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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                    AL JACOBSON

INTERVIEWER:                DEBORAH SPECTOR

DATE:                               JANUARY 28, 2015

LOCATION:                     WAYCROSS, GEORGIA 

Transcript (PDF)

Biography:

Al Jacobson was born in Waycross, Georgia, in 1930.  His father, Morris Jacobson, immigrated to New York from Latvia just before World War I.  He traveled around the South in a horse and buggy, selling goods, before settling in Waycross.  In 1924, he opened Jacobson’s Department Store in Waycross.  Al’s mother, Marie Lubetkin, was a third generation Georgian, living in Fort Valley, Georgia.  She joined her husband in Waycross shortly after the opening of the store and after the birth of their first son.  Al’s father was one of the founding members the Waycross Hebrew Center.  On May 22, 1952, the Conservative congregation broke ground.  In the summer of 1953, the synagogue was dedicated.   

Al attended Waycross High School.  He and his brothers were bar mitzvahed at Waycross Hebrew Center.  Al joined the United States Air Force for one year.  He attended the University of Georgia, where he met his wife.  They returned to Waycross, where Al worked in the family business until it closed in 1981.

Al is active in various Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in Waycross.  He was president and secretary of the Exchange Club and is chairman for the Red Cross blood drive in Waycross.   Al and Ann married in 1953.  They have two sons.   

Scope:

Al Jacobson talks about growing up in Waycross, Georgia, and how his father settled there.  He talks about his father starting the family department store.  He remembers that his father was well respected in the Jewish and non-Jewish community.  He mentions that the Morris Jacobson Brotherhood Award is still given annually to a member of the community in memory of his father.  He describes Waycross as a liberal town for South Georgia.   He talks about the town as always being accepting of the Jewish community.

He talks about the Waycross Hebrew Center and the neighboring towns that it serves.  He discusses the merchant community.  He remembers the many families from the synagogue, founding members and all others.  He talks about the student and visiting rabbis who had come to the synagogue.  He talks about the relationships between the Jewish community, the town of Waycross, and other religious organizations in Waycross.  He talks about how the Jewish cemetery was established in 1958.

Al recalls his older brother learning Hebrew for his bar mitzvah.  He mentions that his bar mitzvah was through Hebrew transliteration because there being so few students.  Al discusses graduating from Waycross High School and going into the United States Air Force.  He talks about attending the University of Georgia, where he met his wife.  He talks about integration and the family business.  He mentions being involved in various Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.  He talks about his wife and their two sons. 


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