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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       JAMES AROGETI (1925-2008)                   

INTERVIEWER:                   BERYL WEINER                  

DATE:                                  AUGUST 3, 2006

LOCATION:                          ATLANTA, GEORGIA

NUMBER OF PAGES:          32 pages

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Jimmy Arogeti was born in Atlanta on August 17, 1925.  He was one of six children.

Both of his parents were Sephardic Jews.  Jimmy’s father, Jack Behor Arogeti, was a shoemaker.  He was born in Turkey and came to the U.S. in 1919.  His mother, Regina, was from the Isle of Rhodes.  She came to Atlanta in 1920.

The family didn’t speak English at home.  They spoke Ladino, a mix of Spanish and Hebrew.  Jimmy says he didn’t start learning English until he was four or five.  At the same time he began learning Hebrew.  Jimmy went to grade school in the morning and Hebrew School in the afternoon.  He was a life time member of Or VeShalom where he later served as president and in other capacities.

Jimmy enlisted in the Air Force when he was 17 and was an aerial gunner on a B-17 in England.  When he came home, he attended Emory University under the GI Bill.  He graduated in 1948 and started working as an accountant in the same year.  He also worked as a college professor and went to law school at night.

Jimmy married Jeanette Alhadeff.  They had four children, Robert, Joel, Jane, and Barbara.

In 1952, Jimmy and Isaac Habif started their own accounting practice.  It is still in existence today and has grown to be the largest Georgia-headquartered tax, accounting, and consulting firm.

Jimmy’s deep Sephardic roots, love of family, sense of humor, and entrepreneurial spirit shine throughout the interview.

Jimmy Arogeti passed away on January 22, 2008.

SCOPE OF INTERVIEW

Jimmy reflects on growing up as one of six children in Atlanta.  He talks about his paternal grandmother living with them making a total of nine family members living in a three-bedroom house with one bathroom.  He says that his father, a shoemaker, could not afford to send him to college, so he attended Emory University under the GI Bill.

After graduating from Emory and beginning his work as an accountant, Jimmy talks about teaching college and going to law school at night at the same time he was raising four children.  As the successful CPA and lawyer he eventually became, the contrast between the life he built for his family and the way he grew up is remarkable.

In the interview, we hear about Jimmy’s deep involvement in Atlanta’s Sephardic community, as well as some of its history and traditions.  He talks about how the community stuck together, had their own clubs, and how that has changed.

There were tremendous technological changes over his professional career, from archaic adding machines and paper files, to computers files, email, and the internet.  At the same time, Jimmy reflects on the ways that people haven’t changed; both the good and the not so good.

Keywords

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Adair, Abe

Adair, Craig

Adair, Dr. Harold

Adair, Jayne

Adair, Jeffrey

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Ahavath Achim Synagogue

Alliance Boys Club

Atlanta Broom Company

Atlanta, Georgia

Bassett Walker Knitting Company

Boys’ High

Davison’s

Emory University

Epstein, Rabbi Harry

Etz Chaim

Geffen, Rabbi Tobias

Geffen, Sam

H. Mendel & Co.

Hebrew Orphan’s Home

Israel

Jewish Community Center

Jewish Educational Alliance

Jewish Federation

Mayfair Club

Pluma, Inc.

Progressive Club

Pryor Street

Riada Mills

Rich’s

Shearith Israel

Standard Club

Temple Sinai

University of Georgia

Washington Street

World War II

Zaban Park

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