My apologies for a late update to the blog, but I have excuses. My mother came in from Texas, my sister came to visit from Downingtown, PA, my in-laws arrived from Wappingers Falls, NY, we had a Bar Mitzvah to attend and my wife worked the weekend. Next week doesn't offer too many opportunities to update the blog, with a video shoot on Monday, a funeral in Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday for my wife's great Aunt Margaret, who passed last Friday at age 104 and who knows what at the end of the week, so I'm taking a few minutes on Sunday to at least let you know that we are still here.
Please save the date, January 29th, 2012 on your calendars. We are going to have a meeting about Old Trenton in conjunction with the Adath Israel Adult Education Committee with the topic being the Trenton Jewish Project. Time and details to come.
I did a Skype interview on Wednesday with Bob Olinsky in Israel and will be cutting that up and publishing it on the blog in the coming weeks.
I am a member at Adath Israel and it was a rough week for our community. Two of our contemporaries lost parents during the week and on Shabbat, the Rabbi announced that Gerald Popkin had passed away. His death notice, which was forwarded to me by Tony Siegle, is attached:
Gerald S. Popkin JACKSON - Gerald S. Popkin, 72, passed away Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Born in Trenton, Mr. Popkin was a former resident of Lawrenceville. He was a graduate of Rider University (BA) and Trenton State College (MA). He was a professor of education at The College of New Jersey and Mercer County Community College. Mr. Popkin retired from the Millstone public schools as assistant superintendent and director of curriculum. He served as a trustee at Adath Israel Congregation. He was the finest example of an educator. Mr. Popkin was respected by students, teachers, administrators and parents. He leaves behind a legacy that will be carried on by the lives he touched. Son of the late Bernard and Florence (Schwartz) Popkin, he is survived by his wife, Harriet Berger Popkin; sister and brother-in-law, Cynthia and Stanley Saperstein; two nephews, Eric Saperstein and Jonathan (Jaclyn) Saperstein; special families, Donna and Robert Siana (and their children, Alicia and Jon), Lisa and Charles Gelo (and their children Katie and Nicholas). Funeral services are Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Adath Israel Congregation, 1958 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville. The period of mourning will be observed Monday through Wednesday at the Popkin residence. The family respectfully requests memorial contributions to Adath Israel Congregation (Rabbi's Discretionary Fund) or Greenwood House, 53 Walter St., Ewing, NJ. Funeral arrangements are by Orland's Ewing Memorial Chapel, 1534 Pennington Road, Ewing Township.
The funeral will be held at Adath Israel on Monday morning at 11:30 am.
Late last night I also received a wonderful personal recollection of Trenton from Estelle Bogad, who contacted me a couple of weeks ago to have me add another Trenton Ex-Pat, Sam Gordon, to the e-mail list. Estelle lives in Arcadia, California now and here's what she wrote:
My name is Estelle Rabstein Bogad. I was raised in Trenton until l946. at which date I married Milt Bogad.
We moved to California in l949. To go back to early days, I lived on Perry Street. I did not live in any Jewish section because my Dad first had a soda factory and when prohibition was repealed we had a liquor store at that location. I had 2 sisters, one was Ruth Rabstein Pellettieri, who defended the "Trenton Six" My other sister was Rose Rabstein Hirsch who was married to Sam Hirsch, the son of the couple you have honored on those benches. I did graduate Trenton High School in "39, graduated Temple University in "43. and taught at Trenton High "from "43 to "46.
Enough about me personally.
I wanted to fill you in on Trenton before the 40"s. There were 4 shuls on Union Street. The first one from Market street was one of the smallest and one of the poorest. My family was a member there forever. My Dad was responsible for building the house for Rabbi Kantorowitz on the Workers of Truth Cemetery and he was buried there until he was moved to Israel.
To give you more on Trenton - the BEST Jewish bakery on Market Street was Kohns. Mae Kohn, one of the daughters, ran it for years. If you back up from there, Palats. a dairy store was on the corner of Market and Cooper. Coming toward Union you had Siegels Deli. You haven"t eaten deli until you had it from there.
I could name a few more but I think enough for now.
We all went to the Y. We had a Girl"s social club that met there. Our senior advisor was Edith Citroen. What fun!!! Name of the club was Cleophas Club.
If you want to speak about Jewtown you have to include the people who lived there - the Rosenthals, the Gordons, and many more I can't think of right now.
This was Jewtown. The people you have mentioned were the Jews who moved to the westside and then joined Adath.
Of course the city came in and destroyed it completely,
I could go on and on, I had some very dear friends who are now buried on the Workers of Truth cemetery. I am very grateful to Allan Richman and his group for taking over the maintenance of the cemetery.
Hope this will help your archives.
I invite you to look at the photo gallery of Old Jewish Trenton to see if the pictures bring back memories that you might share with us.
Estelle's letter mentions her sister, Ruth Rabstein Pellettieri and her involvement in the Trenton Six case. I didn't know about this chapter of Trenton history, but offer some links for those of you who do or those who don't, but want to learn more.
Here's the Wikipedia link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trenton_Six
This article from Capital Century includes an article that quotes Estelle's sister extensively.
There is also a book about the case available on Amazon.
It's amazing to read about the abuses of power and the struggle of people to find the truth, but even more incredible that some of the same kinds of cases can still happen today.
Thank you, Estelle for adding to our growing collection of Trenton memories.