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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       ROSLYN PALMER  

INTERVIEWER:                 NOAH LEVINE

LOCATION:                        BAINBRIDGE, GEORGIA

DATE:                                  JUNE 30, 2017

Transcript (PDF)

Biography:

Roslyn Palmer was born in Bainbridge, Georgia, on May 4, 1952, to Bella Turetsky and Jacob Wolffe.  Her mother’s family was from Atlanta.  Her grandfather came to Georgia to work as a route salesman. Roslyn’s grandmother was from Poland. Roslyn’s father, Jacob Wolffe, came to America from Romania in 1921 through Ellis Island. He came to Bainbridge to work at a cousin’s downtown department store, and in 1949, he opened his own retail business in Bainbridge. He remained in that business his entire life. Rosalyn has one brother, Ed Wolffe, who lives in Atlanta.

Roslyn attended Bainbridge High School and the University of Georgia. After graduating, she returned to Bainbridge to work as a reporter and a salesperson at a local radio station. She has served 30 years as an elected official for city council as well as having served the Bainbridge community in numerous volunteer civic positions over the years.

She is a life-long member of Temple Beth-El in Bainbridge. She was confirmed when she was in the 10th grade. She married Jack Palmer in 1976. They have one daughter and a grandson.

Scope: 

Roslyn Wolffe Palmer talks about her childhood years in Bainbridge, Georgia. She remembers playing hopscotch and riding bikes with groups of kids in the neighborhood.  She talks about being very active and involved in clubs and various activities in high school. She mentions that she was the only Jewish child in her grade. She remembers believing in Santa Claus and going on Easter egg hunts with her best friend.  She recalls being absent from school for religious holidays and that it never presented a problem. She reminisces about Passover celebrations and Purim parties. She mentions being the only person in her confirmation class in Fitzgerald, Georgia. 

She recounts that Jewish merchants were vital to downtown Bainbridge and remembers stores closing for High Holy Days.  She talks about the Jews in Bainbridge having always been involved in civic life and governance as early as 1900s and having always been accepted by the community.  She speaks about her parents’ involvement in community organizations such as the Lions Club and Red Cross volunteer work. She talks about her daughter’s bat mitzvah. She discusses interfaith marriages in Bainbridge, noting that almost everyone at the Temple Beth-El congregation has intermarried. She reflects on the future of the Jewish community in Bainbridge and small towns in America.  She talks about her husband, Jack Palmer, and their daughter.

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