Gordon Wolman

Gordon was born in 1919 and grew up in Waterville, Maine. Gordon studied with Abraham Hains at Talmud Torah to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. He and his wife, Myrtle, raised their children in Waterville and sent them to Sunday school and Hebrew school there. Gordon and Myrt were interviewed by Hasan Bhatti.

Gordon Wolman: The Cheder was taught at the Talmud Torah. All I was taught was how to read, period. I was taught nothing about the holidays, nothing about the religion. Bar mitzvah preparation, that was all. Myrt knows more about it than I do, the Jewish religion and holidays. What I know is what I just picked up from services and my mother.

Myrtle Wolman: Excuse me. The reason why you always did what your mother did is because she did what her parents did. He doesn’t know the reason or the history of seder and so forth. But he’s learned! And the kids bring it home too when they have gone to Sunday school. You too?

Hasan Bhatti: Yeah, same thing. Same thing with me and my mom also. That’s how Jews do.

MW: Yeah, except we’re in a small town, we’re not isolated but certainly further north than many Jews are. But we’ve survived. It’s a good place to bring up Jewish children too. It’s just that you need enough of them to build up a class of them in whatever it happens to be, Hebrew or Sunday school.

HB: How was it raising children here, both of you?

MW: [Shrugs shoulders] Easy!

GW: Yeah, it wasn’t any problem. They always went to Hebrew school and we always had a rabbi up until this past year. The rabbi was the teacher and he did everything else. And in 1950, no 1957, they built the new synagogue (MW: ’59 is what the cornerstone says). And we also had a synagogue down the street on Kelsey Street.