Historic Manitowoc items donated

 

MILWAUKEE – Hundreds of Manitowoc Jewish documents and items, including a Torah cover, have been donated to the archives of Jewish Museum Milwaukee, a program of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

The Anshe Poale Zedek Synagogue materials were donated in December by Bess Schwartz, an Ovation Chai Point resident and longtime synagogue member. The congregation – now smaller than the nearly 200 families it once had – recently sold its building and the items were found inside.

Among the materials are letters, contracts and a BBYO gavel.

“All those kids would come for a weekend and we would house them in private homes and they would get together in the synagogue,” Schwartz recalled. Jewish teens came from Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay and Sheboygan, she said.

The congregation, founded Feb. 18, 1900, used to be quite observant, but turned more egalitarian with time.

“On the Sabbath we sat together and on the High Holidays we sat separate,” Schwartz remembered, referring to separate seating for men and women. “That was in the 70s. That was a big issue.”