D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives
The following collections describe aspects of Jewish life in Asheville and Western North Carolina, documenting how individuals and organizations have helped shape the cultural and economic landscape of the region. These collections include photographs, newspaper clippings, oral histories, synagogue records, family papers, and miscellaneous materials that were donated by various individuals, organizations and businesses. This aggregate of collections is intended to grow and attempts to represent Jewish life in Ashevile and Western North Carolina from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.
Jewish Businesses in Western North Carolina [OH-JBWNC]
These oral histories are a collection of interviews compiled by Sharon Fahrer and Jan Schochet of History @ Hand which discuss Jewish owned businesses in downtown Asheville from 1880 to 1990. The collection provides vital information about downtown Asheville during both its formative and revitalization periods and can be used in conjunction with the recent digitization project "Asheville's Built Environment" and with the more recent Julian Price Papers to gain a deeper chronological and cultural understanding of downtown and its relation to the greater Buncombe County area.
Jewish Heritage in Western North Carolina [OH-JHWNC]
These oral histories include interviews by David Schulman and History @ Hand, and recordings of presentations from the Jewish Culture in the South conference held by the Center for Jewish Studies on April 15-17, 1988. There is also a set of interviews on remembering Sidney Schochet. Interviews engage in discussion about general regional history and Asheville's Jewish cultural history. CJS presentations cover a variety of topics related to Southern Jewish life.
Beth HaTephila Congregation (Asheville, NC) 1891-1976 [M79.13.1-5 ; P79.13.1 ; OS79.13.1]
The collection spans the years from 1891-1977. The material in the collection includes various temple activities, minutes of meetings, photographs, membership lists, service bulletins, and the plans for construction of the temple and religious school. It also includes papers relating to the Board of Trustees of the Congregation (minutes, annual reports and correspondence); the correspondence of Rabbis Unger (1951-1961), Bloom and Funston; the activities of the Temple Sisterhood and Brotherhood (minutes, correspondence and assorted papers).
Congregation Beth Israel (Asheville, NC) [M2008.03.01- ; P2008.03.01 ; OS2008.03.01-]
The collection includes various documents of synagogue activities, minutes of meetings, photographs, membership lists, service bulletins, and the plans for construction of the synagogue and some financial records. It also includes papers related to the Board of Trustees of the Congregation (minutes, annual reports and correspondence) and the activities of the Synagogue Sisterhood (scrapbook and assorted financial records).
Choosing to Remember: From the Shoah to the Mountains
The small Jewish community in Asheville talked for years about documenting the stories of families who witnessed, escaped, and survived the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust. In June 1999, the Center for Diversity Education, a non-profit organization working to increase the way diversity is addressed in schools, began the necessary research. The goal of the project was to create a traveling exhibit for area middle and high schools that would enhance the grade level objectives in the NC Standard Course of Study. The project would use the model of Facing History and Ourselves, focusing on Eyewitness testimony, Primary Source Documents and individual Student Research along with visual images to learn about history.
The Family Store:
A History of Jewish Businesses in Downtown Asheville, 1880-1990
This collection is a 12-panel exhibit displayed in a variety of locations in downtown Asheville in the fall of 2006 by History @ Hand, an independent research group. Sharon Fahrer and Jan Schochet organized the research group to bring attention to the large Jewish population in Asheville and the many contributions of Jewish businessmen to Asheville's history and growth, including the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Gus and Emma Adler Collection [M2011.10.1]
A small group of photographs and documents of Gus and Emma Adler that cover their years managing the Sky Club, a fine-dining establishment in Asheville in the early 20th century. Includes photographs of famous people who came to the club and who knew the Adlers.
Aaron Blomberg Family Papers [M2005.5.1]
Collection contains photographs of the S.I. Blomberg family home and early family pictures. S.I. Blomberg owned the Asheville department store The Leader. Note "Blomberg" is used interchangeably with "Blumberg" in many early documents.
Louis Blomberg Family Papers [M04.2.1]
Collection contains personal papers, letters of correspondence, some in Yiddish, telegrams and congratulatory letters for community service and personal achievement. Correspondence related to the Louis Blomberg family businesses and related Jewish businesses in Asheville, N.C. Note "Blomberg" is used interchangeably with "Blumberg" in many early documents.
Joseph Dave Family Papers [M2004.12.1]
Joseph Dave was the founder of Dave Steel Company, Inc. Asheville, North Carolina. The Joseph Dave papers are related to the creation of Dave Steel Company, Inc. and to Joseph Dave's personal life and that of his immediate family. Documents, letters, photographs, ephemera, newspaper clippings, biographies, and architectural details related to Dave's long career as a civil engineer are included in the papers. The small body of work represented in this donation is the foundation for a proposed later donation that will represent the scope and scale of Joseph Dave and his family's many contributions to the built environment and to the social and economic well-being of Asheville, NC through the years.
Leo Finkelstein Oral History [OH-VOA .F56 Le]
Leo Finkelstein talks about his experience working in the pawn shop that he inherited from his father, including anecdotes about customers, and the effects of the Depression. He also describes involvement with the Lions Club, the Jewish Aid Society, the Jewish Community Center, and his activity in both of Asheville's Synagogues. Much of this interview consists of discussions about the operation of his business, and the people with whom he came in daily contact. There are several anecdotes about Asheville, its environs, and its inhabitants.
E.C. Goldberg [Vertical Files]
An account of E.C. Goldberg and Asheville's Imperial Newsstand supplied by Herbert S. Goldberg, son of E.C. Goldberg.
David Gross Family Collection [M2010.02.01]
The photographs and newspaper clippings in this collection depict the life and business of the David Gross family both before coming to Asheville and after the family arrived in the community. The original photographs and newspaper clippings were returned to the family at their request and D.H. Ramsey Library reproduced the images to tell the story of the owner and operator of the Gross Cafe and his family.
Morris Karpen Family Collection [M2010.15.01]
A small collection containing personal papers ; letters of correspondence ; records of philanthropic work with the Asheville community, particularly the sport of soccer ; participation in union activities ; personal family records and other related materials.
Herschel Lange Family Collection [M2006.11.1]
Photographs and genealogical information related to the family of Herschel Lange, a Jewish businessman in Asheville, NC. Received from Mrs. Herschel Lange in 2006 through Sharon Fahrer, History @ Hand.
Lipinsky Family Collection [M06.1.1]
A collection of material related to members of the Lipinsky family of North Carolina. The Lipinsky family has contributed generously to the building of the University of North Carolina Asheville. Lipinsky Auditorium on the campus of the university bears the name of the family and is indebted to the generosity of the Lipinskys, particularly in support of our performing arts.
Ernest A. Mills Family Collection [M2010.17.01]
The collection contains personal papers ; letters of correspondence ; records of philanthropic work with the Asheville community, particularly the as it relates to the donation of Mills Hall at the University of North Carolina Asheville ; personal family records, photographs and other related materials. A second donation of material was made in July of 2011 that contained additional photographs, including WWII photographs of the New York manufacturing plant. These photographs provide an intimate look at manufacturing for the war effort and describe the construction of fragmentation bomb parachutes for the war effort. In addition, a variety of promotional literature accompanied the donation and graphically portrays the evolution of Mills Manufacturing in New York and in Asheville.
Michalove Collection [M2008.02.01]
A small collection of materials related to the Michalove family and their years in Asheville, NC. Largely related to Dan Michalove and his various businesses.
Lou and Ada Pollock Collection [M2003.10.1-2]
A collection containing the personal papers, business items, newspaper clippings, publications, and photographs from Ada and Lou Pollock. Also included are many of the Jewish cemetery records, duplicated from the original bound version held by the Pollock family. The materials in the collection relate to the Asheville years of the family and their stewardship of the Jewish cemetery.
Lorence Rapport Family Papers [M2001.6.1]

Lorence Rapport served as president of the Beth Ha Tephila Brotherhood, and the collection includes meeting minutes, attendance sheets, and notices related to the Brotherhood, as well as documents covering the Temple Club and Sisterhood. The collection also includes youth publications and miscellaneous papers from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Samuel Robinson Papers [M96.3.1 ; OS96.3.1 ; OS96.3.2]
Personal papers and awards of Asheville optometrist and civic leader Samuel Robinson. A leader in environmental issues, he was active in the Carolina Mountain Club and the Boy Scouts of America. He worked to recognize George Masa's work with the Great Smoky Mountains and to name one of the peaks for Masa, a local photographer, and founding member of the Carolina Mountain Club. The collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, awards, correspondence, essays, speeches, and a personal diary.
Jacob Rosen Collection [M2007.5.virtual]
A collection of material related to the lives of members of the Rosen family of North Carolina.
Schandler Family Collection [M2004.05.1]
A collection of material related to the lives of members of the Schandler family of North Carolina.
Sidney Schochet Family Papers [M2006.9.1 ; OS2006.9.1 ; Audio2006.9.1]
A collection of materials related to the lives of members of the Schochet family, Asheville, North Carolina.
Sol Schulman Collection [M2003.7.1 ; OS2003.7.1; P2003.7.1]
A collection of materials related to the life of Sol Schulman, entrepreneur and businessman in Sylva, NC.
Joseph Silversteen Correspondence [M01.8.1 in the Biltmore Industries Archive]
A small collection of letters related to the economic down-turn of the Great Depression and the failure of Silversteen's businesses in the Rosman, NC area.  Is part of the Biltmore Industries Archive.
Other items of interest:
Nan Chase [M2005.05.01-04 in the Southern Appalachian Writers Collection]
This collection contains anecdotal information on the writer. The small body of material is now part of the Southern Appalachian Writers collection which was originally gathered in the 1980s but which also includes materials collected about writers in the succeeding years.
  Hendrik Colijn Oral History [OH WWII C Colijn_Hendrik]
The full interview discloses Henk Colijnís many close brushes with the German authorities, his high school romance that saved his life and became the love of his life, his father's grueling ordeal in a concentration camp on the island of Java, and the heroic journey by his mother to find him.

This interview is also included in Choosing to Remember: From the SHOAH to the Mountains.

Sharon Fahrer Collection [M2010.10.01]
Materials include various loose items, scrapbooks, and books. Some items in process.
The Golden Book of Memoirs:
Fiftieth Anniversary of Congregation Beth Ha-Tephila
[M79.13.5.5 in the Beth-Ha-Tephila Congregation Collection]
Part of the Congregation Beth Ha Tephila collection at UNCA and prepared for the fiftieth anniversary of the Congregation in Asheville, NC in 1941. This 36 page booklet contains and anniversary message from the Rabbi, a history of the Congregation, a program for the fiftieth anniversary Sabbath Service and the Banquet, a look to the future of the Congregation, and a list of membership in 1941.
  Judaica Collection [M2012.04.01]
A small collection of miscellaneous publications and works related to Jewish Studies.
Milton Ready Oral History [OH-VOA R43 Mi]
Ready discusses his interest in Western North Carolina, which prompted him to move to Asheville from Texas in 1972. He describes teaching in the History Department at UNCA, and discusses his efforts to introduce regional history and appreciation into the curriculum. He discusses the Southern Highlands Research Center, and the people who were central to its development. He talks about different minority groups in Asheville, and describes their involvement in the community. He also discusses the city's failure to overcome discrimination to promote education and business opportunities among minority groups. He feels that in the past 20 years, the "progressive consensus" that emerged in the late 60's regarding integration, job opportunities, cooperation between communities, the development of downtown Asheville, and cooperation with the YMI Cultural Center, has ended. He discusses the changes in resources, spending, and cultural interests that are brought about by the steady influx of older, middle to upper class people. He discusses the tension that exists between the county and the city, over issues centered around class, race, ethnic background and economics. He also discusses the tension between West Asheville and North Asheville. He also became the first director of the Jewish Studies Center at UNCA.
  Vertical Files
Includes miscellaneous articles and materials related to Jewish Life in Western North Carolina.
Sprinza Weizenblatt Collection [P2009.12.01]
Assorted photographs (18) donated by Hertha Horowitz that visually recall the Asheville ophthalmologist who generously donated the Weizenblatt Health Center at University of North Carolina Asheville and a small memorial garden (now no longer extant) that once graced the entry area of the Botanical Gardens at UNC Asheville. The plaque for the Weizenblatt Health Center reads: "Sprinza Weizenblatt, M.D., Ophthalmologist, friend of humanity, and generous benefactor who has made Asheville and this university a finer place in which to live. April 27, 1987."
The Scattered Nation by Zebulon Baird Vance [E664 .V2 Z42 1995]
A small book [60 cm.] published first by Willis Bruce Dowd in 1904 and later by Marcus Schnitzer in 1916. In this edition, Schnitzer describes Vance, the person, and attempts to interpret his reasons for the "Scattered Nation," speech. He also details the funeral of Vance held in Washington, DC, an event "attended by the President and members of the Cabinet, diplomats, members of Congress, and officers of the Army and Navy." Schnitzer describes Vance's most important contribution as his legislation and "the literature that make[s] for the progress of the humanities."
Zionist Society [M2010.10.01 in the Sharon Fahrer Collection]
A small booklet containing the constitution and by-laws of the Zionist Society of Asheville. This single donated item, though scant in information, provides background history about a very little known organization in Asheville.
Wadewitz Book Collection
A small collection of monographs presented to the university and belonging to members of the Wadewitz family, Asheville, NC.
  Down Home: The History of Jews in North Carolina [AV Video 2010.02.1]
"Down Home" is the best and most comprehensive history of Jews in any one of the fifty states. Lively, well researched, and beautifully illustrated, it is a warts-and-all history that properly integrates 425 years of Jewish life in North Carolina with larger trends in American and Southern Jewish life. The volume sets a new standard for state-wide histories of American Jews, and sheds new light on Southern Jewry, Black-Jewish relations, and the American Jewish experience as a whole."

--Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, and author of American Judaism: A History

  Jewish Community Center: "A Dream Come True" [AV Video 2003.10.1]
A Dedication Ceremony for the Asheville Jewish Community Center, videotaped on November 3, 2003.
  Jewish Community Center: The Continuing Tradition - Celebrating the JCC Tenth Anniversary [AV Video 2004.02.01]
In 2004, JCC marked the ten year anniversary of the dedication of the "new" JCC facility with a poolside gala celebration.
Links to other sites:
  American Jewish Historical Society

Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina

Charlotte Jewish Historical Society

Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina

The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life

Jewish Culture and History

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America

The Jewish Museum London

Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina by Leonard Rogoff

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