Title: Phillip Selber
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Interviewee: Philip Selber

Interviewer: Sylvia Shorestein

August 12, 1989


SS: [This is Sylvia Shor/stein] interviewing Philrip Selber on

August 13, 1989, at 6908 La Loma Drive, Jacksonville,

Florida. Philfip, let us get started with the most early

recollections and information that you have about your

family, beginning with your grandparents.

PS: My grandparents lived in Lithuania in two small towns. My

father's family came from a small town called Ponadel, and

my mother's family was from another small town called

Pushalot. They were fairly close to each other, and I think

they were both in the [same province, although] I cannot

recall right now the province. They were near KOVENA; I

think KOVENA was the main large city that they were attuned

to. They were small cities and small towns--or villages.

In fact, I have compared Pushalot with Fiddler on the Roof

at the time that Max Rose was still alive. I remember him

drawing me a little drawing (I wish I still had it) of how

Pushalot was organized. It was almost exactly like Fiddler

on the Roof. He even recalled where different people lived,

and they were completely separated from the non-Jewish


In fact, my own family had a certain inclination to be

rural, and yet they could not. They had a cow, which was

very much like, again, Fiddler on the Roof. And [they]

would have some poultry and things of that nature. Yet they

had to live within the confines [of the town border]. If

they wanted to graze they would have to get permission, I

think, from the land group outside of the little ghetto that

they lived in.

My father served in the Russian army for a while.

SS: What was your father's name?

PS: My father's name was Simon Selber. Actually, the family

name at the time was Zelbovitch. We have a family tree that

will supply a lot of the exact names. My father's Hebrew

name was SHEMONE ZAVE, which probably translated would be

Simon Wolf. His father's father's name was Jacob Judah

Zelbovitch, and my father's mother was Nehemiah. We have

some records of that family which I can get. I do not have

them offhand. I think my father's father's method of

earning a livelihood was being a well-digger; he would dig

wells for a living. The family goes back as far as the War

of 1812, around the time of Napoleon's invasion, [which]

affected that part of Russia as well. They became involved

in it at that time.

My mother's side of the family had the name, Kramer, which I

think was the name at that time as it is now. It may have

been spelled Kremer [pronounced Kremmer] then. I understand

that means a butcher or someone that deals in meat, which

was, I think, what the family did in dealing with cows for

purposes of meat markets. Needless to say, they were all

very, very poor.

My father came to the United States, I believe, around 1901

or 1902, and from the information that I have, [I understand

that] he was the first of the family to emigrate, although

he was the youngest in his family. He was probably twenty-

four or twenty-five at the most when he first came over.

SS: Why did he come?

PS: He came because of the general pressures and forces that

were causing Jews to understand that there was no future

[for them in Europe]. The PERGRUMS had already taken place

back in the 1880s and 1890s, and there was a general

immigration, and they were part of it. They were persecuted

to the extent that there was a lot of feeling concerning the

Lithuanians. I do not what they called them, but as you

know, the Lithuanians were probably the most anti-Semitic of

all the groups, and when the Nazis invaded, the Lithuanians

were very helpful to the Nazis in exterminating all the

people in these two towns.

In fact, we used to hear from both of them [both sides of

the family], from relatives that were there. But with the

war we have heard absolutely nothing more. They were

completely exterminated. In fact, we know [of this] from

one of the persons that escaped from Ponadel. There were

four girls that escaped, and they were in South Africa years

later. They called a meeting of anyone that had relatives

in Ponadel. They wanted to tell them what happened, and

they related the horror stories of how the town was

exterminated and how they were able to get away.

They left for economic reasons but also probably in fear of

their own lives. The port of entry for the people that came

from Pushalot was Baltimore. I would think there are as

many of the Pushalotters that live in Baltimore today [who

are] descendants of the group as do in Jacksonville.

SS: How did they first get to Jacksonville?

PS: They first lived in Baltimore. In fact, my brother, Hyman,

and [my] two sisters, Minnie and Dora, were born in

Baltimore, and they lived there for a while. In fact, my

father worked as a tailor in SONNENBORN, and that was a

sweatshop. Many of the early immigrants suffered the same

thing that my father did, and that is [that] he contracted

tuberculosis. I never knew this my whole life--it was kind

of a family secret--until the time he passed away. But this

was not uncommon, and when he became ill, he was told to go


At that time the FINKELSTEINS had already established a

little center of Pushalotters in Jacksonville, and Gabriel

FINKELSTEINS was the one who, I think, organized the first

boarding house and place where the Pushalotters came. I

guess when one Pushalotter came, the others followed. How

many of them were here when my father came, I do not know,

but he was not one of the first ones.

SS: When did your father get to Jacksonville?

PS: My best estimate of that would be probably 1909 or 1910,

because at that time my brother and sisters had already

born, although I think my sister Minnie was a baby under the

age of one. That is the way I understand it. I think my

brother Hyman would really know a lot more than I know.

SS: Were you born here or in New York?

PS: I was born in Jacksonville on August 15, 1915. That was

seventy-four years ago. So the family came about that time.

As was usual for a lot of them, I believe that the first

business that they had was a small store with living

quarters, but they did not live where the rest of the Jewish

people lived. They lived over on the east side on Bridier


SS: These are your parents?

PS: My parents.

SS: Why did they live on the east side?

PS: Well, I guess it is the same movement that has happened all

over--they would branch out and go to a spot that was not

being serviced by someone. They had a little grocery store.

I think you see how the Syrian population later started

little stores, and now there are some of those [other

immigrants] that are coming [and doing the same]. The

Vietnamese even will open stores in a black section of town,

and you wonder why they did. The reason they did is they

could earn a living.

In fact, my brother Hymie tells me that on Sundays, when

they would visit the rest of the family, they had to walk

through dirt streets because the streetcar would take them

only so far, and my father would always carry a gun because

of the neighborhood they lived in.

SS: Where is that area now?

PS: It is over in the Fairfield section, somewhere around where

the stadium is. My mother stayed in the store, and I think

at the same time my father went into a soda water business

of making soda water and peddling it in the city. I do not

think that was too successful. Again, Hymie could tell you

a lot more about that period because I was not born. I am

just speaking of what I know.

Finally the family worked itself up to the point that it

moved to Phelps and Walnut Street, which was the beginning

of Springfield. There was a two-story store and housing

upstairs, and that is where I was born--at home on Phelps

and Walnut Street.

The interesting thing I remember about that was that we even

had a cow at that time. It was almost like a family

tradition. I think that my mother felt it was a necessity

to have a cow. I remember we had our own milk and all. But

we had a great deal of difficulty with the cow getting

loose. Finally they had to give up the cow.

Then came the war period and the influenza epidemic.

SS: Let us go back to when your dad was in business. What did

you do on shabbat, for instance? Were you observing?

PS: No. I am sure that they were open Saturday, because when we

had the store on 6th and lona later we were open on

Saturday. In fact, the only holidays that we closed for

were both days of Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur. I do not

recall that we closed for any of the other holidays.

SS: Were there blue laws then that all the stores closed on


PS: Yes, they all closed on Sunday. I remember hearing the

story told that when my father first went to work in

Baltimore on Saturday that my mother wanted to go back to

Europe. She said she could not [face] not observing shabbat

and the fact that my father had to work. Later, when they

had the stores, there was no alternative but to be open on


SS: Where did you go to school?

PS: Of course, by the time I was six we had already moved to 6th

and lona Street, which again is a property that has a store

below and housing above. In fact, my brother Hymie still

owns it. My father bought the adjacent cottages on each

side, and Hymie still owns that property. That is where I

grew up, at 6th and lona.

I remember when I was about four I was taken to my aunt's

house because my mother had the flu. Her brother, who was

Jacob Kramer and lived near there, contracted the flu, and

he died. I think quite a few Jewish people did die during

the flu epidemic.

SS: What was that year?

PS: [This was in] 1919, I think. It may have been 1918. We

later moved in about 1920 to 6th and lona, where we sort of

upgraded, I guess, of a better store and better location.

Until I was in junior high school that is really where we

lived. I went to 5th and Hubbard Street School. There were

some other Jewish families that lived near us in that area.

In fact, the SPIVAKS lived on Walnut Street near 5th, and

the SHEMMERs lived between 4th and 5th on Walnut, and the

Newmans lived out on 3rd and Walnut, and the SLOTs lived on

lona Street near 3rd. In fact, ROSALYN, my wife, (who was

then Rosalyn SILVERBURG), actually lived on 3rd Street

between lona and Walnut, and she knew Sophie Spivak and also

Harold Newman and the others down in that area. She

actually went to the same school that I did, but I did not

know her then. There were some Jews that lived for some

reason--I do not know why--between Main Street and as far

over as the railroad tracks. Iona Street is one block from

the railroad tracks. So I guess the accommodations were

good in that area, and probably the movement had not taken

place. When we were there, the Jewish population was still

mainly around the synagogue and in the LA VILLA section.

SS: OK. Where was the synagogue at that time?

PS: The synagogue at that time was [at] Duval and Jefferson.

SS: And the name of the center?

PS: B'nai Israel congregation. Across the street from it was

the YMHA [Young Men's Hebrew Association]. The two almost

were the same membership. One served one purpose and one

the other.

I used to go to Hebrew school by way of streetcars. In

those days we had Hebrew school every day, so after school I

would take one streetcar, which was called First and Walnut

Street line, at 6th and Walnut and go down to Forsythe and

Main and transfer to LA VILLA. I had to make a transfer to

go to Hebrew school. I imagine it took me forty minutes or

more each time I went, and we went every day. The sessions,

I think, were an hour and a half. Someone got the idea

later of having it twice a week [for] two hours instead of

every afternoon.

The time that I was growing up was the period of time when

the Ku Klux Klan was extremely strong in Jacksonville.

Where we lived on lona Street a number of policemen and

detectives lived in that neighborhood--Cannon and Hubbards

and Silcoxes. I still remember the names. Although they

were police officers, we knew every one of them was a

Klansman, and we were really always scared when the Klan

would have parades because they were openly anti-black but

they were also anti-Jewish. It always was hard for me to

understand. I knew they were Klansmen, but they still came

to the store and still did business with us, and they were

friendly with us. Yet we knew they would be in the parades

and wearing their robes. In 1922, I think, a white

policeman was killed by a black, and everybody was really

afraid of what the Klan would do. In fact, I heard many

times that they would parade down the boulevard across from

where the blacks lived across Hogans Creek. In order to

intimidate the blacks, they would have these parades and

threaten to lynch them and that sort of thing.

As far as my own relationships in class, I really do not

recall very many anti-Semitic remarks. I went to junior

high with most of the people [that] I grew up with in grade

school. I did not really encounter that much [anti-

Semitism] among the kids. Mainly I think it was the

intimidation of the Klan that probably had more influence on

me at that time, of knowing that there was this anti-Semitic

hatred that was present in Jacksonville at the time.

I went to Hebrew school over at the old synagogue until the

synagogue moved to 3rd and Silver Street, the Jacksonville

Jewish Center having been built. I happened to be fortunate

because in the early days that I went we had a MALAMUD type

of Hebrew school. Mr. SALTZ, who was a schochet, was the


[Let me give you] a little bit of the history of the

synagogue. The first rabbi was SALO STEIN. I think he was

in Jacksonville in 1919. The time that I was in Hebrew

school the rabbi was named Rabbi PRESS, and he was succeeded

by Rabbi GINSBERG. The teachers we had were strictly

someone that was a schochet or a MALAMUD type of person, and

we learned how to read. That was probably the extent. We

had Sunday school on Sunday where we had Bible stories and

things of that nature; you can go back and look at some of

the books that we used at that time. They were not very

interesting type books.

SS: Phillip, you said the first rabbi was Rabbi Stein. Who was

there prior to that? Who conducted the services?

PS: Prior to that Rabbi Safer was what you would call COLE BOW:

he did everything. He was the schochet, he married people,

he was the MOAL.

SS: Was he a regular, ordained rabbi?

PS: I assume he was. There might be some question as to whether

he had real SUMMICH or not. I hope he did, because there

are a lot of people who have been married by him. But he

served a very important function.

However, the big change came in 1926 when Rabbi Benjamin

became the rabbi. People associate him with building the

Jacksonville Jewish Center and changing the Orthodox

synagogue into a,Conservative synagogue.

SS: What was his full name, and where did he come from?

PS: His name was Rabbi Samuel Benjamin. He had been the

organizer and developer. [He was] the rabbi who created the

Cleveland Jewish Center, which later became known as the

Park Synagogue in Cleveland. He was a dynamic speaker, an

extremely capable fund raiser and a tremendous orator. He

was a very difficult person, as I understand, to stay long

in any one place. He left after the Cleveland Jewish Center

was constructed because of, I guess, some pressures. He

then was on a speaking for the Jewish National Fund, as I

understand it, and one of the places that he was speaking

was Jacksonville.

At that time Max RUBIN was president of the congregation.

He found that Rabbi Benjamin was not in any pulpit at the

time, and I think Rabbi Benjamin sized up Jacksonville as a

place where he could build a synagogue center. He was one

of the devotees of [Jewish philosopher] Mordecai Kaplan, who

believed in the synagogue center. At that time there was a

Hebrew Junior League, I understand, which was led by Abe

Newman, Harry GINZERE, PHILLIP BORK, and those people, and

they were putting pressure on the synagogue to make a

change. So Max RUBIN sort of conceded that a change was


What I recall mostly was that he, for the first time, was

able to organize a good Jewish educational system. In fact,

I would daresay we probably have not equalled that

educational system--even today. He brought in a person

named Joseph SHANKMAN who was a real educator and a real

Hebraist. He found here, fortunately, Pearl BECKER and

Naomi BECKER, both of whom had tremendous backgrounds.

Rabbi Benjamin himself taught classes, and his wife was an

extremely capable person with a Jewish background. She was

an attorney in Cleveland when she married Rabbi Benjamin. I

think it was Cleveland. She may have come from somewhere


But with this group, the Hebrew school was organized as a

modern Hebrew school should have been. The method of

teaching [and] everything changed. We happened to be the

beneficiaries of it, and that is where you have the group

that came out of that--Nathan Schneider, Louie BECKER, Harry

LAZARUS, Clara JAFFE, and Fanny FEINBLOOM. We were the

older ones, but many of the people that have been in the

leadership of the center were recipients of that educational

system. In 1928, when the Jewish center was opened, that

continued, of course. We actually went to Hebrew school on

a daily basis until we were fifteen or sixteen. We were in

high school before we finally discontinued the classes.

Following Rabbi Benjamin there was a Rabbi Harry COHEN, who

was a tremendous scholar, [but] not an inspirational

speaker. [In that sense, he was] quite different than Rabbi


SS: How long did Benjamin stay?

PS: Benjamin left right after the building was dedicated, [which

was,] I think, in December 1927 [or] in January [1928]. He

left that same year. It [the center] must have been

dedicated in 1928, because I was bar mitzvahed in the new

building, and it was August of 1928. I think it was

dedicated in January [1928]. We can confirm that. But I do

know my bar mitzvah was at the center. But when Rabbi

Benjamin left, he left the center in a very bad financial

situation. That is nothing new. [laughter]. There was a

mortgage on the new building, and they had difficulty paying

the staff. This continued under Rabbi Harry COHEN.

However, in all fairness, this was the period of the

Depression, and it was all they could do to hold it

together. We were fortunate, though, that Rabbi Harry COHEN

was a good teacher, and we continued with our classes.

Then, of course, I graduated from high school in 1932, and

after that was the period of Rabbi [FIRST NAME?] MARGOLIS

who came in.

SS: How many brothers and sisters [do you have]?

PS: I have one brother, HYMAN Selber, and a sister Dora Selber

Zimmerman and my deceased sister Minnie Selber BLOCK. All

of us were active in one way or another.

SS: How about your parents, Phillip? Were they active in the


PS: No. My father was not active until after the Jacksonville

Jewish Center was built. When it was down on Duval and

Jefferson, I do not recall my family being active except our

sisters did belong to Young Judea and I went to Hebrew

school. But my brother, Hymie, for example, never had a bar

mitzvah and never went to Hebrew school. I presume that the

economics of the time demanded that my family live where

they did, and for him to go across town to the old schul

would be almost impossible, I guess. Of course, later in

life Hymie went back and picked it up, and today, of course,

[he] follows the service and is able to participate. But at

that time I understand there was a teacher that would come

occasionally to the house. Again, Hymie could tell you more

about that.

SS: Were you the youngest?

PS: I was the youngest. In fact, there is seven years'

difference between my sister Minnie and myself, so it was

almost like two different generations. In other words, they

were attuned to living and growing up on the east side with

the synagogue being over on the west side, and I was really

a creature of the center. In fact, I would say that I am

really the person that typifies those of us who grew up with

the changes that came about after Rabbi Benjamin came and

the changes of a good educational system and the synagogue

moving to Springfield and having organized services. Rabbi

Benjamin insisted on bringing in a cantor so that we had not

only a rabbi [but also] a professional cantor who was very

good, and we had a professional principal of the school. I

mean, this was really the complete change, and it just

changed the dormant Orthodox synagogue into a vibrant


SS: When did it shift over to Conservative?

PS: This took place in the period of 1926-1928, and this was

really a period of contention that probably carried over.

First of all, Rabbi Benjamin was determined to make the

synagogue a Conservative synagogue, which caused him

immediately to run into opposition from the diehard Orthodox


SS: Who were some of these Orthodox people that did not want the

change? I heard [mention of] Wolfson.

PS: No, Wolfson was not very active at all at the time.

Frankly, what we had was a problem that Reverend SAFER had

the dominant position in the community, and it was slowly

being devalued and diminished in importance. He never could

take the changeover that he was no longer the head of the

Jewish traditional community. He was always one that was

involved in the sort of rebellious groupings that opposed it

[the change to Conservative]. At that time, Rabbi Benjamin

was intent on building a synagogue center so that he

encountered the opposition from the director of the YMHA,

who was Henry HERTZENBERG, and he also at that time

developed tremendous antagonism with the Reform

congregation. In fact, he made many sermons against what

was going on over at the temple and attacked Rabbi Kaplan of

some of the things that were going on and how non-Jewish

things were getting to be.

SS: Talk about the relationship, if there was any, between the

temple and the Orthodox and Conservative.

PS: The temple Reform group [was not well received by the

established Jewish community]. I grew up knowing it [the

Reform Jews] as the Deutsche Juden (the German Jews), and it

usually was spoken with a certain amount of derision and

contempt for Deutsche Juden. The reason for it, as I

understood later, was when the immigrant groups came over,

the people at the temple [the Orthodox Jews] were very

antagonistic to them because they felt they had developed

status in the community [while the newest immigrants had

not]. One of their members had been mayor of the city and

they were accepted, and here these non-English-speaking,

poor immigrants come over. The business practices of some

of the European immigrants was not the best, and they built

quite a poor reputation in the community, which was not

helping the Deutsche Juden or the Reform Jews. There was

this feeling.

But in the early 1920s some of the Orthodox synagogue

younger people began seeking, I think, social status. At

that time it was David Davis and Morris WHITTEN and Joe

Glickstein and the Osinskis, all of whom whose parents were

founders of the synagogue. When we had the cornerstone

taken out, these were the kind of names we found there.

SS: Of B'nai Israel.

PS: Of B'nai Israel. When this trend was taking place, I think

Rabbi Benjamin's feelings were that Reformed Judaism had to

be exposed for what it was, to stop the trend of some of the

younger people and joining the temple. In fact, in those

days some of the center members would send their children to

the Reform Sunday school, even though they were active [in

the Orthodox congregation]. For example, Harry FINKELSTEIN

was very active in the synagogue, yet ELI FINK and his

children went to the temple for Sunday school because there

really was not any real organized school at the center of

that type. So on one hand Rabbi Benjamin was confronted

with the necessity of keeping the younger people at the

synagogue and the reason for the Conservative synagogue, but

he also felt that the synagogue should be a synagogue

center. I think you will find in that publication some of

the articles that he had pointing out the need for it.

SS: What publication?

PS: The publication was, as he called it, the Jacksonville

Jewish Yearbook and Community Center Souvenir Journal. This

was put out in 1926 at the time that they were raising funds

and developing the idea of the synagogue center, although

you will notice that the officers at that time and the

building fund committee were all from the B'nai Israel

synagogue. If you look at the dedication ceremonies, [you

will see that] there were a number of members of the temple

Reform group that were involved in it on the program. I

think he was trying to interest some of them in supporting

the new Jacksonville Jewish Center on the basis that it

would serve the needs of the whole community, even those

that were not religiously oriented to it. It did not work

out quite that way, and it became a synagogue center.

We grew up at the center, and that is where all of our group

got our Jewish education. It was the first time that there

really was an organized Jewish educational system, and we

were the benefactors of it.

SS: Was our center considered one of the first in the country,

or were other synagogue centers developed first?

PS: No, the Jacksonville Jewish Center was not one of the first.

Of course, everyone knows the first was [developed by]

Mordecai Kaplan, [who] developed a Jewish center which still

exists on 86th Street which today is an Orthodox synagogue

center. Then there were prototypes of it, [such as] the

Brooklyn Jewish Center, which was probably the most

outstanding one at that time which was in existence before

the center was built. The Cleveland Jewish Center had been

built. The movement at that time was toward Jewish centers

that were synagogue centers.

SS: Dual purpose.

PS: Well, you have to study the theories of Mordecai Kaplan. He

thought of a Hillel as the whole community. I do not think

that he gave very much emphasis to the possibility that

religiously there would be considerable divisions between

Orthodox and Reform and Conservative and that they could not

come together under one synagogue center type of

institution. I think that was the failure of Mordecai

Kaplan's approach, which later on was picked up, and the

community center became a non-synagogue-connected

organization that was somewhat like the YMHAs and did not

concern itself with Jewish education or with religious


SS: What was their main function?

PS: I guess in most of the communities today that followed [the

centers] are not synagogue-connected. There are a number of

synagogue centers, very vibrant ones, that are still in

existence today. In fact, the Park Synagogue is still very

active. In fact, Rabbi [FIRST NAME?] ELKINS is the rabbi

there now. Of course, the Brooklyn Jewish Center still

exists, but it is no longer in the area of Brooklyn. There

is the East Midwood Jewish Center which is an extremely

[ACTIVE CENTER?]. That is where Rabbi Harry Halpern was.

So there are a number of the synagogues that are synagogue

centers even today.

But what happened with the center was, with the Depression

that came on and with the mortgage it was on, the full

expansion into athletics and swimming pool and all that was

shelved, and the direction was mostly at that time in

developing Jewish education and developing the services and

the format of the services.

There is one misconception that has been bandied about, and

that is that the B'nai Israel congregation continued, and

the Jacksonville Jewish Center was a new organization. It

was not that at all. B'nai Israel changed its name to the

Jacksonville Jewish Center, and the properties that it owned

continue to be owned by the Jacksonville Jewish Center.

That is why [when] we speak of the history of the center we

go back to 1901.

Now, [let me tell you] what happened with the Orthodox,

which is interesting. This is one area I would like to have

somebody run down. My recollection is that there was a

group that wanted to hold services in Springfield because

they walked and did not want to ride. Also because the

B'nai Israel congregation--it was already know as

Jacksonville Jewish Center--had classes in Springfield for

those of us who did not go downtown. I remember distinctly

going to some classes there, so I would have to assume that

4th and Pearl was first started as an extension of the B'nai

Israel synagogue before the center was built.

However, I understand from talking to Jack BECKER this

morning that when the center was built and mixed seating

became more prominent, [problems began to arise]. There may

have been mixed seating at late Friday evening services in

the old synagogue downtown. I am not sure of that. But

once there was mixed seating, there was a group that was

sincerely religious, especially Jack's father, who said that

he could not see himself continuing to pray with mixed

seating. [This opposition was] led by, again, Reverend

Safer, who was always present whenever there was a new

congregation to be started. At that time he was supported

by Jack Safer, who was his brother.

Jacob Safer financed it [THE CENTER?]. At that time Mr.

ERLICH was in there, Louis Cohen was in there (he was an

insurance man; he was Florence Schreiber's father), [and]

the MISRAHI family. In fact, if I recall this correctly,

that is how the center ultimately got the MISRAHI Torah. It

was given to the 4th and Pearl Street synagogue.

They existed from the time the center was opened in 1928. I

believe they may have lasted one or two years.

SS: As an Orthodox congregation.

PS: As an Orthodox synagogue, holding services and having their

own Hebrew school. You can check, [but I think that] Joe

MISRAHI may have taken his classes there, or he may have had

private instruction.

But somewhere around 1929 or 1930--probably 1930--there was

a consolidation of that synagogue with the center.

SS: What happened to these Orthodox men?

PS: The arrangement was that the center would have an Orthodox

service in the auditorium on the High Holidays, the daily

minyan would remain Orthodox, and on shabbat morning there

was somewhat of a voluntary--not contracted or [in keeping

with] any agreement--[TAPE ENDS. PLEASE FINISH THIS


The Orthodox men would sit on the left side towards the

front, and some of their wives or some of the women that

attended would sit on the right side. In the middle was

sort of mixed seating. Of course, Friday night it was

always mixed seating. Actually, the late Friday night

services became the more-attended service, especially when

Rabbi Benjamin was here because everybody came to see who he

was going to attack next. It was a very stormy time, but I

think it was necessary at that time.

Anyway, this congregation at 4th and Pearl came over, so we

really had two congregations within one. The Orthodox

groups was never really happy, and I do not blame them,

because they were always in a secondary position. They

could see that the congregation was going more Conservative,

and there was not much that they could do about it.

So during the period that I grew up this was the kind of

situation that was there. In fact, I always remember that

before services started, there would always be numerous

conferences and gatherings over on the left side, with

murmurings and rebellious feelings about what was going on.

You had mentioned before about my family and what they did.

Actually, my father was always ill, and my mother actually

took care of the store. But on Sundays we would usually go

to the beach or we might make a trip to St. Augustine or

something like that.

SS: How did you go? By what mode?

PS: Well, my father bought a big Buick--"seven-passenger" it was

called--in 1920. I still have the bill of sale for $750.

So a tremendous trip was going to St. Augustine, which would

take two hours.

I also want to mention that the Pushalotters kept together,

more or less bound by the fact that they came from a small

community, and they had some organization of their own.

They had a Pushalotter Society, and then there was a

Pushalotter Ladies Aid Society. At one time--I think this

is also a misconception--they had their own minyan on the

High Holidays, and they had their own Torah. They would

have it in someone's home. I read in the history put out by

J.C.A. [AMGr M i-arFRWW -] that the Pushalotters were the

\\\ -i ones that created the B'nai Israel synagogue, and that was

completely untrue, because most of the names that you find

that started the B'nai Israel--PILTON, FRANK, BANDELL,


primarily. That ought to be looked into if we can still

look into it. And BELGAN ZERE ought to be able to give some

background on the Pushalotters.

SS: Who were some of the Pushalotter families?

PS: Well, there were the Finkelsteins. However, the

Finkelsteins were always sort of upper class. They did not

have these little stores in outlying districts. There was

the SHEMMER family, the SLOTS, the SLOATS, Saul Goldman's

'father came from there.

I remember some of the things. There was closeness between

the Pushalotters, and he actually had sometime a Pushalotter

picnic. Actually, the younger generation, my brother's

generation, actually created a group of the second

generation of Pushalotters, and they called themselves, I

think, Pals or something from Pushalot. They used to have

social functions among themselves. In fact, I think Julius

LEVIN and Fanny SHEMMER met that way; I am not sure. Julius

LEVIN was not from Pushalot, but Fanny was a SHEMMER. But

Rose GARTNER and those people were very active in this

Pushalotter young people's group. The Cohen family--Macy

Cohen, Raymond Cohen's family--were all Pushalotters.

SS: What years are you talking about?

PS: This was in the 1920s. On Sundays most of the families

would go to the beach.

SS: They drove to the beach?

PS: They would, drive to the beach, and we would go swimming or

eat there. Sometimes we would go to St. Augustine. I

remember we were bold one time and went all the way to

Palatka on one of these Sunday excursions with the car. At

that time, to go from Green Cove Springs to Palatka, [you

took] a dirt road. It was quite an experience to go to

Palatka. I mean, that was like a faraway world that you

finally reached by driving quite a distance that way.

The Pushalotters were socially a grouping.

But what I meant to say was I think the reason they had

their own services on High Holidays is the service in the

synagogue was really run, I think, (and this is what I would

like to see checked out) by the non-LITVAKS. In other

words, they were Lithuanian Jews, and they would pronounce

things a little bit different. They had little different

ways of doing things, and I do not think they were that much

at home on our High Holidays.

In fact, one of the Torahs that the center today came from

that group when it disbanded. In fact, the reason the

center has as many Torahs as it does is every time one of

these little synagogue groups would organize they would buy

a Torah, and then when they disbanded they gave it to the

center. So the center accumulated Torahs of these disbanded

synagogues, and gradually there was only one Orthodox group

and the Pushalotters. They did become active in the Jewish


In fact, you see some of the names of the officers in the

center group were already a lot of the Jews that came from

Russia as opposed to the original group. In fact, [of] the

original B'nai Israel group, I doubt that few of them came

from Russia. Maybe the WINKEL family was from Russia, but

most of the others were not. That ought to be looked into

from a historical standpoint. And I also think that [the]

4th and Pearl Street Orthodox synagogue, which is never

mentioned anywhere, ought to be looked into as to how it

started and how it ended.

SS: About what year would you say that was?

PS: That would be in the period from 1928 to I would say 1931 at

the latest, because Joe MISRAHI already came over to our

Hebrew class, so it had to be by 1930 [that] they were

already consolidated, I would think. Joe came over, and he

entered our class, although he was about three years younger

than our group. But because of his private instruction he

was ahead of us.

SS: So the Spiveys were in a separate little group, then?

PS: Right. Now, the MISRAHIs were there strictly [for] non-

political reasons. It was strictly because SELENE MISRAHI,

the father, was Orthodox, and he would be there because it

was an Orthodox synagogue. He never got involved in any of

the politics. In fact, there was so much acrimony at the

time that Reverend Safer came as a schochet.

SS: When?

PS: This was early. I understand he came on 1901 or 1902. I

think that has been established. His brother ran the meat

market, and he worked as a schochet for his brother. Later

on, when the brother Jacob Safer went out of the business,

he turned it over to his brother, who was also the schochet.

Rabbi Benjamin attacked that; he said that was conflict of

interest, which it was because of the fact that he was

inspecting the meat that he owned himself. Technically you

are supposed to be able to declare meat non-kosher, and if

you own it, it is going to be a conflict of interest to

declare it. But there was a lot of acrimony between Rabbi

Benjamin and Reverend Safer, even then. All this would come

out at the synagogue. That was a very turbulent period.

Notwithstanding that, he brought in new leadership. He

brought in Harry Finkelstein and Lionel Joel.

SS: This was Reverend Safer?

PS: No, Rabbi Benjamin. He built a new leadership entirely to

build the center. And Max Rubin, who had been president for

a while of the old schul, became the vice president. Harry

Finkelstein may have been a name, but he became the


SS: How long was Benjamin here?

PS: Only about three years.

Getting back to my own life, I graduated from Andrew Jackson

[High School] here Jacksonville in 1932.

SS: Were you active in high school?

PS: I was very active at the synagogue; I went there all the

time. I went Saturday morning to services, even when I had

a job working for Benny SETZER. I would go to services

first, and then I would go to the store afterwards. I did

things like that to compromise. I was not as religious

during my high school period, after junior high school. Up

until then I was. I would go to services every Saturday.

After that, though, when I started working in the stores, I

did not, and during my high school period I was not that


When I came to the University of Florida, of course, there

was nothing there then. We had no Hillel, nothing. There

was a synagogue downtown. Again, it seemed like I always

find myself in these positions. I felt that it was really

wrong that there were not any services or anything for the

college students. So we got to together with the town

people and said that we would like to have Friday night

shabbat services there at the schul.

SS: What year did you start at the University?

PS: [I started in] 1932. We did not start these services until

about 1935, I think. I remember Joe MISRAHI came down to

school and Nathan Schneider and some of us who were there

from Jacksonville [were really the ones who started it]; it

really was Jacksonville kids that started it. So we would

go down there on Friday nights to make a minyan so they

would have services. Again, we would run into the acrimony

between the Goldstein family and the BUNNS family. I do not

know if you know [about that]. There is a big history of

the Bunnses being active in building the synagogue, and then

afterwards the others . .

SS: You are talking about the old synagogue?

PS: Yes. Somebody chiseled their names off of the plate. There

was so much dissension there.

SS: Where was the synagogue in Gainesville?

PS: [It was] downtown. I do not know the exact street. You

could find out.

SS: What was the name of it?

PS: I think it had the same name we did: B'nai Israel.

After that, some of us began agitating for Hillel. I think

Sam Proctor [UF distinguished service professor of history]

has a letter that I wrote to B'nai B'rith about it. Then

several of us got together and decided we were going to go

to the B'nai B'rith convention in Palm Beach and make an

appeal for a Hillel. We went down there and made an appeal,

and they responded.

At that time they started somewhat of a non-full-time

operation, but I remember they got rabbis from different

parts of the state to come down. Rabbi SCOTT from Orlando

came up several times, and we had the beginnings of a Hillel

at that time. By the time I left school it still was not

organized to the extent that it later became, but it was

organized [nonetheless], and we did have services. The

services, I think, were held downtown.

SS: Did they have any other function besides services and just

getting together?

PS: Well, they brought these speakers down; these rabbis came


SS: Did they hold High Holiday services, too, or just at the


PS: I do not remember that because most of us went home for the

holidays. I do not know. I guess some of them may have

stayed over. I guess the ones that did not observe would

stay over.

While I was growing up I belonged to Young Judea. That was

a big thing then. They had a number of clubs.

SS: Was that part of B'nai B'rith?

PS: No. Young Judea was a Zionist group. This was important

because this was in 1928 when there was a lot of things

going on in Palestine, and the Arabs actually had the

massacre. They had one of these things, and it really

affected us quite a bit. I remember we named our club after

HOVATZIYONE which was the original group in Russia, and we

were very active with the JNF [Jewish National Fund] and

things of that nature. I think we grew up with a very

strong Zionist orientation, actively in the Young Judean

clubs at that [time].

In fact, I remember going to a convention in Atlanta when

Rabbi [FIRST NAME?] EPSTEIN was there already from the

Southeast. It was a very sort of dramatic occasion because

this was right before the war and everything that took place

afterwards. So that was part of my background, the Young

Judean background and the synagogue background.

SS: Were your parents involved in Zionist [activities]?

PS: My father, being ill all the time, really never became

involved until the center was built.

SS: Was he not able to work?

PS: He was not able to work. But the amazing thing was that his

father died in 1929 when he was about 100 years old, and my

father, who never drove a car because he was healthy, began

driving a car and began picking up people for a minyan. I

always tell my sons that times have not changed because we

still pick up people for a minyan. My father would drive

around and pick up four or five people so that they would

have a minyan. That is when he became active. He became

active in the services.

Then he became active on the education committee. He would

always argue for Ivri: "Teach them Ivri. They cannot

read." I would always say: "What is the use of teaching

Ivri if we do not develop a feeling of using it? If they go

to services, if they learn how to participate, they will

pick up the Ivri, but if not, you can teach them the Ivri."

But he was one of those [members of the education

committee], he and Mr. LIPINSKI. I do not remember the

others who were on the education [committee]. Dave Moss was

on there. Then when some of us younger people came on,

there was this rejuvenation of the education at the

synagogue. I graduated from college in 1938.

SS: What happened after that? Did you get your law degree? Did

you continue and get your law degree?

PS: Yes. Let me finish up with my father. My father got active

in the religious program and in education, and then he did

something that I think was really historic. The old

Evergreen Cemetery had been so neglected that the graves

were actually collapsing, and tombstones were falling over.

He took it upon himself to [get it back in shape]. He used

to go out there every day. It sounds interesting, but Joe

WHITTEN's father, Max WHITTEN, had a dairy, and he had him

contribute the fertilizer from his dairy. Morris Wolfson

and Sam Fletcher and Oscar MARGO, who were in the pipe

business, contributed pipe to put in the water system. So

he put in a water system. They sunk a well, planted the

grass, and Joe WHITTEN was telling me the other day he used

to carry the manure out to the cemetery. When my father was

living they put in new foundations for the tombstones and

reorganized it. It is not what it should be now, but you

should have seen it [before he made improvements]. It was

weeds. When you went out there, you would come back with

sandspurs and all. So I thought that was my father's

biggest contribution.

He also was the one that negotiated for the purchase of the

new cemetery. Incidentally, that was when there was a

distinct cleavage between the new leadership and the old.

We were trying to buy this acreage for the center, and

Evergreen Cemetery . This was in 1938, after I came out

of college. It was one of the first things my dad wanted me

to do for him, since I was now a lawyer.

We got together, ABE NEWMAN and I, and maybe one or two

others, and we talked to Evergreen and said: "There is no

point in both of us bidding on this property. Let us buy

it; we do not need all of. it." (In those days it looked

like a tremendous amount of property. It still is.) So we

said, "We will buy it, and we will give you half of it

afterwards." We bought it, and then afterwards Max RUBIN

and Dave Moss and them refused to agree to sell them half.

We had quite an argument--Abe Newman and I on one side and

the old guard on the other side. They won out.

SS: Why did they not want to sell it back?

PS: Because they thought it was a real good buy. We said, "But

we made a deal with these people, and we live next to them,

and they are opening all our graves." I will say this for

Evergreen, that they were much finer people than we were,

because even to this day they still open our graves for us

and help us out. They could have taken an attitude: "Open

your own graves."

SS: In other words, we are not part of their service?

PS: No. In fact, Evergreen had taken over the old cemetery, and

this bothered Max RUBIN, so he went back. At that time

David Davis, who originally was in charge of the cemetery--

he was one of the original leaders of the congregation--had

since gone over to the temple; he belonged to both

congregations. Max RUBIN felt that Dave Davis's interest

was not with the old synagogue but rather with the temple

and [that] he was neglecting it. Actually what Dave Davis

had done . originally the center had bought the plot.

Then they could not take care of it, and they made a deal

with Evergreen for Evergreen to take it over, and Evergreen

took it over. They built the brick wall that you see there

and the gates and made it really a respectable cemetery.

Max RUBIN went back--this was in the early 1930s, when I was

off at college--and persuaded Evergreen that it was against

Jewish law for the cemetery to be owned by non-Jews. They

said, "Well, if that is what it is, we will give it back to

you." Again, they were awfully nice people. They gave us

back a developed cemetery with the brick wall. We got it

for nothing. They just gave it to us.

SS: Who owned the cemetery? Who owned Evergreen?

PS: Evergreen Cemetery Association is a non-profit corporation.

SS: Way back then?

PS: Originally it was owned by the old B'nai Israel synagogue.

They could not take care of it, so they gave it to Evergreen

to sell the lots. The original lots were priced at eight

graves for sixteen dollars. So Max RUBIN got it back with a

brick wall in, but it was still neglected. Then my father

got involved in bringing it back to some semblance of a

dignified place and all. Then we bought the new cemetery.

They did not want to sell it because they thought we had

made a terrific buy of the property and figured, "What is

the use of selling it to Evergreen and giving it to them?"

Of course, the big change in the center was when Abe Newman

became president of the center. That was when the change of

the guard, so to speak, [occurred].

SS: How was it changed?

PS: I believe this was after I was already back. It was; I was

already back. I think there were some of us at that time

who felt that there had to be a change. See, what happened

is Dave Moss succeeded Max RUBIN, and that was still the

same old guard. Max RUBIN was still the dominant figure

there. The synagogue was not moving; it was sort of

stagnating. They were still using the same old tactics that

they used in the old immigrant-type synagogue. Abe Newman

was rather critical of it, and Abe Newman was looked up to

by everybody as being a very straightforward person, and he

agreed to become president. That was when the center

started reorganizing and the younger people started getting

into the leadership.

Of course, I came out of school in 1938. I was only twenty-

three, and I was already on the board the minute I got out

of college. I became active immediately. In fact, I was a

vice president.

SS: Abe was president?

PS: Abe was president, and I was second vice president. Abe had

his heart attack, and although I was not even thirty years

old, I was actually carrying out his instructions and

visiting him in the hospital. Beginning with Abe Newman is

when the center really began coming back and reorganizing

its finances and things like that. And the Depression was

sort of changing.

SS: How did the Depression affect the Jewish families in


PS: Many of them had a very rough time. A lot of them went into

bankruptcy; a lot of them lost their businesses. It was

really a very, very tough time. The center did not pay any

mortgage payments for years. They had a mortgage on the old

synagogue; when they built the new synagogue they got a

[second] mortgage on the old synagogue. Mr. Wolf in St.

Augustine and Max RUBIN, when the Depression was on, just

stopped making payments and told them to take it back, so he

was left with the synagogue. Then he sold it to somebody.

He foreclosed it and sold it to a funeral director named

SHAW who made a church out of it afterward. We did not sell

it. This guy that foreclosed the mortgage sold it.

SS: Not 3rd and Silver.

PS: No. The old schul on Duval and Jefferson. I do not know of

any others.

There are a lot of things that I would like to see checked

that I had hoped to do. I kept all my correspondence and

everything from the time I became active. When I came out

of college I was ready to get active in everything.

SS: Were you married at the time, Phillip?

PS: No.

SS: All right. You were still single when you got out of


PS: Well, I got out of college in the class of 1938, and then I

was married in 1940. Of course, I had been going with

Rosalyn in college and all, so after I came out of college I

considered [myself] fortunate that Joe Glickstein [hired me

right out of college]. In those days if you were a young

lawyer and could get into a good office, that is what really

counted. You did not look for salary or anything. So I was

in his office. He was on Ocean and Bay.

The reason I bring it up is because it had a lot to do with

the Jewish Community Council and the federation, which is a

whole period that I was in his office as an attorney. He

was treasurer of the Jewish Community Council. They had a

campaign the year before of $23,000. They raised money and

divided it up among different organizations. At that time

it was the JDC and the UPA. I do not think it was the UJA

[United Jewish Appeal] yet. Well, maybe it was.

SS: We had better mention what these are.

PS: These were the predecessors of United Jewish Appeal, which

was the joint distribution committee which, post-World

War I, was very active in Europe. UPA was the United

Palestine Appeal that raised funds for Israel. That was

composed of the Jewish National Fund and the

Hassad, which was a Jewish foundation that helped businesses

and build cities and things of that nature. [WHAT WAS THE


They had raised $23,000, and Joe Glickstein was treasurer,

and he made me assistant treasurer so that I could do all

the work. When anybody came to town he told them to go to

my office, and he would be through with it.

At that time a person named Harry Shapiro came. This was in

1939, when the Nazi situation in Europe was getting

terrible. We were getting a lot of refugees in; [this was]

just before the war. I became the assistant treasurer, and

two things happened. One which I will always remember is

that we used to give some of the families that live here now

checks each week to live off of. They used to come up, and

I kept the bank account.

SS: The refugees?

PS: Yes, and it used to tear my heart out. Some guy that used

to own a department store in Germany would come up to get a

ten-dollar check, and he was living off of this, or he was a

clerk working for Furchgott's. It really left an imprint on

me because I had to meet these people in person. This Harry

Shapiro was a fund raiser, and he came in, and Joe

Glickstein wanted to get rid of him. He said, "Talk to

Phillip Selber." He came in and told me that Jacksonville

was raising a pitifully small amount; $23,000 was absolutely

ridiculous. He said [that] we ought to be raising two or

three times that. I went in and talked to Joe, and Joe

said: "No, we have reached our saturation point. That is

all we can raise."

I was young in those days. Of course, I was much more

impressionable. I was convinced from talking to Shapiro

that we were not doing the job. We then began organizing

this campaign in an orderly manner. That is when we went

out, and he told us how to do it. Sam KIPNIS gave $300 to

the drive, and Harold Cohen became active at that time

because he was very much against the Nazis. He had not much

Jewish orientation, but he was very active. In fact, I

think Harold actually had some pro-Communist leanings,

whether he belonged or not.

SS: A lot of them were socialists.

PS: We recruited Dave LAZROW, who never was active in anything

at that time. Shapiro was the brains behind it, and I was

carrying out what had to be done and organizing these

things. Abe Diamond went out--I remember this particularly.

Harold Cohen went out to talk to Kipnis, and Kipnis told him

that that was all he was going to give--the usual thing.

(Harold Cohen and I still remember these stories. I think

they get to be legendary.) But he said: "No, Mr. Kipnis.

We came to give you back your $300." He became very upset.

[Kipnis] said, "Why?" [Cohen] said, "Because if you give

only $300, we do not have a chance of doing much in the

community, and it will hurt us more than do us any good."

Kipnis then went on the offensive. He said, "You guys do

not how to raise money. I will have a meeting at my house,

and you all invite the people you want in the community.

Let's meet at my house, and I will show you how we can raise

some money."

We took him up and had a meeting at his house, and before

the meeting he showed everybody around his beautiful home.

It is a home on River Road, next to where Sam Wolfson built

and the Steins bought. He took them out and showed them his

yacht out there and everything. We came back in and had the

meeting, and he was going to double what he gave or

something like that. Abe Diamond got up--I will never

forget this--and said, "Mr. Kipnis, you have been showing us

these beautiful yachts that you own outside and this

beautiful home, and for you to give this kind of money is

absolutely wrong." He had the chutzpah to stand up to Sam

Kipnis. Sam Kipnis said: "I will tell you what I will do.

For everything you raise here, I will match it," or

something like that. Then we also worked on Kipnis, [and]

he became the number one contributor in those days.

SS: Who was Kipnis?

PS: He had the paper mill. Shapiro knew that one of his biggest

customers was a guy named . What was his name? It

started with an A. He was quite a contributor and a very

philanthropic person in Miami. [interruption]

I think I left off with the fund-raising campaign of 1939.

Anyway, the campaign was very successful in that we doubled

[our initial contributions]. We went up to $57,000. I told

Joe Glickstein, "I think we have only begun. We can raise a

lot more." He probably really did not care for it to get to

be too successful.

Anyway, I then became the first director of the community

council. I got paid $1,000 a year, and I used my office. I

had a secretary that was a high school student that was on

one of these DCT programs, and she worked in the afternoons.

I used my office and my telephone, and I got $1,000 a year.

SS: Were you still working for Joe Glickstein?

PS: No. This was when I left Joe Glickstein, after I got

married in 1940. They asked me to be the paid person, so I

handled the next campaign, which went up to $75,000. I

think that is about what it was. The women that used to

have cards would come to my office--Etta Baker and Mary

LAZROW and these people. I would give them the cards to go

out. I would tell Dave LAZROW and Harold Cohen. I am still

doing the same thing--I give them the itinerary to see this

person and that person this afternoon and this one and that

one. We really organized it and began raising the funds for


SS: Where did most of the money go in those days? Here?

PS: No. It was going mostly to UJA, because everything was

oriented now to Israel. I mean, this was already after the

creation of the state of Israel.

SS: What percentage of it stayed here?

PS: Not very much of it, because at that time--we could probably

check it--I am sure we were giving 60 and 70 percent to the

UJA campaign.

SS: Was that before River Garden?

PS: Probably. I do not remember River Garden being a

beneficiary of the campaign.

SS: The River Garden started in 1945.

PS: Yes. Anyway, I served for two years in that capacity, and I

finally convinced that the time had come to hire a

professional. We hired William BOXIMAN at a tremendous

salary of about $5,000 a year, which some of them thought

was a waste of money. Anyway, BOXIMAN came in and set up

offices, and that was the beginning of the organized

council. But I was the first one that really organized it

and carried it through. In those days there was a lot of

cooperation because conditions were such that people became

interested and would respond.

Of course, when I came out of school being a young lawyer,

everybody would want you to be active. But I felt obligated

to B'nai B'rith because of the Hillel situation, and I

became secretary of the lodge. They had about ninety

members. We started a campaign in those days because of

anti-defamation. There was a lot of anti-Semitism, even

locally. Harold Cohen was very active in the anti-

defamation work at the time, and I got involved. It was

really a hectic period. That is when MELSON had an anti-

Semitic paper that came out every week.

SS: Locally how was it manifest? What were some of the things

that were going on?

PS: Oh, this was very anti-Jewish in the papers. Harold Cohen

became involved because this person at one time had worked

for the Journal [WHICH JOURNAL?], and supposedly it became

personalized with Harold. Meanwhile, the Jewish community

was brought into it, and Harold fought on behalf of the

community. We got into it. When his paper would come out,

we would confiscate it before he could sell it.

SS: Were the readers local?

PS: Yes. We knew he had some support from different people

here. And he ran for the legislature. It was only through

getting to people like DR. TOWERS and people like that they

were able to keep him from getting elected. I do not know

whether he got elected once or not. I am not so sure that

they stole the election from him, but he was that powerful

in the community. Towers ran an unknown CHARLIE LUCKY at

that time and beat him. Otherwise he would have been

elected. But anti-Semitism was very strong then, generally.

With the Nazis and all, it infiltrated quite a bit.

SS: What year was this?

PS: This was, I would say, in 1940, 1941, during the war years.

I believe that is when it was.

Anyway, I was active in B'nai B'rith, and we built up the

membership to over 500 at that time. Based on anti-

defamation work he could get people to join. Then I became

president of B'nai B'rith. We had state conventions and

district conventions and all. That is when I, on my own,

felt the B'nai B'rith was not the answer. I mean, they used

to go to the conventions, and they were.interested in the

political aspects of it. So I sort of dropped out from

being active after I was president and started devoting most

of my efforts for the synagogue. That is about the time,

the turning point, that I got out of the other organizations

and being extremely active. That opened and went into a

different period when Rabbi TOFIEL SHALOM became the rabbi

and reorganized the USY [ACRONYM ?]. We created the USY in

this region between Rabbi [FIRST NAME ?] Barnett in Savannah

and Rabbi TOFIEL and myself. We had the first meeting here,

and then we got it started. We went to Miami with it.

I then began thinking that the basis of Jewish life was the

synagogue. From then on, most of my time was with that.

That is a good place to end on. The history of the center

and my activities there and the things that happened we can

take up later on.

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