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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       SYLVIA GOLDSTEIN BREMAN (1911-1992)     


LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                                 JANUARY 27, 1986

ID#:                                    OHC 10084

Transcript (PDF)


Sylvia Goldstein Breman was born in 1911 in Rochester, New York. Her parents were Abe and Henrietta Goldstein.  Sylvia had two siblings: an older brother, Charles, and a younger sister, Erma. Sylvia's father was a vice-president and designer for Hickey Freeman clothes, a suit manufacturer.

Sylvia and her family lived a comfortable lifestyle in Rochester, living in a three-story home and employing live-in housekeepers.  She attended public schools. The family attended Temple B'rith Kodesh, a Reform congregation.  Sylvia was active in Jewish youth groups in the Temple and Jewish community.

After graduation from high school, Sylvia attended Connecticut College for Women in New London, Connecticut. When the Great Depression began, she transferred to the University of Rochester in New York.  She later enrolled in the Rochester Business Institute.  Sylvia first did volunteer secretarial work for Rabbi Philip Bernstein at Temple B'rith Kodesh and later worked part-time for a doctor in Rochester.

Sylvia met her husband, M. William (Bill) Breman, at Temple B'rith Kodesh. The couple married in 1934 and moved to Atlanta, Georgia.  Bill Breman worked in the family business of scrap metal and later steel.

Sylvia raised two children: a son, Jim, and daughter, Carol. Her children first attended public school, and then attended the private Westminster School.  Her family was affiliated with the Temple in Atlanta, a Reform congregation.  Sylvia was a member of the Temple Sisterhood and other Jewish organizations including Brandeis Women, National Council of Jewish Women, and Atlanta Jewish Federation.

Sylvia did volunteer work in Atlanta. One of her volunteer activities was transcribing books into braille for the blind. She also served as a delegate to the 13th Conference on the Cause and Cure of War in Washington, D.C.

Sylvia has seven grandchildren. Her son Jim has four children and her daughter Carol has three. Both of Sylvia's children continue to incorporate Judaism into their family life.

Sylvia died in 1992 after an illness.


Sylvia recalls her childhood in Rochester, New York with her mother, father, brother, and sister, in particular the fishing trips taken by her family. She discusses attending public school and participating in youth activities at Temple B'rith Kodesh.  Sylvia describes attending college, first at Connecticut State College for Women, and then at the University of Rochester.

Sylvia tells about meeting her husband M. William (Bill) Breman at Temple B'rith Kodesh in Rochester, New York, her marriage to Bill in 1934, moving to Atlanta, and her affiliation with the Temple in Atlanta. Sylvia talks about her activities with the Temple Sisterhood, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Atlanta Jewish Federation.  Sylvia discusses her volunteer work transcribing books into braille and serving on the Board of the Jewish Home.

Sylvia mentions her trip to Israel when she met Golda Meir, and her husband's trip to Israel during the Israeli-Lebanese Conflict (1982-1985).  She tells about her son, Jim, and daughter, Carol (Nemo), and her seven grandchildren.  Sylvia expresses satisfaction that both her children continue to maintain their Jewish identities.  Sylvia relates that her daughter, especially, is more knowledgeable about Judaism than she and more traditional in her observances of Jewish customs.




Atlanta, Georgia

Bar mitzvah

Bat mitzvah

Bernstein, Philip Sidney (Rabbi)



Brandeis University National Women’s Committee

Breman, James (Jim)

Breman, M. William

Breman, Max

Breman, Sylvia Goldstein

Breman Jewish Home—Atlanta, Georgia

Breman Steel Company—Atlanta, Georgia

Breman Iron and Metal—Atlanta, Georgia

Clothing industry and trade

Conference on the Cause and Cure of War in Washington


Connecticut College for Women—New London, Connecticut

Dixville Notch, New Hampshire

Eastman, George

Eastman Kodak


Frank, Leo

Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS)

Goldstein, Abe

Goldstein, Henrietta

Great Depression, 1929

Hickey Freeman

High holy days


Israeli-Lebanese Conflict, 1982-1985

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta—Atlanta, Georgia

Jewish-Jewish Relations

Judaism, Conservative

Judaism, Orthodox

Judaism, Reform

Judaism—Fasts and Feasts

Judaism—Rites and ceremonies

Marx, David (Rabbi)

Meir, Golda (Prime Minister)

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

Nemo, Carol Breman

New York City—New York



Pig'N Whistle—Atlanta, Georgia

Public schools

Pressly, William L. (Dr.)

Religious education, Jewish

Rochester, New York

Rochester Business Institute—Rochester, New York

Rosh Ha-Shanah 

Rothschild, Jacob (Rabbi)





Temple—Atlanta, Georgia

Temple B'rith Kodesh—Rochester, New York

Thousand Islands

Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC)

United Jewish Appeal (UJA)

United Way

University of Rochester—Rochester, New York

Westminster School—Atlanta, Georgia

Youth—Societies and clubs


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