New TJHS President Leads Group Around Texas and Abroad
Vickie Vogel, John Campbell, Sheldon Lippman, Bob Lewis, Susan Lewis, Sally Drayer, David Vogel traveled to Toronto, Canada, where they visited Jewish families, synagogues and cemeteries. Credit: Tumbleweed Smith.
By Tumbleweed Smith
The Texas Jewish Historical Society is off to a flying start under the guidance of newly installed president Susan Lewis of Big Spring. Her first official duty was to oversee the first quarterly meeting of the new TJHS year that started in April.
The meeting was held in Palestine, Texas, where attendees heard historian Ben Campbell mention Jewish families who called Palestine home (it has no Jewish residents now). Campbell discussed Hyman Pearlstone, who was declared America’s No. 1 baseball fan in 1909. He was thoroughly smitten with the Philadelphia Athletics, which held spring training in Palestine, and was presented an official Athletics uniform by manager Connie Mack.
After a cemetery tour, TJHS members had dinner at the restored Redlands Hotel, where Sharon Myers Davis told personal stories of the Jewish influence in Palestine. Her grandfather, Harry Myers, owned the Grand Leader department store.
In July, a delegation from TJHS met with officials at the Institute of Texas Cultures in San Antonio to discuss updating the Jewish exhibit. Work on the exhibit will begin in July 2020 On Sept. 7, members of TJHS traveled to Toronto, Canada, to visit Jewish families, synagogues and cemeteries. The trip was organized by past TJHS president Vickie Vogel, who directs the group’s travel opportunities. Previous junkets include visits to India and Cuba. The group learned that Rabbi David H. Wittenberg, formerly of the Holy Blossom Synagogue in Toronto, also formerly served as rabbi in Marshall, Texas, for years.
The trip was especially meaningful for Lewis because she got to visit the Bobbie Rosenthal Park near the aquarium, tower and baseball stadium in Toronto. Bobbie Rosenthal, a relative of Lewis, won Olympic medals in track and field and was declared the Athlete Of The Half-Century in 1950.
The next TJHS quarterly meeting will be held in Baytown, Texas, Oct. 25-27. It will be hosted by Joan Linares, daughter of TJHS past president Don Teeter.
Lewis says all TJHS meetings are special and there is opportunity at each of them to renew friendships and meet new friends.
“You’ll be welcomed and you’ll be entertained and you’ll discover the Jewish contributions to the fabric of Texas. I hope to see you in Baytown,” she said. ■