// William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives



DATES:                  MAY 4, 1989

                              JUNE 20, 1989

                              JULY 11, 1989

                              JULY 21, 1989


Transcript (PDF)


Regina Rousso Tourial was born in Atlanta in 1921. Her father, Daniel Rousso, came to Meridian, Mississippi, in 1908 from the Isle of Rhodes with his brother. During a trip to Rhodes in 1919 to see family, her father met her mother, Sarah Capouya Rousso. They were married shortly after and settled in Montgomery, Alabama. They were there for six months, and then came to Atlanta, where Regina was born. She has two brothers and a sister, all younger than she. Her father owned a hat cleaning, dry cleaning and shoe shine parlor in downtown Atlanta. In order to provide for his family, he worked long hours, often from six in the morning until seven or eight in the evening. Her mother was a French teacher. They lived next door to the Temple on Pryor Street. Rabbi David Marx knew that she spoke French and she soon became a French tutor to the German Jewish students at the Temple. She also spoke Italian and Spanish, the latter of which was the language spoken at home. Growing up in a Sephardic household, the traditions and foods of the Sephardic culture were of utmost importance to Regina’s family. Regina loved the tradition of naming after living relatives. Some of her favorite memories are of the fadas, which is done when the first girl is born into the family. Her mother loved to entertain, no matter what the occasion. As an adult, Regina became concerned that with the growing number of mixed marriages between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, their traditions would be forgotten, or made less of a priority. Regina and her family were members of Congregation Or VeShalom. Her mother was very active in the congregation, becoming the first Sisterhood secretary to take minutes to be read at the next meeting. Because the membership of Or Veshalom predominantly spoke Spanish, minutes were read in Spanish until 1938 or 1939. Regina’s mother became a Sisterhood president, as did her daughter Sara. Regina felt that her inability to drive held her back, and never became president. However, the year after her daughter became president, Regina was made an Honorary President, having served as a vice president of the Sisterhood for 16 years. Regina attended the Formwalt School. After attending Formwalt, she attended Commercial High School. She says that Commercial High School gave her a business education equal to, if not better, than any college. She also noted that a member of the graduating class after hers was Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. Regina and Ralph Tourial were married in 1942 by Rabbi Joseph Cohen at the Biltmore Hotel. They had four children, Sara, Peggy, Daniel and Sidney.

Scope of Interview:

Regina discusses her family and their move from Isle of Rhodes to Meridian, Mississippi and then Montgomery, Alabama. They moved to Atlanta after living in Montgomery for six months. In Meridian, her father was in the cotton business, but after moving to Atlanta, opened his own dry cleaning, hat cleaning and shoe shine business. Regina recounts growing up in Atlanta as a member of a Sephardic Jewish family. She discusses her family’s activity at Congregation Or VeShalom. She reflects upon the synagogue’s clergy, past and present, detailing their backgrounds and their journeys to Or VeShalom. She reminisces about the traditions and customs of an observant Sephardic family and her fears surrounding their continuation after her generation dies. Regina speaks about the extensive Sephardic community in her neighborhood and her mother’s love of entertaining, no matter the occasion. Her father’s his long hours at work made his involvement in the community prohibitive. She discusses her children, their education, and what they are doing at the time of the interview. After one of her son’s went to college, she took a job with the Georgia State Legislature.

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