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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:           ROSE LIBOWSKY KLEIN

INTERVIEWER:       JOEL LOWENSTEIN

DATE:                      OCTOBER 24, 1990

LOCATION:              ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Rose Libowsky Klein was born in Atlanta to Sarah, nee Rosen, and Joseph Libowsky.  Her family moved to New York City shortly after her birth for 15 years before returning to Atlanta in 1936. She was the third of four children and only daughter.  She graduated from Girls’ High. Her family was highly active in the Arbeiter Ring. She went to their schools and learned Yiddish fluently.  Her family was also involved with Congregation Shearith Israel. She and her husband Eugene Klein were the parents of five children: Rochelle [Rothenberg] Herrick, Maxine Jacobs, Hershene Borrin, Harley Klein, and Jody Klein. She was also deeply involved with the community, volunteering for the Red Cross, Young Judea, and working at the Jewish Federation for more than 30 years.

Scope of Interview:

Rose talks about her family coming to America from the Russian Empire.  Her father had fled due to his socialist political leanings and he helped found the Atlanta chapter of The Workmen’s Circle, a liberal institution that helped Jews from Eastern Europe integrate into American society and promoted workers rights and helped small business. Rose goes into the group’s purpose and the difficulties it faced, especially being cleared of being a subversive communist organization. Rose mentions other leaders associated with the Atlanta Workmen’s Circle: M. J. Merlin, Morris Russ, and attorney Joseph Jacobs who helped to maintain the Workmen’s Circle section at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. Rose recalls two teachers at the Workmen’s Circle School: Moshe Mordecai Bloshtein and Leon Rosen. Rose tells about the Workmen’s Circle building, called the Lyceum, on Capitol Avenue in Atlanta. She also touches on her family’s religious background and practices. She mentions that her family observed Pesach, Rosh Ha-Shannah, and Yom Kippur. She attended Shearith Israel Synagogue in Atlanta and her brothers were bar mitvahed. Rose discusses her five children with pride, mentioning her daughters’ involvement with the synagogues in their communities. Rose touches upon reasons for the decline of Yiddish among American Jews, noting that none of her own children speak Yiddish.

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