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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

INTERVIEWER:        KIM COHEN

MEMOIRIST:             RUTH KRUGER SINGER

LOCATION:               ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                        AUGUST 27, 2001

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Ruth was the daughter of Elex and Fannie Kulbersh Kruger. Both Elex and Fannie were immigrants, Elex from Lithuania about 1910 and Fannie from Poland. Elex lived and worked with a cousin in Doerun [Georgia] until he opened his own store in Sale City [Georgia]. Fannie had first immigrated to New York—earlier than 1910—and relocated to Tifton [Georgia] where her brother Samuel Kulbersh was living. Elex and Fannie were introduced, married, and Ruth was born in Tifton [Georgia] on January 7, 1918.

Ruth’s family lived in Sale City [Georgia]. She had one sibling, brother Louis Kruger. In 1923, Ruth’s family moved to Fitzgerald [Georgia], where her father owned the Fair Store and his brother Abe Kruger owned Kruger’s Department Store.

Ruth attended the University of Georgia from 1934 to 1939 where she was a member of the Jewish Sorority Delta Phi Epsilon. On August 29, 1939, Ruth married Sol Singer, who had also attended the University of Georgia. They were married in Fitzgerald with Rabbi Edmund A. Landau of Albany [Georgia] officiating at the ceremony.

Ruth and her husband Sol lived in Columbus [Georgia], first at the Country Club Apartments and later at a home they bought on Britt Avenue. Sol was a co-owner of Kolodkin Brothers, a wholesale notions and candy business in Columbus. He was co-owner with his uncle Charles Kolodkin. Ruth and Sol were members of Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus. Ruth served a term as president of Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus.

In 1962, Ruth moved to Atlanta [Georgia] when Sol relocated his business Singer & Sons to Atlanta. In 1966, Ruth enrolled at Georgia State University and completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree with a concentration in interior design. Ruth was on the Sisterhood board of Ahavath Achim Synagogue and served as gift shop vice-president.  Ruth served as women’s division chairman for the Atlanta Jewish Federation campaign. Ruth was on the board of the Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta and the Atlanta Jewish Home.

Ruth had three children— Sharon Singer Norry, Eric Singer, and Alice Singer Pinsky Shapiro—who all attended Camp Ramah.

Scope of Interview:

Ruth discusses her parents’ origins and growing up in South Georgia. Ruth describes Jewish life in Fitzgerald [Georgia] and nearby towns where Jewish merchants operated stores and businesses. Ruth says that there were only about 12 Jewish families living in Fitzgerald and nearby towns. Ruth tells about gathering together with Jewish families from nearby towns to celebrate the High Holy Days in rented space with her Uncle Abe Kruger leading the services as cantor. Ruth says there was no organized religious institution and no formal Jewish education for the children. Ruth relates how the Fitzgerald Commercial Alliance was formed by her father Elex Kruger, his brother Abe Kruger and a few other Jewish businessmen. Ruth describes the influence of the Fitzgerald Commercial Alliance on Jewish businesses during the Depression and how the Fitzgerald Commercial Alliance was the impetus for the Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation.

Ruth describes how social life was limited to visiting friends and family and, as a teenager, going to the movies and to Jewish dances. Ruth mentions that she did not experience any antisemitism and tells how Jews participated in the non-Jewish community by making donations to churches.

Ruth talks about attending college at the University of Georgia and her experience as a member of a Jewish sorority. Ruth tells about her marriage to Sol Singer, living in Columbus [Georgia], and relocating to Atlanta. Ruth discusses her family’s membership at Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus and how Rabbi Kassel Abelson influenced her family and her children to attend Camp Ramah. Ruth discusses relocating to Atlanta and continuing her involvement in Jewish institutions. Ruth stressed the importance she placed on Jewish education for her grandchildren and others, recalling the lack of formal Jewish education during her own childhood in South Georgia.

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