William Ackerman, an attorney and the developer of South Windermere subdivision in the West Ashley section of Charleston, South Carolina, recounts how he obtained the land, and who was involved in the design, construction, and sale of homes. After building began in the early 1950s, he decided a one-stop shopping center would be a useful addition, so he convinced Woolworth, A&P grocery, and Belk department store to serve as anchors. A number of local shop owners, despite widespread skepticism, moved their operations from downtown Charleston to the new suburban South Windermere Shopping Center, the first of its kind in the area. The residential-commercial venture was a tremendous success. Ackerman describes negotiations he held with major tenants, and recalls many of the businesses that have occupied space in the center. He also discusses the development, by Edward Kronsberg, and the demise of Pinehaven Shopping Center, in North Charleston. See also Mss. 1035-101, Special Collections, Addlestone Library, for William Ackerman’s December 5, 1996 interview.
Alex Garfinkel discusses his father, Harry Louis Garfinkel, who emigrated from Divin, Russia, around the turn of the twentieth century to avoid conscription. He was followed to the United States by two sisters, four brothers, and his father. Harry heard there were landsmen (countrymen) from Divin in Charleston, South Carolina, so he moved there and worked as a shoemaker until he bought a mattress factory. He married Celia Hannah Lapidus of Charleston. At some point, Harry turned over the mattress business to his brother Sam and opened a junk yard, which grew into a successful scrap metal business. Alex grew up on Line Street, one of eight children. He attended Hebrew school at Beth Israel and briefly mentions the split between Beth Israel and Brith Sholom, the Orthodox synagogues. Alex talks about King Street merchants, his father’s businesses, and taking over the scrap yard as a young man, which exempted him from military service during World War II. He invited his cousin Max Garfinkel of Baltimore to join him in the growing business, and they remained partners for over forty years. See also interviews with other members of the Garfinkel family: Helen Rosenshein, Olga Weinstein, Sandra Shapiro, Nathan and Frances Garfinkle (Nathan spells the family name differently), Max and Jennie Garfinkel, and Philip Garfinkel.
Lila Winter Lash, daughter of Fay Nebb and Louis Winter, was born in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. She discusses her family history, including the Winter family’s early-twentieth-century connection to Charleston, South Carolina. When Lila met Alex “Al” Lash in New York, he was working as a kosher butcher in a family business that extended four or five generations back to the Old Country. Lila and Al, who married in 1947, describe Al’s training and career in butchering, kosher and non-kosher. Two years after they married, the couple moved to Charleston after agreeing to buy Joseph and Anna Zalkin’s kosher butcher shop on King Street. The Lashes recall the difficulties of running the business, including procurement, long hours, competition, and customer relations. Dealing with rumors that they weren’t kosher and storing their inventory during two hurricanes were among the challenges they faced. Lila provides anecdotes and information relating to Al’s love of bowling and his involvement in leagues.
In this second of a two-part interview, Anita Moise Rosefield Rosenberg describes her career after graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She first took a job as music director at WPTF radio in Raleigh, North Carolina. When she and her husband, Ira Rosenberg, moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1960s, she went to work at WKTM radio, owned by her cousin Ansley Cohen, selling advertising spots, and doing whatever else was needed. Anita notes that working at WKTM was exciting because it was FM, which "was coming into its own," and it was "Charleston's first rock station." After a few years, she went into "the advertising agency world" and was active in the local professional association, Advertising Federation of Charleston, and the national association, American Advertising Federation, which recognized her work with their Silver Medal Award. One of her clients was Pearlstine Distributors, who hired her to run its marketing and advertising department. Anita talks about other jobs she held and the various types of work she did in advertising. "Just every different avenue of this profession has been fun and interesting, and very rewarding to do." In Charleston, the interviewee has been involved in numerous Jewish and non-Jewish community organizations and events as part of her professional work and her personal commitment to giving back. She recounts how she met her husband, Ira, the son of Bessie Lipschutz and Alan Rosenberg. "Two different worlds met each other." Ira's parents, Orthodox Jews from New York, raised him in Richmond, Virginia. Anita grew up in Sumter, South Carolina, in a Reform temple. Anita and Ira's three children are David, Virginia, and Mindelle. Anita discusses how and why she and Ira were able to adopt Virginia in 1967 as an infant. The Rosenberg family belonged to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE), Charleston's Reform synagogue. The interviewee talks about her children and grandchildren. Her son, David, and his wife, Marcie, are members of the relatively new Modern Orthodox Dor Tikvah in Charleston. Anita and Ira started keeping kosher years ago?something they did not do while raising their children?to accommodate family members who are kosher. Anita considers how practices have changed at KKBE: they have their first female rabbi and their first gay rabbi; the revised prayer books have English and Hebrew with transliterations and translations; the cantor's role has expanded and is more inclusive. She says, "Conservative and Reform are moving closer to each other in today's world," and adds "from a historical point of view, the ancestors were Sephardic Orthodox Jews who settled here. That's my beginnings. So I don't feel like this is so strange, it's just a part of who I am." Anita briefly covers a number of other topics, including KKBE's past rabbis; its present-day choir; how the influx of people from other states has changed the congregation; the current status of Charleston's Jewish congregations and how/why they get along so well; her opinion about the presence of Chabad in the area; Jewish-gentile relations; and her thoughts on the Temple Sinai Jewish History Center in her hometown of Sumter. In a postscript to this interview, Anita recalls Alfreda LaBoard of Johns Island, the African-American woman who "was our nursie" from the time the Rosenberg kids were small. "She raised my children. I could never have done all the things that I did in the community, as well as Ira and I both busy with our careers, if it hadn't been for Alfreda." Comments and corrections made by the interviewee during proofing have been added to the transcript. For part one of this interview, see Mss. 1035-554. For related interviews, see Anita's interviews with her husband Ira Rosenberg, Mss. 1035-452 and Mss. 1035-461, and with her son, David Rosenberg, Mss. 1035-175. Also see a 1995 interview with her mother, Virginia Moise Rosefield, Mss. 1035-007.
David Moise Rosenberg is joined by his mother, Anita Moise Rosefield Rosenberg, in this interview, recorded in his place of business, West Side Deli, in Charleston, South Carolina. Keeping kosher is the focus of the conversation, a practice that was not observed in the family home when David was growing up in the 1960s and '70s. The Rosenbergs were members of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) in Charleston, which David describes as a "very liberal Reform temple." During his college years, he "had no interest in religion of any sort." His wife, Marcie, who grew up in a Conservative synagogue and wanted to keep kosher, sparked his interest in Judaism. David, a restaurateur, and Marcie, a chef, bought Alex and Lila Lash's kosher meat business and, in January 1992, opened West Side Deli, a market, restaurant, and delicatessen. David talks about their clientele?who they are, and who, among Charleston's Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews, are keeping kosher. David explains why he and Marcie think it's important to keep a kosher home, a process that was gradual for them, and he responds to the question, "how [do] you fit being observant in with being religious?" Anita, who grew up in Sumter, South Carolina, in the 1940s and '50s, and received a Classical Reform education at Temple Sinai, notes that she knew "absolutely nothing" about keeping kosher as a child. Her mother's ancestors can be traced in America to the 1700s; the family had been in Sumter for generations and were fully adapted to local foodways. When she was growing up, Anita's family "ate everything." Yet she describes a "very strong Jewish upbringing" and her deep involvement with KKBE, the Jewish Community Center, and other Jewish organizations. She does not keep kosher, but says, "I don't eat anything that walked on four legs." Anita discusses the family history of her husband, Ira Rosenberg, and his preferences in regard to kashrut. She sees that Reform Jews, nationwide, are becoming more traditional. "I think, probably, if Reform had been at the particular stage that it is now, in terms of the traditional trappings, the Conservative Movement would have had a hard time getting a foothold." She and Ira would have loved to settle in Sumter but decided to raise their children in Charleston, where their children "would have a much better chance of being Jewish and having a Jewish social life and marrying Jewish and continuing what was very important to us." For 2019 interviews with Anita, see Mss. 1035-554 and Mss. 1035-555. For Anita's 2016 interviews with her husband, Ira Rosenberg, see Mss. 1035-452 and Mss. 1035-461. For a 1995 interview with Anita's mother, Virginia Moise Rosefield, see Mss. 1035-007.
Edna Ginsberg Banov, in the third of three interviews, talks about her father-in-law, Sam Banov and his men’s store on the corner of King and Spring streets in Charleston, South Carolina. Sam, who emigrated from Russia by way of England, dispensed a number of home remedies from his shop, which Edna describes here and in her first interview. She reads from her memoirs a passage she wrote about Suzy, an African American woman who worked for the Banovs for decades. The interviewee discusses the cake-baking business she started with Hattie Kronsberg that targeted homesick Citadel freshmen, and notes that she “started the first market research business in Charleston.” Edna recalls childhood memories of shnorrers, Jewish men collecting for charities, coming through town, and Yom Kippur services held in Brith Sholom, one of Charleston’s Orthodox synagogues. She had difficulty relating to Orthodox religious practices and “felt more at home” in the Conservative Synagogue Emanu-El, organized in 1947. She and her husband, Milton Banov, were among the founding families; she explains the motivations of those families in leaving Brith Sholom and offers details about her own spiritual practices. Edna is joined near the end of the interview by Beatrice “Beatsie” Bluestein Solow, a cousin, and the two briefly reminisce. See also Edna Banov’s interviews of November 2, 1995 (Mss. 1035-045) and November 9, 1995 (Mss. 1035-046). For a related collection, see the Edna Ginsberg Banov papers, Mss. 1039, Special Collections, College of Charleston.
Lisa Collis Cohen, born in 1958 in Kingstree, South Carolina, is the elder of two daughters of Jennie Goldberg and Moses Collis, both natives of Charleston, South Carolina. Lisa discusses her grandparents, Rebecca Leah Kirshtein and I. M. Goldberg, whose families migrated from Kaluszyn, Poland, to Charleston. Lena Schiawitz and Meyer Collis, who emigrated from Bialystok in the early 1900s, owned a Jewish bakery at 165 King Street in Charleston, and Lena ran a kosher catering business. Lisa describes the bakery, which closed, she believes, sometime during World War II. Her father, Moses, began working as a young boy for Charleston plumber W. K. Prause, whose shop was across the street from the bakery. Ultimately, Moses became "the state's youngest licensed journeyman plumber at age sixteen." His sister Becky married Harry Schreiberg. Harry's brothers Morris and Nathan had a store in Lane, South Carolina, and they lived in Kingstree. Morris encouraged Moses to come to Kingstree, where there were no plumbers. With help from his sister Sadie, Moses pursued the opportunity and, by 1947, he was in business in the small town about seventy-five miles north of Charleston. Later he became a licensed mechanical contractor. Lisa talks about growing up in Kingstree where she joined her Christian friends in their religious activities and went to their camps. The Collises observed the Sabbath on Friday nights with a family meal and services at Temple Beth Or in Kingstree. Lisa recalls the other Jewish families that lived in Kingstree and surrounding small towns, who were members of Beth Or, which was founded in 1945. The congregation relied on rabbis from Charleston's Conservative Synagogue Emanu-El to preside over bar mitzvahs and recruited students from Jewish Theological Seminary for the High Holidays. Lisa recounts how the family kept kosher, adding that every summer her father made large quantities of kosher dill pickles. Lisa went to Jewish camp in the summers and was involved in the Temple Youth Group that met in Sumter. "My Judaism, for me, was a very natural thing." When she was young, Lisa's mother, Jennie, tried to keep Lisa and her sister, Rhonda, "almost shomer Shabbat." Moses didn't agree with that degree of observance and encouraged assimilation. "My father didn't want me to feel different." Lisa, who attended public schools through sixth grade, discusses why her parents sent her to a private academy when integration was enforced in South Carolina. Among the topics covered in this interview are the Collis connection to the Mazo family of Charleston and Lisa's memories of her aunts and uncles, including Davy Collis, his band, Buddy Shaw, and his music company, Carolina Instrument, competitor of Fox Music House. Note: transcript includes comments and corrections made by interviewee during proofing. See Mss 1035-550 for part two of this interview. For a related collection, see also the Collis family papers, Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston.
Sonia Truere Rothschild, in a follow-up interview, considers the possible avenues for genealogical research, presented by Interviewer Dale Rosengarten, with regard to her maternal relatives, the Scherrs, in Baltimore, Maryland. Sonia talks about how she met her first husband, Saul Berry, whose mother and stepfather, Daisy and Max Abramson, owned Jasper's Groceries in Charleston, South Carolina, not far from the Truere family residence at 256 Coming Street. She describes the neighborhood and how she accompanied her mother, Ida Truere, on walks down King Street on Saturdays to visit friends who were shopkeepers. Ida catered the meetings of the Kalushiner Society, a mutual aid organization founded by immigrants from Kaluszyn, Poland. Sonia's father, Joseph Truere, known as Jew Joe, was a well-known, colorful character in Charleston, and a number of stories had reached the interviewer. For example, Dale had been told of an African-American men's club known as Jew Joe's Invincible Hall in the Maryville neighborhood, where Louie Armstrong was said to have entertained. Sonia notes her father was a "legend" and even though he died in 1948, "people will still talk about this man." The interviewee touches on the distinction between Uptown Jews and Downtown Jews, as they are locally known. Sonia married Saul Berry in 1951 and they raised their children Michael, Jeffrey, Marty, and Sharon in Charleston. Two years after they married, Saul took over running Jasper's Grocery. Then he bought Robert Kahn Wholesale, which sold beer, wine, candy, cigarettes, and soft drinks to bars and restaurants, and their three sons joined him in the business. Sonia recounts how she met her second husband Jerry Rothschild and the challenges of combining their two families, with her four children and Jerry's three, Amy, Dana, and Gregory. The interviewee discusses marriages in her extended family--who married out of the faith and who didn't--and is happy that her children either married Jewish partners or Christians who converted to Judaism. She worked hard to give her children a Jewish upbringing, and all of them identify strongly with Judaism. Additional topics covered very briefly include: how Sonia is related to the Birlant family of Charleston and why she wants to go to Israel. See Mss. 1035-067 for Sonia Rothschild's first interview.
Sonia Truere Rothschild was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1934, the youngest of six children of Ida Scherr and Joseph Truere. Ida was five years old when she emigrated from Odessa, Russia, in 1905, traveling with her mother and brother to join the rest of the family in Baltimore, Maryland. Sonia talks about her mother's siblings, all of whom remained in Baltimore and raised their families there. Ida married Joseph, also from Odessa, in 1918, and moved to his adopted hometown of Charleston. Sonia speaks fondly of her uncle Harry Truere, a father figure to Sonia and her siblings, who saw very little of their own father. Joseph, who acquired the nickname of Jew Joe, kept busy with his businesses, a mix of legal and illegal enterprises. He had friends on the police force and, Sonia says, "Anything that was illegal, he was in it." Nevertheless, "he had a very soft heart. He couldn't stand to see people go without." He was not a religious man, but was an earnest supporter of their Orthodox synagogue, Beth Israel. Joseph died when Sonia was fourteen. The interviewee recalls how poor the family was. Despite persistent financial struggles, her mother always set aside money in her pushke box for charities. The Trueres owned a store called Cash Grocery on the corner of Bogard Street and Rose Lane. Ida made extra money by catering regular meetings of the Kalushiner Society, a landmanshaft founded by immigrants from Kalusyzn, Poland. Sonia briefly discusses her siblings, in particular her oldest brother, Bob, who worked in radio and television with the local channel WCSC. Sonia describes her mother's cooking and how Ida observed the Sabbath. See Mss. 1035-067 for a second interview with Sonia Rothschild.