Hi Associates of “Association Weequahic,”
Harriet Diamond Markowitz (59) & Richard Diamond (57)
It is with heavy hearts that we report the unexpected passing of our younger brother, Michael Diamond, Class of June 1963, at the age of 76. Michael attended Rutgers University prior to graduating from UMDNJ School of Dentistry in 1971. He opened his dental practice in Newark on Orange Street and continued operating his thriving business at that site until his retirement six years ago. He was a warm, sweet, loving man who loved his family and friends, his pets, his garden and could never say no. Michael will be sorely missed. He leaves his wife Allison, his two children and his four grandchildren. Notes of support can be left at Michael Diamond Obituary. Harriet & Richard
Francis Feldman Maier (6/61)
It is with much sadness that I report the death of Sandra Margolies Kaplan, Class of June 1961. Sandra and I were friends all through Chancellor Avenue. School and Weequahic High School. She lived on Schley Street near Lyons Avenue. I lived on the same block but closer to Chancellor. We walked to and from school together and stayed in touch until she became ill. She is survived by her younger sister, her son and daughter and two grandchildren and numerous friends and relatives. You can read her obituary at Sandra Margolies Kaplan Obituary. Frances
Steve Newmark (6/61) recommends a film with a local setting and story:
“306 Hollywood” is a documentary about Grandma Ontell of Newark and 306 Hollywood Avenue in Hillside. Two siblings undertake an archaeological excavation of their late grandmother's house. In doing so, they embark on a magical-realist journey in search of what life remains in the objects left behind. It’s all about the house and what is left behind after death and the joyous recollections of time spent together. Could be your mother and or grandmothers.
After viewing the film, I thought it perfect for our Hillside HS subscribers and our WHS alum who lived near the Hillside border. WHS is not mentioned, however Grandma grew up in Newark giving a high probability to a WHS connection, residents and/or schools. There are familiar scenes of Hillside throughout the film.
Hanging out at the DQ:
Marilyn Gruber Semer (6/62)
In response to Zelda Lees Pollick (6/63), I was one of Zelda's friends who hung on her front "stoop" along with her cousin Susan Kundin (6/62; lived upstairs) and my still best friend Nancy Zimmerman Friedman who moved in her senior year and had to attend Columbia H.S. When the parking lot of the Dairy Queen filled with dozens of teens hanging around and blocking traffic, the police would come to scatter the crowd. Meanwhile, we friends would rest comfortably on Zelda's stoop.
However, my Dairy Queen story became a life-changing event when I met my husband Ron Semer (1/62) there, introduced by Joe Pleva (6/61?). Ron went to my prom with me and after that we became inseparable. We dated for six years through college, graduate school and first year of teaching. The rest is a 53-year marriage tale. Every year on our anniversary we try to go to a Dairy Queen as a reminder of where it all started. Marilyn
Steven Epstein (6/63)
I write to those of you who remember the Dairy Queen on Chancellor Avenue. I live in Kankakee, Illinois and be advised Dairy Queen was invented and developed here by a gentleman named Sherb Noble. We still have three here in this small area. Mr. Noble is long gone but his delicious ice cream lives on. Personally, I liked soft serve a Carvel better. To me there was nothing like pistachio ice cream at Grunnings on the hill. Great ice cream with a great view. Steve
Synagogues and the Yiddish way of life:
Len Cohen (6/54)
Which side of Springfield Avenue you resided in determined whether you went to Weequahic or West Side High. We lived on South 19th Street (Clinton Hill section of Newark) near the border of Irvington, N.J. Took the 6 Crosstown Bus to Chancellor Avenue and walked to Weequahic.
The Avon Avenue & 13th Street Synagogue (schul) was called B'nai Jacob & David and was located across from the local firehouse. Men sat downstairs in the main sanctuary and women upstairs in the balcony. Obviously, it was of the Orthodox persuasion and where I had my Bar-Mitzvah in 1949. The schul eventually moved to West Orang on Pleasant Valley Way where it continues to flourish to this date.
I remember that, generally, the Jewish holidays fell on dates in the fall and, thereby,
conflicting with the World Series. Being a devout New York Yankees fan, I was not allowed to watch TV in an observant orthodox household. However, I was permitted to go to my friend Bill Kubek's house, a Christian and watch the games with him. I always will be in his debt! Len
Arnie Kohn (56)
Two things; Halems was on the corner of Fabyan Place and Chancellor Avenue. My Zaydie, Sam Lasket, also belonged to the shul on Avon Avenue and 13th Street. I remember going there as a child and sitting with him during the High Holidays. The thing I remember best is the bargaining in Yiddish, for the Aliyah (calling up) to recite prayers blessing the reading of the Torah. My temple today, assigns these honors to the people who work for the temple. Arnie
Rita Kravet Rzepka (1/55)
I want to recommend a book I just read, “Outwitting History: How I Saved a Million Yiddish Books” by Aaron Lansky. Lansky was a young college student about 1970 at McGill University in Montreal taking Yiddish as an advanced college course. Really getting into it, he decided to try to save Yiddish books from destruction and the Yiddish language from oblivion. With friends at his side, he started collecting all the Yiddish books he could find. It is a fascinating story of the collection of over a million books from all over the world and establishing a beautiful library in western Massachusetts. It’s a good read for anyone interested. Whatever became of our grandparents’ treasures? They are alive and well. Rita
Memories of mine and thine:
Mel Lissner (Peshine 49/WHS 6/53)
Fascinating connections always in reading the weekly gem, the “WHS Note,” started by Jac Toporek (6/63). In one issue alone I found a personal connection with names mentioned; Marvin Kaleky (Hillside 55); Paul Hilf (6/54), a fraternity brother at Upsala College; Jac Toporek, an apartment neighbor at 225 Meeker Avenue and one of my brother Clark’s (6/63) best friends; Gil Lustig (1/60); Morey and Tobi Stein Udine (1/63). The aforementioned all touched my life someway.
The newsletter’s mention of stores, businesses, eating places, movie theaters, “down the shore” favorites, shopping and recreation areas, hang outs, teachers, and so much more are reminiscent of an unusual and unique childhood we all shared. We were a “hood” and we were a ghetto in a sense. We were poor, lower middle class, middle class and rich. I was in the first poor or lower middle-class category.
We, “WEEQUAHIC,” were in my time, in the ‘50’s mostly, maybe 90%, Jewish, (these were the days just post WWII), but we took into our hearts and friendship the 10% or so non-Jews. For the most part, we ended up marrying solely other Jews, but my children and grandchildren now marry outside Judaism, too. In our day, as I remember, there were areas where we, as a community, were separate. But plenty of areas, in school, playgrounds, neighborhoods, allowed Jews and non-Jews to come together and develop relationships, many lasting a lifetime. I remember when I was the only Jew on the St. Charles (Peshine Avenue) basketball team and whose team shirt I proudly wore. When the guys on the Upsala College football team saw me wearing it under my shoulder pads, they started laughing.
Those were great days, great people, part of Newark NJ history in the 40s, 50s and 60s. I was teaching in Newark the summer of 1967 when the “riots” changed it all. As I write this, in two hours I turn 68 years old, LOL, I mean 86! Maybe all these weekly reminiscences can be turned into a book to let our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren get familiar with our generation. They would learn much of the past. I went to the pharmacy at the corner below our apartment to use the phone booth. Our family had no phone until we got a party line when I became a teenager, when we also first got a TV. No private bedroom in our apartment and parents slept on couch in living room and often no heat in the winter. I took two buses to Upsala College. Certainly, the Lissners’ experiences were duplicated by many families in our share Weequahic district. For some rough, but I will always those were great WEEQUAHIC days! Mel
Jerry Katz (6/60)
I enjoy very much the stories and comments from the “good old days.” There appears to be some confusion as to the various places we gravitated to, particularly our favorite lunch stops. Of course, Syds and the Bunny Hop on Chancellor Avenue need no further description. But two other places seem to get confused. As I recall, Halem’s was on the corner of Fabyan Place and Chancellor. There was a smaller favorite that put out some good sandwiches on the corner of Leslie Street and Chancellor, Harjay’s. Harjay’s was particularly busy at lunch time. All of these places were always a better choice than the WHS cafeteria. Jerry