Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with George Schwartzman, October 22, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Family origins and early childhood

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Partial Transcript: For official purposes, today is October 22nd, 2015.

Segment Synopsis: George Schwartzman discusses how he was born in Buffalo, New York on December 15th, 1945, and talks about his family's arrival in the U.S. He also discusses growing up in a Jewish home and how the holidays he and his family celebrated influenced him. They played a big part in his life and he really enjoyed going to services on the High Holidays.

Keywords: Buffalo (N.Y.); Jewish holidays; Lithuania; Russia

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Family histories.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Immigrants; Jewish children; Jewish families.

GPS: Buffalo, New York. George's birthplace.
Map Coordinates: 42.886447, -78.878369
00:09:28 - Jewish life on the University of Kentucky campus in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Uh, can you share--you mentioned that you weren't crazy about your fraternity life, um, that you were a ZBT. Can you describe what that was like and share what you liked about it or what you didn’t like about it?

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman speaks about the existence of Jewish life on the University of Kentucky's campus. He talks about his involvement in Hillel as well as Zeta Beta Tau. However, even though he was a member of both, he preferred to attend Hillel events. Schwartzman also talks about living in Haggin Hall his freshmen year. He was president of Hillel at UK sometime between 1963-1967.

Keywords: Dormitories; Hillel; Jewish; Roommates; State Street; Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Subjects: College environment; College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; Jews--Identity.; Religion

GPS: Location of the Hillel House
Map Coordinates: 38.039712, -84.495076
Hyperlink: Hillel Website
00:20:06 - Jewish Lexington

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Partial Transcript: How did your time at UK impact your Jewish identity?

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman deviates from the initial asked question, and talks about how wonderful and beautiful Lexington is. He also speaks of his current home in Indian Wells, California. Schwartzman discusses his children's experiences with Judaism. He mentions how he has to pick and choose where to go for the holidays. He also mentions about how he frequently went to Temple with Fanny Miller. The Millers were close friends of his.

Keywords: Campus; Hillel; Jewish; Social Life; Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Subjects: College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.)

GPS: George's current home Indian Wells, California.
Map Coordinates: 33.717631, -116.340755
00:31:56 - George's children

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Partial Transcript: Are your children practicing Jews now?

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman discusses his children, and how both of them married South African Jews. He speaks about the way his children observe all the major holidays but aren't frequent Temple goers. However, his daughter-in-law is sending her children to an Orthodox Chabad school. One of Schwartzman's children recently moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. He often has to pick and choose which child's holiday celebrations to attend.

Keywords: Kosher; South Africans; Synagogue

Subjects: Families.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish children; Jewish families.

GPS: Scottsdale, Arizona. Home of one of Schwartzman's children.
Map Coordinates: 33.494170, -111.926052
00:40:34 - Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What else would you like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman discusses the many differences between Lexington and California. He emphasizes how special Lexington is because of its small but great atmosphere. He also speaks of the architecture and beauty of the buildings there.

Keywords: Architecture; California; Kentucky

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.)

GPS: Lexington, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.040584, -84.503716
00:42:37 - California governor election of 2003

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Partial Transcript: But it’s big. It’s immense. You can get lost. I’ll give you an example, I’ll tell you an interesting story.

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman ran for California Governor in the recall election of 2003. He ran against Arnold Schwarzenegger and received 12,382 votes when Schwarzenegger received almost 4 million. He talks about how only 135 people were qualified to run. Gary Coleman barely beat him for an 8th place finish in the race.

Keywords: 2003; Arnold Schwarzenegger; California; Gary Coleman; Votes

Subjects: Governors--Election; Politics and government

00:46:39 - "Homeland" television show

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Partial Transcript: This is more just for the, uh, sake of the interview because I find it sort of interesting. I know that you have a special relationship with a, um--one of the stars of “Homeland.” So if you could just share a little teeny bit of that.

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman talks about how he met Marsha Patinkin on J-Date. They hit it off pretty well and were married for a little over three years until she passed away. Her brother was Mandy Patinkin.

Keywords: "Homeland"; J-Date; Mandy Patinkin; Marsha Patinkin

Subjects: Homeland (Television program : 2011- ); Jewish families.; Television programs.

GPS: Birthplace of Many Patinkin. Chicago, Illinois
Map Coordinates: 41.878114, -87.629798
00:48:29 - Advice for Jewish students at UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, is there anything that you would share or recommend, um, for a Jewish student coming to UK based on your experiences?

Segment Synopsis: Schwartzman emphasizes that Kentucky is a state with not that large of a Jewish population. He applauds President Capilouto for all the hard work he has done to make a Jewish presence known on UK's campus. He also stresses how the construction on UK's campus is leading the future of schools across the country. It is a great way to recruit new students to the university. He continues to say that Jewish life is significantly building on campus and is moving in a positive direction.

Keywords: Eli Capilouto; Rosh Hashanah

Subjects: College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College environment; College presidents; College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Religion.

GPS: Home of President Eli Capilouto
Map Coordinates: 38.036421, -84.502063