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Transcript of interview with David and Iris Torjman by Barbara Tabach, November 12, 2015






In this interview, the Torjmans recall meeting at Temple Beth Sholom and their careers in Las Vegas. David Torjman was a Hebrew School teacher at Temple Beth Sholom, and later became a dealer at the Rainbow Club and Tropicana. Iris was a health aide for the Clark County School District.

In 1964, a young Hebrew school teacher was recruited to teach at Temple Beth Sholom. Soon he met Iris Schwartz who had moved to Las Vegas to live with her aunt. Less than two years later David proposed to Iris in Jack Entratter's suite at the Sands; had a New York wedding and then a local wedding thrown by the Sisterhood at Temple Beth Sholom. The couple came from distinctively different Jewish backgrounds. David was born and raised in Morocco and was educated in trades at the ORT Vocational School in Fez, Morocco. He then studied at Sunderland Talmudical College in England before immigrating to the United States. Iris was a native of Bronx, New York. And tells how before the couple met in Las Vegas that they actually lived within blocks of each other in New York. She moved to Las Vegas to live with relatives as a young woman. In 1964 destiny brought them together. David?s career as a Hebrew school teacher brought him to Temple Beth Sholom, a career that lasted for three years. He then worked for Jerry Hory?s Hock Shop and later became a dealer for the Rainbow Club and the Tropicana. Iris worked for the Clark County School District as a health aide. They have been successful investors in local property and enjoy their retirement. They tell the story of meeting and creating a life in Las Vegas where they raised their three children.

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David and Iris Torjman oral history interview, 2015 November 12. OH-02527. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID & IRIS TORJMAN An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 1964, a young Hebrew school teacher was recruited to teach at Temple Beth Sholom. Soon he met Iris Schwartz who had moved to Las Vegas to live with her aunt. Less than two years later David proposed to Iris in Jack Entratter's suite at the Sands; had a New York wedding and then a local wedding thrown by the Sisterhood at Temple Beth Sholom. The couple came from distinctively different Jewish backgrounds. David was born and raised in Morocco and was educated in trades at the ORT Vocational School in Fez, Morocco. He then studied at Sunderland Talmudical College in England before immigrating to the United States. Iris was a native of Bronx, New York. And tells how before the couple met in Las Vegas that they actually lived within blocks of each other in New York. She moved to Las Vegas to live with relatives as a young woman. In 1964 destiny brought them together. David?s career as a Hebrew school teacher brought him to Temple Beth Sholom, a career that lasted for three years. He then worked for Jerry Hory?s Hock Shop and later became a dealer for the Rainbow Club and the Tropicana. Iris worked for the Clark County School District as a health aide. They have been successful investors in local property and enjoy their retirement. They tell the story of meeting and creating a life in Las Vegas where they raised their three children. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with David & Iris Torjman November 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface??????????????????????????????????..iv David speaks about his family background and being from Fes, Morocco; story of chance meeting with someone who knew his parents. Describes life between Muslims and Jews in days when Israel was becoming a country. For three years he attended an ORT school (1956) for carpentry and then moved to England, where he was studying to be a rabbi. Moved to the US in 1959; accepted by Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland..???????????????.?.1 ? 7 David talks about dropping out of yeshiva and moving to New York; started teaching at Grand Concourse for a year; started traveling; met Abe Schwartz who became principal at Temple Beth Sholom and who recruited David to move to Las Vegas. Met Iris at Beth Sholom; married in 1966; taught there from 1964 ? 1975?????????????????????..8 ? 9 Iris talks about how she moved to Las Vegas in 1966 to live with her aunt Fay Shapiro; introduced to David; early dating, going to services and then a show at the Flamingo hotel. David?s marriage proposal at Jack Entratter?s suite at the Sands; how everyone loved to wine and dine David, the Hebrew school teacher??????????????????.?...10 ? 11 David tells story of musicians not being allowed in temple when Rabbi Gold was there, until Hank Greenspun asked for his son?s bar mitzvah. Explains what he taught at the synagogue; helped Kim sisters and others through their conversion to Judaism?????????..12 ? 13 Iris talks about being a young housewife and mother of three; the challenges of keeping kosher; involved with Sisterhood, ORT, and B?nai B?rith. At age 34 she had her bat mitzvah??14 ? 17 Talk about attending both Orthodox Shaarei Tefilla and reform Ner Tamid temples; David?s Sephardic background; David was a dealer at Tropicana for 13 years; also worked at Hock Shop, owned by Jerry Jory. Mentions brief stint at Rainbow Club in Henderson??????.18 ? 21 Speak about start of their buying of parcel of land on Sandhill and Rawhide and becoming a land investor in late 1970s; David conducted a Passover service at Caesars; Moroccan influence of seder meal?.. ?????????????????????????????..22 ? 24 vi Reasons they like living in Las Vegas; what it was like to raise children to be Jewish here; buying kosher groceries, challah from Freed?s Bakery; Kaufman?s and Wonder World; family feeling of temple Beth Sholom; David blowing shofar at Nellis Air Force Base at Miriam (also Moroccan) Sharp?s request. Growth of Chabad ????????????????..25 ? 27 Review of some photos of their wedding ceremonies ? one in New York and one in Las Vegas at Temple Beth Sholom; people in photos of reception at the Ruby Kolod Center????.28 ? 31 Discuss Jewish education and trying to preserve and respect traditions; Sam Kelin was kosher butcher in 1960s; challenge of hiring a mohel for circumcisions. Reflections on not finishing his rabbinical studies????????????????????????????...32 ? 37 Index..?????????????????????????????????38 - 39 Appendix photos?????????????????????????????.40 - 50 1 Today is November 12th, 2015. This is Barbara Tabach and I'm sitting with David and Iris Torjman. Where were you born? DAVID: I was born in Morocco in 1939. My mother's name is Hannah and she was a housewife; with ten kids she doesn't need a job. We didn't have TV in those days. And we didn't have a radio in Fes. It was too far away. So they had their own shows. So my father, like I told you, he used to travel by horse from the neighboring farms in the outskirts of Fes. The main one was Ain Taoujdat. Taoujdat is farmland, the richest earth in the whole Morocco, and they produce the best fruit, the best vegetables, not to supply the whole Morocco, but in the neighborhood, let's say, from here to St. George or even before, Mesquite, and nothing but farmland. The water was very plentiful. You just dig in the ground about a foot and a half and you have water. So they didn't have to use no city water, no river water, just artesian wells. That's well-known in whole Morocco that part of Fes or outskirts of Fes, Ain Taoujdat. So what he used to do, he used to travel by horse, see the farms, locate the owner. And let's say he's got ten acres of almond trees. He says, "When the almond is ready, I'll buy them. Give me your best buy, best price, and I'll send workers there to take them out." That's the almonds. I remember when they were ripe, they were done, he used to bring it home and hire about fifteen Arab women to come and crack them down, take the almond out and trash the rest. You would see about ten women in the size of the kitchen. Everybody has like a stone and a hammer, crack down the almond and take. And the labor was cheap; I mean she didn't make a dollar a day, eight hours. What he used to do...So he had an agent. IRIS: Do you want to hear all this? 2 Yes, I do, yes. You do? Oh, okay. He had an agent. He had a broker, an agent, and he used to go around Fes and he'd tell them, "Abraham Torjman, he's got five thousand almonds. How much do you need? And give me a price." So he used to tell them, well, I have so much and so much in it?the workers, the time?and I'll have a profit and you make out of my profit. So by the way, I met that agent in Casablanca about five years ago. I was in Morocco visiting a friend and that friend happened to be also a guest in my house. I brought him in one Saturday where we were living, in the other house with his entourage. So he wants to show me the favor I had done for him and the food that I served him on Saturday. So he invited me to his house. His house in today's economy was a palace, period. I mean I haven't seen a house like that in whole Morocco. So he said, "David, I meant to ask you, where are you originally from?" I said, "I am from Fes." Morocco, Fes. I didn't have to say Morocco. "I am from Fes." He said, "Are you from Fes?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I'm going to bring you somebody who knows your family." I said, "Impossible." He said, "Yeah." He clapped his hand and the chauffer came in. We were about twenty at the table, twenty people. He said, "Go bring Ben Sodar," which is the agent. Ben Sodar; that's his name. So he went and in about fifteen minutes here he comes with Sodar, not knowing me, knowing only the owner of the house and some people. "Sit down, sit down, Sodar." And he asked him, "I have a gentleman here from Fes. Maybe you know his parents. Maybe you know not only his parents, what his father used to do." I sat down. He said, "Just tell me your last name and where you lived." So I told him, "The last name is Torjman," in Arabic, "and we lived in Elbiro." He heard those two sentences 3 and he shook his head. I remember clearly and Eli (my Muslim friend) was with me. He shook like this. He said, "Is your father Abraham?" I said, "Yes." "Your mother Hannah?" I said, "Yes." "Did he have an uncle by the name of Jacob?" I said, "Yes." And I'll tell you the story. He had a partner by the name of Pareinte. Pareinte I know very well because whenever he used to come to the house he used to drop me a couple of coins. I said, "Yes." I said, "For crying out loud, tell me who you are. I've never saw you before. I heard of you, but I never saw you. You know my father, my mother, my uncle, his partner, but I don't know your name." He said, "My name you were too little to remember because when I used to come to the house, your mother, the first thing she did was olives, black olives and a glass of tea with some cookies;" that we use in Morocco. "And your father, I was his agent, not only for your dad and your uncle, but for anybody in Fes who wanted to get rid of excess or something." So he was well known. It's just like calling Century 21 in every state. He was known so much and he's only one person, no partners. And I went to Israel the same year and I told my father, I said, "Dad, you'll never guess who I met." He said, "Who?" I left Morocco to England, from England I came to the States in 1959, and in 1978 or '79, I was in Morocco. So that's almost twenty years. "I met Ben Sodar." He did like this. He said, "Is he still alive?" I said, "Yes, he's still alive." I told him he has white hair, tall man, handsome. He said, "White hair he had when I was in Morocco and tall, he was tall." He said, "How did you happen to meet him?" So I told him the story like I told you. My mouth was open. I said, "Tell me what else." Well, the whole Ain Taoujdat where he used to do the shopping and the warehouse was in Ain Taoujdat, which is part of the farmland I told you, if he has excess of figs, raisins, grapes, oranges, lemon, everything citrus, then when the season comes for the fruit, he used to buy the fruit. Vegetable, not too much. But usually fruit 4 and something that will last long, like almonds. What else he used to buy? Well, you don't have it in the States? And that's the story about my father. Well, I want to know. So in Morocco, what was the size of a Jewish community in Morocco at that time? The Jewish community in Morocco in those days, after the establishment, the creation of Israel, we were living like kings and queens in there. I mean there was no anti-Semitism that you hear about. This is before Israel. Before Israel and even a little bit after Israel. The mass immigration of North African Jews going to Israel was starting from 1948 when it was established. But I went to school, of course. We had Jewish school. Arabs, they were not accepted in there. They had a French school and they had the Arab school. The Jews were separate. The Arabs were separate. We observed Jewish holidays. We observed part of Ramadan, part of the Muslim holidays, and Christian holidays. That's only in reference to school. We didn't go to school (on those holidays); the schools were closed. We lived in a Jewish neighborhood. You couldn't find an Arab even if you paid him to live there. There was no anti-Semitism and there was no hatred really among us. He went to an ORT school. [*note: ORT Israel was founded in 1949] I went to the ORT school. There was they called it professional of Israeli defense. They had like an ORT school in there. I learned carpentry for three years. I came in January, before the graduation was in June. So in January I left for England and did not graduate the ORT school, almost the fourth year. The fourth year?well, three years, three years. After the third year, so you get a diploma and they find you kind of job in a factory that does furniture. So what you're getting in an ORT school is skilled labor experience? 5 Yes, just like Vo-Tech here that's what we have. They had carpentry?.It was a very big building. It was, by the way, supposedly where the Jewish...What do you call it? Jewish organization from America. We used to get pocket money every three months, the equivalent of about five dollars. So what years are we talking about? It was in 1956. Here's David. [Referring to photograph. See Appendix.] Oh, wow. By the way, talking about the picture in there, one of the guys there, about eight years ago I was in Jerusalem and I was taking a taxi, which is a sherut. It's not a private taxi, but a taxi like a bus that they fill up the taxi and you go. He said, "You're the last one. There is only one missing and we'll move." I said, "Do I have time to smoke a cigarette?" He said, "Yes." I went; I was smoking outside. He walked in and as I was talking to the sardon (sic), which is the guy that takes care of the passengers, he said, "When he gives him the okay to move, he moves." All of a sudden, one of those kids, that you see in the picture, was the driver. So the taxi was full and he got out just from here to the driveway, to the beginning of the driveway, and I gave him punch in the neck. He looked at me like this. And the taxi is full, six people. He said, "Well, are you crazy?" I said, "Well, after I'll tell you who I am and where we meet and what we did, we'll see who's crazy." And the people are listening. I didn't see his name nowhere in the taxi. I told him, "Is your name Phillips?" He said, "Yes." "Sharbeat?" He said, "Yes." I said, "How in the hell do I know your name? You never seen me before." I said, "Are you from Fes?" He said, "Yes." "Did you study (at ORT professional school)?" He said, "Yes." I said, "What else you want me to tell you?" I said, "Did we play soccer after lunch?" 6 He said, "Yes." I gave him the location. He said, "Yes, we did that every day after lunch." I said, "Well, for crying out loud, who was the goalie?" He couldn't get who was the goalie. I said, "How about Torjman?" He said, "David." I said, "That's me." Oh, he cried. He stopped the taxi. He said, "This taxi is not going to Tel Aviv. This taxi is going to my house back to Jerusalem. I will pay for you (for another taxi). Please get out. We'll wait. Call another taxi on the radio to come." I said, "No, no, no, no." I said, "First of all, I can't. I'm leaving for the States tomorrow. I just came to Jerusalem to do a few things before I leave." You see him crying, the tears coming down. And the people, they say, "David continue. This is very, very emotional." And he was crying and I am crying. He said, "Please, David, do me a favor. I'll drop them off and you come with me back home." I said, "I can't do it. I promise you next time I be in Jerusalem; we will visit together." Well, that's one story leads to another. But she's going to want to find out about Las Vegas. No, no, we'll get to Vegas. Now, in 1959, I left England to America. Why did you go to England? I was studying to become a rabbi and a shochet in England. So over here I was in contact with Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio, from England, and I wanted to continue my studies here in America. England, I couldn't take it. It was too cold. Excuse me. Didn't you go to England because things started getting bad in Morocco? No, no. Because I wanted to travel to Israel and my mother said, "No, I already sacrificed four kids to Israel." They were all in the army. My oldest brother, second, third and my sister, she sent four of them, and I was the oldest in the family at the time. 7 So out of the ten children, you were like in the middle? In the middle. So she said, "You're not going to Israel. I'll send you either to Paris, to France." There was a yeshiva there. "You go to England." There were two. "Or you go to the United States. Which one you pick?" I said, "I'll go to England. It's closer to home than the United States." So I went to England and I liked it, but the weather was unbearable. So I made some inquiry. I was in contact with Telshe Yeshiva and I was accepted. Cleveland. Yes, here in Cleveland, Ohio. I was accepted and I came to the States. So later on I was studying and I said, "Well, what good is study without making money?" I was always broke. I had no work to do. I couldn't work. I couldn't do anything. I had no papers, so I couldn't work. The only time I did some work was...The son of Bartons Candy, Klein, Bartons Candy, kosher candy in New York, his son was studying with me in Telshe. So we became very friendly. He said, "David, the yeshiva is closed during the holiday," Passover, because everybody goes home. So only about five kids from Morocco that were studying in the yeshiva, they stayed there. But most of them, they went out. He said, "Why don't you come with me? Work in the factory. Eat as much chocolate as you could eat. You get paid and you spend Passover with us and we come back together." So I did. I went the first day over there at Bartons. I got my Social Security. I started working. I was making a dollar ten an hour in 1960. A dollar ten was something; I mean for a dollar you could go to the movies, popcorn, and you still have change. Not today. So I started making a few dollars here and there. The yeshiva used to give us I think about three dollars a week. In those days three dollars you could do something with it. 8 So why did you leave to go to New York? Because I like to work. So he went to New York to teach. So you dropped out of your? College, after three years. I dropped out of the yeshiva and I started teaching. The first job was in the Grand Concourse, Israel of the Grand Concourse from four to six or four to eight in the evening, four in the afternoon after the class in the public school. I lasted there a year. Then I started traveling. (I went to different places to work.) I went to Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre, and I went to Atlantic City, from Atlantic City to Schenectady. In Schenectady, a friend of mine that worked with me in the hotel in Long Beach, New York, during the summer, he was now here (in Las Vegas) as a principal of the school. Abe Schwartz. Abe Schwartz. He said, "One of these days we'll get together." So when he became principal here, the first thing he thought, David Torjman. David Torjman, he was teaching already and working in the hotel and maybe I'll recruit him. So he did some research and he located me in Schenectady, New York. So he called. He said, "David, I'm looking for two or three teachers. You are one of them and I need two or at least another one. So I'll be in New York City. I will try to find another one and I'll come to see you in Schenectady." So he came to Schenectady. He saw me. He saw the class. He sat in the class during the whole session. He saw the children. They were at the age of from after the bar mitzvah up, fourteen and fifteen. He said, "Well, you want to move to Vegas?" I said, "Vegas? Are there Jews in there?" That's the first question. 9 Well, what kind of school was he a principal of? Temple Beth Sholom. I was just making sure. Yes, Temple Beth Sholom, at the Hebrew school. I said, "Are there Jews in Vegas?" He said, "Yes, there are, not too many, but we have Hebrew school and we have a temple." At that time there was only one and only one, Seventeenth and Oakey. He said, "If you say yes, you got it. I came to the class. I see how you handle the kids. I see how you explain the things out. I need you to come with me. You'll be a teacher in Vegas." I said, "You got it." He said, "For sure?" I said, "For sure." That's how I came to Vegas in August 1964. The first thing, we drove and I brought the other teacher with me in the car. Haim? Haim Yehros. We drove from New York City to Vegas. I taught 1964 to '75. I have to look at some pictures. Maybe they have a date on them. Anyway, I got married in '66 to Iris. And we met at Temple Beth Sholom. So let's pause your story and we're going to turn our attention to Iris. So Iris, where were you growing up while he's doing all this in Morocco and England? Well, I was in the Bronx. The funny thing is because he did teach? At the Grand Concourse. ?really walking distance from where I lived, but, of course? But you didn't know each other. No. But I was a young girl and he was an older man. 10 Very young. And then I came in '66 for the summer to live with my aunt and I was looking for a job just for the summer because I was going to school. Who is your aunt? Fay Shapiro. And Joe Shapiro was my uncle. So then I was looking for a job. So the first week I was in Las Vegas, my aunt said to me, "We go to temple Friday night." So, okay, I never went to temple Friday night. I was Jewish, but I never went to temple Friday night. So anyhow, we went to temple and they told the people I was looking for a job. And they said, "Oh, David Torjman, he knows everybody." So they introduced me to David. So that night he took me after temple to the Flamingo Hotel, maybe I could find a job. Well, after ten minutes he says, "You're not twenty-one, so you can't get a job here, but would you like to see a show?" And so in those days the hotels were mostly owned by Jewish people. They knew David. They didn't want him to gamble or anything. So they would say, "David, you want to see a show?" So we went out every night when I came here. My second home away from home was the Flamingo. I knew everybody there and they knew me because whenever they come to the synagogue, here I am. And if they have kids or grandkids, they know who I am. So anything I wanted, I have it there. Dennis Stein, Patsy Rose, Jerry Gordon, Jack Entratter, name it. I mean not all at the Flamingo. Most of them, they were at the Flamingo. Jack Entratter was at the Sands. During the summertime I used to drive the kids from their home to the camp. We had summer camp at Temple Beth Sholom for the age of, let's say, seven, eight till the bar mitzvah. Take them camping. Take them out there. People spend half a day there, activities, arts and crafts and stuff like that. That's how I know the people. In those days there is no hotel that the 11 head of them was somebody that I know and they know me. And we were very close with Larry Snow, who was head of the baccarat at Caesars Palace. So he knew David because David took care of his grandkids. He knew me because my father was best friends with his brother in New York. His brother was a cop in New York. It was a small world for both of you. Yes, yes, yes. Yes. So whatever show we wanted to go to, we went to. Any show, any restaurant. So what were some of the shows you went to? Oh, we went to Diana Ross. We saw Frank Sinatra so many times. We saw Dean Martin. [List of shows recall seeing: Sammy Davis Jr. Tony Bennett Wayne Newton Andy Williams Tom Jones Steve Lawrence 5th Dimensions Edie Gorme Diana Ross Joan Rivers Bill Cosby Julio Iglesia Paul Anka Dean Martin Liberace Freddie Roman Herschel Bernardi All the Extravaganza Elvis Presley Judy Garland] Every show in those days from the 70s till about the 90s. 12 The night that David asked me to marry him, he was at Jack Entratter's suite. Yes, suite at the Sands. And Frank Sinatra was there with his mother. Who was? Frank Sinatra was there with his mother. And David asked Jack Entratter for a show that night because he was going to propose to me. So we saw Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorm? that night. How did you ask her? Did you get down on your knees? I don't think he remembers. Did you get down on your knee? He came in the middle of the show. My table was? Who came? Jack, Jack Entratter, to check. I mean we were only two people right by the stage, a small table for two. And anything, anything your heart desire to get. He said, "Don't be ashamed. Don't be embarrassed. Anything you want, you just ask the waiter, anything." Opening night of Caesars Palace we saw Andy Williams. I think the next week was the one who sings "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett, yes. Champagne we shared with everybody at the table. But anyhow, he was just a teacher. He was a Hebrew schoolteacher. So why did they wine and dine the Hebrew schoolteacher? They liked him. They loved him. Not only that, when I got married...We eloped and then we went back to New York. That's why we had two ceremonies. We came back here and the Sisterhood made us a reception. Sasha Siminoff played the violin. It was a big deal, a sit-down 13 dinner, challah at every table. They loved David. You remember Sasha? I met him once when I first got here. And Dave Burton? No? He passed away. He was a musician here in town, every Jewish wedding, every bar mitzvah. Talking about bar mitzvah...Hank Greenspun, when Danny became bar mitzvah, at the time it was Rabbi Gold in the temple and there was absolutely no musician allowed on Saturday in the temple. It was conservative, but more toward orthodox. So when Hank Greenspun's son became bar mitzvah, he asked Rabbi Gold. He said, "Rabbi, I have to have musician, music during the lunch. We're not going to have them during service. Although you have the organ going during service, that's okay. If that's okay, then I should have the bar mitzvah and I should have the musician." And that (broke) the ice...They say the straw that broke the camel's back. Hank Greenspun, he could not be refused. Rabbi Gold ran over and he said, "You can have it." And then from there on...There was my boss at The Hock Shop, Jerry Jory. His daughter became bat mitzvah and he asked me, he said, "David, is it custom to have musician?" I said, "Well, I'll tell you one thing. If Rabbi Gold refuses, tell him what's good for Hank Greenspun is good for me and see what his answer will be." And that's what he said. He said, "We cannot have it." I said, "Well, you had it with Hank Greenspun. He's not a better person than I am." So Rabbi Gold raised his hands. He said, "You can have it." So Rabbi Gold, was he the one that was there when you first came? Yes, when I came in. What exactly did you teach? Hebrew, bar mitzvah. I had adult class once a week, every Thursday night, those who wanted to 14 convert because there was a lot of conversion going around this town. Oh, yes, yes, yes. There weren't too many Jews or too many girls from the Jewish population in here. I have some pictures. The Kim Sisters, yes, I have pictures with them here. They went through conversion. Vick...What was his name? Maybe I'll see his pictures. She'll show you the people. And Dell... Herbie Dell. Yes, his wife, I converted her. So we had a conversion lesson one night or twice a week. No, my class was one night a week, Thursday. I teach them what the duty of a woman on Friday night, to keep the house kosher. You think we observe that? No. But at least they know what is expected of them. What else? Well, you don't have to name names, but it was plenty. It was plenty. They would come to our house, too. Yes, yes. Even sometimes they want to progress privately. I used to bring them to the house and teach them here. So you worked with all of the students who were going through their bar mitzvah? Not all of them. But we were, two, three...three teachers and we split them. Okay. Wow. All right. This is great. So Iris, what kind of work did you end up finding? Housewife. So I became a full-time housewife. So I didn't go to work until my son was about eight and I went to work for the school district and I became a health aide, what they call FASA, first aid safety assistant. So I did that for twenty-three years. So how did you plug into the community here as a young housewife? Well, it was a small community. We were two hundred thousand people when I came. Most 15 people didn't have family here. So I made friends very easily. Actually, I didn't drive for two years because I was never going to drive in New York. So the friends I made picked me up, took me. When I was pregnant with my second child, I said, "Well, I should drive." Yes, everybody was great. They were wonderful. It was a very close-knit community. You know because you?well, you weren't here, but you've interviewed people. So we had only one supermarket and one temple. So where were you guys living when you first got married? First we lived behind the Cinedome, which no longer exists which was off Paradise, but that was just for a very short amount of time. Then for a thousand dollars down we were able to buy a house behind Sunrise Hospital and we lived there for quite some time. Then we moved near Chaparral High School. What did it seem like to move from New York, from the Bronx, to Las Vegas for you as a young woman? Other than being swept off your feet by this charming man. Yes. It was a small town, and so everything was just really nice. Like I said, I didn't go to temple (in New York). We were Jewish, (and) my husband was very religious at the time (I met him). So I kept kosher for about ten years. It was difficult. First, we had a kosher butcher and then he died. Then we got another kosher butcher. Then he died. Then there was no kosher butcher. So I would get my meat from Arizona. It would come air freight. Well, if there was a room on the plane, it came and, otherwise, I'd have to wait. Then we had it shipped in from California by truck. And so those times were difficult. After ten years with enough pushing I was able to not keep kosher. I thought the kids would be happy, but I think they felt special about keeping kosher. But in the end I didn't. I still keep separate dishes, though. I don't mix meat and dairy together. 16 It's a habit. As much as anything it's a dietary habit. Yes. It's easy to do once you get used to it. Right. Were you involved in Sisterhood, Hadassah or any of that? Yes, I was involved in Sisterhood and ORT somewhat. Yes, I was pretty active in Sisterhood. That's where I met all my friends. And who were your friends? Who were the other mothers here? Phyllis Lewis was my first friend, Phyllis and her husband, Cal Lewis. Yes, we were pregnant at the same time and she drove. So we went back and forth to the doctor together. Brenda Strimling and her husband was Dr. Mert Strimling, they were my best friends. I just had a multitude of friends, really. I was very happy. And my friends were all having children at the same time, so that was nice. How many children did you two have? We have three children. The first two were close together, two and a half years apart. Then the other one, the girls were eight and ten. So my friends already had finished with their kids. So it was harder to entertain, but I managed and loved it. Do any of them still live here? Oh, two live here, yes, and one lives in Reno. Two kids went to school in Reno. My daughter met her husband there. Also, she never really loved Las Vegas like she loves Reno. Oh, good. So what did you do to keep yourself busy besides raising kids? Like I said, I was in Sisterhood and ORT. We had a lot of activities. We had fun