Binstock, Tessie
Interview Date
February 24, 1999
Respondent Museum docent, born 1918.
[T1S1] Respondent gives family background, parents: Abraham and Cecelia Gottlieb; no siblings, raised in Altoona, PA, father owned meat distributing business. Respondent describes growing up in Altoona: railroad town; comments on Jewish population: close community; notes grandmother lived with family after grandfathers death. Respondent reflects on small town life, work in father's business, mentions 2 synagogues; details education: Adams Elementary School, Roosevelt Junior High School, Altoona High School, University of Pittsburgh: graduated 1940, degree in psychology and teaching. Respondent recounts meeting Dr. Samuel Binstock, dentist, their marriage, 1941; notes husband's enrollment in Dental Corps and life in Royal, VA: horses and dogs trained for Army, husband's work in dental clinic; 1<sup>st</sup> daughter born there, after clinic closed, husband sent to India and Respondent's return to Altoona, PA. Respondent discusses husband's return, family move to Pittsburgh; purchase of 1<sup>st</sup> home in Highland Park and opening of dental office; provides names and birth dates of 4 children; purchase of larger home in same area. Respondent details children's early years, safe neighborhood, discusses children's education and involvement with Jewish groups; membership in B'nai Israel Synagogue and involvement with B'nai Brith Women and B'nai Brith Men; notes membership in National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and other organizations; mentions substitute teaching.
[T1S2] Respondent details development of new program, 1968, to integrate neighborhood schools, applied for position: School Community Agent, approved by board of education, describes program, notes difficulties: unfamiliar concept. Respondent mentions husband's family: first jewelers in Hill District; describes love for volunteering and Presidency of Pittsburgh Conference of Jewish Women's Organizations; explains purpose of group. Respondent comments on opportunity to become docent at Carnegie Museum of Art: application, acceptance, detailed training, 2-year intensive program, prestigious position; her 25-year involvement. Respondent discusses B'nai Brith Hillel: need for Jewish presence on campus, Respondent among founders, husband also active. Respondent gives names of children, their spouses, grandchildren and careers; discusses depression in 1930s, describes conditions in Altoona: effect on community and parents generosity to community. Respondent comments on closeness of Binstock family: all within walking distance, describes family holidays.
[T2S3] Respondent describes Pittsburgh upon arrival: good economy, comments on present conditions: poor economy, aging population; vice-presidency of NCJW; reflects on Hill District and Squirrel Hill Jewish communities: changes. Respondent mentions quotas in University of Pittsburgh Dental School when husband applied. Respondent reflects on move to Oakland after husband's death, membership in Rodef Shalom Temple.
[T2S4] blank.
[T3S5] Respondent provides additional information on Altoona, PA: Pennsylvania Railroad main industry, describes tourist attraction, Horseshoe Curve, scenic area; notes changes in town: Museum built at Horseshoe Curve, other changes. Respondent describes social action during vice presidency of NCJW: legislation on women's rights: abortion, domestic violence, women in the workplace; educated membership; repeats role in integration of public schools, importance of pre-school programs, purpose: children have better understanding of each others culture, needs and value system, more beneficial to stimulation. Respondent repeats information from previous tapes; describes husband's dentistry in early years, relationship with patients.
Altoona (Pa.); B'nai B'rith; B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Carnegie Museum of Art; National Council of Jewish Women; Pennsylvania Railroad; Conference of Jewish Women's Organizations (Pittsburgh, Pa.); City and town life; Jews--Social life and customs
Birth Date
Altoona, PA
Altoon, PA; Pittsburgh
Occupation (father)
Meat distribution
Length (hours)
Bleier, Carol
Weiss, Selma
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 100 FF 26
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