2008.10.08 22:23:01

My earliest memories of the shul when I was about 5 or 6.  My mother, Tillie Sogoloff, would send my younger sister and I upstairs in the care of our older sister.  This was after women were allowed to sit with men downstairs, but children were still sent up.  I remember looking down at the service and the people feeling almost hypnotized. Then, a little older, perhaps 11 or 12, my 3 best friends would walk down to Peabody Square to the library or candy store and often took the shortcut down Oak St. to Sanborn St and walk past the shul.  My best friends were Linda, Bea, and Marianne.  Living downtown, I was the only Jewish girl but we would all look in admiration at the shul as we passed.  It was part of our beloved Peabody.  Then a little older, maybe 15.  It was Yom Kippur and when my mom came into my room and told me to get dressed, I said no.  I wanted to sleep.  She said that I would have to go to shul or school.  Since I was going through my rebellious years, I told her that I would go to school.  Busy and frustrated she told me to stay in bed.  The family left without me.  I made myself breakfast and was enjoying a leisurely morning.  Then the family came home.  They were distressed.  Being 15, I imagined that everyone was mad at me for not going to shul, but no, it was not that at all.  My dad, Hy Sogoloff, told me that they announced in the middle of the service that the news had come in that Israel had been attacked.  I felt so bad.  My sister was in Israel was in Israel at a Kibbutz.  My parents were terribly anxious about her status.  I wish that I had gone to shul that day.  A few years later when I no longer lived with my parents, I joined them on the High Holidays and sat downstairs in the shul.  But, I would sneak outside with a couple of the other woman for a cigarette before the “break fast”.  I now live on an island in southwest Florida, but the shul was an important part of my life and the life of my family.  I will always have fond memories of growing up in Peabody.

2008.06.13 23:34:15

Slichot Services in 1964 were interrupted by a neighbor running into the shul and informing us that the back of the building was on fire.  Chaim Weisman, the cantor, rushed to the back door next to the bimah and opened it.  The flames lapped the inside wall and the backdraft almost carried Chaim into the flames.  The Fire Department extinguished the flames, and Max Talkowsky, was one of the first responders into the building and the shul was saved with only minor damage.  The firefighters explained that if it wasn’t for the concrete extending so high up on the building that the flames would have entered the basement and we would have been trapped.  The culprit, a local drunk name Gordie Newt on, told police that the organ music was to loud and he could not sleep. 

2008.06.13 23:33:32

My earliest memories of the shul were during the High Holidays in the mid 1950’s.  During that time both shuls were filled to capacity.  The woman would dress up in their furs and sit upstairs. Mr Shiffman, the Hebrew school principal, would conduct Hebrew School services alternating downstairs in Congregation Sons of Israel and in the Vestry at Congregation Anshe Sfard..  Little’s Lane and Elliot St were overflowing with people during the services.  I used to go to Anshe Sfard during the holidays to visit my grandparents, Ida and Abe Bazer, who were instrumental in builiding that synagogue.   On Kol Nidre, Dave Kirstein would make his annual pledge for the Talmah Torah (Hebrew School)< SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">  He would deliver a speech and at the conclusion would go up and down each row and ask every male to make a donation.  I later found out that when someone said same as last year, that meant there was no pledge to be made.  When I was 10 I couldn’t take the fasting and a friend and I had lunch at Santoro’s.. We walked back and met my brother Michael outside and informed him of the snack we just consumed.  We were told to be quiet and not to tell anybody.    Today the shul is crowded for the High Holy days but it will never have the same feeling as it did back in the late 50’s and early 60’s

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