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October 06, 1995 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A Lone - Jewish Star State?

It might have meant singing Glen Campbell's "Galveston" at every
Jewish function.


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Q: I am left-handed,
and I'm sick and tired of
all the stupid jokes I have
to hear because of it.
"You're right — I mean
left about that!" and
"You have the right — I
mean left of way!"
Well, it's time for me
to get back at all those
boneheads. I'd like to
give them a list of famous
Jewish Hollywood stars
who also happen to be
left-handed. Can Tell Me
Why help out?
A: My long-suffering

friend, here's a list of Richard Dreyfuss: Here's what's left.
other lefties of note:
Q: Is it true that there was a
Lenny Bruce, George Burns,
to establish a Jewish
Sid Caesar, Richard Dreyfuss,
Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, homeland in, of all places, Galve-
Paul-Michael Glaser, Goldie ston, Texas?
Hawn, Gabe Kaplan, Danny
A: Not exactly, though dur-
Kaye, Hal Linden, Harpo ing the early part of the centu-
Marx, Anthony Newley and ry there was indeed a push to
Mark Spitz.
settle Jews in the city.
But don't get too proud just
British-Jewish author Israel
yet, because you might as well Zangwill (1864-1926) was
know that other famous left- founder of the Jewish Territo-
ies (none of them Jewish, rial Organization, the goal of
thank goodness) include Albert which was the creation of a
De Salvo (the "Boston Stran- Jewish state somewhere (not
gler" — though he was played necessarily in the Land of Is-
by a Jew, Tony Curtis, in the rael).
film) and outlaw John
No doubt the idea grew from
Dillinger. So I know you'll do Zangwill's own mixed feelings
the right — I mean left thing about his heritage. Though he
— ha ha ha! — and keep these could never quite make peace
guys in mind, too.
with the concept of Jewish re-
ligious practice in a modern
world, Zangwill wrote often,
Q: Whatever happened to the and positively, of Jewish val-
studio where Al Jolson filmed The ues and traditions. Later in life
Jazz Singe? Is it still standing?
he became a friend of Theodor
A: It has gone through many Herzl, and Zionism — or at
transformations, but the build- least the concept of a Jewish
ing itself is extant.
people together in some
Jolson filmed The Jazz land — became his faith.
Singer, the first "talking pic-
Among Zangwill's early
ture," in 1927 at the Warner supporters was American
Brothers Studio, 5858 Sunset philanthropist Jacob
Blvd. in Hollywood.
Schiff (1847-1920), who
Built in 1919, the studio was provided most
a massive structure with of- of the funding
fices resembling a colonial for what has
mansion, complete with the come to be called
imposing columns. It operated the Galveston Plan.
as a studio until 1939, when —
A native of Ger-
gasp — it was sold and re- many, Schiff was 18
opened as the Sunset Bowling when he came to the United
Center, with 52 big lanes.
States where he worked first
The facility was later pur- as a broker, and then with the
chased by cowboy Gene Autry, banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb
who sold the property in 1982. and Co., following his marriage
Today, 5858 Sunset Blvd. is to the daughter of Solomon
home to Los Angeles' Channel Loeb. He was named head of
the company in 1885.

Schiff was such a remark-
able businessman that by the
late 1800s his firm was one of
the two most powerful in the
United States, as well as a
leader in funding growing
American industrialism.
Among the companies that de-
veloped thanks to Kuhn and
Loeb financial support: AT&T,
Westinghouse and Armour.
A major contributor to secu-
lar causes, including the Amer-
ican Red Cross and Harvard
University, Schiff also was a
devoted Jew who donated hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars to
various Jewish causes. A mem-
ber of a Reform congregation,
Temple Emanu-El in New
York, he nonetheless was a
leading supporter not only of
Hebrew Union College but the
Jewish Theological Seminary
and Yeshivath Rabbi Isaac
Elchanan (later Yeshiva Uni-
In 1907 Schiff helped Israel
Zangwill put the Galveston
Plan into action. He established
a Jewish Immigrants' Infor-
mation Bureau, headed by
Morris Waldman, in Galveston,
and immigrants from Europe
began arriving that year. Be-
fore the start of World War I,
more than 10,000 Jews had
been resettled in the city.
Jewish organizations, how-
ever, were not thrilled with the
Galveston Plan and refused to
lend their support. The project
received another blow in 1910,
when the U.S. Department of
Commerce and Labor began
deporting many of the new res-
idents. Their charge: the im-
migrants had violated labor
laws or were certain to become
"public charges."
Today, the Jewish population
of Galveston is about 800,
well behind Houston (with
42,000), Dallas (35,000), San
(10,000) and
even Austin,
Ft. Worth
and El
Paso, each
of which
has about
5,000 Jewish

Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
c/o The Jewish News, 27676
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

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