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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                     RALPH TOURIAL (1915-2002)


DATES:                              NOVEMBER 3, 1993

                                        NOVEMBER 10, 1993

LOCATION:                        ATLANTA, GEORGIA

ID#:                                   10724

Transcript (PDF)


Ralph Tourial was born in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia to Turkish immigrants.  He was one of three children.  His father, who owned a delicatessen, died in 1923.  Ralph became bar mitzvah on a Thursday morning at Or VeShalom, following Sephardic tradition.  He became President of Or VeShalom synagogue in 1937.

From the time he was ten years old until 1980 when it was sold, Ralph worked for E. Tourial Leather Company, a leather wholesaling business owned by his uncle, Ezra Tourial, until his death in 1941.

Ralph Tourial married Regina Rousso on February 8, 1942, and the couple had five children:   

Sidney is a dentist, married to the daughter of Dr. Nathan Gershon.  His daughter Sara is married to Morton Grosswald, and has three sons.  His daughter Margaret is not married, and works for United Airlines in Washington, D.C.  His son Danny is married with two sons.  

At the time of the interview, Ralph remained very active in the Atlanta Jewish community through B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Welfare Fund, Or VeShalom and Israel Bonds.



Ralph discusses his early life growing up Atlanta Sephardic community and the formation of Atlanta’s Sephardic synagogue, Or VeShalom.  He recalled of the “clannishness” of the German, Russian

and Sephardic Jews in Atlanta in the early twentieth century, and some of the differences in the various groups.

He spoke at length about the business practices his uncle utilized at E. Tourial Leather Company, where he worked starting at age ten and the stiff competition that plagued the company after World War II until it was ultimately sold in 1980.  Ralph recalled Ezra Tourial, his uncle, who exercised an important role in the early Sephardic community.  Ezra provided funds to build the current Or VeShalom synagogue, but also helped Sephardic Jews obtain loans through the Morris Plant bank, to helping the Jewish residents of the island of Rhodes financially becaue they had treated him with extraordinary kindness when he spent the year of mourning for his mother there.

Ralph provides an excellent cultural description of the Sephardic Jewish community of Atlanta from its early days to now, from his wife’s involvement with the Or VeShalom Hanukkah bazaar to his son’s presidency of the synagogue to the ins and outs of financing the synagogue building.


Antisemitism—Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Bar mitzvah

B’nai B’rith Gate City Lodge 155


Butchers, Jewish

Cohen, Joseph (Rabbi)

Congregation Ahavath Achim—Atlanta, Georgia

Congregation Or VeShalom—Atlanta, Georgia

Goldstein, Irving (Dr.)

Great Depression, 1929

Hebrew Orphans’ Home—Atlanta, Georgia

Hirsch, Benjamin


Israel Bonds

Judaism—Customs and practices

Jewish-Jewish relations

Jewish National Fund

Jews, Ashkenazie

Jews, Sephardic


Korean War (1951-1953)


Morris Plan Bank—Atlanta, Georgia

Office of Price Administration (OPA)


Rhodes (island)


Shoe industry and trade


Tourial, Ezra

Tourial, Ralph

Tourial, Regina

Tourial, Sidney (Dr.)


Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

Wyle, Armand (Dr.)

Zimmerman, Jake

Zimmerman, Robert


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