Jacqueline Kaufer Klein (66)
Thank you for the memory of the Mosque Theater, Jac. You were so fortunate to have been an usher there and to have seen remarkable performances. Here is something about its history that readers might enjoy and a slight reference to its cinematic history, as you queried (Link to History of the Mosque Theater, Newark, NJ).
Your mention of the theater, reminded me of the few, wonderful performances that I saw there, so I thought I would share them. I don’t know if they would be of interest to anyone, but perhaps it will remind other alumni of their special moments there also. The theater was very dear to my father's heart. I think my parents have a steppingstone or some sort of building block or plaque there for contributing to its restoration.
I hadn't thought about the Mosque Theater for so many years, but when I saw the reference to it, it made me realize how fortunate we were to have a venue like that in Newark. Wonderful personal memories of performances there, but just wanted to share a few of mine. Hortense Greenwald was a ballet teacher who had a studio for young, aspiring ballerinas right near the Mayfair Theater on Elizabeth Avenue, almost at the border of Elizabeth. I took lessons in her upstairs studio, as did many other young girls from Newark. We had our black leather ballet slippers and white ballet dresses with blue polka dots. But I could never master a cartwheel, so, disappointingly, I could not be in her recital. I think the recital was supposed to be held at the Mosque Theater. That was the first that I ever heard of the Mosque; and couldn't imagine then, what kind of place it could even be, with such an exotic name!
Years later, in high school, my parents took me to see my favorite performer, the great French pantomimist, Marcel Marceau and we saw his great "box" presentation. It was unforgettable and so grateful that I had the chance to see him. Then, I went with a dear friend to see the Moiseyev Dancers in an amazing performance. I also saw a beautiful dance troupe from India; with their glittering costumes.
Most cherished recollection was on the occasion of my 16th birthday. My piano teacher, Halina Neuman, a beautiful pianist and brilliant piano teacher in Newark, knew that I loved the music of Frederic Chopin. She was a friend of the legendary pianist, Artur Rubenstein. He came to perform at the Mosque. As a birthday gift, she took me to his concert and to see him play. It was one of the great thrills of my early life to hear him in person. It got even better, because, after the performance, she took me backstage to meet Rubenstein and his wife. I will never forget that moment at the Mosque Theater. I think that Sol Hurok was the impresario, but I may be mistaken. Our little bit of “High Culture,” imported from New York City, right in Newark.
I also want to say that Newark had such gifted people, like Hortense Greenwald, the ballet teacher and Halina Neuman, my piano teacher, who taught many students and imparted a great love for the arts. They made certain that the arts were so much at the heart of our lives. Just like the brilliant Dr. Prinz. So many remarkable people lived in Newark. Jacqueline
Jac Toporek (6/63)
Yes, Jacqueline, ushering allowed me to experience first had the wonderful “cornucopia of art” that was available at the Mosque. Most memorable ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet performing The Who’s “Tommy.” Rock-pop highlight was Sly and the Family Stone who caused an uproar arriving two hours late and keeping an increasingly angry audience waiting (but his concert was excellent). Merle Haggard brought country music fans (best tippers) to their feet with his “Okie from Muskogee.” One of the lines in the song referenced not doing marijuana in Muskogee, but a number of ushers got an invite after the show to join band members back at their hotel for a toke or two. My late friend Phil Koplin (66) got to stand in as a soldier in an opera production (name forgotten). Jac
Edith Shaffer Jazmin (1/54)
To Len Cohen(6/54), I lived across the street from the Avon Avenue & 13th Street Synagogue, B’nai Jacob & David. in the apartment house on corner from the time I was 5 until I was 18. My brother also celebrated his Bar Mitsvah at that shul (temple). I remember sitting upstairs with my mom and occasionally going downstairs to sit with my father. I also went to Hebrew school there but didn’t finish. Rabbi Cohen wasn’t that excited about having a girl in class. I was ignored most of the time, so I marched across the street and told my parents I quit. Great memories. Edith
Bobbi Fechtner Bierman (1/54)
Halem’s was on the corner of Leslie and Chancellor. It was a hangout for the “in crowd.” For those who didn’t bring lunch to WHS, we ate outside around a hydrant during lunch hour. Across the street was a candy store called, I believe, Rosenberg’s. Not as popular as Halem’s. Hard to go back at my age to memories but they do crop up. Bobbi
Noah Chivian 6/52
I lived on Shanley Avenue two house from Gertrude Aaronson Hall of B'nai Abraham.
My parents entertained very often and my father used to go to Byalistoka Kitchen and buy bialys for our guests to take home. He would buy often and in quantity. One day, the owner asked him, "Where is your store?" We liked fresh baked bialys! Noah
Andy Azablow (W. Orange 66)
Correction to Barry Gold’s (1/58) comment, the Christmas decorations he mentioned were on the corner of Gregory Avenue and Northfield Road in West Orange. The estate was owned by Mark Anton, the founder of Suburban Propane and former state senator. Andy
Sara Friedman Fishkin (6/60)
In response to my classmate Jerry Katz regarding lunch spots, the cafeteria food was worse than mediocre; so, I went home for lunch on most days. Nutrition aside, a Syd's hot dog and that little bag of well-done French fries was heavenly. But I certainly do remember Halems on Chancellor and Fabyan. The owner was tall and slightly bald. They had good ice cream sodas but not as good as Henry's on Bergen Street. Question; did Margie's on Schley and Chancellor have a soda fountain? I spent so much time at Margie's buying comic books, song books and even cigarettes for my mother in my years at Chancellor.
As an aside, I remember riding my bicycle into Hillside and Irvington with you, your brother, Jeff Gelman, Morris Handelman and a couple more. We'd try to get lost, especially near Bloy Street, but I always knew the way home. Even before those adventures, I recall exploring the little creek at the end of Fabyan Place near the Monroe Gardens and daring each other to walk inside the water drainage pipe. And one more, there was a ramshackle, abandoned wooden house on Chancellor and Fabyan or Schley. The rumor was a derelict lived in it. So, a few of us went into it and sure enough there was a guy who scared the daylights out of us because we ran out running and screaming. This was early elementary school maybe 3rd or 4th grade. Does any of this sound familiar? Sara
Mel Rubin (56)
Regarding Sis Levine Gold’s (54) sledding story, I once biked down Meeker Avenue from Peshine. My handbrakes didn’t hold and I went through the red light at Elizabeth. The fact that I am writing this indicated my survival. Needless to say, once was enough. Mel