1 50 This book is a work in progress. If you would like your story added to this collection at a later date, please submit Congregation of Moses celebrates 50 years at our Stadium Dr. building December 3, 2011 your memories to Shirley Mengel in the synagogue office ( preferrred). We reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity.
2 Norm & Naomi Marshall Naomi and I arrived in Kalamazoo in June 1959 when I joined the research staff at the Upjohn Company. Within a week or so Sam Ross introduced himself to me, and as Chairman of the Membership Committee, solicited our membership in the Congregation of Moses. The members of the Congregation quickly extended their friendship; we became part of a warm and welcoming family. Ruth and Morrie Soften were the first to invite us to their home for dinner where we met many couples who, subsequently became our dearest and closest friends. Later on, we were invited to join a group of Synagogue members in a discussion group, which met monthly in members homes. In that group were The Grekins, Whitings, Kalbs, Rudens, Browns, Aronsons, Levys, Kagans and Willages. Joining the group in later years were the Katz s, Sichels, Buders and Loss. When Al Thea, Synagogue Secretary died I was asked to fill that position. As Secretary I supported the efforts of a number of Presidents; Bob Levin, Morris Rose and Ben Brot. Ultimately, I served as President of the Congregation. I also was a member of the organizing Committee which formed the Men s Club; in that initial group were Harold Karlin, Morrell Rubin, Morty Fisher and Bob Levin. Naomi too, was quite active in Synagogue affairs. As Chairperson of the House Committee, she recruited Rod Anderson. She was in charge of the construction of the Sofen Wing. Naomi also served as Treasurer and as Vice President of the Board. She was a member of Sisterhood and was co-chairperson with Marcia Kalb of a Community dinner. We have wonderful memories of our affiliation with the Synagogue. We remember the carrying of our Torahs from the Park Street Synagogue to our Stadium Drive location. It was an emotional experience. We remember the burning of the mortgage ceremony led by Herman Fisher. We will never forget the joyous New Years Eve dances we attended. Our three daughters, Debbie Golan, Ellen Rondi and Laurie Josephson all attended our Religious School. During our residence in Kalamazoo the Congregation was fortunate to have Rabbis, Movsky, Berger, Levenson, Spiegel and Spivak as our religious leaders. Naomi and I wish all of the Congregation of Moses Family a hearty Mazel Tov on the occasion of the 50th year in your current Synagogue. May you continue to grow from strength to strength. The members of the Congregation quickly extended their friendship; we became part of a warm and welcoming family.
3 Don and Liz Thall Don moved to Kalamazoo when he was 3 years old in1935. His parents affiliated with CoM and he was Bar Mitzvahed at the South St. synagogue, the last to be celebrated there before CoM moved to Park St. Don remembers that the synagogue on Park St. had an organ and he would turn it on and his friends would play it. Don was married to Elisabeth (Liz) Morrison in Chicago in They lived in Kalamazoo where Liz worked as a teacher in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Their three sons were born in Bronson Hospital. Liz has served on the board of CoM during two time periods and she is presently on the Board. During their affiliation they have celebrated many happy events. All three of their sons were Bar Mitzvahed at CoM and their youngest son, Robert was married to MaryJane in 1993 at CoM. The Thalls comment, We have made many friends over the years at CoM and have appreciated the many kindnesses that others have shown us. We are truly blessed to have had this association in our lives. Don served on the CoM board for many years until his responsibilities at Kalamazoo Township interfered. Don has had a long career as Trustee and then Clerk of Kalamazoo Township, where he is still employed. He is responsible for all Elections, the daily operation of the Township and the Township Cemetery. We have made many friends over the years at CoM and have appreciated the many kindnesses that others have shown us.
4 larry and sandy rose Larry Rose has been a member since 1934 (77 years) and Sandy Rose has been a member since 1941 (70 years). Here are some remembrances of our years at the Congregation of Moses: During our early years, our Synagogue was located on South Street. We attended Sunday school there. Around 1946, our congregation purchased the impressive building on Park Street. Larry had his Bar Mitzvah and Sandy was confirmed. We both belonged to the youth group known as the Kalamazoo Kosher, Kibitzers Klub. Some of the members were Joel Hepner, Leah Goldsmith, Shirley Becker, Franklin Friedman, Frank Fefferman, Frank Gottlieb, Mark Brickman, Geraldine Hyman, Jerry Rose, Bob Sanders and Stuart Miller. Marcia and Marty Kalb were super Youth Advisors during some of our teen years. We were married on September 2, 1956 by Rabbi Grossman. Shortly after we were married we were invited to be Youth Advisors at the Synagogue. We accepted, but unfortunately I can only remember one member; Jack Levy. From the time we married, Larry s father, Morris Rose, was extremely active at the CoM. He became president and Rose, his wife, was his helpmate. They were instrumental in the building fund drive and construction of the CoM on Stadium Drive. The dedication party in 1961 was a gala event! We had a sit-down dinner and I wore my blue-lace maternity dress (about 8 months pregnant) that I had sewn myself. As I remember (that was a long time ago!), we had many speakers along with music and dancing. What a celebration! A wonderful party! In 1968 we moved to Acorn Lane, behind the Synagogue, so that our children would be walking distance to the CoM for Hebrew and Sunday school. Our three children had their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs there. Larry was active in the Men s Club when they began the Mother s Day Breakfast with flowers for all the women. He was also a fantastic dishwasher for the annual Community Dinners we had. Every member worked on the dinner. Miriam Brot made fantastic cabbage rolls and if we were lucky, there would be some left over that we could buy. Our members sold tickets as well as gave them away, and we must have had at least 300 people attending. We served about 100 people at a time with an interval of about two hours before we served the next group. We never ran out of food! The community loved these dinners. The menu was fantastic; gefilte fish, chopped liver, brisket, cabbage rolls, farfel, challah, salads, strudel and a huge variety of desserts all prepared in our kitchen. It was a huge undertaking from parking attendants to dishwashers. Along with this, we had a bake sale, selling everything from homemade challah to cheesecake and everything in between. Sandy was Treasurer for Sisterhood for several years and was in charge of several Sabbath Dinners, as well as preparing food and decorating the social hall for the New Year s Eve parties. The dedication party in 1961 was a gala event! What a celebration! A wonderful party!
5 Harvey Spivak Rabbi Natalie and I fully expected to stay in Kalamazoo for three or four years. Twenty-three years later, we look back at a good period in our lives in which our children were born and grew up in Kalamazoo and the Congregation of Moses. We were attracted to the congregation and remained here because of the neighborliness, courtesy and menschlichkeit of a number of people, members of the older generation prominently among them. I m tempted to list them, but the list would be long and I would probably omit the name of a good soul who deserves to be included. The Congregation of Moses is welcoming to members and non-members alike. So, for example, I cherish the memory of Rev. Otha Gilliard, president of the Northside Ministerial Association, speaking to the congregation on a Friday night and being very appreciative of the warm reception he received. Other memories come to the surface on an occasion like this. There was the High Holiday Cantor who insisted that he wanted to sleep in a trailer instead of someone s home, so we rented a trailer and parked it behind the synagogue. The moment the Cantor began to chant Kol Kidrei, the young children in the congregation began to cry loudly and emphatically. And there was the time when we still lived in the parsonage and all the tiles fell off the bathroom wall, revealing thoroughly deteriorated plasterboard that had to be torn down. At the next board meeting, the matter of whether to allot money for rebuilding the bathroom was the subject of prolonged debate. Finally, Celia Besbris said in a commanding voice, The Rabbi needs a bathroom. Just give him the money! End of discussion. Natalie and I appreciated the very fine and classy celebrations on the 10th and 20th anniversaries of our arrival. We still have a kippa that was made for the 10th. At that ceremony, Joy Rappaport, of blessed memory, standing where I usually stand for sermons, decided to use a line that I generally say at bar and bat mitzvahs. Rabbi, would you please join me on this side of the bima. I remember watching Elana figuring out how to respond to people s comments that inadvertently reveal the inflated expectations that are sometimes placed on a Rabbi s child. Mostly she ignored them. I also remember that the synagogue was the place where I discovered that Talya has a singing voice. It happened at a Sunday morning Purim program, as she sang a Vashti song. She s now taking voice lessons with an opera singer. Talya is the only kid I know of who learned two haftorahs for her bat mitzvah. After she learned the first, we changed the date in order to accommodate the ongoing installation of the new heating and air conditioning system. We made her sacrifice more palatable by letting her participate in a school play, which she was not going to try out for in order to leave time for her bat mitzvah studies. Bar and bat mitzvah studies bring to mind many of the students I have worked with over the years. Nearly every year there are one or two outstanding young people who make a strong positive impression on me. I enjoy hearing updates about their studies, work and other achievements as the years pass. The years certainly pass quickly and it is remarkable how quickly these 23 years have come and gone. They have been good years, spent among fine individuals who have made the Congregation of Moses into a community worthy of however many years we have to spend together. The Rabbi needs a bathroom. Just give him the money!
6 miriam brot I moved to Kalamazoo in 1925 with my parents, Sam and Ida Becker, when I was just a few months old. In 1944, Ben Brot and I were joined in marriage. We had two children, Ron and Gail. Ben and I were active and worked hard at all the synagogue events, especially the big dinners when Ben was President of CoM. We held a community dinner where we served over a thousand people. I continued to work in the kitchen, cooking and baking, for bake sales, auctions, brunches and dinners. Ben passed away in 1996 at 75 but I still help out when I am able. One interesting event was a play, directed by Joy Rappaport, called Finsterella. Celia Besbris, someone else (I can t recall who) and I were the sisters. At the end of the play, as the curtain was closing, Ben walked down the aisle with a large florist s box. As he approached, I said, Ben, you shouldn t have. Upon opening the box, there was a bunch of celery inside! He remembered that when I was pregnant, I craved celery. (No, I wasn t pregnant!) He was always doing things like that. Do what you can and maybe you too will be a star. Do what you can and maybe you too will be a star. J judy davis & al rosenthal A Love Story at the Congregation of Moses Just after the High Holidays in 1986, Lis and Judy (and sometimes David), began attending Saturday morning services in preparation for Lis Bat Mitzvah. There, Judy Davis became aquainted with a new member, Al Rosenthal, who taught Physics at Western Michigan University. They would chat at Kiddush and go their separate ways. Sometime later that fall, they met in a more social situation and Al told Judy he would call. But Judy didn t hear from him (Sam Halpert, of beloved memory had told Judy that Al was a good guy), so giving him another chance, she boldly called him herself. When Judy spoke to Al, he said he had called and left a message with David, little realizing that 10-year old boys say they will give a message just to get you off the phone. After that, the rest is history. Al started coming over for dinner. Later that spring, Al asked Judy to marry him. She said he should ask her after the Bat Mitzvah so he could see her in a state of craziness, giving him the option to back out. He decided he could cope, and the next summer in July 1988, they were married by a guest Rabbi, Shelly Melzer (as Rabbi Spivak had not yet arrived in Kalamzoo), at Crane Park with a reception at the Congregation of Moses. Twenty three years later, their marriage is still going strong. After that the rest is history. Al started coming over for dinner. Later that spring, Al asked Judy to marry him.
7 francine raffel Memories of being a native of Kalamazoo and a member of the Congregation of Moses with my parents, Paul and Helen Gerber, and sister Elaine, bring me smiles. My parents, took me to religious school three days a week, to Shabbat and holiday services, to social events and United Synagogue Youth meetings, programs and kinuses. We were so excited to move into a new synagogue as the one on Park Street was actually a shul and a home next door. The visionaries planned and brought to fruition, the building we have today, housing everything Jewish for our community. My parents set good examples for me as a child, volunteering as a teacher, participating in special projects, preparing meals in the kitchen, fundraising, community dinners, member of Sisterhood, Congregation of Moses board, men s club and serving on the house committee (fixing what needed to be done) and making sure I played with Jewish children. One is still my best friend from when we were about 2 years old, Nancy Sofen Zarnow. We did everything together! The synagogue also served as a community center. Many of the men went fishing at a lodge in Canada every August. Sunday evenings were game nights. Lectures, discussions, special events, dinners and programs were also held. My father was one of the men who carried the Torah from the old synagogue to the new. I was so proud that he was selected to participate in that momentous event. We now had room for everyone in our new facility. Many of my family members were also members: Lois and Jerome Gerber with their children Robert, Michael, Judy and Richard; Lorraine and Bill Gerber and their son Roger, Ann and Sam Gerber, Rose and Herman Fisher and their son Jack, and Alfred Hadesman. All of them were active members in many ways. I have many fond memories from the day we moved in: walking with Louis Hepner on many Saturday mornings for services and helping Rabbi Movsky lead the Torah and Musaf services. The USY was very active and received many awards when we served on that board. We helped with the community dinners and later on as an adult, I continued to volunteer as I still do today. One of the years I taught Sunday school, unbeknownst to me, Rabbi Movsky gave my name to Jerry Raffel to call me for a date. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, as we were married thirteen months later in the new synagogue on June 5, Our sons, Andrew Scott and Gregory Allen, also grew up in the synagogue. Each had their Bar Mitzvahs with Rabbi Spiegel officiating, confirmations, were active in USY and made many friends. The leadership roles they learned in Kalamazoo have continued with them into adulthood. My own leadership roles have continued. I have been a member of Sisterhood since 1966, serving in many capacities including circle chairman for several years, program coordinator, vice president and then president for two years. Jerry and I were USY advisors for several years, assisted in fundraising through advertising, community dinners and bake sales. Jerry served on the COM board in several capacities including treasurer. I have helped prepare many meals and Oneg Shabbats and well as Oneg Yom Tov chairman for three years. The Masqueraders, a drama club, performed plays with Jerry, Mort Fisher, Arlene Lando and others. Profits from the plays paid for the spotlights in front of the stage. Jerry and I purchased the Tree of Life and dedicated it in honor of our parents Helen and Paul Gerber, Dorothea and Albert Knapp and Sol Raffel. It has generated thousands of dollars for the synagogue. One of the best memories was making best friends over the years. Besides Nancy and Hilary Zarnow, other best friends are Sharon and Paul Schwartz, Pam and Shalom Lampell, Renay and Marvin Berkowitz, and Joyce and Morton Fisher (both a blessed memory). We have celebrated everything good in life as well as the challenging ones. How could we be so blessed to have great friends? I hope our congregation will celebrate its 100 th anniversary with everything that is good. One of the best memories was making best friends over the years.
8 My cup runneth over any time I get near this place. ken goodman Having been a member of the Congregation of Moses since the 1980 s, I have many memories, although too many have drifted to the dustbin of my mind. I remember being invited to the home of Morrie and Ruth Sofen for Shabbat dinner the first week I moved to Kalamazoo in 1979 (their son Andy was a classmate of mine in Dental School). I remember blue mimeograph Religious School notices, Milt Ruden s enthusiastic greeting at Shabbat services, and getting to know other members with young children. I remember the love and dedication of all the teachers in the Religious School, and especially Principal Janet Skulnick, as Aaron prepared for his Bar Mitzvah, which took place only a few short months after Sallie and I were married by Rabbi Spivak in the Sanctuary. I remember going to Joyce and Morty Fisher s house to sample Joyce s catering options for the Bar Mitzvah Luncheon, and how proud we were for our many family and out of town guests who came for our simcha, many of whom had never been to Kalamazoo before, and certainly had no idea what a warm and close knit community we have here at the Congregation of Moses. I have other random memories; Lee Tregerman as Men s Club President literally pulling guys in from out front of the shul to attend Men s Club meetings. Finally winning the YMCA Church League Softball Championship in 2008 after playing softball every spring and summer for the last 28 years or so with a great bunch of guys. Some former members I remember playing with include Cliff Gibberman, Larry Lando, Bart Steindler, and Lou Price. Great discussions about growing up Jewish over beers after the games. Learning how all the fancy equipment in the Kitchen works. Sitting through long meetings with the By-laws revision committee, which led to fascinating discussions and lessons in the history of CoM from Paul Davidoff. Going to WMU football, basketball and hockey games for 30 years with Ronn Sofen, who would always bring a bunch of snacks under his coat after Western banned bringing outside items in through the gates at events. Richard Hoffman s auctioneer act at the Schupan USY events. Many of my most enjoyable memories at CoM involve the terrific food prepared at various events by so many truly talented cooks and bakers at Kiddush, Onegs, Chavurah dinners, Community Shabbat dinners, Breakthe-Fast, and assorted other breakfasts, brunches, luncheons and dinners. Bagels, latkes, Kosher Hot Dogs, Jelly filled donut holes, anything Michelle Angel makes, and the desserts. My cup runneth over any time I get near this place. Joy and eating seem to be connected. Much of my weight gain over the last 30 years can be blamed on the Congregation of Moses. Most of all I have fondness in my heart for all who have helped me and my family on our Jewish journey through life. The learning, the schmoozing, the praying and sharing the joys and sorrows of Jewish life in our small community that is based right here in this now 50-year old building, are more highly valued as time goes on. I am truly thankful for the foresight of our leaders who worked so hard to make this facility a reality, and for our current leadership which is working hard to maintain and improve our shul for future congregants. Mazel Tov to the Congregation of Moses on this historic milestone.
9 susan welbourne A Thankful Walk Back in Time As I walk through the halls of the Congregation of Moses, I realize how the synagogue has always been an important and integral part of my family s life. On the leaves of the Tree of Life you will see many, wonderful life-cycle events in our family, starting with the births of our children, Bar and Bat Mitzvot, confirmations, the births of our grandchildren, and my retirement after 41 years of teaching in the Public Schools. You will see our membership in Chai Club and other significant donations on the next wall. When you turn a corner and continue walking, you will see pictures of me as President of our Sisterhood and also President of our Congregation. These represent my love and commitment to the women in our congregation and the entire congregation over the years, continuing to this day and beyond. If they put pictures of Kiddush Ladies on the wall somewhere, my friends and I would be on that wall too. If you continue this walk to another hall, in the education wing of our building, you will arrive at the sign that says, Principal of the Marvin and Rosalie Okun Religious School, Susan M. Welbourne. It is my mission and my love to teach and administer to our young people from Pre-K through High School. These children are the future survival of our Jewish People and of Israel. It is my privilege and whole-hearted dedication to this school, and to these beautiful children, that is in my devotion to Judaism and My People. There are many reasons for my feelings of love and dedication to the Congregation of Moses. Two main reasons are: my support system, and my strong, assertive, female role-models. From the day I was born, I lived with my Mother, Grandmother, and five Aunts while my Father was in the Infantry fighting the Battle of the Bulge in W.W.II in Europe. They raised me to be a strong and loving girl in the tradition of their family. My Mother continued to be a role model for me, being the first woman in her family to graduate from college. She became a Social Worker and an officer in every organization in our synagogue. She was a powerful woman. She taught me from her successes and her mistakes (on several occasions) of speaking her mind too forcefully. She insisted that I have a Bat Mitzvah when it was unheard of at that time. I was with her every Saturday to attend services and help prepare the Kiddush. I could not even see up to the counter, but I helped put those cookies out for Kiddush. The members of Congregation B nai Jacob could not believe that she had died when she passed away. They kept calling our house in disbelief, to hear that Devora Bat Ari Leiv had passed away. They wanted to talk to her. Her memory is a blessing and inspiration for me and for her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who knew her. My husband, children, and grandchildren are the loves of my life and my strong support system. They encourage and help me to be the person that I am. Another strong and assertive role-model that I had was Joy Rappaport. She mentored me and encouraged me to assume responsibilities and leadership at the Congregation of Moses. Her memory is a blessing and I miss her. Rabbi Spivak has been a blessing for me and for my family through the years. He has supported us with prayers, love and counseling through my life with my family, and synagogue family. I could not have continued without his help for all of these many years. The Congregation of Moses holds so many memories for our family. We are happy to help and serve the congregation in every way that we are able. It is my mission and my love to teach and administer to our young people...
10 shirley weiss Helen Levy Making Lemonade Out of Lemons Some 22 years ago, I was assigned an Oneg Shabbat at the CoM. Never was I assigned to do one before so I had no clue how to do it. I had to be there by 7:30, bring a lemon and wait for my partner. Waited and waited and no partner came. I was frantic, as I didn t know the kitchen at all, not even where the dishes were, let alone what was dairy or meat. Just standing in the kitchen in a panic, I looked up and a young boy came into the kitchen and introduced himself as Tema Lando s son, Raffi Lando. I told him I didn t know how to do the Oneg Shabbat or even where to begin. Within minutes, he got a cart, went to get cups and dishes, got the hot water started for tea, got the tea bags, showed me where the cookies and cake were and helped me get it all set up in the hallway in minutes. He stayed with me and helped me serve after the services. Then he went to the piano while we were cleaning up and played one of my favorite songs by ear. He was my hero. Wouldn t you know I forgot to bring the lemon? But, who cared? Raffi Lando helped me make lemonade out of lemons. I ll never forget. Then he went to the piano while we were cleaning up and played one of my favorite songs by ear. The Levy family blew into Kalamazoo 53 years ago in the middle of a snowstorm. Helen arrived with husband Bob, and three children; Jack, (16), Thea (13), and Len having just turned 7. They were so warmly welcomed by the CoM community that they immediately became members and the synagogue became the center of their social and spiritual lives, and all family events were touched by the congregation. Jack was near graduation from high school so he was not as involved as his brother and sister, but he did get to enjoy USY. Thea was one of the children who broke ground for the new synagogue. She was confirmed and married there. Her Jewish life was strongly influenced by attendance here, so much so that she later taught for six years in a Hebrew day school in Ann Arbor, where her son was then a student. Helen became Sisterhood president and was active in the congregation for many years until cancer limited her activities. After her first husband, Bob s untimely death at age 57, Helen met and married Norman Graf who was also an active member of the congregation. Both were considered pillars of the CoM community and no service or dinner was complete without the ever-smiling pair. Later, when he grew up and became a local dentist, son Jack and his wife, Eunice celebrated their daughter s Bat Mitzvah at CoM. Their entire family was blessed to meet many wonderful congregants who became life long friends. Too many have moved away or died and each was a heartfelt loss. Helen, still the ever-spry, effervescent lady we ve all learned to love, shows up at services and special events whenever she is able and reports that on the snowy day 53 years ago, The good Lord was truly with us to to lead us to Kalamzoo and the Congregation of Moses. Our gratitude is boundless. The good Lord was truly with us to lead us to Kalamzoo and the Congregation of Moses. Our gratitude is boundless.
11 marc & jeanne schupan Janet Heller First of all, it is hard for me to believe my Bar Mitzvah was 50 years ago. I still remember the day very clearly. A point of humor was that my father used to tell me until I was about 20, whenever I asked for something major, that he was still paying for my Bar Mitzvah! What is most clear to me was that my parents, Nelson and Charlette, along with (pardon me for leaving out a number of families) the Grekins, Besbris, Davidoffs, Brots, Gubins, Lerners and Landos were part of the Greatest Generation. Their love of the synagogue and promotion of Jewish values will, I believe, never be equaled in the generations to come. From the community dinners and auctions to the Purim carnivals, there was always something centered around the synagogue. I may not be a very religious person, but I feel I was very fortunate to be given an excellent Jewish education and values that have guided my life and influenced my family. A special memory was going to my grandparents, Shay and Faye Okun s house for lunch on Apple Lane after Sunday School. Here I was introduced to a number of Yiddish phrases that have been ingrained in my memory. Shay owned a body shop for years and was an honest and hardworking man. Faye would always complain about his heart being too big and the liberal credit policy he gave his customers who lacked the ability to pay for his work. My father, who died young at 53 in 1974, was the most generous person I have ever known. He was a great mentor for his children. My mother celebrated holidays with incredible dinners and our doors were always open to newcomers in the community. My mother made me proud in the fifties and early sixties as the Doll Lady. She would give talks using Dolls for Democracy. She was a great storyteller and wrote many poems and plays over the years. Sharing of joyous occasions and the support in tragedies over the years by our synagogue community has been valued greatly. Two Stories In August of 2004, my father died of cancer. A couple weeks later, the third-grade Religious School class of Mikael Must sent me a beautiful condolence card with a rainbow that the children had drawn on the cover. I was so touched by the card that I cried. I thanked the students and eventually became the bubbe of this class. I visited on various Sundays to read stories, talk about the Torah portion, or discuss Jewish holidays. Sarah Torres, Ethan Rocklin, Avi Grode, Tamar Grode, Shoshanah Grode, and Leah Koss were the first children ever to hear my story for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape, before it was published in I attended the B nai Mitzvah of all six of these wonderful young people. I will never forget their kindness to me when I was mourning for my father. In June of 2003, I became the Vice-President of Sisterhood, and in July, I helped with my first Sisterhood Rummage Sale. Harriet Marron, who had her own resale shop and had run the Rummage Sale for years, supervised me and had me work on all aspects of the event: sorting clothes, cleaning dusty items, getting ads into local papers, working as a cashier, etc. I was pleased when I could help wise Harriet by identifying an item that stumped her: a bright red hummingbird feeder. I was impressed by the teamwork of the synagogue women. Vivian Pollak taught me that, in addition to raising money for the Religious School, the Rummage Sales help needy local families. By 2004, I was supervising the sales myself. I m grateful for the support of all the hard-working members of Sisterhood....there was always something centered around the synagogue. I attended the B nai Mitzvah of all six of these wonderful young people. I will never forget their kindness to me when I was mourning for my father.
12 earl norman It is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the new CoM synagogue building. We arrived seven years ago and I have been asked to share my thoughts as a relatively new member. We arrived in August 2004 hopeful and with some trepidation. After having been members of a very large, active Conservative synagogue on the North Shore of Chicago for many years we knew that things would be different here. There were 1150 family members there, less than 130 here. Chicago has day schools, kosher meat and restaurants and delis, none of that here. However, on occasion we have found that you can get some kosher things in Kalamazoo if you keep your eyes open. No hot kosher pastrami sandwiches at D&W though. At COM, we saw a few dedicated congregants get up during Musaf and put out Kiddush. Every week. Every holiday. We saw nearly the whole congregation turn out for Shabbat dinner after Shabbat dinner. That would have been like 3000 people at our previous shul. We saw people just show up to cook for every event whether they were community dinners, or for Shabbat luncheons for B nei Mitzvot. We were welcomed every time we came to the synagogue, until I guess everyone decided that we were here to stay. Stan Besbris, z l, used to say (after he told us that he was born in Kalamazoo in 1916) that we were a good addition to the community. We watched him walk ramrod straight up to the Torah for an aliyah every week. It seemed as germane to the service as Aleinu. We saw class after class of religious school children lead Erev Shabbat services with dedicated teachers willing them through their parts. We watched Bar and Bat Mitzvah trainees get up on Shabbat morning at first barely able to say Ashrei and then watched them slowly (very slowly sometimes) master all that they knew they must for their special day. And then had the pleasure of participating in their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service almost as proud as their parents, because we knew the work they had put in. We saw nearly the whole congregation turn out for Shabbat dinner after Shabbat dinner. We saw a Rabbi finding ways to lead services in a meaningful way even when there was no minyan; delivering well thought-out and inspiring sermons to 12 people on Shabbat or a Chag. On the other hand, we saw a Rabbi pour his heart and soul into High Holiday services trying to make them relevant for those who he saw often, as well as those who attended services only at that time of year. We were welcomed into the cooking chavurah early on. This unique group really should patent the format because it is a fabulous way to socialize, keep up with (or in our case) make friends, and of course, make and enjoy good food. We were members of a group that met on Erev Shabbat in our former community and that was nice, but at this stage in our lives we are blessed to have this group and these evenings to look forward to. I am always happy to work with my Men s Club brothers no matter the event. The Purim hot dog extravaganza, Channukah latka lunch, Sukkah build (fast build in memory of Bernie Krauss) and of course, the mother (no disrespect intended) of all events, the Mother s Day Brunch. It s humbling to be in the midst of this great bunch of guys who come together to put on a great event, and then go our separate ways. We see a small, but vibrant community who is proud of their history, members, stories and yes, the new building. We are proud to be accepted as members (although I was told by Ken Goodman that you are a new member for the first 25 years) in this special community and look forward to participating in whatever comes next. Happy 50th! Ne
13 David Rosenberg shirley wise David came to Kalamazoo in Before that he lived in Benton Harbor, where David had an uncle. He was at Fort Custer in the army in 1950 and liked Kalamazoo when he visited it then. The synagogue was at the corner of Dutton and Park, on the southeast side. The rabbi was Rabbi Grossman. The Temple had built the old shul, and the two groups merged. How and why the Congregation of Moses built its new building in 1961 The old building did not have any parking space and the congregation was growing. They used the church parking lot across the street, but sometimes the church and synagogue met at the same time. They thought of buying some properties to expand, because there were over 200 members at the time. Lavin was with Upjohn, as vice-president, which was as high as he could go. He did all the political things, like lobbying, for Upjohn in Lansing and Washington DC. He came up with the idea of buying the land on Stadium Drive, which was state property and only cost $1....the land on Stadium Drive... was state property and only cost $1. Rabbi Movsky was the new rabbi when they moved to Stadium Drive. Before they started building, they went to all the members and asked for pledges. Markin from Checker Motors gave a particularly large amount. Most made very small donations, so a few years later they put up the plaque to display the names of the donors and then money started coming in. Everyone wanted to be at the top of the plaque, as big donors, and soon there was enough money to pay off the mortgage. They had a big party and burned the mortgage. After the synagogue was built, David got married and bought a house in walking distance to the synagogue, behind the woods on Mockingbird Drive. He used to walk with his kids through the woods to the synagogue. My husband, Frank Szopo and I moved to Michigan from Chicago in We lived in Three Rivers for the next 14 years. I felt isolated from the Jewish community until we joined CoM in 1990 when our son, Danny, started kindergarten there. The first two years of our membership, I recall driving Danny to CoM for Sundays, and feeling not quite a part of the community, at least not until Susan Welbourne asked me to join the Sisterhood Board. We moved to Kalamazoo in 1994 when Danny started his three days a week Religious School experience, and our daughter, Juleah, began kindergarten. Being so much closer helped me, and my family was able to become even more active. What also helped us feel a sense of belonging was the creation of the Family Chavurah. We met for several years as families for camping, holidays, and fun. Frank and I continue to enjoy the Gourmet Cooking Chavurah. I became more active in the organization of CoM, becoming Sisterhood President, joining the Board of Directors, and became Social Committee Chair under Rich Kirschner s presidency which I held for quite a number of years. I also coordinated the Family Dinners. I fondly recall the five Freilach Frolics the Social Committee arranged in the mid 2000s. I joined the Executive Committee as the First VP under Ken Goodman, and served as President of CoM from , becoming the 3 rd female president of CoM. I have grown spiritually during our 21 years as members. Susan Welbourne supported me with my first Aliyah. I studied Hebrew in the Rabbis crash courses, participated in the Adult Bat Mitzvah Class in 2010, and with Rabbi s encouragement have read from the Torah. Frank and I are most grateful for the kindness, love, and support the congregation has shown us and our children these past 21 years during our family s life cycles. It is with conviction that I say I have found my spiritual home and communal family here at the Congregation of Moses. I felt isolated from the Jewish community until we joined CoM...
14 art & marilyn feinberg Fond memories of the Congregation of Moses The Stulberg Family Interviews with Bernie Stulberg & Mira Stulberg Halpert We came to Kalamazoo in July of 1975 with absolutely no connections other than two quick visits here before Art started his job with Pediatrics P. C. One visit was for about 10 days, which was intended for Art to become acclimated to the practice. The next visit was for the purpose of meeting the realtor, setting up with a lawyer and buying a house, all in one fell swoop. There turned out to be even more excitement as Richard Tucker had just died before he was to give a performance at Miller Auditorium. As for the Congregation of Moses, we had a very warm introduction to the Jewish community when Fred and Betty Margolis invited us and about 10 other Jewish couples from the Congregation just to acquaint us with the community. Although our memory is somewhat hazy, we do recall some people who were there including but not limited to Werner and Bea Sichel, Harold and Edith Green, Marty and Allison Gall, Fred and Rhoda Kagan, Norm and Naomi Marshall and Jules and Renee Rossman. It couldn t have been a more auspicious introduction and it really made us feel welcome. Lisa and Daniel were ages 3 and 1 respectively. What was so great about the intimacy of the Congregation is that they have made friendships that still remain today. As one example, Dan, Adam Seyburn and Josh Minsley all went through religious school, graduated from MSU, have maintained close ties and probably will continue to do so until they are all grumpy old men together. We have loved the community, will spend our remaining working years here and will continue to stay until we, Lisa and Dan decide we should be seeing more of our grandchildren before it s too late and are in need of closer supervision. At the risk of sounding lugubrious, we have already purchased two cemetery plots, so we may well be back, anyway. After all, there s no denying that we will have spent most of our years, and certainly our best ones, right here in Kalamazoo....there s no denying that we will have spent most of our years, and certainly our best ones, right here... Although there are no longer any Stulbergs living in Kalamazoo, they were a present force here during the dedication of the Congregation of Moses in Julius Stulberg was born in Russia in 1913 and came to Kalamazoo to become professor of violin performance at the WMU School of Music until his sadly premature death in In addition to conducting the WMU Symphony Orchestra and Chorus he also was a long standing conductor of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony. Countless students of his have only the fondest memories of his unique ability as a master musician, instructor and nurturer of talent. This is particularly relevant to the Congregation of Moses as The WMU Symphony performed at the Convocation Ceremony in 1961 under Stulberg s direction. Julius wife, Esther was a prominent member, president of Sisterhood and eventually a trustee, being most remembered for her level-headed demeanor, yet with the strength of personality to make things happen. Immediately after Julius death, the family established the Stulberg International String Competition which has grown into a formidable entity, bringing in the most talented young string musicians from all over the world. The family history of the Stulbergs is also relevant to what we see at the Synagogue. Esther s parents were Harry and Dora Leiberman. Harry came to the US from Russia in about 1902 and settled in south Chicago with 4 brothers where they owned and operated a lumber yard. They were builders and carpenters, but during the depression, they left Chicago with Harry and Dora, coming to Watervliet MI, where they bought farms. However, Harry never gave up his zeal for woodwork and built the Aron Kodesh with the twelve tribes, for the new Synagogue in He also designed a set of Tablets of the Ten Commandments which are no longer existent today. He built the Aron Kodesh in South Haven MI as well. Harry never gave up his zeal for woodwork and built the Aron Kodesh with the twelve tribes, for the new Synagogue in Julius family also settled in other parts of Southwest Michigan. His younger brother, Morris is in Marshall MI where he owned and operated a successful clothing store. Eventually they brought their parents, Max and Rebecca Stulberg to live with the family in Marshall. As for memories of the Congregation, Bernie proudly stated he was the second bar mitzvah in the new building. Mira has a particular memory of the cornerstone being placed in front of the Congregation of Moses, the original one dated 1906 from our first building on South Street. Both Bernie and Mira remember the outstanding performance of the WMU Orchestra and Choir during the dedication.
15 irving schensul Adapted from a eulogy delivered by Rich Kirschner, September 7, 2001 Schensul s, with the line of customers snaking around the block, became the most popular eating place in town... Irving Schensul lived a full life. He was born in Kalamazoo on April 12, 1908 and lived here until he died on July 10, 2001 at the age of 93. He was in reasonably good health for almost all of his life a few complaints in his later years and almost to his last day he retained his delightful wit and sense of humor, his deep insight, his compassion, his charm, and his incredible memory. In his early years, Irving lived on South Street. His father, Morris, a tailor, and his mother, Ida, came to Kalamazoo a few years before Irving was born. Irving had 3 brothers, Samuel, Joseph, and Abraham, and two sisters, Mary Colef and Sylvia Nierman. It seems that his need to help his parents made it hard for him to follow through on a storybook romance with the lively pianist, Frieda Halpert. And his concern for a challenged brother contributed to his turning down an offer from his friend, Fred Libin, to take on acting opportunities in Hollywood. Irving s early home was on South Street. Imagine what Kalamazoo s downtown was like during the years around and after World War I. The streetcars, the elegant buildings and homes, the vaudeville, burlesque and other theaters, the street vendors, and the bustling crowds engaged in the daily shopping and work. While there was some time to spend with friends such as Stan and Norm Besbris, Irving was a busy kid in this world, wandering the Kalamazoo downtown looking for income to help his family. There were a lot of actors coming in for jobs in Kalamazoo, and Irving especially liked to mingle with and help them. One hotel, however, would never let Irving carry the bags beyond the porch. It was incredible the lengths they would pursue to keep him out. But one day, in his enthusiasm to help, he ran right into the hotel s foyer; and, according to his tale, he immediately found out why they were keeping him out. Before him, stretching across the wall in full glory, was a langorous nude. Around the corner from all this action, on South Street where the building still stands, was the Congregation of Moses. This synagogue was an important part of the Schensul family s life. Irving attended cheder at the Congregation of Moses. Irving s significant contribution to religious education has been recognized by our congregation s Principalship, which is named after the Schensul family. I don t know what led to Irving s interest in actors and acting, but it was an interest Irving never lost. If you look at the Delphian Yearbook from his high school graduating class Central High School, 1927 you find that he was in virtually every play that Howard Chenery directed there. At Central, Irving was listed as a dramatic arts student, was in a stage design class, and was a member of the Kalamazoo Players. The Players seems to have been a predecessor of the Kalamazoo Civic Theater, which was launched within weeks of his graduation. One story is that Dorothy Upjohn Dalton called upon Irving for help in establishing the new theater. Although we do not know in what capacity he served in the formation of the Civic, he later was on the Board of Directors of the Kalamazoo Civic Players, and in 1953 was elected its President. By the mid 1930 s, Irving became involved in the food and entertainment business, along with brothers Joe and Sam. Joe and his wife Helen were the pioneers in the family food businesses. In the 1930 s they operated the Brown & Gold, a successful restaurant near the campus. Later they opened a place on South Burdick St Schensul s Cafeteria. Schensul s, with the line of customers snaking around the block, became the most popular eating place in town and remains one of the outstanding memories of the era. The brothers did a lot to bring good dining and fun entertainment to Kalamazoo. By 1935, they had established the Club Hollywood, in 1938 the Colonial restaurant, and a few years later, the Grotto nightclub in the basement of the Hanselman Building. Starting perhaps as early as the 1930 s and continuing into the 1950 s, Irving worked at WKZO for John Fetzer. While he served as a go-fer in his early years, and did weather, commercials and all the other tasks, he is especially remembered as an interviewer. Irving would take to the streets of Kalamazoo and ask people their opinions of the major happenings and topics of the day. Irving became a Shabbat regular of our Synagogue in the last twenty years of his life. Almost every Saturday, either he or Sam Ross would honor the Congregation by taking the Levi aliyah. This is a very meaningful memory for many of us.
16 rob lando Rob Lando remembers his childhood days I submit this letter under duress, due to threats of cruel punishment from my dentist s wife. Don t worry Sallie, I would never mention any names. Life as a youngster at the Congregation of Moses had its many rewards, such being able to sneak out of High Holiday services to see what new car Jack Fisher had just bought, or going into the coat room and swapping keys from various coat pockets with other coats. I m not sure why we never stuck around to see the expression on their faces when the adults tried figuring out who s keys they actually had. After a few successful capers like that, the adults got wise and stopped leaving the keys in their coats. I ve been sworn to secrecy to the identity of my partner, because it could be injurious to both him and his brother s law practices. Ah yes, it was so much the dastardly deeds, or not being caught that was fun for us, but just the relief of not having to listen to the Rabbi s sermon was reward in itself. (Note: He doesn t mean Rabbi Spivak s sermon.) the Goldstein family (as written by Art Feinberg) At that time, there was a choir loft on the bema. Paul Davidoff remembered Isadore Goldstein as a regular attendee of services every Shabbat. His wife, Dortha, a convert, was particularly observant and learned and was not only a participant in services but also a frequent and outstanding reader of Torah. She was president of Sisterhood and was elected the first woman trustee in the history of the Congregation of Moses. Isadore and Dortha had 4 children, Ray, Sarah, Roz and Adina. They were particularly musical and, in fact comprised the Choir of the Congregation with occasional guest appearances from Paul. At that time, there was a choir loft on the bema. Upon Isadore s death, Dortha and family, who were very strong advocates of adult education, endowed the Goldstein Torah Fund, the proceeds of which are still being used to bring in speakers for Torah Weekend. After a few successful capers like that, the adults got wise...
17 Werner Sichel Beatrice and I arrived in Kalamazoo in August, I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation at Northwestern University, Beatrice was pregnant, and I had accepted an Instructor position at WMU with a salary of $6,000, more money than this negativenet-worth couple had ever seen. We inquired about a conservative synagogue and were informed that there was one on Park Street. We went there a few weeks later on the High Holidays and received a marvelous and warm welcome. Julius Stulberg met us, put his arm around my shoulders and offered me an honor at the bima. We were blown away. We immediately joined. The Congregation of Moses has been our family ever since. Our son, Larry, was born later that year, and two years after that our daughter, Linda, was born. Naming ceremonies were, of course, at the Congregation of Moses. We were somewhat active almost immediately. We joined the Congregation s Newcomers Club, which turned out to include not just newcomers but some couples who were born in Kalamazoo. We made great friends there; several remain to this day. Beatrice joined Sisterhood and served on some CoM committees, but was very busy with our two young children. I became friendly with such machers as Bob Levin, Milt Greenberg, Sam Ross, the Fisher brothers, and the Brot Brothers who ushered me into the political end of the Congregation. I was elected to the Congregation Board of Directors in 1962 and have served on the Board continuously to this day, only 49+ years. I served as President from 1974 to 1976 and have been a Trustee since I consider the Congregation of Moses a very special place with very special people. The cast of characters has changed over the years, but the fundamental characteristics of our congregants remains the same. My family and I were nurtured by our Congregation family. Both of our children went through the entire religious school, were Bar and Bat Mitzvahed here, were staunch members of the CoM USY, and Linda was married here by Rabbi Spivak (his first marriage at our congregation) in This past year I lost Beatrice to cancer. This was unexpected and very traumatic. Nothing could take away the pain and anguish that I felt (and still feel), but the support that I received from my CoM family did make it more bearable. Dozens of congregants came by the house with food, flowers, cards, and kind words during the eleven weeks that Beatrice was very sick, and after she passed away I was bombarded with invitations and other expressions of support and love. The Congregation of Moses family is very special. I notice that in this statement celebrating the 50th anniversary of our building, I have not even mentioned the building. While I was not in Kalamazoo when this building was first planned, Beatrice and I had the privilege of moving from Park Street to Stadium Drive and I did know the early heroes that made this move possible. While many participated with effort and generosity, the two people who put the building across were Herman Fisher and Bob Levin; both were hard-working visionaries. There have also been more recent heroes with regard to additions, renovations, and maintenance of our synagogue building; I ll mention just a few, Marv Okun, Jack Levene, Lilian Sofen, Rob Lando, Rich Kirschner, and Ken Goodman. My thanks go to these as well as the many others who made major contributions. But we all know that while a synagogue building is important, it is only a building. What makes the Congregation of Moses really special are the Rabbi and the congregants. For the past 23 ½ years (nearly half of the life of our building) we have been blessed to have Rabbi Spivak as our spiritual leader and I am very thankful for that. The Congregation of Moses family is very special.
18 The Davidoff Family (as interviewed by Art Feinberg) Paul Davidoff remembers vividly the groundbreaking ceremony that occurred about one year before the actual opening of the Congregation of Moses building. The adults present were Bob Levin, Dave Davidoff, Bob Grekin, Milt Greenberg and Rabbi Movsky. Three of his religious School classmates were there: Ray Goldstein, Elaine Gerber (Fran Raffel s sister) and Mike Liepman (presently a psychiatrist in Kalamazoo). He remembers vividly shoveling dirt right where the middle of the sanctuary would be today. Prayers were said after that. At the time of the dedication, he remembered the walking of the Torahs to the new building, most likely done as a relay race. That evening the whole Congregation gathered for prayers of Thanksgiving. He also remembers the burning of the mortgage, where a copy of the original mortgage document was made and symbolically sent up in flames when the final payment was made. Dave and Celia will always be remembered as one of the kindest couples in Kalamazoo Jewish history. They never had a harsh word to say about anyone. Dave was extremely active in Synagogue governance and was a Past-President and Trustee. Paul remembers him for his incredible skill in de-fusing very difficult situations and still maintaining both neutrality and integrity. He was an attorney who practiced for many years in the field of debt-relief. Paul has followed him in that field and presently practices in Kalamazoo. Paul and Judy s son Jason is a criminal attorney practicing in Cleveland OH. Dave was a great public speaker and Art Feinberg told Dave once that he wished he (Art) would die soon so that Dave could deliver the eulogy. Dave was also a skilled poker player, leaving some, but not all of that legacy to Paul. Dave and Celia s other son, Robert (wife, Denise) also is a practicing attorney in Kalamazoo. Their son, Nathan is an accomplished violinist. At the time of the dedication, he remembered the walking of the Torahs to the new building...
19 levene family celia besbris contributed by Rae Lee Howard, Sue and Candi Levene Rae Lee was in high school at the time of the move to Stadium Drive. She remembers best the long walk from Park Street to Stadium Drive. She also has very fond memories of her confirmation at the Synagogue, as well as having an active role in USY. She is the daughter of Jack and Betty Levene. Her sisters were Lori (Putman) and Caryn, of blessed memory. Her brother is Scott (Robyn) Levene. Betty s family established the IHS (I. H. Sklansky, Betty s father) Company, a beer distributor which the family is running successfully to this day. Jack Levene was very active in the Synagogue, a board member for many years and ultimately a trustee. He was extremely generous to the Congregation and is best known for two major contributions: one toward the refurbishing of the social hall donated in memory of his wife, Betty, soon after her death. Also, because he particularly enjoyed High Holiday services he established the Levene Cantor Fund, the proceeds of which fund the cantor each year. Jack s second wife, Dorothy, perpetuated this memory after Jack s death. Jack s brother, Andrew (wife Frieda Halpert) was wellknown as an hotelier and restaurateur in the area. He owned and managed Inman s restaurant in Galesburg for many years. Frieda was a very talented pianist who played at many a Congregation of Moses function. They lived in Kalamazoo from the 1940 s to the 1990 s and left a legacy of commitment and generosity. Andy always felt Kalamazoo Jewish youth were very important and after his death the Andrew Levene Scholarship Fund was established to provide funding to meritorious high school graduates for their college education. I have several things that stand out in my mind about the Congregation of Moses. One is that my daughter Randie was the first girl to have a Bat Mitzvah at the new Synagogue and she carried the Torah in the moving process. We were all so proud of the new building. I always considered it a real honor to be on the Synagogue Board and a Trustee. Most of my social life consisted of activities at the Synagogue. My best accomplishment was how twenty-some years ago I fought members of the Board of Directors to make them agree to hire Rabbi Spivak. It was a tough fight but I prevailed, and have always been very happy with the way it turned out. I always smile when Natalie tells me that the reason they are still in Kalamazoo was because of me. I miss not going to services at the Congregation of Moses and being involved. Saturday morning a bunch of us would go to services and then to lunch afterwards. It was both our religious and social outing. I wish you all the best and look forward to getting the bulletin and reading how the synagogue is alive and doing well. The Levene family left a legacy of commitment and generosity. I wish you all the best and look forward to getting the bulletin and reading how the synagogue is alive and doing well.
20 rod anderson by Tamara Norman Rod s family moved to the Winchell neighborhood in At that time, Broadway Avenue ended at Winchell Avenue. Beyond that, where there is now a back entrance to CoM, there was a two-lane tractor path. That area was all apple orchards. You could climb up the apple trees and see Western Michigan University s golf course across Stadium Drive called Goat Hills. Rod and his friends played in the jungle, a gully or ditch that ran along Stadium Drive, now in front of CoM. Stadium Drive was just a two-lane highway with a couple of gas stations and a bar/bowling alley where the new strip mall is now (The Stadium Shoppes, behind Biggby Coffee). Rod remembers his parents telling him that a synagogue was going to be built where the jungle was. He also remembers that his parents attended an inaugural dance in the CoM building. It must have been open to the public or at least the neighbors. Originally, CoM was not going to have a Stadium Drive address; the main entrance was supposed to be through Broadway. When the city decided not to extend Broadway to Stadium Drive, CoM created a Stadium Drive entrance. Rod remembers skateboarding down the newly paved, extra-smooth road on Broadway from Winchell to the synagogue entrance. Skateboarding was a new craze making its way from California. In the mid- 60s, you could not buy a skateboard in Kalamazoo, so Rod and his friends make their own out of roller skate wheels and wood. Rod was a student at Winchell Elementary School the first day it opened. He went to school with some members of the congregation, and his neighbors on Aberdeen Drive included the Rabbi s family, the Davidoffs and the Schupans. Rod started working at CoM in 1975 and has been here through three secretaries and three rabbis. Just prior to beginning to work here, Rod visited Haifa and Jerusalem through a WMU history program. He rode a camel in Egypt and visited Lebanon, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Greece aboard the Italian cruise ship the Achille Lauro (which 10 years later was hijacked by the PLO). Rod hopes to one day return to some of these places and also visit the British Isles. We are very fortunate to have Rod not only as our building manager, but also our friend. A Note from Shirley Mengel, Synagogue Secretary In the last 21 years that I have worked for COM, I have had some strange and funny phone calls and requests. One of them I remember that made me chuckle was when someone called and wanted to know when our gift shop would be open and did we have the materials they would need to build a Sukkah. Another was when the mother of one of the recipients of the B nai B rith Scholar Athlete Awards called and asked when we were going to send her son $500 for being honored. I have lots of happy memories of my years at COM, and these are only two of them.
21 marcia kalb Every Friday afternoon he would visit his fellow congregants in order to collect their weekly dues of 25 cents. My roots in the Congregation of Moses are very deep and precious to me. My family moved here from Chicago in My grandfather, Max Fisher was a very early treasurer of the shul. Every Friday afternoon he would visit his fellow congregants in order to collect their weekly dues of 25 cents. My parents, Herbert and Barbara Fisher lived their entire married life here. My brother Mort and I were born in Kalamazoo. He was Bar Mitzvahed at the synagogue and some forty years later served as the president. My husband Martin and I were married here and later had the pleasure of seeing our two daughters, Susan and Nancy, Bat Mitzvahed, confirmed and married in this very sanctuary. Through the years, I have served as Religious School teacher, Sisterhood President, Board Member and a Trustee. During the presidency of Sam Halpert, I was the first woman elected to the Executive Board. As a result of my position as secretary, I was the first woman to hold a Torah during the High Holidays. That was an experience I ll never forget. When one has had the fairly unique experience of living in the same community for 85 years, there are many special memories. I have been very fortunate to have been a part of the Congregation of Moses for all of that time.
22 Rosalie Zuravel was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana and met her husband-to-be, Sam Halpert, having been fixed up by Barney Heckman from Kalamazoo. After they got married, they lived in South Bend for a short time, but then came to Kalamazoo. At that time, Sam was looking for work and thought it would be a good idea to go into the hardware business and ultimately opened up a store in Paw Paw, where they lived for many years. Sam was well-respected and remembered in Paw Paw, as he was in Kalamazoo at the Congregation of Moses where he presided for three years during a very difficult time. He ultimately became a trustee. He was always even-handed and gracious and for years presided at the annual installation service. Some history on the Halpert family: Sam s father was Alex and his mother was Rose. He was born in Poland and came to the US at age 14. Sadly, his mother perished in a fire when Sam was a toddler when a kerosene lamp fell and her clothing caught fire. Sam s father remarried Anna and they had 3 other children: rosalie halpert (as interviewed by Art Feinberg) Ben, who came to Kalamazoo, Celia who married Norm Besbris in Kalamazoo, and another sister Bernice Weiner who lived in Grand Rapids. Alex came to Kalamazoo to live with and work for his brother Isadore who had the local Firestone Tire franchise. Sam stayed in New York with an uncle in order to learn English, and about a year later came to Kalamazoo in Rosalie s memories of the new Synagogue in 1961 were that she was teaching 4th grade in the Religious School. She remembers planting trees and shrubs, and also remembers Sam walking with the Torahs. Gloria My memories of the Stadium Drive shul are these. I was in my early 30 s and my sons were 10 and 12 years of age when we had the ground-breaking. It was a very cold winter day, also a very exciting day. When the move from Park St. to Stadium Dr. took place I was there watching the move. My father, Morris Rose, was the First Vice-President at that time and was one of the men who carried the Torahs to our new synagogue. My niece, Randie Besbris Levin, carried the crown. Randie also had the first Bat Mitzvah at our new building. Soon after our move, my father became the president. Our family was very involved in the many activities. We were also close with Rabbi Movsky. Both my sons had their Bar Mitzvahs there, and of course Stanley and I were married at the Stadium Drive synagogue years later. Besbris She remembers planting trees and shrubs... My father, Morris Rose, was the First Vice-President...
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