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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives
MEMOIRIST:        JULIAN BROOK
INTERVIEWER:    SANDRA BERMAN
DATE:                  JANUARY 19, 2012
LOCATION:          BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography:

Julian Brook grew up in the 1960’s during the civil rights era in Birmingham, Alabama.  He was a pre-teen and teenager during that period.  He is a member of Temple Beth-El in Birmingham and is an active member in his community.  He has been a board member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Federation Allocation Committee, and other organizations.  

Scope of Interview:

Julian Brook discusses his experiences growing up during the civil rights era in Birmingham, Alabama.  He mentions that he was a pre-teen to teenager during that period and remembers Jewish businesses downtown.  He reflects on the role of Jewish community during the civil rights era and their involvement with Israel.  He reflects on the Jewish community’s involvement in politics in Birmingham.   He reflects that he did not see a lot of anti-Semitism growing up but that he knew it was there.   He discusses how the Jewish community is different today than it was in the 1960’s.   

He recounts the attempted bombing of Temple Beth-El in 1958.   He discusses Rabbis Milton Grafman and Abraham Mesch at Temple Beth-El and the positions they took during the civil rights era.  He talks about the letter Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote from the Birmingham Jail.     

He discusses the three synagogues in Birmingham as separate Jewish communities and the divisions along those lines in the1950’s and how that has changed.  He also discusses the city of Birmingham and how it has changed since the 1960’s.   He speaks of the relationship between the Jewish community and the African-American community.

He is a member of Temple Beth-El.  He talks about his involvement in the community and as a board member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Federation Allocation Committee, and other organizations.  He discusses Knesseth Israel and Chabad within the Birmingham community.
 

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