Jac Toporek (6/63)
Would you believe that my twin brother Norbert and I may have seen only one movie at the Park Theater? No, we did not frequent the movie house during our days at WHS. Not sure, why, but “social awkwardness” could be an answer. Our usual movie haunts were in downtown Newark. “Ten Commandments” at the Branford is most memorable because of its story, length and cinematography. We also saw the movie during Passover and we took special care not to eat any food that was not considered “kosher for Passover.” Missed out on some great pretzels sold by a street vendor.
But there was one, yes one, film we did get to see at the Park. Our dad took us; found a few free hours from the two fish stores the family operated on Newark’s Prince Street. Mom must have been out of town, perhaps visiting relatives in Montreal, Canada.
Anyway, the movie we saw was “Black Sunday,” a tale of an Israeli operative trying to track down a planned assault by a terrorist on the Super Bowl. Action packed; memories still linger. Jac
Chancellor Avenue Playground recollections play on:
Alan Goldenberg (57)
The newsletter tributes to Bucky Harris, Phil Barone and Billy Drexel are well deserved. Each played an important role in the personal development of my generation. Mr. Harris was instrumental in my development physically, athletically and personally. His involvement didn’t stop at the playground. After graduating from high school, I was floundering. He took me to meet the athletic director at Upsala College and sold him on the idea that I could be a walk-on for the football team. The prerequisite was a good score on the SAT. He went with me to take the test. My score ensured my admittance. My football experience was short lived.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris attended my wedding and I we kept a regular communication. Without Mr. Harris I would not be where I am today. Incidentally, one of the hi-lights of my playground experience was a weekly 50-yard race, me versus Bucky. It wasn’t until I got to high school to beat him. Alan
Sharon Rous Feinsod (66)
In response to the discussion of Chancellor Playground, my class was about six years younger than Gil Lustig (1/60) and the guys who played ball, hopped the fence and knew the playground directors in a closer way. It was unusual for the girls to have any teams prior to Federal law, but Mr. Barone, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Drexel made sure that we had an eighth-grade girls softball team. It was where I learned to pitch underhand by counting three steps before throwing the ball. Robin Trugman Bartel, Ronnie Fishbein and I played and learned how to follow the ump's calls and sportsmanship. Of course, I never became a fast runner, though we all learned how to hit.
Mr. B. and Mr. Drexel always seemed to enjoy being with us. I think Mr. Harris' deep voice intimidated me, as well as his stern demeanor. But they were great coaches for thirteen-year-old girls in 1962! A revelation indeed. Unfortunately, at the high school the best we had in Phys Ed were cheerleading and twirling, which brought me great joy! Sharon
Herman Rosenfeld (67)
I spent most of the summers playing softball and touch football in the Maple Playground with Mr. Muster and others. But when I went to Weequahic, we started to hang out playing sports in the Chancellor Playground. Misters Barone, Harris and Drexel were fun to shoot the breeze with and were always principled and helpful. But, I gotta say, that Mr. Barone and Mr. Drexel were also fun to talk politics with. And even though those guys were really conservative in their outlook and supported Goldwater in 1964 and were overjoyed when Johnson started escalating the Vietnam War (unfortunately, I, too, at the time was happy about it as well). They always had a twinkle in their eyes when we started chatting about that stuff. Herman
Rita Kirsch Morris (64), Phyllis Scharago (60) and Alan Berlin (64) share thoughts on Hebrew schooling:
Thank you to Barbara Lerner Blumberg (60) for remembering my Hebrew teacher’s name. It was the same as your Hebrew teacher, Halberstadter. We lived right on Osborne Terrace, so attending the Talmud Torah was as easy as crossing over to the next block that was parallel to our family home. Our house was between Nye and Hawthorne Avenues. My memory contains fondness for the prayers I sang for my whole life.
I had to chuckle when you mentioned the teachers yelled at you in Yiddish. I have an understanding of Yiddish as our maternal grandmother spoke mostly in that slang since she had come to live with us after my grandfather passed away at an early age of 45 years. We had a deep and close relationship with our grandmother Sophie since she practically raised us while our parents worked long hours in their restaurant down Clinton Avenue. Rita
I went to Hebrew school on Avon Avenue and I believe S. 13th Street in Newark. It was a orthodox schul (synagogue). The only students I remember were Melvin Blake and Barton Frenchman. I think I was the only person in the world that liked Hebrew school. The rabbi was Herschel Cohen. I was the first girl to be bat mitzvah. I went to Madison elementary school. It was a wonderful time that no longer exists. Phyllis
I lived on Conklin Avenue, just down the street from the Talmud Torah located on the corner of Osborne Terrace and Conklin Avenue. I too, was an indifferent student, but when Bar Mitzvah time approached, I got serious with my study and practice. I played two hand touch football in the street on Conklin Avenue right beside the shul with my non-Jewish friends when the bell would ring ushering us upstairs for Hebrew school. I’d then hide behind a house. When all the kids were inside the shul, I came out and continue the game.
My mother would come home from work at Bamberger’s and ask, “Did you go to cheder (Hebrew/Jewish class) today?” And I’d answer truthfully, “No.” She never made a fuss about my truancy. I’m not sure if she just trusted that when Bar Mitzvah time approached, I would respond. Or she may have been just too tired at the end of her work day and bus ride home to fight with me about it.
The empty lot adjoining the building was, in addition to the street, our playground, and location for tackle football and punchball, the games we played. The Talmud Torah was sort of a tiny Orthodox “mom and pop” synagogue. Conklin Avenue was taken by the construction of the highway, was home. Alan