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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       JEANETTE COHEN ROUSSO

INTERVIEWER:                   SANDRA BERMAN

DATE:                                  MARCH 30, 2011

LOCATION:                          MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA


Biography

Jeanette Cohen Rousso was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1921.  Her parents were Sephardic Jews who immigrated to Montgomery in 1912 from the Isle of Rhodes.  Her father owned Economy Deli in Montgomery.  Jeanette’s mother cooked Shabbat dinner of kosher meats and Sephardic desserts.  They belonged to Agudath Israel congregation.  She went to Sunday school at Temple Beth Or and was confirmed.  Jeanette married Morris Rousso.  They owned several large shoe store businesses.  They have a son and two daughters.

Scope

Jeanette talks about the early Sephardic community in Montgomery.  She talks about her childhood, her family, and how life revolved around the synagogue.  She remembers Shabbat dinner with her family on Friday nights and the Sephardic desserts her mother baked.  She discusses the meals they cooked for Passover and Rosh Ha-Shanna.  She talks about her mother’s kosher cooking. 

Jeanette talks about the synagogue and attending Sunday school.  She recounts being confirmed at Temple Beth Or.  She recalls when the Orthodox and Reform congregations merged.   She discusses belonging to the Progressive Club and the activities and parties they had.  She talks about the Ladino language.

Jeanette talks about segregation during the Civil Rights era and her relationships within the black community.  She talks about the shoe store business that she and her husband owned.  She discusses her childhood years, her neighborhood, activities, and friends and relationships.  She talks about her son and two daughters.  


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