Dear Readers,In previous newsletters we have peeked inside burlesque houses, driven all over downtown Paterson and Route 4 to shop at stores founded by “Jewish merchants” and have stepped inside a diverse little “neighborhood with no name.” Now we have decided to hit the “rewind” button and go back 85 years and “pause” in the year 1930. We want to share with you the many little treasures that we unearthed…some happy, some sad and all of them interesting. Some scions of those mentioned herein still live in the area.The following are just a few news items selected from 1930 Paterson “Criterions” published by the YM/YWHA:
It seemed that garages were not the place to be that year. We found that in April 1930 two of our leading Paterson citizens died of carbon monoxide gas poisoning within days of each other. Michael S. Germansky, 53, silk manufacturer, died in the garage in the rear of his home at 335 Seventeenth Avenue. Surviving him was his widow and three children, Doris, Morris and Abraham. Another victim of carbon monoxide gas poisoning that week was well known furniture businessman Abe Levy, 57, who was also found dead in his garage at the rear of his home at 223 Wall Avenue. He left behind his widow. Another unfortunate story involving a garage occurred when Charles Geist, 36, women’s apparel shop owner, left Paterson on an automobile trip on May 24th to go to Los Angeles. He stopped at a garage for auto repairs in New Mexico. The structure collapsed when it was struck by a tornado. Mr. Geist was killed. Joel E. Lowenthal another local businessman who was accompanying Mr. Geist on the trip narrowly escaped death. Mr. Geist was survived by his widow Augusta and three children, Herbert, Hortense and Sidney and three brothers, Herbert, Phil and David.
In our research we also noticed that oceans, ponds and lakes were “almost” not the places to be either. In July, a passing steamer rescued four young men from their sinking sloop off the coast of Bridgeport, Connecticut. One of them was Charles Kaufman, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kaufman of 777 Fourteenth Avenue, Paterson. The young men were sailing the sloop to Bermuda on a vacation jaunt when a storm wrecked their craft. In August, while patrolling Barbour’s Pond, West Paterson, “Y” life guards Jupe Fine and Albert Guntsharsky, rescued thirteen year old Joe Ferrazano of Passaic, from drowning. Miss Lillian Spivak, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Spivak of 445 East 26th Street, became a June bride when she was married in New York City to Irving Frye, a member of the New York City police department, who four years earlier, rescued her from drowning in the Central Park lake.
A few others who were married that year without as much drama were Miss Ruth Blumberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Isadore E. Blumberg, of Passaic, and Charles Turndorf, son of Mrs. Anna Turndorf, of Paterson. Also Miss Ruth Dimond, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Dimond and Edward Slater, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Slater, all of Paterson. And lastly, Miss Fannie Press, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Press and Dr. Julius Mann, son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Mann, also all of Paterson.
On another interesting note, three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lefkowitz of 388 Park Avenue became graduates. Miss Katherine Lefkowitz graduated from Beaver College; Miss Josephine Lefkowitz from Eastside High School and Miss Blanche V. Lefkowitz from P.S. No. 13…all with honors. Solomon Bookstaber of 441 Main Street, a student of Rutgers University, was praised for good scholarship and placed on the school’s honor roll. Samuel Hochman of 260 Hamilton Avenue was among those who passed the state bar examination. Hochman was a graduate of Central High School and of New Jersey Law School.
Rabbi Jacques Landau, of Temple Ados Emuno of Hoboken, occupied the pulpit for Friday night services in the Barnert Memorial Temple in early February. The subject was “Youth Asks a Question.” Rabbi Max Raisin of Barnert Temple spoke in Rabbi Landau’s pulpit that same night. Four months later in June, a reception was held after Sabbath services in Barnert Temple to bid farewell of Rabbi Raisin, who left to spend the summer in Germany. He was invited to fill the pulpit of the Reform Gemeinde, the leading Jewish congregation of Berlin, during the month of August…the first time that an American rabbi had been called to be a guest preacher for a long period in a European pulpit of prominence. In addition to members of the congregation who wished him “bon voyage” were delegates from Jephtha Lodge, B’nai Brith, the Humboldt lodge of Masons and other organizations. Rabbi Raisin wrote to his friends from Dresden, Germany, that he enjoyed the city’s museums, castles and art gallery.
Among the passengers who sailed aboard the “S. S. Majestic” for Europe in June was Joseph Rambam of 416 Nineteenth Avenue, Paterson. Mr. Rambam visited friends and relatives in Warsaw, Paris and Berlin and returned in August.In July “Jews Without Money, by Michael Gold” was reviewed in the “Y” Library. It purports to be a dramatic, pictorial snapshot of the lower East Side section of New York filled with descriptions of life in that solitary world. It deals with the life story of a growing boy, who is brought face to face with social sins that even to him are atrocious. He believes that all East Side boys are brought up for the electric chair. There are startling and shocking admissions in this book.Some young men who celebrated Bar Mitzvah in 1930 were: Irving Berman, Arnold L. Sacks, Bernard Adler, Jerome Brawer, Irving Rosenstein, Fred B. Wolf, Alvin Howard Krakower, Floyd Finklestein, twins Gilbert and Edgar Simon, Ralph M. Newman, Leonard Rosenthal, Murray Harris, Alvin Bloom and Leslie Kravitz. We found one confirmant named Eleanor Rhode but are sure there were many more.
In October, Samuel Klugherz, 93, passed away at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Max Rosen of 253 Derrom Avenue. He came to Paterson in 1889 where he soon set up his successful photographer’s studio. Coming to this country from Germany in 1865, he was one of the best known members of Paterson’s Jewish community. Surviving him were two children, Blanche and Leo H. Klugherz, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. The JHSNJ possesses many of his original photographs and they are making their appearances on our weekly feature “Photo Friday.”
Playing at the U.S. Theatre in December 1930 were “The Virtuous Sin” with Walter Huston and Kay Francis, “Follow Thru” with Buddy Rogers and Nancy Carroll and “Morocco” with Marlene Deitrich, Gary Cooper and Adolphe Menjou. Ms. Deitrich was billed as “The New Mysterious star” and as “The Newest Sensation of the Talking Screen.”
This newsletter would not be complete if we did not remind you that we at the JHSNJ are having our own “presentation.” On May 12th we are having our Third Annual Tribute Dinner honoring Moe Liss. He’s not the “new mysterious star” or the “newest sensation.” He has been around a long time devoting his time and talents to helping others for more than 60 years. He is also deservedly one of the ‘best known members of Paterson’s Jewish community’ and way beyond. Please attend our event at the Washington Township YJCC.
Let’s “Show for Moe!”
Have a happy Passover.
Dorothy Douma Greene
JHSNJ NEWS UPDATE: The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey owns many materials relating to Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and its work in northern New Jersey. Included are newsletters, scrapbooks, correspondence, brochures, clippings, and photographs. Below are the cover and the president’s message of a 1972 newsletter from the Fair Lawn chapter. Appropriately, as we reach the holiday of Passover, the newsletter announces “a special dramatic presentation of today’s ‘Exodus’” regarding “Americans and Russians in Israel.” The first page contains a Passover message from Evelyn Goshin, president of the Fair Lawn chapter. Please visit our website (jhsnj.wordpress.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/JHSNJ) to learn more about what we are doing and to see how you can help out!