth d Silver and lived -pstairs and they ran the store

jd that was their beginning.

P: Did, did most of the families keep kosher at that time?
B: Yes, and take myself for an example. Now I'n not blaming my present wife.

Up til my late wife passed away, the latter part of '51, our home was strict-
t^x / Yi, -3-e- "-
ly sher. And I-p eat out, but I never et shrimp /jd I eat it now.

I m i Jne way or ibe other. My wife is a gourmet cook. And I never
lobster and I use to go to Boston., .f :; ." s,/' f and Buddy Ger-

bert was my closest friend those days)even though we were competitors.

We use to go together. So, we don't have to keep sher now.

S: Philip, what business were you in?

B: Ladies shoes.

S: Ladies shoes. I didn't know that.

B: And I had a '

B: I had one wei.L store ws upon a tie on Broad Street, a general store

f yfe n I had a shoe store on Main Street.

P: Well, we want to thank you very much for talking with us today, It was

very interesting.

B: Thank you.

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