By Michael Cole
Archivists depend on written records—minute books, Bulletins, correspondence—in order to know what actually occurred in the past. However, in order to know how people felt about what occurred, we have to hear them speak.
Over the past couple of decades, I have been privileged to record interviews with many of our members and some staff, all of whom have memories of how they felt about what occurred at Holy Blossom over the years, and about the many, often colourful, people involved in these events. Sadly, some of these interviewees have since passed on.
Leonard Levy, David Hart, and Marilyn Farber shared with us their recollections of the years on Bond Street with Rabbi Eisendrath and Edmund Scheuer. Henrietta Chesnie told us about her experiences as the first female president of Holy Blossom, her working with Rabbi Plaut, and of organizing our 150th Anniversary celebrations.
Anne Le Sarge and Ruth Levine were secretaries in our Religious School for many years, and, in a joint interview, related what it was like working for Heinz Warschauer, our long-time Director of Education. Zita Gardner and Linda Wolfe, in another joint interview, told us about their long and varied experiences teaching in our school.
Rabbi Goldfarb, Cantor Maissner, and Rabbi Helfman spoke about what it was like to be clergy at Temple, as well as giving us some insight into the life they had before coming to Holy Blossom.
We now have over fifteen recorded oral histories, which are in the process of being digitized so that they will give future generations an insight into our past.
You may wish to visit the Archives Committee displays in the Temple Atrium, currently honouring Rabbi Marmur z”l and The Pioneering Women of Holy Blossom, as well as the History of Holy Blossom at the far end of the Atrium. We also draw your attention to the Living Museum by the elevator, showing a collection of chanukiyot.
If you have any items of archival interest to contribute to the Holy Blossom archives, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected].