In stories

By Bob Cooper.

In the 1940s and 50s, the Holy Blossom Religious School was a refuge for young congregants to grow their minds and expand their ideas. Their teachers were accomplished professors, rabbis, community leaders and intellectuals. The future lives and careers of these teenagers were shaped by their engagement in the school more than their day schools.

I began filming this video anticipating a few funny stories about their religious school days. It was in my first interview that I realized that this time period evoked stronger, deeper emotions and memories. Every participant in the video loved attending the school for bringing out their ability to think conceptually and intellectually.

The iconic leader from that era was Education Director Heinz Warschauer. Memories of Heinz revealed a man of complexities – his external flaws and internal struggles juxtaposed with his desire for a deep, enriching education and caring for his students that went far beyond the expectations of a weekly school. He was a commanding figure with a soft side for those he gave access.

I knew him in his later days as the man who stood quietly on one side of the hallway at the bottom of the stairs (where his portrait stood for many years) when I came down after religious school. It was only through the filming of this video that I began to know the man I passed by every Saturday morning.

The memories in this video are more than sixty years old, yet are told vividly enough to have happened yesterday. I hope you enjoy taking a few minutes to see some of these moments relived and shared by those lucky enough to have attended the school in that era.

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