Respondent
Sajowitz, William
Interview Date
1985
Abstract
Rabbi William Sajowitz came to Pittsburgh in 1968 to be Rabbi for Temple Emanuel in the South Hills of Pittsburgh; birth year, 1919;
[T1S1] birth in Springfield, OH; early life in Dayton, OH; his only sibling, a sister; involvement of grandparents in early life; maternal grandparents, Russian and Polish; paternal grandparents, German; description of his grandmother, Rosie Sajowitz; the mixture of Orthodox Russian and Reform German in his family; his desire to be a rabbi from an early age; his Bar Mitzvah; activities in school; his training for the Rabbinate; education, University of Dayton, University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College; his first position in San Antonio, TX at age twenty-four; courtship and marriage to wife, Ruth in San Antonio;
[T1S2] changes in seminary education; discussion of his congregation in Texas; his desire to bring a sense of spirituality to the rabbinate; discussion of Jewish community in San Antonio; moves to Wilmington, NC, for one year; moves to Berkeley, CA; student unrest during the McCarthy era in Berkeley; comparison of college students then and now; moves to Stockton, CA, to teach at the College of the Pacific; moves to Flint, MI, and then to Florida to teach at South East Region Hebrew Union;
[T2S3] discussion of civil rights unrest in the South at that time; his work with the Religious Action Center; moves to Chicago, IL; discussion of Camp Coleman in Atlanta, GA; discussion of Rabbi Dresner and Rabbi Heschel at Hebrew Union College; his relationship with Jay Kaufmann, executive director of B'nai B'rith; Al Vorspan and other leaders in social action; his desire for integration while in Chicago; moves to Pittsburgh in 1968; the growth of Jewish population in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh; percentage of Reform Jews in area;
[T2S4] discussion of tensions between older members of congregation and younger ones; a showdown over whether Bar Mitzvah should wear yarmulke in 1973; growth of the congregation; relationship with other congregations; the need for the Jewish Community Center in South Hills; discussion of intermarriage and an outreach program for intermarried couples;
[T3S5] his daughters, their careers and families; changes in values of the modern generation; discussion of his involvement with forming a hospice in the South Hills area; recollections of college days and first job in San Antonio; his satisfaction with the seventeen years spent at Temple Emanuel.
Subjects
Rabbis; South Hills (Allegheny County, Pa.); Synagogues; Temple Emanuel Congregation (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Length (hours)
3
Interviewer1
Rubinstein
Interviewer2
Faigen, Ann
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 1
Identifier
ais196440.400
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh