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
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
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
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 . 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 . 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
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
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
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,
LIONEL JOEL, GLICKSTEIN, HIRSCH--were Romanian Jews,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.