www.lafrryrosen.org May 24, 2011
I previously posted some memories of growing up in S.W.
Washington, D.C. I recorded some of the following memories a
long tme ago.
I arrived in SW D.C. at the age of four (4) from Cheyenne,
Wyoming where I was born,(a Jewish cowboy)where my Dad
had a “Stehleh” (job) as a schochet (ritual poultry slaughterer),
and mohel l(circumsized baby boys) per Jewish religion
practice.My Dad and Mother, brothers Phil and sam and my
sister Sarah all born in Palestine (now Israel) moved into the
premises vacated by theRetiring cantor Yoelson, father of the
famous well known entertainer Al Jolson, at 713 4 1/2 Street,
SW. My father placed a sign in the front window of our residence.
“A. Rosen Shocheet and Mohel from Jerusalem. I still recall
our brick rose with its black iron steps and small porch,which
was very outstanding, since most of our neighbors operated
On our left was Sam Hyatt, the barber,(hair cuts 35 cents), and
on our right Miller the sheet metal expert and later Friedman
On the same corner of our block 4th and G Street,SW was a
Sanitary grocery, and a gas station of the corner of H Street,SW.
I still remember Voronoff’s hardware with large rolls of oilcloth
flooring always displayed on the street in front of the store.
On the middle of the block there was Rosenberg’s pawn clothing
shop, and Pivenstein’s grocery. Across the street from our
home was Schneider’s hardware with its Xmas window always
displaying moving trains,Rubinstein’s candy store -snowballs
5 cents, and Sherman’s liquor store on the opposite corner of
the Sanitary grocery.Mr. Sherman always provided a radio with
loud speaker on the outside of his business that broadcast the
championship fights of the well known boxer, Joe Louis.
On most of the surroundings streets, a corner grocery was
located with the proprietors, living behind or on top of the
store.The grocery proprietors worked long hours, taking a
half a day break on Sundays. Many of the grocery owners
worked hard so that they possibly could save enough money
to send their children to college..
My father worked hard preparing kosher chickens, for 15 cents
which included the plucking of the feathers, and performing
circumcisions for $10.00,and $25.00 for more affluent Jewish
folks. My Dad was very active in our neighborhood synagogue,
located at 467 E Street, SW,as the recording secretary,and
blowing the shofer, (ram’s horn) on the high holidays.
We enjoyed our home, even though gas jets in the walls
provided the lighting instead of electricity when when we first
moved in–later we were able to acquire electricity illumination.
A radio and large victrola,upright record player provided our
music not television. A close feeling existed between all the SW
residents. Afro Americans, then known as negroes and the SW
residents got along.
Today the entire SW neighborhood is a beautiful area, having
had its area redeveloped,replacing all the older residences with
town houses, large office buildings, and a large super market
and drug store. The old neighboring waterfront is also
scheduled to be completely replaced with modern structures.
Growing up in SW D.C. is one memory I will never forget.