Newsletter – 2017

January 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Miriam Kraemer Gray, V.P. and member of our Executive Board, has written the January 2017 newsletter.

2017!!! Wow! The month of January is named for the god Janus who is the god of beginnings and transitions. Janus, according to legend, has two faces, one looking to the past and the other to the future. And, indeed, during the weeks before and after the secular New Year observance, we all tend to reminisce as we look forward to a new year.

Whether you grew up in Paterson, Hackensack, Passaic, or Clifton, you remember the dances at the “Y”s. We often took the bus to a neighboring town to check out the opposite sex from the other “Y’s”. If we were lucky, someone had a car!!! And yes, many matches were made at these dances and many marriages came from “Y” hopping. We all remember the Christmas lights in these cities, which made the downtown areas look like a wonderland. Eastside Park would flood an area near the ball field and we would have a great time ice-skating followed by a hot chocolate at Kanter’s on Broadway. Westside Park would also provide a great skating area for local kids. Some of you may remember the great blizzard of 1947 during which over 25 inches of snow fell during the night. That storm was so difficult to track that there was no warning of the coming blizzard. It occurred during Christmas break and school did not re-open until several days into the New Year. People were stranded at work, cars were abandoned on roads, and most stores had to remain closed.

Different cultures have different customs related to the New Year. A Greek Orthodox custom is to bake a coin in a cake. The person getting the slice containing the coin will enjoy a lucky year. Another interesting custom comes from southern Italy. In southern Italy, old things are thrown out of the front window of one’s home symbolizing acceptance of the New Year. They also throw out old mugs and plates in the hope of ridding themselves of any negativity of the past year.

The JHSNJ has a far different view of old “things”. Rather than throwing them out of the window to destroy them, we lovingly collect them. We are fortunate that our showcases have recently been installed and are now showing off our “old stuff”. Beautiful artifacts donated by families who lived and worked in north Jersey are now preserved in display cases. Our displays include Jewish ceremonial objects from 80-100 years ago. We also are proud preservers of documents such as citizenship papers, military discharge papers and bills of sale from local stores all dating decades ago. We are the face of Janus facing the future. But, Janus can only look to the future and plan for the future when the documents, photos, books of the past are respected and cherished. In southern Italy, they throw out the old. In northern New Jersey, we respect and cherish the past. This respect allows us to face the future with surety, respect, and hope.

Come visit us. Reminisce and enjoy talking about the past so you can walk out to the future more knowledgeable and more respectful of that, which was. To you and your families, a new year of fulfillment and blessings.

Miriam Kraemer Gray, V.P, of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

February 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Moe Liss, V.P. and member of the JHSNJ Executive Board, has written our February 2017 newsletter.

When I was growing up in Paterson, my parents had the foresight of having me join the Paterson YM-YWHA, or as we called it, the Paterson “Y”. That’s where I learned how to swim, play basketball and handball, but, most importantly, I learned the value of true friendship and camaraderie. As I progressed through my teenage years, I could be often found on Saturday nights at the “Y” dances looking for a pretty girl to connect with and maybe even walk her home and steal a goodnight kiss. Wow, it all seemed fantastic!

By the time I was 17, I was looking for a summer job and again and the “Y” played an important part in my life. I got my first job as a junior counselor at the “Y” Day Camp, Camp Veritans. It was a fantastic experience for me and my 12- 15 eleven and twelve year old campers. I began thinking of my future vocation and I realized then that it would have to be something working with children which naturally led to a teaching career. It would be a perfect fit for me. I would teach from September to June and that would give me my summers free to do what I really enjoyed the most, being a camp counselor. Following my graduation from college I served a two year stint in the army. By the way, an obscure army provision enabled me to obtain an early discharge in order to work at Camp Veritans.

Soon after, I began my teaching career at Eastside High School in Paterson. For the next 15 years I had, what I considered, the perfect complement….teaching history at EHS and working at Camp Veritans. Eventually I became Assistant Camp Director from 1958-65. Let me return for a moment to my experiences at Camp Veritans. As I have mentioned, it really was the turning point of my life because it motivated me to spend the remainder of my life working with children and eventually the adults they turned into. At the end of my first year as a junior counselor I wrote a post card to my campers inviting them to come down to the Paterson “Y” to continue the experiences we had had during the summer by forming a boys club. Almost all of them responded and on a Friday afternoon in September 1951 we met for the first time. Neither I nor the boys knew what to do during that first meeting so we just talked about our summer experiences. After about an hour and a half we decided to go up to the roof and play ball. For the next few Fridays that became the routine until I said, “why don’t we actually form a club with officers and guidelines, have dances, parties, and maybe go on trips etc.” They liked the idea and we began discussing names for the group. At that time there was a popular Brooklyn Dodger sports program called “Happy Felton’s Knot Hole Gang”, and the guys felt that maybe the “Happy Go Lucky Boys” would be an appropriate name. And so it was said and so it was written that they became known as the “Happy Go Lucky Boys”. We met every Friday after school, went on camping trips, had cookouts, went to our first Major League Baseball game at Ebbets Field (a story to be told at a later date),and generally had loads of fun, both at their meetings and at après meeting activities. When the guys all became teenagers they thought that the name “Happy Go Lucky Boys” was a bit too immature and that we needed a more masculine name like Lions, Tigers, Wolves or something that sounded more manly. It was during that discussion that I mentioned how I once belonged to a club called the Spartans and WHAM, BANG that was it! Everyone loved that name and the “Happy Go Lucky Boys” became the Spartans. That was the second incarnation of the name Spartans. That club remained active at the “Y” from 1951-1962 when, for some unknown reason, it just ceased to exist. I terminated my role as their leader when I went into the army in 1955, but I do remember it remained in existence until 1962.

It was in 1980 that some of the older Spartans began talking about possibly having a reunion whereby we’d get the guys together for a one day gathering and do what we used to do like eating and talking. A committee was formed with the primary objective of finding out the names and addresses of as many Spartans as could be remembered. Over 120 names and addresses were found over the next seven years. Next, we contacted the Veritans Club, who ran the camp, to arrange for its use for a one day reunion. Thanks to Neil Chessin, an original Spartan and a member of the Veritans, we were able to obtain the use of the camp for our reunion. May 17, 1987 was the perfect day! The weather was ideal and over 30 Spartans accompanied by their wives, significant others or “girl friends” gathered at the camp for a day of “remembering.” As you might imagine, Paterson was the thread that had woven all of our lives together. That event would also prove to be the beginning of the next chapter of my life. For the past 37 years, the Spartans and “Spartanettes” have played a most significant part in my, and in my wife Pearl’s lives. We have shared many, many, happy occasions (“simchas” you might say), as well as experiences saddened by illness and deaths of parents, relatives and friends. Through it all, we could count on our fellow Spartans to be there for us, as we are for them.

Paterson was, and will always be, the central part of my life. It is that connection that brought me to the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey. One day, while I was in Paterson visiting a friend’s business, I was introduced to the Jewish Historical Society, which at that time was housed in the basement of the Barnert Hospital. That visit “turned me on” to become involved with this fine organization, its mission and its future. What began as a chance meeting on the streets of Paterson has become a major aspect of my life going forward. I became fascinated by the richness of our historical collection and the dedication of its many volunteers and staff. I feel extremely proud and humble to say that, along with Alvin Reisbaum and others, we had the foresight and “chutzpah” to go out and obtain a mortgage and purchase our present offices in Fair Lawn. Looking back, it probably was one of the best decisions I have made in recent years.

Very little of what I have described herein could have been accomplished without the love and support of my “soul mate” (and sole mate!) Pearl and my children Brenda, Jeff, Jaime and my beloved Debbie. I thank them for always being there both for me and for one another.

Moe Liss, V.P. and member of the JHSNJ Executive Board

The photos above show Moe Liss standing at the rear of his 1953 campers at Camp Veritans and the photo on the right shows Moe on the teaching staff of Eastside High School in Paterson.

March 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Stephanie Diorio, JHS archivist, has written our March 2017 newsletter.

Hi, everyone! I’m Steph Diorio, and I’ve been the archivist of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey since the beginning of October. I’ve been honored to work with these collections and I’m greatly enjoying working on making them more accessible to researchers and helping to preserve and share the history contained here!

You may have surmised from the immense amount of vowels in my surname that I’m actually Italian. I did, however, grow up in Bergen County, and so whilst I may not be able to relate to every single memory shared here on a personal level, I have a fair share of common experiences with everyone else at JHS, ranging from driving down Route 21 to go to Rutt’s Hut in Clifton to trying to find a parking spot at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus so my friends and I could go do some last-minute holiday shopping.

Like many Bergen County kids (including my kid brother, my father, and my paternal grandmother), I was born at Hackensack University Medical Center (which itself has grown exponentially since 1989, when I first came on the scene). I grew up here and the local culture became a very distinct part of my identity, although I was unaware of this until I left the comfort of northern New Jersey for college in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I’d vacationed in nearby (in PA standards; it was about an hour and a half away) Lancaster County many times as a child and felt comfortable in Pennsylvania for short periods of time, but living there was a huge eye-opener for me. I learned many horrifying things, like that the entire state of Pennsylvania has exactly zero White Castles, diners actually close at night, people swear significantly less, and, perhaps most surprising to me, I had an accent that I was entirely unaware of until someone pointed it out to me. Clearly, I couldn’t live in a place like this for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, to become an archivist, you have to go to graduate school and get a Master’s degree in library science, so I returned home as soon as I graduated and commuted into the city for grad school at Pratt Institute. I quickly readjusted to New Jersey life, indulging in all the things I’d sorely missed when I was away, like being able to eat past 10 pm (a necessity when in grad school) and bagels that actually tasted good. Out of all the things I learned when getting my history degree in Pennsylvania, perhaps the most important one was that I belonged here in the greater New York City area instead. North Jersey was in my blood and in my soul and I couldn’t be away from it any longer.

Once graduate school was completed and left me with an expensive piece of paper and massive amounts of student loan debt, I turned my attention to preserving the local history of the place I loved so much. Working here at JHS has been an absolutely fantastic opportunity for me to achieve this goal – here I am able to ensure that documents, photos, oral histories, and artifacts live on and will be able to tell the stories of the past to the people of the present and future. Nothing means more to me as an archivist than ensuring that history lives on for the generations who come along after me, and I have an astounding, wonderful army of volunteers to help me achieve this lofty goal. I’d be absolutely delighted if you’d all come and visit us here and see the work the volunteers have done, particularly the displays they’ve put up using our new display cases and the photos they’ve helped me organize and protect!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to Rutt’s Hut for some hot dogs.

Stephanie Diorio, Archivist, Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey


April 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Steven Goldman, a JHSNJ member, has written our April 2017 newsletter.

I recently was asked to pen the April JHSNJ newsletter. Less than a year ago, I didn’t know it existed. Yet throughout my life since leaving Paterson around 1980 and moving south to Florida, there have been constant reminders of where I grew up in Paterson.

Of course, the strongest connection used to be my mom and sister and their friends who retired to south Florida. After that, came the famous “Paterson Day in South Florida” which was a bi- annual event. Paterson Day, at its height, numbered in excess of 1000 Patersonians. At those gatherings many friendships were renewed and new ones were formed. The strength of ‘Paterson Day’ was the excitement of saying ‘hello’ and promising to stay in touch, but so often for me, the connections remained dormant until two years later when more of those Patersonians passed away. Eventually, ‘Paterson Day’ was discontinued because of attrition and the burnout of some really tired workers who worked so hard to keep it going. I should say that ‘Paterson Day’ is not completely gone. This past February a group of 100+ Patersonians met for lunch at a Chinese Restaurant in Palm Beach County. It was a great afternoon.

I started thinking about what has kept me so attached to Paterson. Not surprising, I look forward to the JHSNJ newsletter. The person to thank for this great connection to Paterson is Jack Zakim. My life in south Florida has gotten me involved in officiating at swimming events. Jack, as everyone knows, has always been a swimmer. I would run into him yearly at the ‘Y Masters National Swim Meet. ‘ This past spring Jack spoke to me about the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey.

I am on Facebook quite a lot and noticed people often send out lists of items that they associate with. “How many states have you visited?” “Where have you traveled?” The following boxed text is my list of what reminds me of Paterson.

Temple Emanuel – Barnert Hospital –        Manhattan Bus – Camp Wasigan – Paterson Y – Toby’s – Moe Liss – John F. Kennedy visit – Allen Ginsberg  -The Paramount – Ben and Bob’s – Sunshine’s – Eastside Park – The number 54 Bus – The number 38 Bus – Sigma Phi – 10th Ave Circle – Fallsview Diner – Johnny and Hanges – Saturday night bagels – Joe Baker’s horseradish – Mr. Abraham Stein’s bar -mitzvah  records – Kanter’s – Garrett Hobart – Park East Terrace Apartments – Kent Village -Fabian Theater – US Theater – Jacobs and Jacobs 29 –  Mort Jacobs – The Bonfire – The best corn bread – Rabbi Buch – Rabbi Panitz – Deadman’s Curve at Eastside Park – Hickory Hill Country Club – Pine Brook Country Club – Westmount Country Club – Pine Haven –  and Preakness Valley Swim Club

I’m sure you have your own list and I’m sure I missed a few, but there are a few things that still make me wonder. (a)Why did we wear those bathing caps at Camp Veritans? Couldn’t they have figured a better way to have buddy call? (b) Did the name Veritans come from a bunch of men who went on an annual boat ride and came back very tan? (c)The big mystery that always perplexed me was why exactly the YM-YWHA in Paterson always made the boys swim nude?

If you have the answers please share them with me.

Steven Goldman, JHSNJ member,


May 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Chuck Oremland, Recording Secretary and a member of our Executive Board, has written our May 2017 newsletter.

My journey to the Jewish Historical Society began approximately two years ago when I opened my e-mail account one Friday morning and saw that I had gotten something called “Photo Friday.” Being somewhat inquisitive, I opened it, and found pictures of people, events, and places, some of which brought back distant memories.

Moe Liss, Vice-President of the Historical Society, was responsible for adding my name, as well as others, to the weekly “Photo Friday” distribution list. A few months later I opened my e-mails on a Friday, and looked at one of the photos in total disbelief. I suddenly found myself staring at a photo of my father, George Oremland, serving glasses of what in all likelihood was spiked punch at a Passaic Hillel dinner, most likely taken in the 1950’s. It was a picture I had never seen and I can’t tell you how much that meant to me!

Later that year, the Historical Society was moving their headquarters from the former Barnert Hospital in Paterson to Fair Lawn, and the same Moe Liss was recruiting volunteers to assist with that move. How could I say ‘no’? So, that’s how it all began.

For the next year or so, every Monday, I went to the office for a few hours, and sifted through boxes and boxes of documents, memorabilia, artifacts and almost anything else that one of our founders, Jerry Nathans, deemed worthy of saving.

And then, it happened again. In sorting through material from the Passaic synagogues, I came across an ad journal from ‘Chevra Thilim’, the shul my parents and grandparents belonged to. ‘Chevra Thilim,’ one of the first orthodox synagogues in Passaic, was founded in 1905 by a group of 20 men. By 1910, the congregation had grown considerably and, as a result, a site was chosen for their new home on Hope Avenue. That new site served the congregation for about 60 years until it was forced to close both due to a declining membership and the fact that the State of N.J. was planning on extending Route 21 through the east side of Passaic.

In going through that 1945 journal I found an ad placed there by my parents that also included my name. (My younger brother Leonard hadn’t been born at that time.) I couldn’t believe my eyes; that’s because I had tears in them.

Why do I tell you this? We have mountains of material, and quite possibly, in our archives, we have something from your family to unite you with your past.

There are quite a few ways you can assist us with our ongoing mission. First and foremost, if you are not already a member, then there is no time like the present to join our Society. Quite possibly, you may have some memorabilia stored in your attic or basement that would be of interest to us as well as to our members. We would love to hear from you if you can volunteer even a few hours every week to assist us in preserving the history of our local Jewish heritage.

Chuck Oremland, Recording Secretary, Executive Board member of the JHSNJ

The bottom left image is the cover of the 1945 ad journal I ‘discovered’ at the JHSNJ from ‘Chevra Thilim’ and the bottom right image is the photo of my dad, George Oremland, the second guy on the left, with 4 unidentified colleagues of his at a Passaic Hillel dinner.

June 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Mr. Al Weiss, the esteemed and now retired English teacher at Eastside High School in Paterson and a member of the JHSNJ, has written our June 2017 newsletter.

I would like to pose three questions to our JHSNJ readers as follows:
1)Were the classes at Eastside High School in Paterson during the 1950’s and 1960’s as great as they seemed to be?
2)Were the students in those classes as terrific as they seemed to be?
3)Were the families of those students as admirable as they seemed to be?

The answer to all three questions is a definitive YES! Many of the factors that had contributed a couple of centuries ago to a cluster of European colonies’ evolving into a new nation governed by principles and practices of democracy also contributed to the establishment of public schools. Public schools provided free education to all children in a community to prepare them for their eventual roles as adults in the community. For more than two centuries, the ideals of socio-economic –political democracy and free public education have had proponents and champions, but also detractors and enemies – and exploiters.

The two decades after World War II probably were the ‘Golden Age of Public Schools’, fulfilling the goal and ideal of free education for all children in every community and providing equal opportunity to achieve both personal fulfillment and fulfillment as responsible and beneficial citizens of community, nation, and world. Urban centers with heterogeneous populations were especially suited to have school systems that could best provide universal education for success in a democratic society. Paterson was such an urban center.

Probably everyone in Paterson had been directly affected by WWII and many by the pernicious political forces responsible for the war. For them and for people throughout the United States, victory in that war was the triumph of democracy over dictatorship. The democratic nature of American public schools made them ideal places to teach children the principles and the practices of democracy and to motivate them to follow those principles to their own advantage and for the good of all others.

I began teaching in Paterson at the Paterson Technical and Vocational High school in the 1940’s. P.T.V.H.S. adhered to some old-world principles not altogether compatible with American democratic principles. All the students were white males mainly from Italian, Irish, or Dutch Reform families – no “minorities,” except in the generally excellent all-male faculty . Only five faculty members were Jewish – Felix Gould, Harry Levin, Mel Rose, and I, and a superb administrator Herb Lipsitz. (And there were those who would have much preferred our not being there!) Curriculum was designed to prepare students for a narrow range of career options.

Being with the students and most of the staff at P.T.V.H.S. was personally and professionally enjoyable and fulfilling, but the narrow homogeneity and the questionable exclusivity were not. Thus, after nearly three years, I welcomed transfer to the English Department of Eastside High School, which I hoped would be the kind of inclusive school with a diverse population that I had gone to in New York City and in which I fervently believed.

Yes, E.H.S. was boldly inclusive with an exhilaratingly diverse student body and faculty which became more and more diverse in the 1950s and 1960s as the population of Paterson became more and more diverse. It was exactly the kind of school with exactly the kinds of students and the kinds of people on its faculty I wanted, and I loved my many years there. I especially loved the Golden Age decades after WW II, when most of my students and most of my colleagues loved being at E.H.S. as much as I did.

In the decade after WWII, E.H.S. had more students from Jewish and Italian families than from any other cultural or ethnic backgrounds, but during the 1950s and 1960s diversity kept increasing, as did recognition and acceptance of that diversity.

How exhilarating it was having co-ed classes homogeneous in the students’ shared Anglo-American culture and in their strong United States/New Jersey/Paterson citizenship, but heterogeneous in their socio-economic-ethnic-religious-cultural diversity and in the individual students’ interests, ambitions, and goals!
All students had to take English every semester, so English classes tended to have a cross-section of the diversity of E.H.S. How the students were alike was far more important than how they were different. It was rewarding to see how quickly and easily each class became its own microcosm, a true democracy in which all students were equal and all students had the same motivation and the same opportunities to participate and to learn.

The subject matter of English classes was Anglo-American language and literature. The purpose of English classes was to provide on-going practice in using language and on-going expansion of knowledge and understanding of Anglo-American literature and culture. The prevailing methodology was to make everything in the class rewarding, enjoyable – even fun – to establish positive associations with learning and using language and with experiencing literature and culture and doing all this in a compatible, inclusive, diverse small community in which everyone else’s enjoyment and learning were as important as one’s own.

Perhaps what may have been most valuable about these classes was the socialization which quickly transformed a diverse group of children into a community of friends having a good time together and enjoying learning together – learning from each other, encouraging each other to learn and to enjoy – all proudly retaining individuality, and respecting and admiring each other’s individuality – with an admirable class spirit bolstered by strong school spirit and shared pride in being an Eastsider!

A bonus for teachers was the support we got from the parents. Their active interest in what their children were doing in school and their positive reinforcement of what their children were learning made my job as a teacher easy and even more of a pleasure to do.

How realistic is what I have just said about what I contend was the Golden Age of E.H.S., a shining example of the ‘Golden Age of Public Education’ in America? We have abundant evidence that students and staff members knew then that it was indeed the Golden Age and for the rest of their lives have appreciated the advantages they had. We have copious evidence that a gratifying large number of those students did fulfill their potential and have lived successful, rewarding, beneficial, and happy lives.

Evidence: Most of the classes during that era have had and continue to have class reunions, gratifyingly well-attended and gratifyingly successful as reminders of how happy their lives at E.H.S. were even as the reunions themselves become new happy highlights – proof of how special E.H.S. was.
More evidence: The remarkable number of graduates from E.H.S. who eagerly return to teach there or to serve as other staff members there.
More evidence: Special Gala Paterson Days in Florida or in Paterson have had so many attendees who were at E.H.S. that they are de facto E.H.S. Reunions.
More evidence: Twice-a-year convivial luncheons of ex-Eastsiders who enjoy being together again to celebrate how very special E.H.S. was and how very special the people who went there and/or worked there were and are.
Crowning evidence: The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey! How many, many of those who were and are board members, staff members, support members, volunteers, participants in such celebrations as the Annual Gala Dinner throughout the forty glorious years of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey proudly proclaim themselves “Once-a-Ghost-Always –a-Ghost!”

Were the classes at Eastside High School in Paterson during the 1950’s and 1960’s and the students in those classes and their families as great as they seemed to be?

YES! A Golden Age even more golden than nearly all others.

Mr. Al Weiss, member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

I have requested that some pictures of my former Eastside H.S. students currently serving at the JHSNJ appear following my newsletter. Appearing, immediately below this box, standing with his hands on his hips in front of the trunk of a ’56 Bel Air Chevy is Barry Citrin, a volunteer and a member of the JHSNJ Advisory Board. In the lower left is Miriam Kraemer Gray, Vice President of the JHSNJ and a member of the Executive Board.  To the right of Miriam,wearing his Brooklyn baseball cap and grinning like a Cheshire cat, is Alan Peck,a member of the JHSNJ Executive Board. Finally, at the very bottom is Ina Cohen Harris, the Corresponding Secretary and a member of the Executive Board of the JHSNJ.



July 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Three former Patersonians, who count themselves among the key organizers of Paterson Day FL, Rona Rosenberg Simmons, Beverly Grenker Goldman, and Susan Chlebnikow Rappaport, collaborated in the writing of this marvelous July 2017 newsletter.

We were collectively Mulberry 4-1831, Mulberry 4-5560, Sherwood 2-8921 aka Rona Rosenberg, Susan Chlebnikow, and Beverly Grenker. Over six decades ago, these telephone numbers were our Facebook with party lines, busy signals and operators. This was our Paterson, the Paterson we all left but never left behind.

Who would have thought, three great childhood friends would be reunited as neighbors and friends today in a golf community in Boynton Beach, FL? How could this have happened when I was from Carroll Street, Bev was from the 10th Avenue area, and Susan from the East Side? What bonded us in this very special city of Paterson? The “cement” for us was our progression from Camp Veritans to Brownies to Girl Scouts to Teen Programs at the YM/YWHA and to the Eastside Class of ’64.

We came from middle class families where our fathers were MD’s — meat dealers (Paterson Meat Market), mattress dealers (Sleep Mart East Paterson) and menswear dealers (Michael’s Clothing on Lower Main) — businessmen married to their jobs. Our mothers were strong Paterson women, role models who prepared our traditional holiday dinners. All three of our mothers lived long lives into their upper 90’s.

So how did the three of us wind up less than a mile apart, playing golf together on Thursdays? The closest we came to golf in Paterson was Hillman’s Driving Range, short course, mini golf and ice skating rink all in one. We were too busy finding boyfriends to care about golf. We were too busy hanging around Eastside Park watching the boys cruise around endlessly in their cars on a Sunday afternoon. We were too busy shopping at Junior Cottage (Fairlawn Avenue), Geri’s (Broadway), or Jacob’s 29, where Bev and I bought our chubby sizes, Quackenbush, Meyer Brothers and The Mart. We were going downtown, dashing into Hamburger Express (choo choo train and all) and Nedick’s before our buses arrived.

The three of us have the fondest memories at the ‘Y’ swimming pool. When collaborating on this article, we were hysterical reminiscing about what we saw through a keyhole in the girls’ locker room. Girls’ bathing suits were basically over-size woolly undershirts that drooped so low, we needed to tie them in the back with a string to prevent them from falling down.The boys swam naked (why?) and the old ladies sat nude on benches drying themselves meticulously here, there, and everywhere.

Thursday night was record and dance night at the ‘Y’ plus Tween Trails and Clubs–our home away from home. When we weren’t at the ‘Y’, we were sitting on someone’s “stoop” playing or watching stickball, stoopball, Double Dutch and Chinese jump rope. We all knew the milkman, the seltzer man and the names of every car we counted. We knew where to find our favorite ball at Bowl-O-Mat and Market Lanes. It was a simple life. We were latchkey kids, enjoying TV dinners, hot dogs and Hanna Krause. The smell of the Wonder Bread factory continues to be a delightful and delicious memory. Our Girl Scout tour of the factory ended with a reward of a freshly baked mini loaf.

We experienced many bar-mitzvahs, and not so many bat-mitzvahs. After all, we were girls… Nevertheless, we have upheld our Jewish traditions and sixty years later are still celebrating these Jewish holidays together.

Having a happy childhood in Paterson brought the three of us together. We are keeping these life changing memories and traditions alive by seeking out our old Paterson friends at luncheons, dinners, parties and golf. Thank you, Facebook. What a wonderful invention!

In the 1950’s a car pulling a massive A-frame sign would ride up and down the streets of Paterson advertising “Land for Sale in Florida. $1 an Acre.” We heard our parents say “It’s a scam. It’s under water.” If we only knew then what we know now. Three good friends are probably playing golf on that swamp land in Florida right now!
Submitted by:
Rona Rosenberg Simmons
Beverly Grenker Goldman
Susan Chlebnikow Rappaport

The first photo below is our 1957 Girl Scout troop, the second is our 1955 Brownie troop and the last one is how we appear today so many years later….Captions are embedded into the pictures. Try enlarging the photos on your own home computer to better see them.




August 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Rita Bloomfield Levin, a member of Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, has written our August 2017 newsletter.

Passaic 360 Degrees, by Rita Bloomfield Levin

The Jewish infrastructure in Passaic was set up more than a century ago. The city was settled in 1679. Three generations of the Bloomfield Family were born in Passaic. Passaic was always Passaic. It is a proud city, 3 sq. miles in size, surrounded by Clifton on 3 sides, an amalgamation of people from all over the world. All were welcome.

Although some of the Jewish population has migrated to the surrounding area, their presence has always remained in Passaic. No one really “flew the coop;” and, because there was this Jewish infrastructure, the Jewish population grew and grew and is still growing, a testament to a town whose ethnic diversity is the better for it.

2017- Upon Revisiting Passaic –
Just recently I received an invitation to a new kosher restaurant/catering hall in lower Passaic at 220 Passaic Street. It was an area that was not exactly the place where I would expect to find this type of business.

Somehow prior to this invite, I had found my dad’s long ago business card with a Passaic Street address. He was the general manager for Stark & Sons Furniture Store located at 158 Passaic Street. As we approached the facility we drove a block further and found a seemingly dilapidated building that had at one time served as the former furniture store.

We noticed that the catering hall was in a very desolate, dilapidated area. One side of the parking lot faced the new restaurant and directly across from that lot was an old factory in shambles with broken window panes and a look that could serve as a backdrop for a horror movie.

The interior of the new restaurant was truly unique and trendy. It was a full circle in distance from my family’s roots in Passaic. Within 5 blocks of 220 Passaic St. could be found the Bloomfield history in Passaic. My dad was born two minutes/2 blocks away on Second Street, corner of Market, above a saloon or so I was told. It was called the Dundee area. Nearby was B’nai Jacob Synagogue where my grandparents had been founders and members. My dad and his brothers were b’nai-mitzvot there. Right around the corner was 97 Jefferson Street, my grandparents’ 2- family home (now known as a duplex) and sandwiched between their home and the shul was my grandfather’s mattress spring business, alternatively called ‘the Shop’ or ‘the Factory on Ann Street’.

My parents lived at 181 Madison Street, also a few blocks from my grandparents’ home and up the block from ‘Beth Israel Hospital’ where my brother Allen and I were born. That street backed up to Temple Emmanuel where I went to Sunday school and was later confirmed. The rabbi was Max Zucker and the cantor was Isadore Singer. The cantor now resides in Fort Lee and attends ‘Young Israel’ where my son Edward belongs.

I went to Lafayette, Public School No. 6, and later to Public School No. 12. On parents’ visiting night, what a surprise it was that the keyboard teacher recognized my father and showed us the desk where he sat.

The now burgeoning Passaic Jewish Community is in unique areas of town and way beyond the area where the 220 Passaic Street Great Falls Bistro/Catering Hall is located. It may well become the hot spot of the future. Time will tell. If an invitation to attend a simcha in this part of town is available, by all means have a fun time and let me know your thoughts on the location. It was once a thriving mecca of business opportunities and may well become one once again if great entrepreneurship can be found.

Each area of Passaic has Jewish footprints. Monroe Street was ‘Karpen’s’ for Jewish delicacies such as the barrels of sauerkraut and pickles that made my mouth water just by entering the store.
There was the real Main Avenue downtown with stores such as Wechler’s, The Strand Shop, The Fair, Abbott’s, Ginsberg’s, Krone’s, etc. The railroad track snaked through the center of town. Let’s remember the movie theaters, the ‘Montauk’, and the ‘Central’. Lexington Avenue too had additional stores that once thrived.

The YM-YWHA was located on Washington Place, where everyone gathered for clubs (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts), meetings, festivals, and shows. I played my accordion there numerous times on various ‘amateur nights’. My dad, Joseph M. Bloomfield, was one of the editors of the ‘Y’ bulletin. He happened to also run for Commissioner and later for the Board of Education.

Passaic Park, where I grew up, has been an all-time great mixture of diverse people. I am proud to say that Passaic is and will always be my roots.

Rita Levin, member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

The top left picture is of the Passaic YM/YWHA and the top right is of Rita Bloomfield playing the accordion.

The top left picture is my confirmation class from Temple Emmanuel in Passaic. Top Row, L-R: Ronnie Feintuch, Linda Mettle, Barbara Sabin, ?, Barbara Green, Arlene Raff, Deborah ?, ?, Andrea ?. Middle Row, L-R: Ellen Gutwell, Diane ?, Rita Bloomfield, Thelma Bock, ?, ?, Debbie Simon, ?, ?. Front Row, L-R: Rosalie Schaffer, ?, Lois Locker, Hortense Cohen, Linda Blitzer, Rosalie Friedman, Muriel Rosen, Elaine Ehrenfeld, Eileen [Barbara] Katz.

The top right picture is Carol Frank’s Sweet Sixteen party on High Street in Passaic. First row, L-R: Lois Kolber, Carol Frank, ?, Shirley Meltzer, Loretta Turesky. Second row, L-R: ?, Rita Bloomfield Levin, ?, ?, Lita Weintraub, Third row, L-R : no identifications. Incidentally, Carol Frank’s father owned a fur store on Broadway in Passaic.

The top left was our beloved Central movie theater in Passaic. The top right shows the train puffing down Main Street in Passaic.

September 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the North Jersey area. Lorraine Glixon, a member of the JHSNJ, has written our September 2017 newsletter.


At times I am not sure and perhaps you can tell me who the real me is. I was born on 27 September 1929 and named Lorraine. At age 6, my mom, Gussie, her parents, sister and brother came from Lodz, Poland, where my grandfather was a weaver. My Dad, Marty, was born in New York City. Both his parents died when he was about 5 years old and he was raised by his sister, Rose Manketo, the mother of Abe, Lillian and Rhoda Manketo Chalfin.

My father, Marty Finke, the distributer of the Paterson Evening News and my mom, Gussie Freed a graduate of Paterson Normal School were married in June 1928. I can’t count the many times we moved about the city of Paterson, but I do know that we lived in the districts where I attended Pubic School # 6, Pubic School # 21 and finally where I graduated from Public School # 20 in Dec. 1943.

I remember living in the attic in my grandmother’s home at 182 Harrison Street where my great-grandfather, an Orthodox Jew, had a room. Every morning he would walk to the Barnert Temple on Straight Street and Broadway where he would spend most of the day in the orthodox shul in the basement of the temple. The Water Street, the Fair Street and the Godwin Street Shuls were not orthodox enough for him. I do remember living on E. 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenue.Spotless Cleaners was located on the corner of 9th Avenue and a wonderful candy store and a shoemaker were on the corner of 8th Avenue.

Frank X Graves Sr., my father’s best friend, moved to 8th Avenue and 25th street; and we did too. Our house at 233 8th Avenue was the first house on the corner, next to the best open lot anywhere on 8th avenue enabling all of us, friends and foes alike, to sleigh ride from that corner down the 8th avenue hill, all the way to McLean Blvd. A block away, on East 26th street, my uncle, by love, not by birth, Abe J. Greene, the World Boxing Commissioner and the Editor of the Paterson Evening News lived with his family. In the spring of 1941 Frank Sr., his wife and children, Frank Jr. and Dorothy, moved to East 42nd Street between 18th and 19th Ave., and my father decided it was time for us to move again. In Oct 1941 I was enrolled in Public School #20 and we moved to 388 E. 41st St next door to Dr. Bender, and a block away from Max Habernickle, former owners of Haband Clothes, and across from them lived attorney Teddy Rosenberg and family. At each of our moves, the fish man in his wagon and the vegetable man in his truck continued to visit us every week with fresh fish and veggies.

My father’s fleet of trucks was garaged across the street from the front door of the “ Y” on Ellison Street and my parents enrolled me in Sunday school at the “Y”. When summer arrived that first year after our move, he also made sure I became a full time participant of ‘Camp Vacation’, on the rooftop of the “Y”. What a great time that was, what wonderful counselors we had, and Herbie Susser was my favorite! I can’t name the others because I am getting too old to remember their names, but what a camp that was! The afternoons on the rooftop of the “Y” is where we had games, hose showers and napped on our towels on that hot floor. We had different subjects in the classrooms on the third floor, and art on the second floor.

The “Y” is where I learned to swim and where we wore the ugliest grey cotton bathing suits with our basket numbers on the back. Esther Yablonka was my first swim instructor. How do I remember her name after so many years? She was a woman I will never forget. I looked for any excuse I could think of to get to the pool and swim with Esther. To me, she was a woman of massive size and I was always a skinny, boney little girl. Esther would take me on her back and tell me to follow the movements of her arms, her legs, and her head. When we both did a crawl, breathe on the left, face in the water and breathe out… What a woman. As a young adult, her instructions eventually led me to enroll in the many Red Cross lifeguard classes held in the “Y” pool. It was where I began a more than 50-year history as a waterfront instructor in several sleep-away camps, and upscale hotels in and around South Miami Beach, Florida. When my youngest son began to attend Camp Veritans in the 1950’s, I became the ‘’shallow water instructor’ at Camp Veritans. Along with Ida Abramowitz, daily, we drove to camp to teach youngsters that even in the very shallowest waters, it was possible to drown if they did not know the importance of knowing how to swim. What pride we both took at camp’s end when all of our youngsters became proficient in proceeding to the next stage of their waterfront experiences.

Years passed and WWII became part of our every day existence. In January 1942, the Army Air Force established an Auxiliary in the State of New Jersey. They believed that women would soon become interested in flying and in January 1944 a call went out to girls, age 15 and sophomores in high school, to enlist and assist in the war effort. This appealed to me and I thought, what an opportunity to do something important. On 14 October 1944, I was accepted in the first All Girl Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol and found myself, with 50 other high School girls, 6 of us Jewish, in Passaic County, at the Paterson YMCA in temporary uniforms, lined up and beginning to follow orders. A week later, at the Paterson Armory and marching in formation in full WAC uniforms, I began attending a weekly class learning Morse Code, reading signal flags, identifying German war planes, learning emergency first- aid, learning artificial respiration, doing the necessary paper work to relieve men who had to report for draft calls and, appear at the local and state airports to experience our first flights. As we strapped on huge parachutes, my first flight was in a bi-wing 2-seater open cockpit, propeller driven airplane. We had to go to Newark, N.J. and learn to fly a plane through the “Link Trainer” System. What was that? A Link Trainer was a simulation of the cockpit of an airplane, but on land, in an office. In an emergency, if we were in a plane, we might be called upon to assist in landing a plane and the ‘Link Trainer’ taught us to level a plane and bring it onto the ground safely. I remained in the C.A.P. until after I graduated from Eastside High School in February 1947.

Due to unexpected financial problems there were no funds for a college education but I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way. With some help from older family friends, I headed off on the overnight train to Miami, Florida; to a tiny, single, very cheap room and within 2 days I found work in the Leslie Hotel in Miami Beach and learned to use a plug- in telephone switchboard. At the same time, I took the bus over to the U. of Florida and enrolled in night classes in journalism and accounting; both subjects which aided me in finding employment during the years I lived in Florida and beyond. I found a furnished apartment across from Biscayne Bay, learned to sail a boat, taught swimming at local hotels, became involved in local politics, made lifelong friends and eventually returned to Paterson. I met my future husband, a veteran of WWII, Bernie Neufeld, brother of Donald and Harold, married, settled down, became members of the Hebrew Free School, also known as the Community Synagogue, where our 3 sons, Arthur, Bruce and Daniel celebrated their Bar-Mitzvot, and life went on as it was supposed to. At this time, my father, age 51, suffered a severe heart attack and died on 26th July 1959. That tragedy was the first of my losses. In my youth I had been a member of Junior Hadassah, and, as an adult, I became a member of Senior Hadassah. In time I became Donor Chair, Treasurer and then V.P., all learning experiences on my way to what became a “Volunteer Extraordinaire”. Using the education I received at U. Florida, and with the help of brother-in-law, Donald, partner in Dorfman, Abrams & Music, Accounting firm, I did the bookkeeping for the business. All went well until Bernie became ill in December 1970 and died on 15th April 1971. That was my second great loss. ‘Difficult’ was not the word for it. With the opening of the Garden State Plaza and the Bergen Mall, our business came to almost a standstill and eventually we closed the doors. Now what? Arthur was still in college, Bruce went off to U. of Connecticut, Daniel was in private day school in Bergen County and daily, I began to drive into New York City to work for a multi-million dollar, fine printing paper house doing their accounting. Big responsibility, and daily, I felt rewarded by the success of my short education at U. of Florida. It wasn’t too long after, that I was introduced to Eugene Robson, a New York attorney, and also a veteran of WWII. Two years later he moved to Paterson and we married and drove into Manhattan daily to work.

Bruce had been living on Kibbutz Usha, Israel and spent 3 months exploring the eastern part of Africa when he decided to return to U.Conn. He earned his B.S. in fruit and vegetable diseases and made ‘aliyah’ to live and work at Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanese border with Israel. Two years later he became ill and returned to the states. After being diagnosed with A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) on 12th May 1978, he entered Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York and 4 months later, to the day, he passed way. That was the third of my many losses. The only hospice available for help was at St. Vincent in N.Y. and at the time, I knew nothing about hospice care.

In 1983 Eugene decided to retire and after working in my company for 9 ½ years, I submitted my resignation. Now, what to do and where to go? The boys were out of the house and I was no longer preparing snacks and ‘on the spot meals’ for many of their friends. I was a cook, a good one, and we decided to move to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where we had many friends. What would I do there? Aha!! Do what I knew best. On 26 acres of land in the middle of Rappahannock County I rebuilt a 4 bedroom, split level house, to accommodate over-night visitors to the area, a country inn, and named it ‘Meadowood’. Paterson was always in the picture, as I would drive to N. J. at least once a month to visit Sunshine’s kosher deli on Park Avenue and E.33rd Street for fresh sliced lox and kosher pastrami, and to bring bagels and fresh rye bread back on each trip. Eugene had never lived outside of Manhattan but he learned to till my gardens and pick fresh fruits and veggies on the property. He volunteered to work at the local Historical Society to codify their rules, laws and legal papers and I filled in what little spare time I had educating myself on Harriet Keebler Ross’ history of hospice care. In due time I became Director of the “Hospice of the Rapidan”, the 5 counties surrounding the area we lived in. My volunteer credentials began to increase and, when business at the Inn was slow, I would drive to my office in Culpepper, VA, complete necessary paper work and visit all of the volunteers working in private homes, with sick and dying residents of the Rapidan. Through the efforts of local doctors, my executive board and the volunteers, we convinced Culpepper Hospital to donate the use of a suite for the care of hospice inpatients. In June 1986, pushing a hand lawn mower in 95 degree temperature, Eugene suffered a severe coronary and with hospice care survived until Labor Day, the 2nd of September 1985, as the second of my husbands passed away. That was now my fourth loss.

It was difficult to maintain my inn. It required more hands to work the grounds, more income other than my hospice salary provided me and certainly more income when the inn was not booked up. I found a bookkeeping job with one of the local farmers who grew Belgian endives for $5.00 an hour. It was just enough to carry me over each month until the height of each season; however, it was all becoming too much for me. I resigned my position at the hospice. The inn went on the market in September 1987 and I signed a Deed of Sale on the 20th of November 1987, and found an apartment in Manassas, VA, packed up bag and baggage, began courses on the computer and found a job at a legal firm in downtown Washington, D.C. where I commuted every day. Life was acceptable even in this strange new environment, but I also found the Montgomery County J.C.C. where I found new friends, volunteered in Suburban Hospital in Chevy Chase, MD, and, I was at peace with the world. I was again a single, unattached female and I joined the forces of others in the same position. Although I had a different history than most of the other women, there were too many of us and I didn’t like the odds. I continued to drive to Paterson at least once a month trying to reestablish old friendships, but most of my friends were at least 10 years older and were no longer living. As I write this newsletter, the only friend still living is Ruth Gabin Greenberg, a true and devoted friend of both Bernie and mine from way back when.

My mother, while living in Florida, would commute, by bus, to my sister in Paterson and now, to me, in the Blue Ridge, never happy wherever she was. Her depression had gotten so bad that she was hospitalized in Culpepper several times. Eventually she returned to Florida.

The J.C.C. did bring singles together and as luck would have it, on the eve of one of my planned trips before my move, I met Harry Glixon, a professional electrical engineer. He worked at the Pentagon and was a frequent traveler to Australia and Alaska on business and pleasure. He was another WWII veteran who was also a former P.O.W. during the War. His history convinced me, as time went by, that I had more to offer as a volunteer to the greater community wherever I lived. My mother was back in the picture again, an emergency call from a Florida State Hospital advised me that she was confined for her own safety. After her third attempt at it, she was successful in taking her own life on 28th August 1990. That was my fifth great loss.

Harry and I married on 29 March 1993 and lived in his home until August 2003 when we moved to Sarasota, Florida. We both registered as Life Members in the Ex-POW programs; we were both members of the J.W.V. (Jewish War Veterans) and both of us became members of the D.A.V., (Disabled American Veterans). During WWII, Harry had received 2 Purple Hearts and 2 Bronze Stars for his service above and beyond the call of duty to his country and he showed me his eligibility to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at the time of his death. I was not interested in thinking about death when we married but shortly after we were married in 1994 Harry was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease (P.D.) and our lives changed forever. After an exciting but difficult trip to Germany and to France, we began to travel through the National Parks in spring and summers and then winter in Port Charlotte, Florida. On our return to Maryland in the spring of 2003 his P.D. had advanced and he was no longer able to climb stairs in either of his homes and I had to become a full time caregiver. After a very speedy trip to Florida I found our future home which was perfect by any measure. No stairs, lots of space, a pool to exercise in daily, many organizations to participate in and friendly neighbors. The move was complete and we hired help for Harry which gave me extra time to participate in projects of interest to me. I volunteered at Doctors Hospital, a 15-minute drive from the house. With no J.C.C. nearby, I found an interest in the J.F.C.S. (Jewish Family & Children’s Service) and began to work with seniors but after 2 years found it depressing and switched to working with the V.P. of Development. Due to an unusual accident, Harry’s P.D. advanced and on the morning of December 10th, 2007, Harry lost his battle with life. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on 1st February 2008. My 3 WWII husbands were all gone. And now my losses had reached number 6.

In January 2009 the construction of a new Veterans Cemetery was opened and Sarasota National Cemetery (S.N.C.) was and is the perfect place for me to volunteer; I was asked to work in the Administration Building. On June 28, 2014, Patriot Plaza was donated to NCA during a dedication fully underwritten by the Patterson Foundation. The Patterson Foundation (T.P.F.) a private foundation which honors the Patterson family, is the first-of-a-kind partnership with the National Cemetery Administration (N.C.A.), building a legacy for generations to come. The Patterson Foundation can trace its roots back to Joseph Medill who helped establish the Republican Party and was influential in Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency. President Lincoln established the National Cemetery System in 1862.

Patriot Plaza is not a memorial. Its mission is to “HONOR SERVICE, INSPIRE PATRIOTISM, AND EMBRACE FREEDOM. In March 2014, I enlisted as a docent and have participated in every event held at the Plaza. There are no costs to visit Patriot Plaza and any and all events held at the Plaza are free and open to the public.

My first and oldest son, Arthur Neufeld, was a social studies and history teacher at Eastside High School for years and was director of the summer camp in Fair Lawn for many years. He developed a lingering illness which physicians were unable to diagnose. After many futile diagnoses, a laboratory in Canada found the answer. As of today, Churg Straus Syndrome still has no cure. On Leap year, 29th February 2012, Arthur passed away and was laid to rest across from his father and near his brother, his grandparents and other family members. My sister, Anita, became ill and died on 8th January 2013. Arthur’s wife, Lois Gordon Neufeld, became ill shortly after Arthur’s death and lost her battle with life on 20th August 2016.

I’m now on the cusp of being 88 years old and I am still going strong and looking forward to contributing additional years as a volunteer in my Sarasota community. “As I read over the words you have just read, I think how lucky I have been to see the failures and then the successes I have experienced in my lifetime… My losses have been more than any one person should have to bear; however, I have had a philosophy that has carried me to this day which is, “We, you and I, cannot change yesterday but because today is here and now we must all look for a brighter day tomorrow.”

Always Paterson,
Lorraine Finke, Neufeld, Robson-Glixon, member of the JHSNJ

That’s me in my Civil Air Patrol uniform in the top left photo. The image on the right is of my parents taken on their wedding day, 6/28/28.


This picture was taken at the Paterson “Y” pool at the time we were receiving instructions from a Red Cross official. I am in the front row, third from the left. Billy Stern, of “Dave Stern Tires” is in the second row, third from the left. “Big Lou Fink” is in the top row, 4th from the left.


This is me today, 88 and still going strong…………….

October 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Jules Zalon, a member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, has written our October 2017 newsletter.

I still have a lot of Paterson blood in my veins, having lived in or around it virtually all my life . . . at least until moving to sunny Southern California in late 2015. Before heading west I’d lived in the Oranges since 1974 . . . but even then, I always felt that tug of sentimentality. For example, I would ride my recumbent ‘trike’ to the Great Falls on a fairly regular basis – 10 miles from home – often dipping down into town and then up Broadway through the East Side before turning south towards home through Passaic.

The Zalons “invaded” Paterson in the 1910s. My grandfather was a cobbler; then a shopkeeper, finally buying and vastly expanding Riverside Linen Supply ten years later, a business the entire Zalon family operated until the late 1980s. My father was an early member of the Veritans, and a tireless worker on Jewish community matters throughout his life. How could I not feel a great affinity for the community I grew up in?

So after recounting a pretty unlikely experience – when a baseball legend asked me for my autograph – and I was asked by the JHSNJ to write it up as my contribution to this month’s newsletter, it made sense that I was requested to emphasize how my growing up in Paterson led to my choice of a career as a lawyer. But like George Washington (or so the story goes), I cannot tell a lie: My decision to go to law school had very little to do with Paterson, unless you factor in the two Patersonians connected to the decision: Paul Jaffe and Arnold Cohen.

Paul and I were in the Army, stationed at Ft. Knox in August, 1960, and one Saturday morning we got a weekend pass, hopped into my Triumph TR3, and headed to the student union at Louisville University to see if we could meet some girls. Along the way, we walked past the law school and decided to look around. We were met by a friendly professor and – just for fun – I asked what it would take to get accepted. After answering a few questions, he announced that he is also the dean of admissions, and he accepted me on the spot! At first I thought it was a joke, but when I told my father about the incident, he says, “Good! Go!”

Paulie actually had a big influence: he had been accepted to medical school in Basel, Switzerland, and he would spend most evenings in the base’s library studying German, a language he simply didn’t know. And for lack of anything better to do, I accompanied him and – for the first time in my life – actually began reading … books, something I had hardly done through 4 years of college. It was at that point that I remembered that my good friend Arnold Cohen had already started law school. Suddenly confident of my new-found ability to sit down and read anything, I decided that, “if Arnie could go to law school, so could I.” (How I ultimately got into NYU with my lousy college grades still amazes me.) But that, as they say, is the ‘emess!’

My modest contribution to the law was the creation, in 1980, of a novel legal procedure quickly dubbed the “John Doe Seizure Procedure,” pursuant to which federal judges authorized – for the first time – the seizure of counterfeit merchandise from anyone found to be peddling those bootleg items . . . initially in the vicinity of rock concert venues. The procedure enabled rock groups and their merchandisers to finally get control over the sale of T-shirts and other souvenirs at their concerts … and led to a huge increase in merchandise sales at the venues. Not surprisingly, I became very popular in the concert field, and suddenly found myself running around the country with Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Van Halen, Rush, The Dave Matthews Band, The Los Angeles Raiders, Dennis Rodman, The Who, Michael Jackson and scores of other entertainers. Some rather unusual seizure orders involved the Pope, The Three Stooges, Pablo Picasso, and two “high end” pornographers. [Hey, somebody had to do it!]

While these lawsuits initially involved the seizure of merchandise from itinerant peddlers (the “John Does” found outside concert venues or sports stadiums), the seizure procedure quickly morphed into a more traditional form of lawsuit, in which an actual business premises became the target of a raid.

In 1988, I filed an action in Chicago against a poster company in St. Charles, Illinois, obtaining a court order to seize the bootleg merchandise we had traced to their premises. The order directed the United States Marshals to accompany me to the premises and execute the order.

Since the order was not issued until close to noon, we put off enforcement until the following day. So my client Alan Shorr (an avid baseball fan) and I decided to take in an afternoon game at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs were playing – I believe – San Diego. At the time, the Cubbies only played day games at Wrigley. The light stanchions had just been installed, but the lights themselves had not yet been used. Too bad, in a way, that they were installed at all. It may have been Ernie Banks – Mr. Cub – (or was it Andy Pafko?) who said that every ballplayer ought to be a Cub for at least one season; so they can play baseball “as God intended it to be played: in sunshine; in the afternoon!”

The following morning, bright and early, we met a team of Deputy United States Marshals in the lobby of the Midlands Hotel in downtown Chicago. Since this was a mostly novel experience for the Marshals, it was my job to explain to them what we were likely to encounter at the premises, and how these seizures generally went down. At some point during our roughly 15 minute confab (my client, 4 Deputies and me), who do you think came waltzing down the main staircase – “Mr. Cub” himself, Ernie Banks. My client immediately abandoned our discussion and began an animated conversation with someone who can truly be described as baseball royalty. In due course he asked Banks if he would wait in the lobby so he could run up to his hotel room and retrieve the program from the game the day before, so he could get Banks’ autograph; and Banks agreed. After Alan returned to the lobby and obtained Banks’ autograph, Banks noticed my own animated discussion with the Deputy Marshals, and asked Alan, “What’s going on over there?” Alan proudly responded: “Oh, that’s my famous lawyer, Jules Zalon. He’s briefing the United States Marshals before we go out and seize bootleg merchandise.” At which point, Ernie went over to me and asked for MY autograph! {And that is also the ‘emess’.}

Shows you what kind of a guy Ernie Banks was….

Jules Zalon, member of the JHSNJ


November 2017

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Helen Zegerman Schwimmer, a member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, has written our November 2017 Newsletter.

You Can Take the Boy Out of Garfield, by Helen Zegerman Schwimmer

That’s my favorite go-to expression whenever I suspect that my husband, Richard, a well-educated and widely traveled senior has slipped into a small town frame of mind.

What do I mean by that? Growing up in the 1950’s, his bucolic little town of Garfield, in northern New Jersey, embodied the vision of the American dream that the future held infinite possibilities. One of his most treasured childhood memories is standing at his kitchen window, that faced the high school, and listening to the inspiring melodies played by the Garfield Cadets Marching Band as they practiced their intricate routines.

If you applied yourself and worked hard you could achieve whatever you set your mind to. It was a work ethic he observed daily watching his parents, Abe and Frieda Schwimmer, as they put in a seven day work week for 25 years in their Prospect Pharmacy. Although his father was the pharmacist, his mother was his right hand and very often even his left.

Richard got to know Garfield intimately the summer that he worked as a postman. As the new kid on the block they broke him in by giving him the most grueling route. So on his first day, as he dragged the heavy leather bag up and down the Garfield hills and up and down the long porch steps, he got little satisfaction but a lot of flak. One elderly lady berated him for being late because she was used to receiving her mail by 10a.m. and here it was already after 2p.m.

He came home exhausted and discouraged. When he complained to his parents, who knew something about exhaustion, they told him to suck it up and deal with it. Valuable advice that served him well later in life when he was faced with other unpleasant experiences, like 24-hour workdays when he was a medical intern.

A little family history now follows. His mother was born on the lower east-side in NYC to a family who came to America with a wave of Russian Jewish immigrants in the late 1800’s. His father and grandmother came here from Czechoslovakia in 1908 when he was just an infant. In the 1930’s his father aspired to be a doctor but religious quotas and economic hardships kept him from receiving a medical education. Instead he attended the Columbia University School of Pharmacy. And so, along with the antibiotics and the cold remedies, he also dispensed a generous dose of TLC to anyone who walked through the door of the Prospect Pharmacy.

The Schwimmers, along with the Turetsky family, the proprietors of the local liquor store, and the Meltzer family who took care of everyone’s sporting goods needs, were among a small group of Jewish families who owned businesses along bustling Outwater Lane. Although the Jewish population of Garfield consisted of only ten families they built the Garfield Jewish Center, which became the center of their social activities. Abe Schwimmer served as its president from 1963-64. For the holidays they attended services at Temple Emmanuel in nearby Passaic where Abe was also a member of the choir.

While the Schwimmers were pursuing the American dream, my parents, survivors of the Holocaust, and my brother and I languished in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. We were finally able to immigrate to America in 1951 where my father, a master craftsman, rebuilt his life by helping rebuild Brooklyn. Richard and I met in 1968, a blind date that has lasted 49 years. Together we have built a life and a family with three children who each have families of their own who we are blessed to see often since we all live within the tri-state area.

After graduating Brooklyn College with a B.A. degree in English, I worked in the advertising field throughout my husband’s years at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and during his internship and residency at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. He was among the last group of doctors who were officially drafted into the military from 1974 to 1976. He fulfilled his obligation to Uncle Sam by serving as one of two pediatricians who cared for dependent children at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine where over 600 newborns were delivered each year.

There was no ICU at the base hospital so whenever my husband had an at-risk newborn he had to summon the MedEvac plane to transport the infant to Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. It was a DC-9 fully equipped hospital that he compared to the space age Goldfinger plane in the James Bond movie.

Loring, a Strategic Air Command Base, was located at the northernmost tip of the state of Maine so it often took over six hours for the MedEvac, which flew throughout the country, to reach the base. Whenever a severely ill newborn needed intensive care during Richard’s medical training, my husband was accustomed to immediately transferring the baby to the ICU in his New York hospital; however, on the military base precious hours were wasted waiting for the MedEvac. Richard found that unacceptable. So what did he do? He complained! Almost instantly his complaint was passed along to the base wing commander who arrived at the nursery to assess the situation. Although he couldn’t help on that day he promised that the next time there was an emergency he would have a KC 135 tanker plane, a modified Boeing 707, whose main mission is to refuel other planes, at my husband’s disposal. The wing commander, a very imposing figure who looked like a cross between Generals Patton and Schwarzkopf, was as good as his word.

One specific infant comes to mind, a preemie that weighed only one and a half pounds. I watched in awe as the hospital personnel loaded the tiny incubator onto the enormous Air Force tanker plane, a scene that was to be repeated numerous times so that they were able to save many lives as a result of this innovation.

My husband and I fell in love with Maine and planned to settle in Bangor after his date of separation from the Air Force, July 4, 1976, when he was officially retired as Major Schwimmer. However, family obligations brought us back to Brooklyn where my husband was introduced to his partner of 18 years, Dr. Leonard Sacharow z”l.

Dr. Schwimmer insisted on practicing medicine the old fashioned way by making house calls on his little patients. During the energy crisis of 1979 he invested in a moped and drove all over Brooklyn with his black bag perched in a basket behind him. One night a cop stopped him, curious about his license plate, MDKIDS. He was amazed to learn that a doctor was riding around making house calls in such an unconventional vehicle.

Just another example of the small town boy whose life was built on the solid foundation provided for him by his parents and dedicated teachers, like Mrs. Vesta Smith of Woodrow Wilson School No. 5, who nurtured his ambitions so that he can proudly say that although he left Garfield over fifty years ago, Garfield has never left him. Helen Zegerman Schwimmer, member of the JHSNJ
This story is adapted from Helen Zegerman Schwimmer’s inspiring book, The Wedding Gown That Made History & Other Stories, available from For more information please visit

The above photos were taken in 1973. The above left photo shows Abe and Frieda Schwimmer inside their Prospect Pharmacy and the photo on the right shows them posing outside their pharmacy.

The above left photo is of Garfield’s 20th anniversary parade. The above right photo is of Richard and Helen Schwimmer and their grandchildren.

December 2017 Newsletter from the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey – Part I

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Jerry Rubinowitz, a member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, has written our December 2017 newsletter. Due to the length and the accompanying photos of this newsletter it will appear in two installments. Part I follows and Part II will be published and distributed tomorrow evening.

Where to begin…? Our maternal grandfather, Morris Blender, arrived in the United States in 1911 and took up residency on Jasper Street in Paterson. He married and he and his wife Dora had four children. Within a couple of years after their fourth child was born, Dora became ill and passed away. A couple of years later, he was introduced to my grandmother Katie, who had been widowed, and who had three children of her own, before her husband Louis passed away. Katie and Morris were married, and Katie and her three daughters, including my mother Ruth, moved to “the farm” as we all called it. Morris owned a dairy farm on Prospect Street in Fair Lawn, where he was among the first Jewish families to move to the tiny community that was at that time part of the Township of Saddle River. Together they had two more children totaling nine. There were eighteen grandchildren in total from these nine and I am sure that I speak for virtually all the rest of the cousins that instead of three families, there was, in fact, only one. I for one, grew up not even knowing which of my cousins came from which marriage. As the family grew and got older several moved to Paterson and eventually some moved back to Fair Lawn once again.

A short history of where Katie and Morris came from is necessary to continue this story. Katie came from a small shtetl in Russia called Kraslava. Morris came from Hrubieszow in Poland. That town was in an area of Poland that was, at various times, under the control of Russia, sometimes Germany and at other times part of the Polish Empire. Morris was born there while it was under Russian control and he left and immigrated to the United States on his own. He left behind quite a large family of parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Several of his cousins were not yet born when he left. Over the years he kept in contact with them all but none of them emigrated to the U.S. except for his brother Sam, who also became a farmer in Fair Lawn. Once World War II began, Morris lost touch with all his family and we were always told that they all perished in the Holocaust. Grandpa Morris would not speak about them or his life there but would merely say that they were all gone.

Let’s skip ahead many years to 1997. It was at this point in time that my wife Linda and I became interested in genealogy and began to put together a family tree that had eight legs. We used the parents of each of our four grandparents as our base. Genealogy is a fascinating subject and with perseverance it opens the door to a vast study of yesteryear. The possibilities are endless. With the advent and expansion of the internet universe the horizons are broadened beyond all belief. Sources are available today that not too many moons ago were unheard of. When we first started, we could search the records of Ellis Island, ships’ manifests, census reports, immigration and naturalization records by going to the archive offices of the United States in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. etc. Searching references of foreign records of birth, death, marriage, etc. could be made by a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. There the public records have been copied and placed on micro-film at the Library of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Unfortunately, all the records from Poland were not available at the same time as my ongoing project. More recently, those records were made available at their libraries in New York and several other cities. Suffice it to say that as of today, all those records are now available for searching at various sources on line via the internet. A searching by name tool has been developed called “Soundex”, whereby the searcher need not know the exact spelling of a person or place. The tool will provide all the possible alternatives and search using multiple possibilities.

Not having any luck finding the records of Grandpa Morris’s family, one of my cousins, who was also interested in finding out the history of the family, began to search the internet by asking for anyone who might have known the fate of the Blender family from Hrubieszow. Over a period of time, and having made many inquiries without success, he began to ask only about anyone who knew anything about the town of Hrubieszow itself. Finally, a person from California responded and as a result of a phone call information was exchanged about a person from Monticello, NY who knew all about Hrubieszow. With much perseverance, my cousin spoke to that Monticello contact and asked if he had ever heard of the Blender family from his home town. He indicated that he had never heard of this family, but he did know of the “Blander” family. Close enough, my cousin thought. What did he know about where they had all been killed? The startling response was, “they were not all killed. Many of them still live in Israel, including a dear friend of the person from Monticello. As a matter of fact, he said, “he will be in California for a Bar-Mitzvah soon. “Do you have his phone information?”, he was asked? “Of course”. The search was now on, and here begins the real story.

My youngest aunt, who has lived in Fair Lawn all her life, and speaks a little Yiddish got on the phone and called the phone number in Israel. Avraham Blander answered and my aunt proceeded to tell him, as best she could, that she thinks they may be related. Avraham became very wary of this inquiry and hesitated to respond directly to her questions. Finally, she said that her father’s name was Morris or Motcha and that his father’s name was Szia. Upon hearing the name “Szia”, Avraham’s response was “you mean my Uncle Szia?” The door was now open and all sorts of newly discovered family information began to flow. Avraham had been born in 1927, some sixteen years after Morris Blender had left Hrubieszow, and they never knew of or heard of each other. Indeed, he was coming to the U.S. for a Bar-Mitzvah in California in October and would make a detour on his way home to Afula, Israel.

Jerry Rubinowitz, member, Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

The image on the above left is of Carol Lazerowitz (Blender) on the left. Matla Blander, Avraham Blander’s wife, is on the right. The above right picture is of Avraham Blander on the left with his daughter Devorah on the right.

The above left photo is of Avraham Blander’s son-in-law (Chaim Zev), Chana’s husband, on his moshav in Israel. The above right photo is of the aunt and cousin of Morris Blender – Ethel Vilder Bilinsky on the left and Edna Mordekovicz (Blander) on the right. 

December 2017 Newsletter from the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey – Part II

Our newsletters are currently being written by a revolving group of Board members and guest writers drawn from our membership list. We encourage readers who wish to submit prospective future newsletters to do so. Topics can range from neighborhoods, businesses, camps, or community centers and could include family memories or personal experiences you have had in the north Jersey area. Jerry Rubinowitz, a member of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, has written our December 2017 newsletter. Due to the length and the accompanying photos of this newsletter it was scheduled to appear in two installments. Part I was sent last night and Part II appears below.

Part II – From this point, our story moves on to several events. The first, relates to the family reunion when Avraham and his wife Matla came to N.J. Virtually all of Morris’s descendants met at my Aunt Carol’s house for this occasion. We spent one of the most exciting afternoons possible together. In the limited time that we tried to find out all about the families that none of us ever knew about. Meticulous notes were taken to fill in the missing links in family tree. The Bergen Record newspaper had been made aware of the forthcoming reunion and they had recorded the history of this search. During the week of Thanksgiving in 1998 the lead story in the second section of the paper read “lost family found on the internet”, followed by the entire story. There is more to the story of Avraham Blander. When the Germans arrived in the shtetl of Hrubieszow and herded the Jewish population off to the concentration camps, they left a small band of youngsters in their early teens to tend to the Jewish part of the town. During that period about 50% of the population was Jewish. Avraham Blander and his friends were among that group. As an aside, it should be noted that Henry Orenstein, the Toy and Doll manufacturer, was one of the group that included my grandfather Morris’s cousin who authored a book that chronicled this series of events titled “I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust”. That book was published in 1990 by the Oxford University Press. He and his friends were later led to one of the concentration camps where they remained until they were liberated. Following the war, he eventually found his way to Eretz Yisroel and took up residency in Afula. He married his wife Matla and raised a family there.

Now begins the next chapter of this wonderful story. Avraham had told us that his cousin Edna was coming to the U.S. with her husband, Shmuel Mordikovicz. They too lived in Afula and had raised three sons. They were going to let us know when they would arrive. In preparation for their arrival and our excitement at the possibility of a ‘face to face’ meeting with that the part of the family that had been thought to be long lost but was now rediscovered, we began to arrange for an even bigger family get-together. The day of their arrival finally was upon us and the family gathered for yet another welcome celebration. Contact had been made with one of the TV stations and WOR-TV sent a new team to interview and film this historic event. In preparation of this second get-together, I used a large banner to lay out the Blender family tree with as much of the lost part of the family being included as I had gleaned from Avraham when we first met.

I guess I should point out that Avraham and Edna were the off-springs of two of Grandpa Morris’s father’s brothers. Anyway, when Edna and Shmuel Mordekovicz arrived, they brought with them one of their sons, Avi, who we later learned lived in East Rockaway, NY. He had been here for several years already. When they first came in they were still apprehensive as to whether this story was true or was a hoax. We sat down at a table and took out the family tree layout and when they looked at it they saw exactly where they fit in and indeed their names were already filled in. It was if a bright light went on. I still get goose bumps remembering their expressions. The historic plot now deepens. Edna was one of a group of young teenagers that are to as ‘the children of the forest’. She too grew up in the Hrubieszow area, in a nearby shtetl called Cihobusz. Much has been written about them. They survived the entire occupation of Europe by the Germans hiding and living in the forest. Shmuel and his brother survived the concentration camps and became part of a very famous rebel group. They were part of the passenger uprising on the “Exodus”. Yes, the same ship about which Leon Uris wrote the famous book, later made into the movie “Exodus” directed by Otto Preminger. He tells me that to this day the surviving passengers celebrate an annual get together. He still has the original newspaper clippings and other original documents of that voyage. The afternoon that we spent together was reported on that evening on Channel 9 News and was forever recorded in our minds. Shortly after that get-together, Edna and Shmuel sent us an invitation to their youngest son Gadi’s wedding in Israel and, of course ,we went. There we met other cousins and their descendants as well as Grandpa Morris’s surviving aunt.

If you are interested in the Bergen Record account of my family story the link follows immediately:

Jerry Rubinowitz, member, Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

The above left image is of a dinner at the home of Avraham and Matla Blanda in Afula, Israel. The above right image is of  the wedding of cousin Gadi Mordekovicz in Caesarea, Israel – left to right – Edna Mordekovicz, Carol Lazerowitz (Blender), Matla Blander, Avraham Blander.

The above left image is of Shmuel Mordekovicz, a passenger on the ‘Exodus’, Devorah Keren (Blander), Chana Zev (Blander), (two daughters of Avraham Blander). The above right picture is, of course, the famous ship, ‘Exodus.’