Respondent
Spirer, Helen
Interview Date
1986
Abstract
Helen Spirer, president of Pittsburgh Section of National Council of Jewish Women; birth year, 1914;
[T1S1] birth in New York City and move to Pittsburgh, PA, at the age of four; her siblings; education, Fulton School; parents' emigration from Austria-Hungary; marriage in New York; early life in Pittsburgh; her children and grandchildren; father and brother buy Klein's Restaurant in the Hill District; residences in Pittsburgh; their house on the East End near B'nai Israel Synagogue; locations of restaurants around Pittsburgh; recollections of the restaurant, its clientele; a story of the restaurant porter; the flood of 1936; stage celebrities that patronized the restaurant; recollections of Passover at the restaurant; names of patrons; recollections of family life, atmosphere in parents' home; attending Camp Canadoda near Erie, PA;
[T1S2] the effects of 1929 stock market crash, the depression; mother's baking; her brother's Bar Mitzvah; education, Fulton School, Peabody High School, University of Pittsburgh, and Finkelhor's Business Training College; member, Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority; friends and activities with sorority; her work with United Jewish Fund; affiliation with Temple Sinai after marriage; Sunday School teacher, president of Sisterhood at Temple Sinai; history of Temple Sinai; her courtship and marriage to Oscar Spirer; discussion of his career as a certified public accountant; her service as treasurer and president of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW); active member of the United Jewish Federation; recollections of Pittsburgh in the 1930s and 1940s; discussion of her involvement with NCJW;
[T2S3] discussion of B'nai Israel Synagogue in East Liberty; mother's activity with B'nai Israel; names of members at that time; her confirmation at B'nai Israel; religious observance in her parents' home; more discussion of family restaurant called the Temple Restaurant; reiteration of her education; employment with Simon's Gear and Manufacturing, Reliance Steel, Julius Halpern Company, and United Jewish Fund as secretary to director; fundraising for United Jewish Fund; recollections of the University of Pittsburgh campus when she was enrolled there;
[T2S4] sorority activities; a list of sorority presidents, including herself; learning to cook after marriage; further history of Temple Sinai; stories concerning B'nai Israel and Rabbi Lichter; husband's religious philosophy; his service as president of Temple Brotherhood; discussion and opinions of various rabbis of the congregation; a conflict with Rabbi Ilson;
[T3S5] continuation of conflict and opinions about Rabbi Ilson;
[T3S6] Blank
[T4S7] her hobbies; offices she held with NCJW; discussion of her term as president, including the oral history project, the "Stay at Home Ball", Head Start Program and City of Hope; name of officers during her term as president; her service as president of Temple Sinai Sisterhood; changes in the East End of Pittsburgh; recollections of the East End in the 1930s; further discussion of job history; Pittsburgh during the depression;
[T4S8] discussion of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh; the Israeli Room there; family vacations; hosting an Israeli Disabled War Veteran Program; trip to Israel in 1973; chairman, Community Day Program of the United Jewish Federation; organizations to which she belongs.
Subjects
East End (Pittsburgh, Pa.); National Council of Jewish Women; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Restaurants; Klein's Restaurant (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Synagogues; Congregation B'nai Israel (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Temple Sinai (Pittsburgh, Pa.); United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Length (hours)
4
Interviewer1
Andelman, Emily
Interviewer2
Levant, Marion
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 36
Identifier
ais196440.450
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh