From Dublin to Detroit Elliman's Irish Luck
BY CHARLOTTE HYAMS
The leprechauns might have had
something to do with Lou Elliman's
coming to America to seek his for-
tune; chances are he talked them
For no sooner had the tall,
young Dublin lad observed his
Bar Mitzvah than he was inform-
ing his parents he would be off to
the New World, if ye don't mind,
take it or leave it.
The years between that persist-
ent boy of 14 and the 69-year-old
president of Detroit's Elliman
Steel Co. are the story of a self-
made man, an Irish-American-Jew
who makes no bones about his
The rebbe's highly seasoned
dinner may have had something to
do with the look on his face the
next time Lou went to heder. "He
wanted to kill us. 0' course, Robert
had nothin' to do with it."
Elliman and Briscoe went to the
same national school, too. What
he remembers best about St. Pe-
ter's School was a thin bamboo
So, it was inevitable that this
high-spirited boy would seek pas-
tures greener than Ireland could
offer. When a friend told Lou his
relatives had sent him a ticket to
America, Elliman decided he was
If St. Patrick's Day was a little
quieter than usual Wednesday,
it could be because Ellim an
didn't join the parade; his friend
Robert Briscoe, of Dublin lord
mayoralty fame, didn't make it
to Detroit this year.
Ah, but two years ago, all the
Fightin' Irish were out in front:
Briscoe, Cavanagh, Elliman . . .
There's a trace of the brogue
left as Elliman recalls his child-
hood in Ireland:
happenin' in Dub-
lin, it was in our
time, that is,
there was some-
thing of Jewish
M a x Elliman, a
manufacturer, was a pioneer in the
small Jewish community of 200
families. He introduced the Zionist '
movement to Ireland by 1900 and,
as a friend of Theodor Herzl, rep-
resented the Jewish population of
Great Britain to the 1907 Zionist
Congress at The Hague.
Knowing well how the Irish love
a bit of green, Jacob Max Elliman
also planted the seeds of the Jew-
ish National Fund before the turn
of the century. Rabbi Isaac Halevi
Herzog, who later became chief
rabbi in Israel, spent his early
years in the rabbinate in Dublin
and knew the Ellimans well.
Both father and mother came
from a long line of Lithuanian
scholars. Rina Elliman's brother,
Rabbi Zussman Hodes, was chief
r a b b i of Birmingham over 50
years. It was natural that some of
this would rub off on their eight
And so, logically, we would
find Lou and his pal Robert
Briscoe in heder, poring over
the books in the rebbe's home.
"Robert? Oh, he was a brilliant
student," Elliman said. "Not like
me; I played pranks on the reb-
He remembered (was there an
Irish twinkle in his eye when he
said it?) passing by the rebbitzin's
kitchen door and smelling the un-
mistakable smell of fish being
filleted. And no rebbitzin to be
Next to the gefilte fish stood a
can of salt and a can of pepper.
"There must have been a pound
of each. I made a big hole in the
fish and dumped it all in."
Then what happened? "I ran."
Dividend Is Declared
by Rassco Plantations
NEW YORK — Rassco Planta-
tions Ltd., Tel Aviv, has declared
a dividend for 1964 of 16.66 cents
per share on its outstanding com-
mon stock, payable April 30 to
stockholders of record as of March
15, 1965. A dividend in the same
amount was paid last year.
The company is engaged in Is-
rael in the planting, packing and
marketing of citrus. It owns 3,000
dunams (750 acres) of citrus
No amount of parental disap-
proval could dissuade him, and
in 1911 Lou Elliman set foot on
Ellis Island. With no relatives
to claim him, Elliman got his
friend's family to back him up.
They would see to it that he
didn't become a drain on the
In the three months that he lived
in New York, Elliman estimates
he held 40 jobs.
"I had a philosophy: either you
work or you starve. I had to keep
healthy because I had no one to
care for me. And I had pride; I
could never write home for help."
So with a bit of silver he'd saved
up ("If you earned $4 a week in
those days, you could meet all your
expenses with $3.75 and save a
quarter a week. In four weeks, you
could open a savings account") he
went to Boston for another three
months of odd jobs.
And then he headed West. To
Michigan. Elliman took up resi-
dence at St. Antoine and Hancock,
and he's been in Detroit ever since.
(Now he lives at 660 Whitmore.)
At age 15, Elliman answered an
ad for work by the Detroit Vapor
Stove Co. They wanted a man, so
he knew he could get the job. He
stayed there seven years.
The stove business taught Elli-
man something, and after a stint as
a manufacturer's representative,
he founded the Elliman Steel Co.
afford to sit back and take it
That's why he keeps working
hours to a minimum: 8:30 a.m. to
6:30 p.m. (or later) daily.
Elliman is never away from his
business for long, but he does
visit his native isle twice a year.
Nor is Ireland ever far from his
heart. When Detroit's Fr. Clement
Kern asked Elliman to help raise
funds for Corktown's Trinity Cath-
olic Church, Elliman invited Bris-
coe to town. The Dublin lord
mayor addressed a party at the
Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel — just a
couple of Irishmen helping each
But Elliman's allegiances are
not limited to Ireland. During the
war, many family friends needed
funds to escape from Europe. Elli-
man lent money freely for the re-
lief of his fellow Jews. "I figured
they'd pay me back sometime."
His membership cards are le-
gion: Temple Beth El, Standard
Club, 100 Club, the Marco Polo
Club of New York, Bnai Brith's
Pisgah Lodge, Perfection Lodge
of F.&A.M. (life member), Moslem
Temple Consistory and Shrine,
Board of Commerce, Variety Club.
Today, the firm, which deals
in steel warehousing, jobbing
and processing, does a major
part of its business with the
auto industry. Elliman, as pres-
ident and sole owner, could well
ADL Files 1st Charge
of Religious Bias Under
Civil Rights Act of '64
NEW YORK (JTA) — The first
complaint under the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, charging religious —
instead of racial — discrimination,
was filed in Washington at the De-
partment of Justice by the Anti-
Defamation League of Bnai Brith.
Arnold Forster, general counsel
of the ADL, alleged that The
Breakers Hotel, at Palm Beach,
Fla., is guilty of violating the new
law by refusing to reserve rooms
sought by applicants whose names
Among the prohibitions in
Title II of the Civil Rights Act,
hotels, among other enterprises
serving the public, are forbidden
to discriminate against anyone,
not only on racial grounds but
also on grounds of religion.
Forster, demanding that the De-
partment of Justice start a civil
action against The Breakers, de-
clared that the ADL had six sets
of letters, requesting accommoda-
tions, sent to the hotel by an equal
number of persons with "non-
Jewish" names and with "Jewish"
In each instance, the complaint
declared, the "non-Jews" were
given reservations, while those
with "Jewish names" were told
there was no room and referred
to other hotels.
In this practice, Forster stated,
the hotel was "adhering to its con-
sistent practice of denying accom-
modations to Jews," noting that
The Breakers had been listed by
the ADL in the past as an estab-
lishment discriminating against
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
6—Friday, March 19, 1965
While his own education was
limited, Elliman in obviously
proud of life memberships as
Friends of Brandeis and Yeshi-
vah universities. ( T h e y e v e n
dressed him in cap and gown
as a sponsor for the Yeshivah
University convocation this
month). He also contributes to
the University of Detroit.
Elliman admits that he has little
time for organizational work, "but
I never turn down any cause."
Sinai Hospital has a room named
for Elliman's father; the JNF has
received funds for a forest to be
dedicated in honor of his parents
this fall. It will be his first trip
When Elliman and his wife, the
former Molly Marks Lieberman,
visit Ireland again this June, there
will be close to 100 relatives to
visit. (One of them, a cousin, also
named Lou Elliman, has carried
on the film industry nurtured in
its early days in Ireland by the
Elliman family. A couple of Bur-
tons, Richard and Elizabeth, are
currently filming at one of Elli-
man's Dublin studios.)
How does the dauntless Dublin-
er plan to visit 100 relatives scat-
tered throughout the British Isles
in a span of a few weeks?
It was a silly question perhaps,
but Elliman, who owns the very
block that holds the restaurant
where we met, answered it only
as he could:
"Oh, I'll put 'em all up in the
London Savoy for a week. Saves a
lot o' trouble."
Eshkol Denies Independence Day Parade
Shifted From Capital Because of Pressure
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's the status of Jerusalem as the
Parliament rebuffed motions by capital" where Independence Day
the Herut and Liberal parties parades have been held in the
charging that the government past, and will be held in the fu-
yielded to "external pressure" in ture.
shifting the annual Independence
He did not refer to a letter from
Day parade from Jerusalem to former Premier David Ben-Gurion,
addressed to Cabinet members. In
Premier Levi Eshkol asserted that letter, Ben-Gurion reportedly
there had not been any such pres- v o i c e d "disappointment a n d
sure, and stressed that the matter shame" over the decision not to
had not been mentioned in his re- hold the 1965 parade in Jerusalem.
cent talks with Averell Harriman,
president Johnson's special envoy.
The defeated motions also called
for restoration of the Jerusalem
site for the parade.
VA or FHA
The Premier said the reason
for the Tel Aviv choice was to
enable hundreds of thousands to
watch the parade. He added that
only a small part of Israel's
ground and air power would be
He said a state ceremony would
be held in Jerusalem which would
include a military display and
added that "nothing can affect
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1700 Penobscot Bldg., Detroit
Bus: WO 5.7590
Members, Friends, Educators and Representatives of Detroit Synagogues
are urged to attend .. .
Regional CONFERENCE of the
RELIGIOUS ZIONISTS of AMERICA
Rabbis and Presidents of Synagogues are asked to announce the conference
MARCH 21, 1965 — NOON to 5 P.M.
at Imperial Catering, 18451 Wyoming
ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION
1. Defense and security of Israel and the education of its youth — Samson Krup-
nick — Presidium R.Z.A.
2. Problems of assimilation and intermarriage in the U.S. and the world over—Rabbi
Isaac Stollman, Hon. Chairman R.Z.A.
3. A report on Soviet Jewry — Rabbi Dr. Bernard Poupko.
Rabbi D. Staysky,
4. The future of the Yeshiva Day School movement in America
Chairman Vaad Hapoel, Ohio Valley.
1st Session — Lunch and Program-12 Noon to 3 p.m.
2nd Session—Program-3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For Registration Call DI 1-0708
Since the untimely passing of our dearly beloved leader IRVING W. SCHLUSSEL, the
conference will be dedicated to his blessed memory.