13 April 2009

Alabama: Preserving Jewish heritage

Bert Rosenbush is nearly 80, and he's keeping the Jewish flame burning in an Alabama town of 7,500, according to this story in the Montgomery Advertiser

He may be the last of his faith here, be on the far side of three-score-and-10 and be recover­ing from heart surgery, but Bert Rosenbush is happy to keep Demopolis' Jewish flame burning.

It's just a flicker these days since he's the last Jew in the town of 7,500, but he's determined to do what he can to see that his religion remains relevant, especially for those who ask him about it.

On April 21, he and his wife, Mary Louise, will be joined by friends for a cere­mony at the Jewish ceme­tery where his parents are buried along with many of the 100 Jews who used to live in Demopolis.

They will unveil a monu­ment commemorating the Holocaust and the lives of six million Jews who per­ished before and during World War II.
Rosenbush paid for the monument but won't reveal its cost. His ancestors arrived from Germany in the 1840s; a grandfather even fought for the Confederacy. The family business - Rosenbush Furniture Co. - was a fixture for more than a century before it closed recently.

"No one in my family per­ished in Germany, but I've always had a place in my heart for the Jews who died during the Holocaust," Ro­senbush said. "This monu­ment is something I've want­ed for a long time."
The story touches on assimilation, intermarriage, closing of synagogues and even Jewish cemeteries in the southern US.

"I've always found that people in Demopolis respect my religion," he said. "I've never come across any anti-Semitism. I'm just so proud that the good Lord has allowed me to stay here."
When he retired, Rosenbush gave the family's store, valued at about $500,000 to the town for a new city hall, but it might wind up as a museum.

Read the complete story at the link above.

No comments:

Post a Comment