Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Zalkin and Harriett Rivkin Zalkin

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Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Zalkin and Harriett Rivkin Zalkin
Zweig, Matthew Reid
Zalkin, Robert, 1925-2006, Zalkin, Harriett Rivkin, 1929-
Robert Zalkin, born in 1925 in Charleston, South Carolina, describes growing up in the St. Philip Street neighborhood and talks about his family’s King Street business, where he helped out as a child. Zalkin’s Market, a kosher butcher shop, was opened by Robert’s grandfather, who had emigrated from Lithuania around 1898. Robert’s father, Joseph, who married Anna Cohen of New York, kept the market open until the late 1940s, when he sold the business to New Yorkers Alex and Lila Lash. Robert provides details about the layout and operation of the shop and the tasks his father assigned him. He notes that non-Jews, as well as Jews, were a regular part of their retail customer base. Zalkin’s also sold non-kosher meat wholesale to the local Swift and Armour packaging plants. Robert married Harriett Rivkin of Columbia, South Carolina, in 1949. Harriett states that her parents, Katie and Caba Rivkin, operated “one of the first Jewish delis in the South.” She describes Columbia’s Jewish community as close-knit and remembers that her parents welcomed into their home many of the Jewish soldiers stationed at Fort Jackson during World War II. The Rivkins belonged to House of Peace, where Harriett’s grandfathers, Ruben Roth and Jacob Rivkin, were among the charter members of the Orthodox shul. Because the synagogue did not offer formal religious instruction, the Rivkins sent Harriett to Sunday school at Tree of Life, the Reform congregation in Columbia. Robert and Harriett describe the dishes their mothers served when they were growing up and their food habits in the years since. Five years after marrying, the Zalkins moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, and raised their three children there.
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Interviews, Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Interviews, Kosher food industry--South Carolina--Charleston--History, Jews--South Carolina--Columbia--Social life and customs, Jewish cooking
Shelving Locator:
Mss 1035-205
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.), Richland County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Robert Zalkin and Harriett Rivkin Zalkin, audio interview by Matthew Reid Zweig, 27 October 1998, Mss 1035-205, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
Copyright © College of Charleston Libraries.
Access Information:
For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.