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Oral Histories of Life in the Early Jewish Communities

Oral histories are one of the most vital means of preserving the history of a community.  The recollection of personal memories, anecdotes and community history creates a unique and invaluable narrative.  While the documented history of a community can be researched in libraries and archives, oral histories rely on the retelling of personal experiences directly from the source.  The goal of the East Boston Immigration Center is to not only chronicle the history of these eight communities, but to vivify them in a way that only oral histories can do.  

Mickey Cail

Reisa Bunick

Reisa Bunick grew up in Chelsea, where she was born, in 1945, the third child of Reuben and Florence Bunick. Her family rented a flat in a three story home where there was never enough heat or enough room, but there was much love and security. Eager to be on her own, she went to Smith College on scholarship (with a junior year at the University of Toronto).  Upon graduating, Reisa moved to New York and after two years came back to the Boston area, where she remains.

She worked mainly in software design and development and her last job in the field was using artificial intelligence techniques to construct a financial planner. This experience was useful when her mother’s Alzheimer’s progressed, and she stopped working to be her caregiver. Her father waited until after Florence died seven years later, and then he exhibited Alzheimer symptoms. Although he was in an assisted living and a nursing home, he occupied all her attention for several more years.  Reisa is now a retired person with lots of interesting and enjoyable volunteer jobs. For example, anyone who calls a certain non-profit on Tuesdays may talk to her and anyone who likes theater matinees may be seated by her.

Click the following links to hear our interview with Ms. Bunick. Each page contains the audio as well as the full text of the interview (portions in the audio are highlighted for you to follow).

To play the audio recordings, you will need QuickTime (free download from Apple) or another MP3 player that will work with your browser.

Mickey Cail

Mickey Cail

Mickey Cail was born in Revere and lived there for 27 years.  Involved in many community activities from a young age, he served as President of B'nai Brith, worked with the CJP and was an active pariticipant in various philanthropies. 

A member of the Revere High basketball team, Mickey received a scholarship to Northeastern University, where he trained as an engineer.  He started an air conditioning business and later went into real estate.  He has committed his entire life to working for the community.  He served as President of the JCHE, built Hillel houses, community centers and Hebrew College in Newton, MA.  He is married to Lois Ghen.

Click the following link to hear our interview with Mr. Cail. The page contains the audio as well as the full text of the interview (portions in the audio are highlighted for you to follow).

To play the audio recordings, you will need QuickTime (free download from Apple) or another MP3 player that will work with your browser.

Betty Brudnick

Betty Brudnick

Betty Brudnick is a Boston native who graduated from the Prozdor at Hebrew College when it was located in Roxbury, as well as from Boston University and Salem State College.  After meeting Irving Brudnick at a CJP picnic, they married in 1955 and moved to Malden, his home town, where they lived until 1991. 

Mrs. Brudnick was involved with Temple Tifereth Israel, the League of Women Voters, the Tri-City Mental Health Area Board, the Council of Aging as well as many inter-faith groups.  She has three children, eight grandchildren and presently lives in Weston, Massachusetts.

Click any of the following to hear parts of our interview with Mrs. Brudnick. Each page contains the audio as well as the full text of the interview (portions in the audio are highlighted for you to follow).

To play the audio recordings, you will need QuickTime (free download from Apple) or another MP3 player that will work with your browser.

Marshall Sloane

Marshall M. Sloane

Marshall M. Sloane was born and raised in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Sloane family arrived in the area more than 100 years ago.  His father started a furniture business, and now Mr. Sloane has made his mark in banking. In appreciation for the Sloane Family’s many years of  community service and contributions to the City of Somerville, the city renamed Magoun Square – The Jacob George Sloane Square. Learn more as Mr. Sloane recalls his family history and his own youth.

Click any of the following to hear parts of our interview with Marshall Sloane. Each page contains the audio as well as the full text of the interview (portions in the audio are highlighted for you to follow).

To play the audio recordings, you will need QuickTime (free download from Apple) or another MP3 player that will work with your browser.

Finkelstein, Norman

Norman H. Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein is a long-time instructor at Hebrew College in Boston and a retired public school librarian. He is the author of 18 nonfiction books for young readers, including two National Jewish Book Awards, and his biography of Edward R. Murrow, With Heroic Truth received the Golden Kite Honor Award for Nonfiction. He also is a proud graduate of Chelsea High School class of 1959 and speaks to us of growing up in Chelsea and the region.

Click any of the following to hear parts of our interview with Norman Finkelstein. Each page contains the audio as the full text of the interview (portions in the audio are highlighted for you to follow).

To play the audio recordings, you will need QuickTime (free download from Apple) or another MP3 player that will work with your browser.

 

Leona Taylor