Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Emma Bogen Lavisky Bukatman and Belle Lavisky Jewler

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Emma Bogen Lavisky Bukatman and Belle Lavisky Jewler
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-, Grossman, Michael Samuel
Bukatman, Emma Bogen Lavisky, 1906-1999, Jewler, Belle Lavisky, 1936-
Emma Bogen Lavisky Bukatman and Belle Lavisky Jewler, audio interview by Dale Rosengarten and Michael Samuel Grossman, 4 March 1997, Mss 1035-135, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA., Emma Bogen Lavisky Bukatman, interviewed with her daughter, Belle Lavisky Jewler, discusses the Katzenelenbogen family history, a name they attribute to a city in Poland, although their genealogy traces the family to Bialsytok, Russia, and long before that, Italy. Emma’s parents, Bella Weinberg and Joseph Bogen (Katzenelenbogen) were first cousins who met and married in New York City. Emma, born in 1906 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children, notes that their family moved frequently, and in each location her father opened a general merchandise store. She remembers living in New York City before moving to Denmark, South Carolina, when she was eight years old. Emma recalls that they “felt a lot of antisemitism growing up” in the small town where the Bogens were the only Jewish residents until the Ness family settled there and opened a dry goods store. When she was sixteen, the family moved about fifty miles north to Columbia. She met her first husband, Michael Lavisky at Chaplin’s wholesale shoe business where she was employed as a bookkeeper and he was a shipping clerk. They married in 1926 in House of Peace Synagogue on Park Street. Belle, who was born in Columbia in 1936, offers some background on her father’s family, the Laviskys, who emigrated from Russia to Columbia in 1912. Emma describes her siblings, the Bogen family’s religious practices, and her memories of Rabbi David Karesh of Columbia. She recounts how the women of House of Peace Congregation transitioned from sitting in the balcony in the Park Street building to sitting downstairs, separated from the men, in the new sanctuary on Marion Street. Other topics include Columbia merchants, in particular, the Rivkins; Belle’s brother, Saul Lavisky; letters Emma’s mother wrote to her sister in Yiddish that have been translated into English (copies are available in Jewish Heritage Collection vertical files, Special Collections, College of Charleston); and how Beth Shalom (formerly House of Peace) evolved from an Orthodox to a Conservative congregation, a development in which women’s roles in services were at the heart of the issue.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Personal or Corporate Subject:
House of Peace (Columbia, S.C.), Beth Shalom (Columbia, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Interviews, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Columbia--History, Jewish merchants--South Carolina--Denmark--History, Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Religious life, Jews--South Carolina--Denmark--Religious life
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-135
S.C. County:
Richland County (S.C.), Bamberg County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg, application/pdf
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital resource copyright 2014, College of Charleston. All rights reserved. For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.