Title: Interview with Rabbi Sidney Lefkowitz (September 25, 1988)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006452/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Rabbi Sidney Lefkowitz (September 25, 1988)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: September 25, 1988
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.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00006452
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 26

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Full Text

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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DUV 2,6A -

S/G: -his is September 25, 1988. CPat Natalie Glickstein and Sylvia

Shorstein are at-the-home-ef Rabbi Sidney Lefkowit. Wear.e-going. to

intaeviz- w -R-bbi-Lfkwitz. Rabbi, let us begin at the beginning.

Where were you born?

L: I was born in New York, New York--in Manhattan. When I was five,

we moved to Brooklyn in-sorder to get away from the city i[to] a

rural area. The railroad connected Brooklyn with Manhattan and

ran as far as the ,ast liver, and then the ferry would take you

on across to New York--Manhattan. There I went to elementary

school, a public school of about 128. And~iT~wentLt_-------_
j j s4 aa
High-School.. After graduating from t"ee, I went to the

University of Cincinnati and the Hebrew Union College

[Cincinnati, OH] because I had decided that I wanted to be a

rabbi. An uncle of mine, Rabbi David Lefkowitz, then of Dayton,

Ohio, of course was a great influence in my choice. But also my

parents because they both were deeply religious, actively engaged

in the congregation. My mother had served as president of the

sisterhood. And my father had always refused the presidency

because he felt that there should not be any domination in that


S/G: Where was this congregation?

L: The congregation was in Brooklyn, was in the area where we lived,
at that time a very respectable area. InAfact, party country. We

could walk to school by crossing the fields. Later on it became

the place where the hoodlums and the low life of Manhattan and

the entire area around were. But in those days it was not. 4A4

? t the tender age of sixteen, I set forth on that long trip out


west to Cincinnati. I recall my parents had wired Dr. Julie

Morgenstern .ep?-] and-President of the college that I would be on

train so and so and to please have someone to meet me or else I

would lose my way. (laugh) That was probably because I was

sixteen years old and back in those days, that was a young age.

Of course the _S_ ___wen in those days in the Hebrew Union

College and the University of Cincinnati. /e entered the

University of Cincinnati as freshmen and there we took our

academic work: our science, geography, various other courses

that would not be given at the Hebrew Union College. I recall

that the Hebrew Union College had rules and regulations, some of

which were that the applicant had to be interviewed by the

chairman of the board of governors at the Hebrew Union College,

who happened be Alfred Cohen [*sp?, and also by the presidents of

the college himself. And'hen I came up for examination, both

excused themselves because one was related to me through an aunt

and another one was a very, very close friend of my uncle David.

So that was my examination. recall we had to pass a test to

get into the Hebrew Union College. We had been advised that all

that summer we should acquaint ourselves with the reading of

Hebrew. They suggested that we buy a certain book and use that.

Accompanied by my father, I went to the heart of the Jewish

neighborhood in Manhattan and went to the bookstores in order to

find that book. But none of them had it. Finally, we went to

Block Publishing Company and they had the book. It was a olaf

4-) base book, that ahhh,auhh, aghh, buhh, baa, behh and so



S/G: Rabbi, you did not know Hebrew at that time?

L: I knew no Hebrew at all except for the portion that I had been

taught for my Bar Mitzvah. It so happened that that the

congregation, which was a strictly Ieformed congregation, the

classical congregation, though small--about 100 members, there

were not that many.... But of course you knew ne bre was used
r A c IO(M e r
and the rabbis that '_c/_(_ir were benr-f-ed rabbis. But the time

of my bar mitzvah, I recall, the pulpit was open and there was

not a rabbi. We got in touch with Uncle Dave in order to be of

help to us. Of course my birthday always fell near the holidays

even if it does not fall on the holiday, Rosh Hosannah itself.

And so, the rabbi said that he would be happy to have the

ceremony in his congregation. Well of course, that would not do.

But they did find a rabbi who was visiting in New York who was

retired, his name was Clifton Harvey Levy, one of the old, old

families of the south. And he came, he knew my uncle and spoke

about him, for my bar mitzvah which was very pleasing for me.

S/G: Let us go back to when you were in college. Were you a supply

rabbi in any of the smaller communities? And tell me how you got

to Richmond.

L: First, during our fourth year, we were made available to

congregations that were just large enough to have services and

the high holy days. And they would all look forward to this shot

in the arm to sustain them for the entire year. I recall the

first one that I went to was in 1928. And it was in Opelousas,

Louisiana, a lovely little town that was the parish seat, as they

call their counties in Louisiana. They call them parishes. I,

who had never been south of the Ohio river, arrived with a nice


black wool suit and the perspiration just engulfed me. But they

were very gracious people and they would walk me from one store

to another, most of the stores in that town. We would wind up

always at one place where we would drink black coffee, that is

good for you, it cools you off. And it was Louisiana coffee, you

know, Mississippi mud. That was my first experience. I recall

the headline. Opelousas did not have a newspaper, but a nearby

town did and covered it. I had the headline, "Famous Cincinnati

Divine visits Opelousas." That was my first headline. I was

then twenty-one years old.

S/G: When were you were born?

L: 1908.

S/G: We are talking about 1928, so you were approximately twenty-one

years old then.

L: That was sure to get me off on the wrong foot. It was a small

congregation, as I say, though it had its own building which was

large enough for/forty or fifty people who came from Opelousas

and from towns around about. There I was wined and dined, and

that is where I developed my dislike for chicken. I do not eat

chicken because they would entertain me in their homes. In this

little town, in those days, the noon meal was dinner and the

evening meal is dinner, so that was chicken twice a day. No one

was happier to greet Yom Kippur than I was! The second year, the

year following, I was honored by being asked to return there, so

I was very glad to do so. We have continued some friendships as

late as five years ago with individuals in Opelousas. We

returned during the war when we were located in Louisiana, in a


little training camp. We visited with them in Opelousas.

S/G: When you graduated from Hebrew Union College, was Richmond your

first pulpit assignment?

L: No. My junior year we were assigned to what were called biweekly

pulpits. We would leave Cincinnati in the morning on Friday and
"a '5, 4 A
go to whatever town we were assigned to. I wasADanville,

Illinois: a congregation of about fifty or sixty people. We had

services on Friday evening and the religious school on Saturday

morning. We could leave then after Saturday evening, and return

to Cincinnati. I was there every other week for my junior and

senior years./ In fact, during that two-year period the banks

were closed, you recall, with the election of Roosevelt. They

phoned me and said not to come up. I told them not to worry

about it; I took a course in economics when I was at the

University of Cincinnati, and therefore when the banks closed I

withdrew my account. So I was able to take care of expenses

myself. Then I told them that when conditions were normalized

they could repay me. They were very grateful for that. That was

in my junior and senior years. Then came that great year of

1933; I believe it was the year of the Depression. I think it

was the APnk of the Depression. I know that there were only a

handful of us in the graduating class that obtained positions;

the rest of the men were permitted to remain in the dormitory

until something might open for them. So I went to Richmond,

first as assistant rabbi, and then as associate rabbi. I met

Dorothy in the second or third year I was there. We were not

married in Richmond because of the fact that Dorothy's

grandmother was an invalid and lived in Atlantic City. She lived


there because of the boardwalk and the chairs; there she was able

to [ ]. Their home was in home was in Lancaster,

Pennsylvania, but during the summer months they moved to Atlantic

City. Of course, we had to wait until after Sukkot was over in

order to marry because we had set our marriage for the fall. So
S I k 6 CFPW f -17_ f/r I r, C, /,Z7
immediately after Sukkotwe were married. That is why we will

have our fiftieth wedding anniversary, God willing, October 23,

just two days after her birthday.

S/G: You have got a triple-header this time. You are in Richmond, and

war breaks out.

L: War breaks out, and I recall we were seated with Dorothy's folks

in their home on Monument Avenue in Richmond. I will show you

why I mention Monument Avenue: because you wI-t see a chair

there, and that is a chair that goes back to the time of the

"pathfinder of the seas," [Matthew Fontaine] Maury, the one who

first plotted the currents of the oceans. Somehow this became a

family heirloom. Maury's momument, incidentally, is directly in

front of their home. ?We were seated there at the radio, or
-l k, AC k an JaPE nTrwoe I
whatever it was that we had, and ther.e-was Pearl Harbor. I said,

"I think that is where I belong." I first talked it over with

Dot, and I remember we drove to Washington the following week and
A tv C^^
went to the chief of Chaplain office and volunteeredAservices.

Chaplains and clergymen are not drafted. I had my classification

(I still have it) of four. That is after widows and children;

that is when they would draft them! [laughter] I felt, and put

it this way to myself, that there was no way I could face a

congregation that would be made up of those who had lost children


or mates or parents or who had themselves been wounded or who

went through that ekereRGe--how I could face them in later years

without having had the experience with them to share it, so that

I could know. Of course, now I klow ,fj But, on the other

hand, I thought that e>'i sJ4oJspeak out of experience. Therefore,

from there I went into the military. /f course, I asked Dot

where we wanted to be sent for training, and she thought she

would like to be in a nice little cozy cottage in, say, Florida.

So we said [we wanted te] the South, we would never think of

going north. She still is among-the Reconstructionists.

[laughter] We went to Alexandria, Louisiana, just outside of

Alexandria, which was Camp Livingston. There e were/for almost

two years. The people in the Jewish community there were just

delightful. We still have, among our dearest friends, friends

from Louisiana. We are in touch with them continually, we talk

with them on the phone every other week, and we correspond with

them. We spoke with them as recently as the week before last.

R There we were in Camp Livingston as assistant camp chaplain. I

was on the staff of the colonel in charge of the entire camp.

There were two divisions of soldiers: one was from Nashville, and

the other was the 28th Division from Pennsylvania. The camp

chaplain was the brother-in-law of the general of the 28th

Division, which had been 4i-et National Guard and had been

federalized. There he, this chaplain--sweet fellow who had

taught Bible in a girls school outside of Philadelphia and whose

brother-in-law was the general of the Pennsylvania National

Guard--needed a chaplain. He asked me if I would be a chaplain,

and I said sure. I was his assistant chaplain at Camp


Livingston. The general of the 28th Division was elected

governor of the state of Pennsylvania, and the first thing he did

after he got in office was to move the chaplain out ef the- amp

and movd- him-up to a camp just outside of Philadelphia. So

automatically Colonel Smith, the commanding officer of Camp

Livingston, appointed me chaplain. /n the camp, as I said, there

were two divisions in training. In addition, there were hospital

outfits receiving training, and other troops who had their own

chaplains. Here I was the one to whom they would have to refer.

I went to Colonel Smith and said, "Colonel, if I may (I was stiff

and formal, standing at six paces and so on), I would suggest

that you are making a mistake. Here there are twenty-eight

chaplains in this camp. Every one of them out-ranks me (I was

then a lieutenant), and I am the only one who is Jewish." He

said, "You represent me; that is what you do. You are my

chaplain, and if you have any difficulty with them at any time,

just let me know. You are the chaplain." It was an experience

that was exceeded, of course, by others, but that was the first

experience I had of that nature. It made me have a great deal

more respect for the military. /We were there for about two

years. We covered Camp Livingston and Camp Claiborne (which was

on the other side of Alexandria), and Essler Field. I was on the

go continually, moving all kinds of situations and problems. I

got a call from the hospital at Clairborne that there was a

Jewish soldier in the hospital, and he was dying because he would

not eat. I said I would be over immediately. I went there and I

spoke with him. He was strictly orthodox, and he would not eat


any of the food. I said that was contrary to even orthodox law,

that there was a compilation of decisions that was reached in

orthodoxy during the time of Alexander: the Jewish boys would be

picked up at the age of twelve in Russian villages and were made

to serve in the army. It was called the Alexandrian Kadetten

ZLsp or something of that sort. They stayed in the army until

they were about thirty. Therefore, there were these special laws

that in time of war you eat what you canea-t, whait-ye -an get,

because life is more important than the law. So I read that to

him and straightened that out. Incidentally, it was a very

widening experience for me, because I had always been brought up

in the form Jewish circumstances. In fact, what is now called

classical reform was the reform which, to me, was the normal

reform. My father was chairman of the committee--I guess you

would call it the ritual committee today--and he would climb over

the rabbi if he tried to change something. I said I always felt

sorry for him!

S/G: Rabbi, under what circumstances did you get to Europe? Was your

division moved out?

L: No. The circumstances were right in the middle of the

observances of Passover. [There] came immediate movement orders

for me to appear in camp so-and-so in Greensboro, Pennsylvania

and be processed for overseas duty. Immediate travel orders.

S/G: What year was this? Do you remember? You went in in 1941, and

you were there two years. That would make it Passover of 1943,

if the figures are right.

L: That is right. It was the year, of course, of the invasion.

S/G: Well, the invasion was in 1944.


L: All right, then, this was 1944.

S/G: So you moved in April of 1944.

L: Yes, in April, 1944, we were moved. We went to the readiness

camp. I had gone to chaplains school, of course; after I had

been in the army for six months, I was sent to chala4s- school to

learn how to be a chaplain. After I had been one for six months!

I was sent to Harvard, and there we wereAfor four weeks and

became chaplains. I promptly unlearned everything that we had

been taught there because it was not that way in the army. I

remember Colonel Smith tried to keep me from going. He asked for

the record I had had at chaplains school--of course, it is on the

permanent record which you carry around with you--and I showed it

to him. He called the eighth service command and said, "This man

is essential. He cannot be moved." They said things were from a

higher orders. He did everything he could to keep me. Mrs.

Smith and Dorothy were good friends; they played bridge one day

of the week. I can elaborate on it if you want.

S/G: I wanted to find out about...

L: We went through this very fast training period of learning how to

pitch a tent, learning how to dig a fox hole, how to make an

isolated barrier, how to test a gas mask, how to go-thuh the

____ --bg th-a--fence crawlilg-on the ground so as not to be

hit, and so on. From there I was sent overseas. Of course--we


would letus_know about some rumor that would lead you to believe

that.... had gone in, incidentally, on a limited service on

account of my throat, which had already two operations on it--


polyps on the vocal cords--and also my glasses, so the army did

not want to be responsible for any of that. They accepted me,

but for limited service. That was all they could give me was

some warehouse somewhere or something of that sort. Hardly did

we arrive at camp than we heard this rumor. I do not know if you

have the time for it.

S/G: Well, we do want to get all of the facts and information from you


L: After I had been/lonly a few days, the movement orders came

through that I was to report at the beach head from this place

where we were at the time.

S/G: Did you go over in the first wave on June 6, 1944, or did you go

over later?

L: I was not in on the first wave, but I was in on the first period.

The Seventh Corps, with which I was associated and to which I was

delegated and appointed, was known as the "seventh star corps of

the first army," since it was in alybattles of the first army.

I was in that. I remember the crossing. I have never been a

good sailor. It4-d+ -not-mean-alyth-ing-about-being--a-gd-sa-lor

or not .

S/G: What were you crossing?

L: The [English] Channel. We landed at Utah Beach. [Rabbi

Lefkowitz apparently leaves and retrieves a map]

S/G: How long did it take you to get from Omaha, through France, swept

around here, and to A*chen?

L: This will tell you. [He pulls out a map.] On our left was the

fifth corps, and on our right was some other corps that I did not

have contact with. In any case, I was a very good friend of


I R l Ii I / 6 1 ,
General Collins. [Side one ends] ...lives in Orlando at the

Lutheran Home for the Aged. He was/thirty-three years old. We

are in constant correspondenceand-I-wouldbe_-representing-him.

T-e-ehapl-ain-took-to-the--general--and-never-once-did--those- in

any-way-,-show-he-was-Jewish. The chaplain phoned -e to tell me

that General Rose [sp?] had been killed and suggested that I take

care of the funeral. I asked how he was listed in his 10-01

file; I was suspicious. He was listed as Presbyterian, so I

said, "Chaplain, do not choose me. I do not bury Presbyterians

when there are other chaplains available." I refused to do it,

and that caused quite a to-do. I remember the trouble that some

of these GIs would have getting relief in order to attend a

Jewish service when they wanted to go. Here he was in the

position where I would hold a Jewish service in his tent, and he

would never come in. I just refused to [perform his burial

service]. Those who know me know why.

S/G: That is quit1I different from the experience of Micky Marcus

-.sp?], who was also a high-ranking person in the army. I do not

want to get into that. Everyone knows about your experience at

Aiehen -Esp?]. I remember vividly hearing the original broadcast,

and I have a copy of your-4-]: "The first Jewish services were

held in Germany in two places by U. S. troops yesterday. It was

Yom Kippur, and 300 soldiers gathered on the hillside in-_

for morning service by Chaplain Sidney M. Lefkowitz of Richmond,

Virginia. I the afternoon 150 men heard the chaplain in a wool

mill,.at- Lefkowitz served three divisions and one corps
) Vq
yesterday." This is dated September 28,from Belgium. bhat-year?



L: There was a little / building, and the shells were coming

in. NBC had phoned Dorothy and sent her a wire that this service

would be broadcast, and she would like to be advised of it. She

heard those shells coming in. Now, of course, to the news people
4r C i4`i( ( cc (c-L bL w- 7/ (i4( '/jc/zCVt1s/
up-onthe-factory-.-wasa--deser-i-pt-i-on-that-would-appeal-[?-so we

had to go back where it was nice and quiet. We went back about

six miles to the Dragon's Teeth. Those poles had been set up by

the Germans so that the tanks could not go through; they had to
4 //-V 15 iU,S iiA 1)7Cr
go around. That, then,/was difficult. As it went from paper to

paper, the 0((ou.J got longer. This was October 29.

S/G: Yes, that was the date of the first broadcast from Germany.

L: That was not the first service.

S/G: No, but this was the first broadcast. That was the thing that

was so moving. I think we ought to move along, Rabbi. You got

through the war, and you returned to Richmond.

L: We returned to Richmond while the war was still on. We were

ordered back. The war with Japan was still on, and we were all

ordered back to the United States, given a month of rest and

rehabilitation, and returned. We were released in Maryland and

took a train down to Wake where Dorothy was with her folks. We

spent some of the time there, and we went up to visit our folks

in New York. Then I had to report back to Maryland, and by train

we went out to San Luis Obispo, where a corps was reforming.

Then we were to go to Japan. I told Dot not to come out with me.

-/ When we got out to San Luis Obispo, General Collins called us

together and said, "I have just received my orders. I have been

received of command of the seventh corps, and I have been called


to the Pentagon. So any of you who are not regular army and want

to request service within the limitations of the United States

can do so." I did so immediately. I did not want to go to

Japan. __/ had told Dot not to come out, but I phoned her--I

had to be guarded in my conversation--and said that she had

better come out. There she was stuck in Virginia try-i-n-ig to get

transportation out to California, but she did. She came out, and

from there we went to Camp- in San Diego. From there we

went back to Camp Livinsgston and Camp Claiborne in Louisiana.

There my number of points came up for discharge from the service,

so I was discharged f-rom-the-service. / -am still in uniform: the

National Conference of Christians and Jews wanted me to become

associated with them and join their national staff. I had done

some work for them with Chaplain Cohee -ep.], who was the chief

chaplain of the service command, and we had spoken [about

joining]. In fact, as I recall, he spoke at the New Orleans port

of embarkation to 40,000 men with one of these huge microphone

devices. [He also spoke at] factories and everywhere. I was

insistent that I wanted to get back into the pulpit. /So I am
)^OP n congregations
still in uniform, and- I got a call from the Q d) congregations

that the pulpit was open. They gave me three options. One was

Atlanta, one was where I would be associated with Rabbi Marks

(who was still living and was with the Temple in North Carolina),

or Jacksonville. I went to the one in North Carolina first

because it was nearest. We just went down to go back; we were

living with Dot's folks in Virginia. At that time they had a

parsonage and they offered a salary of $5,000. I said I would


think it over, and that I would be looking at two others. Oh,

there was another one in New Orleans. I went to New Orleans from

Camp Claiborne while I was still there and looked it over [with]

a very dear friend, an older friend of mine, and my uncle--

Leipsiger -fs?] was his name. Also in New Orleans was my very,

very good friend, who had been since my college days. In fact,

he was one of the boys who was sent down to meet me at the train.

There were three reformed congregations there, and he was in one

of the others.

S/G: Were there five of them?

L: Yes, five of them. So I checked on that one too. We came here


S/G: Rabbi, when you arrived in Jacksonville, who were the first

people you met, and what were your first experiences in the city?

L: The first ones whom we met were the Meyersons fsp], the

Glicksteins [-sp2?-, and a group in the Avondale/Riverside [area]

some of whom, many of whom now have gone. Sam and Sadie

Buchholtz [sp?-] were some of our dearest friends. The Joels...?

S/G: Louis and Hilda Joel?

L: Louis and Hilda. There was a group already established, and they

were the ones who took our hands. In addition, the Rosenthals

and the Wilkinsons [were good friends]. Dot's folks had been

down here at a wedding between...

S/G: Sister Wilkinson and Straws -ept-?.

L: That is right, Maurice Straws [-sp?-; I recall that we stayed at

the George Washington Hotel as a guest of Lou Wolfson [S?-]. We

finally got an apartment, an Eddleson-?2] apartment, and I think

Herbert Myerson .sp?] had to pay $100 from Israel or something.


S/G: Jimmy Edelstein sp3-3- had the apartments.

L: That is right, right across the street from where the river

garden is now. Then it was just being converted.

S/G: When you joined the congregation, do you remember how many

families were in the congregation?

L: Yes, I know exactly: there were 189. In order to get a special

rate on postage for mailing the "Messenger" you had to have 200,

so we took fifteen members of a sister group that were not

members of the congregation and added them that way. So that is

why I know. I remember there was no kindergarten and no ReiioJ

school. We started with the first grade, and confirmation was

the end of the ninth grade. So I was A some education, and

I said, "No, I think this is wrong. I think we ought to start

earlier." There were only eghy-odd children in the religious

school. You would not even remember where we met. I would go

down there early on Sunday morning in order to get the drunks out

of the place. They would get drunk on Main Street and come over

to [the temple].

S/G: That was the old temple on Laura and Ashley [Streets].

L: The liquor stores were right around the block. We met in the


S/G: I know there is a difference in titles. Were you associate

rabbi, assistant rabbi, or what?

L: I was rabbi-in-waiting. [laughter] We would have a period of

six months to look each other over, you see.

S/G: Do you mean the congregation and you?

L: Right. Of course, it was after I got the rabbi pio/ I got a


contract for another three years. I pleaded with them: "Why did

you not say something?" I was one of the rabbis who was out

early. Remember we were released according to the number of

points that you had?

S/G: Do you know how many points you had?

L: I do not recall, but I do recall that I had the points for time

overseas, and I had points for a bronze star.

S/G: The battle stars?

L: The battle stars. The seventh corps had seven battle stars. I

had seven battle stars; that is what I had. I recorded six, but

I actually had seven. So I had credit for that. I was therefore

out early. Atlanta finally said they had to make the cut, so

they invited me to come there. I said I could not, that I had

made an obligation. I had accepted an obligation./ Incidentally,

when I went down to that congregation in Wilmington [NC/], where

all of these railroads came from just a year or two later.

Remember it transferred its headquarters from this town. Here I

recall a meeting in Joe's house, and it was finally decided that

they would release me. I called North Carolina and said that

something has arisen and I wanted them to call a special meeting

of the board. I went there and said, "I know I have accepted

your offer. I accepted it by telegram from Jacksonville."

d__d-ot-waTrt-to_-ret-i-re7-so-he.-was-goi-ng-to-step into

something 7ike that, notknowing-who was in it. I said I would

serve them loyally for a year and then go. They said they

understood and accepted my resignation. So then I wired Joe and

said that it was clear for me to come here. I recall when they

asked me what salary [I wanted], I said I could not tell them. I


said, "I have been in the military for four years, now, and I do

not know what a loaf of bread costs." So Wilmington offered me

even more. They had a parsonage and $5,000. This was $4,500.

S/G: Rabbi Kaplan [sp?] was still in the pulpit?

L: He was still in the pulpit. We would alternate. What I also did

was, even before preaching I would hold services out at the naval

air station. After all, I was one of the first out, and sailors

[still needed services]. We would hold services there and rush

caek to town for the 8:00 service here. I would pick up Dot on

the way in, because we lived on Belvedere Avenue.

S/G: It must have been a very difficult time for you in that interim

period from the time that you came until the time Rabbi Kaplan


L: Fortunately the Korean War had broken out. Joe Levinson, who had

been in the military as a chaplain, remained in. I, also, had

remained in the reserve. But then I had a kidney operation, and

they wrote me and said that I could no longer serve in the

reserve because medical conditions that could not be cured in six

months [are not allowed]. Then Rabbi Kaplan went there from

where he is.

S/G: Where was that?

L: Wilmington, North Carolina.

S/G: He went to Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania, and he filled in in

various pulpits in various places, including South America.

L: That is right.

S/G: This was after he left Jacksonville. He actually did move out of

Jacksonville for a number of years, and then he moved back.


L: They / "-

S/G: It was a very ambivalent situation, very ambiguous, you might

say, from the beginning until things straightened out. Being a

rabbi, what did you consider the greatest problem in the temple?

What is your major concern in the temple?

L: My major concern in the temple was not to aggravate the

situation. I realized that some were friends of Rabbi Kaplan,

and I realized that there were those who did not feel that way.

I tried in every way not to aggravate the situation. Things that

I insisted on. I wore a robe, and I was going to continue

wearing a robe. When Rabbi Kaplan did not have a robe, I had two

robes, so I said he could use the other robe. "I do not wear a

robe." He did not to have to wear a robe. Do you remember the

choir loft?

S/G: Yes.

L: Do you remember Bentus Piasa [sp?]?

S/G: Yes.

L: Do you remember the playing of the notes of the shofar? I said

we could not do that.

S/G: Meditation for the ?

L: That was all right; that was fine.

S/G: That was confirmation, right?

L: I think so. But on Yom Kippur, then...

[The interview is interrupted and not continued]


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