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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       VIDA DAAB GOLDGAR (1930-2004)

INTERVIEWERS:                 GROUP (FIRST INTERVIEW)

                                          LIBBY JOHNSON (SECOND INTERVIEW)

DATE:                                  NOVEMBER 21, 1985

                                          JANUARY 8, 1987

LOCATION:                          ATLANTA, GEORGIA

ID#:                                   OHC10257

NUMBER OF PAGES:           36

Transcript (PDF)

EXCERPTS/HIGHLIGHTS

On her emerging role at the Southern Israelite:

“About a couple of years after I was there, Adolph said, "I've been trying for many, many years to go to Israel.  I've never been able to leave the paper to do it.  I think you can handle it while I'm gone."  I said, "Sure. No problem."  We were going to spend about an hour-and-a-half or so right before he was to leave with some really heavy-duty briefing, except that I ended up in the hospital the week before with a pinched nerve and kind of walked in the day he was to leave with a collar on my neck.  He said, "Bye."  I really didn't know how much I didn't know until that time.  But we got the paper out.  I didn't know that headlines had to count a certain way or be a certain size.  I just went back to the print shop and said, "Here, set it in whatever will fit."  But we did get the paper out.  I guess it was a little heady experience.  I was off and running.  I've been there ever since.”   2, 3

 On her conversion:

 “I converted when I was 21, when I married.  However, I say I didn't, and yet I did, because my grandfather was Jewish.  My grandfather, who came to this country in the middle of the nineteenth century, was Jewish.  He in turn married a non-Jew.  Yet in this little town, which really had no population . . . I had cousins who didn't know that my grandfather was Jewish.  I grew up knowing it.  These were older cousins . . . I grew up with a feeling about it and a kinship to it, and there was just something there that . . . I discussed it with family members.  I don't know why or how, but I always felt that there was a very strong connection, even though it wasn’t continued in the family.  I think I married a Jew because he was a Jew . . . in part because I wanted to reach that.  Before I did that, I was always on my soapbox and telling people that I was Jewish.   If I heard a slur or something like that, I would get on my high horse and [say], ‘Obviously you don't know that I'm Jewish.’  So it was there.  It's an almost inexplicable sort of thing that was with me from that kind of tenuous connection.”   3, 4

“I began to get this feeling that if I said anything mildly critical of any group or body or custom or anything else, or if I went off on any sort of tangent, the feedback I was going to get . . . I don't know that this would have happened . . . but was, “What does she know about it anyhow. She's not even Jewish.”  I think that exists.  It exists to some degree that I felt that very strongly.  All at a sudden I buttoned up and I no longer told anyone.”  12, 13

On the name change from Southern Israelite to the Atlanta Jewish Times:

“The name change . . . from the Southern Israelite, which was the name of the paper since its inception 62 years ago, was a little harder to get used to. The Atlanta Jewish Times is, I agree, a more modern name, more in keeping with what is happening in the Jewish community of Atlanta.  Part of the reason for the change was to perhaps be more appealing to a lot of the newcomers in town who don't have the history of the Southern Israelite, and frankly, very often say, “What's that?  Is it a synagogue bulletin?”  Also, to appeal to the advertisers, many of whom are not Jewish, and who are even more confused as to what the Southern Israelite is.  I agree with all the reasons.  Emotionally, I haven't quite totally accepted it yet.  I still pick up the phone, if I happen to, and say, “The Southern Israelite.”  I guess that'll happen, and continue to happen for a long time.”   18, 19

On Adolph Rosenberg:

“But he became ill in the late . . . probably 1975, early 1976, and practically until the day he died, even during chemotherapy, he would come right in to the paper.  He maintained some semblance . . . of carrying on.  He was a remarkable man.  He could be annoying.  He could be aggravating.  At one time, I asked him, after he was ill and I wanted to indicate in the softest way because we didn't talk about his illness, that I might be interested in the paper. The only way I could phrase it was if he wanted to give up a little responsibility, I'd be interested in a piece of the action.  His response was, ‘After all, you're a woman, and a single woman. What if you fell in love with somebody in Chicago or something like that?  What would you do then?’  I got annoyed and couldn't really express it.  I said, ‘You wouldn't say that to a single man.’  Nonetheless, that was the end of the conversation.”   21

On the Southern Israelite and reporting on the Six Day War, 1967:

“Adolph stayed.  The war broke cut.  He could not get back.  Didn't really . . . He was stuck . . . he had a bullet hole in his room, came through his window.  I don't recall whether he was in the room or not.  But he proceeded as a true newsman.  He hooked up with a unit, whatever, went down into where the fighting was or had just been.  I tried desperately to get a call through, unsuccessfully.  We didn’t hear anything from him.  He couldn’t get to us.  Not knowing really what was going on over there, we didn't know if he was dead or alive or what had happened.  At some point we got this thick airmail letter, and he started sending stories back . . . He couldn't get through on wire or anything like that.  But when he got back, he was just much in demand . . .  all over the city, because I think he was the only Atlantan, only Atlanta newsperson, that was actually there.  It was . . . he talked about it for the rest of his life and reminisced about it.”  22, 23, 24

BIOGRAPHY

Vida Daab Goldgar was born in Columbia, Illinois in 1930. Her father, John Daab, was a pharmacist.  Her mother, Adele Schein, died when she was seven years old and her father remarried.  She has a sister and two stepsisters and a stepbrother.  She converted to Judaism when she was 21 years old when she married.  Her mother-in-law, Annie Shapiro Goldgar, was a major influence in the decision.  It turned out that her maternal grandfather, David Shein, had been Jewish, although much of her family did not know that. Her grandfather had been a peddler and then owned a small store and a mill in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He had immigrated to the United States from Germany.

Vida married Michael Goldgar at age 21 and had four children:  David, Dirk, Dean and Deborah (Barber).  She and her family came to Atlanta from New York in 1959.  She worked for the Southern Israelite (later the Atlanta Jewish Times) on a part-time basis as she was raising four children.  In 1973 she was divorced and began to work full time at the Southern Israelite, under the leadership of Adolph Rosenberg.  On January 1, 1979 she purchased the paper and became editor and publisher. She owned the Southern Israelite until August 1986, when she sold it to Stan and Shirley Rose of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle and retired.  The Roses renamed the newspaper Atlanta Jewish Times.  After selling the paper, she continued to serve as a senior editor and columnist until her retirement in 1994.  Vida died in July 2004.

SCOPE OF INTERVIEW

Vida discusses her early life growing up in the Midwest and her family.  She recollects her conversion to Judaism and marriage.  She recalls her parents and grandparents, her schooling, interest in becoming a teacher, early professional life and marriage to Michael Goldgar.

She recalls her move to Atlanta, Georgia with her family and her early years on the Southern Israelite when she was a columnist, her relationship with Adolph Rosenberg, the owner and senior editor, her eventual full-time employment, and her eventual purchase of the newspaper after Rosenberg’s death.  She recollects numerous anecdotes surrounding her connection with the newspaper including helping to cover the Six-Day War in Israel in 1967.  She remembers her eventual sale of the newspaper to the Roses and her partial retirement from the newly-renamed paper to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

She also recalls her social and community involvement in a variety of organizations such as Hadassah.  She discusses her Jewish identity, her involvement in the Temple Sunday school, her children’s Jewish education, marriages and families and her grandchildren.

KEYWORDS

Abelson, Sonia Rabinowitz

American Jewish Press Association

Atlanta Jewish Times (Jewish newspaper)

Atlanta Georgian

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia—Growth and development

Augusta, Georgia

Bar mitzvah

Bat mitzvah

Berit milah

Blumberg, Janice Rothschild Oettenger

B’nai B’rith Women

Bowling leagues

Boy Scouts

Bris

Caplan, Alice Weinberger

Carter, James Earl “Jimmy” Jr. (President)

Cavanaugh Associates—Atlanta, Georgia

Cavanaugh, Trudy

Chapter 11

Cincinnati, Ohio

Circumcision

Civil Rights Movement

Coffee Klatch (column)

Columbia, Illinois

Conversion

Daab, John

Danzig Corridor (Poland)

Dessauer, Herman

Dessauer, Sara Burns Simmons

Diamond, Margie Rosenstein

Editors, newspaper

Feminism

Fox, Adele Daab

Geldbart, Jack

Germany

Goldgar, Annie Shapiro

Goldgar, Dean

Goldgar, Michael

Goldgar, Vida Daab

Hadassah—Henrietta Szold Chapter

Hadassah Hospital—Jerusalem, Israel

Hanukkah

Hebrew Union College—Cincinatti, Ohio

Hene, Sara Burns Dessauer

Heyman, Josephine Joel

Immigration

Intermarriage

Israel

Israeli-Lebanese Conflict, 1982-1985

Journalism

Judaism—Fasts and feasts

Judaism—Rites and ceremonies

Judaism, Conservative

Judaism, Orthodox

Judaism, Reform

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Jewish Chronicle

Karp, Hazel Berman

Levow, Joyce Spielberger

Luntz, Hannah

Macon, Georgia

Minter, Jim

Newspapers, Jewish

New Orleans, Louisiana

Peddlers and peddling

Pharmacists

Public relations

Public schools

Reagan, Ronald (President)

Rebbetzin

Religious education, Jewish

Rose, Stan and Shirley

Rosenberg, Adolph

Rothschild, Jacob (Rabbi)

Saul, Virginia Diamond

Schein, Adele

Schein, David
Shiffer, Steve

Shurgin, Eloise Kaufman

Sigma Delta Chi

Sisterhoods

Six Day War, 1967

Society of Professional Journalists

Southern Israelite (Jewish newspaper)

St. Louis, Missouri

Sternberg, Ruth (Rae) Davis

Straus, H. Cerf (Rabbi)

Sunday school

Teaching

Temple—Atlanta, Georgia

Temple Beth Israel—Macon, Georgia

Weiner, Laurel

Wenger, Nanette (Dr.)

Weston, Colleen

White House—Washington, D.C.

Williams, Dick

Women’s rights

Women’s movement

Youth Aliyah

 

 

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