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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:            GERTRUDE KRICK

INTERVIEWER:        RONNI CRISTOL

LOCATION:               ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                        AUGUST 8, 1990

                                   AUGUST 22, 1990

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY:

Gertrude Fierman Krick was born in New York City in 1916 and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1938. Her parents, Abraham Fierman and Frances Chigorsky Fierman, were immigrants from Russia. She had six siblings: Rose Kess, Jenny Fierman, Sam Fierman, Harry Fierman, and Morris Fierman. She received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, a master’s degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University, and a master’s degree in reading from Emory University. She was the first director of the Jewish Educational Alliance preschool in Atlanta and was a teacher and assistant principal of the Atlanta Hebrew Academy for 28 years. Her volunteer activities included leadership roles in Pioneer Women, Jewish Family Services, and Congregation Shearith Israel, and volunteering at the Shearith Israel women’s shelter. Gertude and her husband Edward Krick were the parents of Elliott Krick and Rosalyn Krick Kram, and the grandparents of Joel Morris and Rachel Morris.

Scope of Interview:

Gertrude recalls her life in New York City, in Manhattan and the Bronx, before moving to Atlanta. She talks about her immigrant parents and maternal grandparents, and being the youngest of five siblings. She says her father was a butcher and a scholar. She remembers holidays and Shabbat and her mother’s challah.

Gertrude talks about her job as a nursery school teacher in New York City and relocating to Atlanta as a teacher for the Jewish Educational Alliance’s nursery school. Gertrude discusses her early days in Atlanta, first living with the Kuniansky family, and later sharing an apartment with her friend Rose Cherkas.

Gertrude talks about meeting her husband Edward Krick at the Jewish Educational Alliance and their wedding in 1940. She talks about Ed’s childhood in Atlanta, his parents, and his maternal and paternal grandparents who lived in Atlanta. She discusses his life-long involvement with Congregation Shearith Israel and his association with the Shearith Israel Juniors. She talks about his grocery business and how most Jewish groceries located in black neighborhoods in Atlanta closed due to robberies by black residents after the 1960’s civil rights movement.

Gertrude recalls the history of Jewish institutions in Atlanta: the Jewish Educational Alliance, the Schoen free kindergarten, the Ben Massell Clinic, the Atlanta Jewish Welfare Fund, and the Bureau of Jewish Education. Gertrude mentions the accomplishments of Edward Kahn as director of the Jewish Educational Alliance and Samuel Rosenberg as director of the Atlanta Bureau of Jewish Education. She discusses the evolution and dissolution of the Jewish Educational Alliance.

Gertrude describes the divisions between German Jews, East European Jews, and Sephardic Jews in the Atlanta Jewish community. She talks about Reform, Conservative, Traditional, and Orthodox Judaism.

Gertrude relates the history of the Hebrew Academy of Atlanta, forerunner of the Atlanta Jewish Academy. She tells how integration led to increased enrollment. She describes the process of attaining Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation. She recalls Rabbi Chaim Feuerman and Dr. Ephraim Frankel, who each headed the school during the accreditation process. She tells about her retirement after 29 years as a teacher and administrator at the Hebrew Academy. Gertrude mentions the Epstein School and Torah Day School.

She talks about attending Congregation Shearith Israel, its history, and how it changed from an Orthodox to Traditional synagogue. She discusses its rabbinical leaders: Rabbi Tobias Geffen, Rabbi Hyman Friedman, Rabbi Arnold Heisler, Rabbi Sidney Mossman, Rabbi Donald Frieman, Rabbi Nissim Wernick, Rabbi Marc Wilson, Rabbi Judah Kogen, and Rabbi Mark Kunis.

Gertrude talks about her activities in the Jewish community. She tells about: her involvement with Na’amat and the organization’s origins and name change from Pioneer Women. She tells about her activities at Congregation Shearith Israel, as vice-president of education and as a volunteer for its women’s shelter.

Gertrude relates the accomplishments of her son Elliott, her daughter Rosalyn, and her grandchildren Rachel and Joel.

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