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Title: Interview with Maurice Hurary (February 1, 1982)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006656/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Maurice Hurary (February 1, 1982)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: February 1, 1982
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: 12099
Palm Beach (Fla.) -- History.
 Notes
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00006656
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Palm Beach' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
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    Interview
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        Page 3
        Page 4
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        Page 6
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        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
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ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

JEWISH FEDERATION OF

PALM BEACH COUNTY

INTERVIEWEE: Maurice Harary

INTERVIEWER: Alec Jacobson

DATE: February 1, 1982








ft -i













J: Can you tell me where and when you were born?

H: I was born in East Bronx in New York on July 4, 1916.

J; How long have your parents been living in the United States?

H They came during the war.

J: The .first World War?

H: The first World War, and that was just a year before I was born.

J: Was there any connection between the war and the reason for their coming?
Were they refugees.of the war or where were they living at the time?

H: They were living in Cairo, Egypt and my father came to better his economic
status. At that time there was some migration of Jews out of Egypt.

J: Did he have any family here at that time?

H: Yes. He had two brothers-in-law living in New York.

J: Where was your father from originally?

H: He was from Aleppo, Syria, and he moved like many other Syrian Jews from
Aleppo to Egypt for commercial betterment.

J: This was when the Ottoman Empire was still in existence?

H: The Ottoman Empire was still in existence, and Syria was under the tutilege
of the Turks.

J: Was Cairo at that time also under the Turks, or were they under the British?

H: At that time Cairo during the first World War was still under the Turks.
After the first World War, it was turned over to the British. It became
a mandate of Great Britain.

J: When your father decided to leave America, how long had he been in the
country before he left?

H: He left in 1919. I was three years old.

J: Where did he go from there?

H: Back to Cairo.

J: So you grew up in Cairo. What kind of schools did you attend?

H: I attended a Jewish school. They called it Alliance Israelite.









2




J: Is this the French organization?

H: In Egypt since Napoleon's time the first language for foreigners and banking
and commerce is French.

J: Wasn't that considered the diplomatic language at that time too?

H: Diplomatic, but Napoleon has left the legacy. The Jesuits opened the schools
and since then the schools are French and every foreigner, no matter where he
comes from, must go through these schools and the first language in these
schools is French.

J: So the Jewish children went to the Alliance?

H: Yes. Some of them they went to Ecole Des Freres, which is a Catholic school.

J: A Jesuit school?

H: Jesuit school.

J: I see. And when you were going to school can you tell us a little something
about the Jewish community. Do you recall the synagogue or any other Jewish
organizations?

H: Yes, I remember, I grew up with it. We had a very strong Jewish community.
In fact, the Grand Rabbi was a senator in the Egyptian Senate, and I recollect
once, the opening of the Parliament was on a Saturday, Shabbos, and Parliament
opens with the complete roll call of all senators. They ask them to attend.
However, the distance between his home, which is near the Synagogue, and the
Parliament, was something over three miles. He asked them to delay the open-
ing of Parliament so that he could finish his prayers, and walk from his place
of residence. At that time the Egyptian Government was completely liberal,
and completely accepted the Jews as a good element.

J: Then what you are saying is that Jews were just one other facet of the
Egyptian community?

H: Exactly. No difference was made between and Jew as far as nationality, status,
or consideration by any government agency in Egypt.

J: In the absence of oppression of Jews in Egypt, did Zionism have the same
popularity in Egypt as it did in Europe?

H: Zionism manifested itself ever once in a while, but in a toned-down manner.
I will give you an instance. We had a boy scout organization which they
called Maccabi. I was a member of that particular boy scout organization
since I was about eight or nine years old. In 1927 or '28, we had changed
our groups from regular Egyptian names to Hebrew names and the Hebrew names
were from the earth. For instance, my group was the "Mahrashah", which is a
plow. We had people coming from Palestine at that time to teach us the
ideology of the new Jewish movement. I remember particularly one young man







3






who was very muscular, very athletic, extremely devoted to Judaism and he
gradually passed on to us that idealism, and that sort of hope for a future
homeland in Palestine.

J: At that time the early Zionist movement was mainly of the Kibbutniks?

H: Yes.

J: Were there any Egyptian boys that you remember who went to Palestine as
Halutzim?

H: Not to my recollection. After this sort of movement that started, I noticed
there was a movement of visiting from Cairo.

J: Tourist?

H: Families starting to go to Palestine.

J: For business?

H: For business, or for pleasure, or to look over the work of the Halutzim, who
were building up Israel at that time.

J: Was there any fund raising activity that you remember, like the Jewish
National fund?

H: Yes, there was constantly a fund raising movement in Egypt. Don't forget
Egypt at that time, in Cairo itself had a hundred thousand Jews. They were
concentrated not in the interior of Cairo, but in the foreign element part
of Cairo.

J: In 1929 there were riots in Palestine, and in many countries the Jewish
population marched in protest. Do you remember anything of that nature?

H: Yes, they did march. They were not hampered by that.

J: In other words, there were no restrictions by the local government to Jews
expressing themselves?

Ht No restriction whatsoever.

J: I see. Now, since your family's beginnings were in Aleppo, Syria, do you
know anything of the history of your family? Do you know anything about
your grandparents?

H: Yes, I do. My mother and my father were cousins, and my grandfather on my
mother's side, (I bear his name) was the Grand Rabbi of Aleppo. He was also
of course a judge, Belt Din. He was also an importer of spices mostly from
India, and my other grandfather on my father's side was a Rabbi, a teacher.
My great-grandfather was also the Grand Rabbi of Aleppo. His name was







4






Yitzhak Harary.

J: And all this was in the eighteen hundreds?

H: I would say that it started early in the nineteenth century.

J: At what point did you get involved in Synagogue activities? You had your
Bar Mitzvah in Egypt?

H: Yes, I had my Bar Mitzvah in Egypt, and we were very poor at the time. I
went to the first minyan, and my father told me how to wear the t'filin,
and we went back home and I received a kiss from my mother and then I went
on to school.

J: That was the extent of your Bar Mitzvah?

H: Yes.

J: Can you tell us something about the customs in the synagogue of Cairo with
regard to holiday tradition, or any other facet which is different from
what we have here?

H: We have a community of Syrian Jews in New York, and they have their
Synagogue. We are Orthodox Jews. We chant our prayers with the Oriental
Sephardic tune. We are very strict about our tradition as other Sephardic
Jews are. We tend to congregate with each other because of our background,
and because of the ethnic background. We think the same way, we have the
same tradition, we go to the same synagogue. We are mostly in the import
business in our community and there is a co-relation in our endeavors in
the commercial and also in the social world within that particular orbit.
Of course, we have contacts with other Jews, and we have friends with other
Jews that are outside of the Syrian community, but we feel more at home with
our own kind.

J: You referred to a Synagogue in New York of Syrian Jews. Was the Synagogue
in Egypt also specifically Syrian Jews, or was it the Jewish community in
general of Cairo?

H: I would say it's a Jewish community of Cairo. Mostly, those that belong to
out Synagogue are of Oriental background. We, of course, had some Ashkenazis
who were Orthodox, and they belonged to our Synagogue. They were completely
integrated in the life style because they also lived in Cairo. They also
appreciated the Oriental tune of the prayers, and they also were traditional-
ist.

J; Was the structure of the congregation in Egypt similar to what we have here,
like a Board of Directors, and President, or did the Rabbi play a larger
role?

H: The Rabbi in our community plays a big role in direction, but there are a lot








5




of subordinates who follow these directions. They are needed to do the work
required for the community.

J: Was the Rabbi in Egypt similarly robed, as our Rabbis during the prayer
service?

H: No. He was [wearing an Oriental outfit which is a gog similar to a sheet.
It is a long robe with a wide belt made out of cloth. When he goes to
Parliament, there is a turban that he wears. I would say a little different
from the Arabs, because it's colorful. It's actually a large yarmulkeh with
a turban around it.

J: Was it of any one specific color or was it more than one color?

H: It could be in any color, mostly it's in the dark shades of wine, or in the
dark shades of blue.

J: Did the synagogue in Cairo have a choir like we sometimes have here?

H: Absolutely forbidden to have a choir.

J: Why is that?

H: There is no microphone during the prayers. The Hazan has to have a voice
that carries, and he has to have a very beautiful voice to order to read
the Torah. He will equal any of the finest singers of Egypt in order to
be accepted to read the Torah.

J: How many people would you say came to a service on the holidays?

H: The holidays, they had to build up tents in order to accommodate all the
people in the vicinity of the temple.

J: And how many-came in?

H: The synagogue in Cairo, has what they call a tremendous courtyard. In the
olden version of the old synagogues of Jerusalem and that is very important
because of the climate permitting. They could pray outside, During the
prayers of the holidays that courtyard was completely filled including, of
course, the main chamber of the Temple. Besides that they have an adjacent
piece of land, which is the garden, on which they built a tent to accommo-
date the extra people. That, of course, during the Rosh Hashonah and Yom
Kippur.

J: When the community had the occasion to celebrate a wedding was, that similar
to the wedding parties we have here, or were there any differences that you
could tell us about?

H: The weddings in Cairo had an Oriental tune to it. They were singing and
dancing according to the Oriental customs. Not completely Arab, but it is
also injected with some Palestinian tone. The actual ceremony is a little









6



bit different from the conservative movement which I see here in West Palm
Beach, in that the father of the bride, and the father of the groom--during
a certain time of the ceremony, cover the head of the bride and the groom
with the tallit, which you call in your language "tallis" but we call it
tallit. It symbolizes that under the canopy of God they are being united
and blessed.

J: After your Bar Mitzvah, you continued at the Alliance School. How many more
years did you go to school after that?

H: I graduated from grammar school at the age of fourteen and a half. After I
graduated, my older brother, who was working in an import firm that repre-
sented factories all around the world to sell to, in Egypt, asked me to come.
I was doing filing of letters, filing of invoices and what have you, and I
was being paid something like two dollars a month.

Jr At what age did you go to work?

H: Just below fifteen.

J: Do you recall any other jobs you had after that?

H: Yes, I remember. Let me inject one thing that is very vivid in my mind.
When I was sixteen, I was still working in that import firm. They had a
visitor from America. He was from Boston specifically, and his name is
Kaplan. He was the owner of Colonial Tanning Company, which dealt with
patent leather. He came with his wife, as he usually does in the winter,
to spend ten days in Egypt, During that time the manager of my firm who was
an Orthodox Jew, had a drive for the orphanage in Cairo for Jewish children.
He asked him for a donation of twenty-five dollars. Each ticket is five
dollars and the book is five tickets. Mr. Kaplan lookedlat the book, and he
refused to pay the twenty-five dollars. During the stay of Mr. Kaplan, which
is ten days, every morning my boss cursed this man for being so mean, and
so stingy, and he said, "I wonder if all the American Jews are the same as
that guy Kaplan". I was offended because I considered myself an American
at that time, but I didn't say anything until after Mr. Kaplan left. In
La Bourse Egyptienne which is the main newspaper of Cairo, they had a
social column and the little article, "Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan just left on the
SS so and so back to their native America", and the second line was, "it
is to be noted Mr. Kaplan has donated one hundred thousand Egyptian pounds
to the Oeuvre de la Goutte Du Lait which is that orphanage for which Mr.
Kalmaro has requested twenty-five dollare"

J: That's a very good story. When you left that importing firm, since you
dealt with people from out of the country, were you able to communicate in
foreign languages with them?

H: I spoke French at the time, which is my first language, Arabic, which I
read and write, and, of course, English which is the third language. I
would say that it was a very poor English.







7






J: But you managed.

H: We managed. With three languages you could manage almost any place in the
world.

J: When you left the import company were you able to get a better job? Were
you able to improve yourself?

H: Yes, I did start to work for another firm, a Greek firm that deals mainly
in paper products. I was a salesman and I was going into the Cairo proper,
and the outskirts. Then I started to travel farther out of Cairo but over-
night only. I was selling mostly to grocers, their paper bag requirements,
whatever paper product they needed, including toilet paper, (which I didn't
sell much of, because the Arabs did not believe in toilet paper). They use
other means.

J: When you were travelling for this company did you find confidence in your
future economically? Were you satisfied that you could establish yourself
as a family man, raise a family in those conditions?

H: That's a good question because during that very time when I worked for that
Greek firm I started to get .ideas about leaving for America. I knew the
limitations of the economic situations in Egypt as far as I was concerned.
My father had no capital. I had no capital whatsoever, and it was absolutely
impossible to improve myself under these conditions in Cairo. I started to
go to night school to learn English and to improve myself in the language.
Also, I took some commercial subjects in order to prepare myself for my
eventual departure to America.

J: And what year did you finally come to America?

H: I came to America in February, 1937, At that time I was twenty and a half,
and I lived in the home of my sister who was already in America, and I
worked for an import firm for linens and handkerchiefs.

J: How long did you work for that company?

H: I worked for that company until 1941, and then I was contacted by somebody
from England to open our own firm to produce and to import handkerchiefs.
I lasted one year and then I went in the Army of the United States.

J: Where did you serve in the Army?

H: I was classified 3-A because I was supporting my mother at the time. She
also came from Cairo, and she was living in America, My younger brother who
was also born in the United States, was already in the Army, and he was in
San Francisco. He was already in the CIC, Counter Intelligence Corps. I
visited him in San Francisco before his departure to the Far East, and during
that time I volunteered to join the Intelligence in the United States Army.
Although I was classified, 3-A they accepted my proposal to join, and I went







8





through different tests and also interrogation about my past. They promised
to let me know after a full investigation, whether they will accept me or not.
In the meantime, I was drafted and I went to St. Louis, Missouri. I went in
the Air Corps to be a radio operator, and a mechanic, although mechanically
I'm zero. That's what they assigned me to.

J: What eventually came of your offer to enlist in the CIC?

H: After I graduated from this school, one day I received orders to report to
Washington, D.C. and from there they sent me to Baltimore, Maryland and I
went through an Intelligence School, in Gaucher College which is an ex-girl's
college converted during the war into an Intelligence School.

J: How long did you stay there?

H: I stayed in that intelligence school for three months. We worked with the
FBI, all various intelligence work with the British, their method of operation
and what have you. After I graduated from this particular school in Baltimore,
we were sent overseas and we landed in Casablanca.

J: What did you find in Casablanca in the way of your assignments? What were you
given to do?

H: The group, which was about thirty, was sent to a field intelligence school in
Algeria, outside of Algiers. We did some work there for about six weeks,
more actively with the British Intelligence agents, and the local American
Intelligence agents. From there I received my assignment, which is in Bizerte,
Tunisia. I stayed in Tunisia for about three months. In the meantime my
brother Joel who was also in the Intelligence, was operating Cairo, Egypt,
which is our native city. He was operating as an agent there, and he made
some work in order for me to be transferred from Tunisia to Cairo, so wo could
work together in the same office. He succeeded finally, and I was transferred
to Cairo.

I worked in the Cairo office from the end of 1943 until 1945 when I was called
back into the United State after the end of the war. It is to be noted that
during my stay in Cairo, I was doing some routine investigations of various
individuals and desirables, foreigners and what have you, and that was the
scope of my work, until they gave me a good job which is the Suez Canal. I
was agent-in-charge in Ismaelia which is a town in the center of the Suez
Canal between Suez which is in the south of the Canal and Port Said which is
in the north on the Mediteranean. During my stay in Ismaelia, I worked very
closely with the British. They had the largest camp in the Middle East which
is Tel El K"bir.

On my arrival in Ismaelia, I was introduced by the chief of the British
Intelligence to one of their agents, and the introduction was that I was to
meet Mack. That was his code name. He worked with me. At the end of the
day I asked him specifically what was his real name? It was Myer Israel,
and he's from London. He was one of their crack agents, and we worked to-
gether to see where were the weak points. In the Suez Canal they had three







9






bridges over the Suez Canal which were controlled strictly by the British,
in order to see the movement between the Sinai and Egypt. It is to be noted
that duringithat time I did start my own investigation and I found something
very interesting in regard to our present status of Israel.

The Palestinian Jews were very active at that time in order to build up arms
and to build up the underground army. Very quietly, they did work with the
Jewish Brigade which was transferred from North Africa. Through instructions
from the Yishuv they found themselves in transportation outfits in the
British Arm). By sheer luck a lot of them were Tel El K'bir which is on the
outskirts of Ismaelia. They were in the transportation corp because of one
purpose, is to steal arms to transfer them to Palestine. That was the end
of the war.

J: That's the Haganah Movement?

H: Yes, that's the Haganah Movement.

Now it is to be noted the way these people worked. First they worked with
the Arabs, who are noted to be the biggest thieves, and the finest thieves
in the world. They used to steal arms from the depots of the British Army,
transfer them in falukas, which are small boats, across the Canal to a
small village in the Sinai called a Nahalah. (Nahalah is a farm), and there
the Jews, (the Haganah men) used to come in their shorts, and give them gold
for the ammunition and guns that they used to steal from the British.
Finally, the Arabs insisted on having instead hashish. The Jews accommodated
them by importing the hashish from Syria and trading hashish for guns and
ammunition. Then the scope of that particular supply of arms was limited so
then the Jewish Brigade men started to work. They used to steal whole truck-
loads of ammunition and guns, and with false papers cross into the Sinai and
disappear completely, and desert the British Army. It got to such propor-
tion that the CID, which is a Criminal Investigation Division, could not cope
with the vast thefts from the British depots. They turned over the case to
the British Intelligence. Of course, the man in charge, asked for the list
of names of the transportation men, and he found by coincidence a lot of Jews.
He asked them to call these Jews in. Most of them had already deserted.
That is the way that the Israeli Army started to have the spark of their
ammunition and guns to defend themselves against the Arabs in 1948.

J: What year were you discharged from the American Army?

H: I was discharged in November, 1945. I came back from overseas in October.
I was assigned to be an instructor in the Intelligence School in Baltimore.
I was teaching other prospects in the Intelligence how to operate the various
searches and methods of investigations, and what have you. They would not
let me out until I found a substitute. I found an eager ear, and I found
my'substitute and then at that time I was discharged in November, 1945.

J: Did you find suitable employment immediately?








10





H: I started to have an export business mainly in textiles, (which I established
myself), towards the Middle East,.which I knew very well. I worked in that
particular field until, 1955, for ten years. Off and on, successful, un-
successful And what have you, but I made my living out of that particular
export business.

J: Was this in New York?

H: In New York. In 1955 the export business had soured so I worked for a retail
firm of linens at Fifth Avenue in New York for a year-and-a-half until I
established myself in the retail business. I started in Lake Placid, New
York in a s mmer resort, and then from there I inquired about Palm Beach,
Florida from a customer of mine who recommended Palm Beach as a winter resort
for my business. Finally, I found a location on Worth Avenue, and that's
how I started in Palm Beach.

J: So'your original intent was to have a winter place in Florida and a summer
place in Lake Placid?

H: In Lake Placid exactly. That's what happened.

J: At what point did you finally move to Florida full-time?

H: Well, at that time we spent nine months in Florida, and three months in a
summer resort. From 1957 on, I considered West Palm Beach as my home.

J: When you came to Florida how many children did you have?

H: When I came to Florida I had two children: Albert and Henry. Albert was
two-and-a-half years old in 1957, and Henry was one year old.

J: I think we skipped something. We didn't find out how you met your wife,
the lovely Evelyn, and what it was that brought the two of you together.

H: A beautiful question, I would say. The Syrian Jewish community, migrates
in the summer to a place called Bradley Beach in New Jersey. They stick
together, and they go also to resorts together. All the prospects for
marriage, the unmarried men, and the unmarried women, with their families,
were flocking to Bradley Beach in 1951, specifically in the month of July,
1951. I noticed my future wife, Evelyn sitting on the beach and this
spark started. I approached her for a date, and we went out that particular
evening, and gradually we went a little more often until we got engaged in
the month of October, and we got married on the 16th of December, 1951.

J: When you came to Florida, did you immediately find a suitable home or did
you rent at the beginning?

H: My father and my mother-in-law were living in Lake Worth, Florida at the
time. My father-in-law had a store on Lake Avenue, and, of course, we
rented a house near them which, is in Lake Worth. I used to travel between








11





Lake Worth And Palm Beach daily to go to my place of business. Then, in
1961 Joseph, my third child was born.

J: Did you find the seasonal business on Worth Avenue adequate to support you
and your family?

H: Yes, my wife and I worked together in the store, and we were able to make a
living.

J: Was your merchandise mainly from the Middle East?

H: No, it was mostly from Madeira and from China. I would say that I was in
the linen and handkerchief business from 1957 until 1964. In 1964 I started
to change to the jewelry business because of the limitation of that partic-
ular line of business.

J: When you first came here, did you find the Jewish community that you could
participate in the community activities?

H: Here I must confess that I'm an Orthodox Jew. I found their prayers and
their manners a little bit strange to me. There was not enough traditional
Jewish life to suit me, but we did the best we could to go along with their
particular ways. I myself, and my wife, and my father-in-law and his wife,
were the only Orthodox Jews in this vast community of West Palm Beach and
Lake Worth. In fact, may I inject that my children started in school in
Lake Worth, and they were the only Jews in that particular school, that we
know of. They were standing out, and they felt a little bit strange to
have no contact whatsoever with other children of the Jewish faith.

J: Did you have any contact with Temple Beth El at that time?

Hi No we belonged to a Temple Beth Shalom in Lake Worth.

J: I see. At what point did you join the congregation of Temple Beth El?

H: When we started to live in West Palm Beach in 1964 we joined Temple Beth El.

J: Did you receive a friendly reception from people? Did you feel comfortable?

H: Very comfortable. They were very receptive, I was one of them. I didn't
feel any difference whatsoever. I appreciated that very much.

J: With regard to the other merchants in the community, since you had that much
in common, did you find a certain comradery or friendship amongst the mer-
chants?

H: Yes, they were very friendly. They made every effort to make me feel at
home, although they knew that I was an Orthodox Jew. They didn't make any
issue of it. I started not to make an issue of it, and I mellowed, and I
followed their ways, and started to enjoy the services and the sermons
particularly, which were in very interesting and very good taste.








12




H: It was in Southampton, I haa a summer store in Southhampton, Long Island,
and I experienced a hurricane called Donna, I was by myself in the house.
My wife had already left, because the children had to attend school. I
was still in the house by myself when this hurricane struck, and my wife
was so thorough that she didn't want to have any food in the house. I
thought the hurricane would last for an hour. About noon, I came back home
to escape the hurricane. At two o'clock the lights went out. I started to
get hungry, I searched the house, and I couldn't find one piece of food.
The only thing I found was a box of dog food for our dog, that was left
behind. To be frank with you, about 4:30 I was tempted to take a piece of
that dog food, but then I threw it out, and by six o'clock the hurricane
subsided and I was able to go out and buy some food.

J: Was there any serious damage to the house at that time?

H: The house was not damaged, but the streets were littered with broken trees.
No electricity until about 7 o'clock. It was like a devastated little town.

J: Coming back to Florida, when your children were growing up here, did they
have very many Jewish friends in the school?

H: They had a mixture of Jewish and non-Jewish friends. They didn't stick
to Jewish kids. They were a mixture of Jewish and non-Jewish kids that they
associated with.

J: Did your children find a youth activities to participate in in the Jewish
community as they grew up?

H: Oh yes, my oldest, Albert and my second child Henry, were active in the
Jewish organizations. An organization called AZA at the time,(that was
fostered by Bnai Brith) and they were in fact officers in the organization.
They were very active, and they enjoyed their work.

J: Where did Albert, your oldest, go to school?

H: He graduated from Forest Hill High School, and then he went on to Harvard.
He stayed four years in Harvard, and after that he went to Columbia Medical
School, where he graduated. Right now he is married, and he is in Jackson
Memorial Hospital, in his last year of residency, preparing also for gastro-
enterology.

J: How about Henry?

H: Henry is working with me. He also graduated from Forest Hill High School
and he went on to Columbia University, where he graduated and he came back
to work with me and he is my partner in business.

J: And what about Joseph?

H: Joseph is in his third year at Columbia University and he intends to go
into law.








12




J: Were your sons Bar Mitzvah in Florida?

H: My oldest son, Albert, was Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn, but the two other sons
were Bar Mitzvah in Beth El.

J: When you say he was Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn, is that because you went back
there?

H: Geographically we were back there. In the summer we were in Brooklyn, so
he was Bar Mitzvah in'Brooklyn.

J: In the course of your business affairs in Florida, did you ever personally
experience anti-Semitism?

H: Innuendos during the course of business, of "those Jews", or something like
that, which I brushed aside. I just very rapidly discharged the customer
out of my store without making any issue of it, because the time and the
circumstances did not allow me to go any further.

J: In the business community was there any greater degree of anti-Semitism
that other people might have been faced with?

H: Not that I noticed. No.

J: Now did you have anything to do with the community activities as far as
Israel is concerned? Were there any efforts by the Jewish community here
that you remembered to support Israel during those early years.

H: At that time, I had not the means that I have today, although I was wishing
them well, and I made some small contribution, that is the extent of it at
the time.

J: Were there any activities by the Jewish community in general to promote the
welfare of Israel?

H: Oh yes. I would say that the community in Palm Beach, in the Palm Beaches
is a very active and very beautiful Jewish community. Their views of Israel
are vivid. They are very realistic, and they have punch.

J: Do you recall whether there were any Jewish people in public life, like
elected officials when you came to Palm Beach?

H: I wasn't very politically inclined, and I'm sorry to say that I could not
answer the question intelligently.

J: Do you recall any of the bad hurricanes in Florida, that you had personal
experience with?

H: By coincidence the bad hurricanes that I experienced were not in Florida.

J: Where?







13





J: Can you tell me from your observations did the Sephardic background of your
family play'any role in your children's upbringing in the American scene?

H: Yes.

J: In what way?

H: We are very traditional, We like to pray every morning and on Sunday when
the children are free, we all pray together and we wear the tefillin and
the tallit and we chant our prayers together on Sunday. And they are
strictly kosher, inside and outside of the house.

J: That's very nice. Maurice I want to thank you for this interview. I think
that I will long remember t e story of your life. It is an inspiration and
I'm sure that in years to cne when your children and grandchildren have the
opportunity to read about this, they will praise you as you so firmly
deserve, Thank you very much.





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