Robinson, Sylvia
Interview Date
August 12, 1996
Respondent. Business owner, born 1929.
[T1S1] Respondent active member of American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); wife of Donald Robinson. Respondent tells mother's emigration story from Russia, her early life in New York City; father's emigration to Pittsburgh, his job as peddler. Respondent recalls furniture store father bought on South Side; living above store; her religious education; family's move to Squirrel Hill. Respondent explains why she was not bat mitzvah'd. Respondent reminisces about childhood; close family; schooling. Respondent mentions that mother was active in Pioneer Women, helped in store. Respondent lists childhood activities including interest in drama; summer at Camp Kadimah, beach. Respondent tells story about how she met her future husband; their courtship; trying out for drama department at Carnegie Mellon University; attending University of Pittsburgh; marriage in 1947 when she was 18; early married life; husband's early career working for his father's candy/tobacco store. Respondent mentions husband started White Cross Stores. Respondent starts talking about her first mission to Israel in 1959 sponsored by United Jewish Appeal to help Jews out of Poland.
[T1S2] Respondent continues talking about trip; states experience influenced her, husband to become very involved with Jewish community. Respondent talks about experiences JDC has afforded her, husband; lists positions husband held in JDC. Respondent explains why she founded American Friends of Israel Disabled; purpose of organization; her involvement; funding; how program has expanded to other cities. Respondent lists other involvements. Respondent talks about trip she, husband made to visit Jewish community and set up health clinic in Ethiopia, sponsored by JDC. Respondent discusses changes in Pittsburgh community; strength of religious education; more youth involved in Jewish community; problems with Jewish Home for the Aged. Respondent mentions travel agency (Gateway Travel) she owned that specializes in corporate accounts.
American Friends of Israel Disabled; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; Business; Industries; Gateway Travel; Robinson, Donald
Birth Date
Pittsburgh, PA
Board member
United Jewish Federation; Pittsburgh Youth Symphony; Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Company
Squirrel Hill
Length (hours)
Karelitz, Bess
Collateral Materials
Box 105 FF 22
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