Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Stanley Saxe, December 3, 2015

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


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00:00:01 - Family history and relationship to Judaism

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Partial Transcript: For official purposes, today is December 3rd, 2015.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Stanley Saxe introduces himself and his family. He discusses his family's migration from Russia to America and his parents' life and work in the tobacco industry. He also describes his childhood in Malden, Massachusetts.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Congregations; Entrepreneurs; Gender in Judaism; Gentile-Jewish relations; Great Depression; Jewish communities; Jewish practice; Migration; Orthodox Judaism; Public schools; Religious services; Russia; Tobacco; Twentieth century

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Family histories.

GPS: City of Malden, Massachusetts.
Map Coordinates: 42.430, -71.057
00:07:35 - Anti-Semitism in higher education and American society in the 1930s

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Partial Transcript: What did your parents teach you about Judaism, and how did this impact your choices in life?

Segment Synopsis: From quotas limiting the number of Jewish students accepted to universities to the anti-Semitic rhetoric of public figures such as Charles E. Coughlin and Henry Ford, Saxe remembers the discrimination that he and his family experienced during the 1930s in Boston.

Keywords: 1930s; Charles E Coughlin; Education; Henry Ford; Immigration; Jewish life; Judaism; News; Newspapers; Pamplets; Radio; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Subjects: Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Childhood; Discrimination.; Minorities in higher education

00:12:29 - Jewish life at Boston University in the 1950s

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Partial Transcript: Where did you go to school?

Segment Synopsis: Saxe attributes his dedication to education to his parents' experience as immigrants and subsequent emphasis on education as a means to excel in America. He was unable to be very involved in Jewish life at Boston University due to his studies and his weekend job as a runner in the Market District.

Keywords: 1800s; 1950s; Blackstone Street; Boston (Mass.); Boston University; Colleges; Education; Food markets; Hillel; Jewish identity; Jewish life; Jewish organizations; Market district; Migration; Outside markets; Social life; Work

Subjects: College students--Employment.; College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; Emigration and immigration.; Jewish families.

GPS: Blackstone Street, Boston, MA
Map Coordinates: 42.361, -71.056
00:18:54 - Moving to Lexington in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: So what brought you to Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Saxe describes his move to Seattle in order to pursue a post-doctoral opportunity in periodontics at the University of Washington. While in Seattle, Saxe was invited to join the newly established College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. He explains the qualities that convinced him and his wife to stay in Lexington, including the college's innovative practices and dedication to non-discrimination, and a thriving Jewish community.

Keywords: 1960s; Boston (Mass.); Community; Dentistry; Education; Family life; Jewish communities; Jewish friends; Jewish history; Medical practice; Migration; Periodontics; Relations with African Americans; Seattle (Wash.)

Subjects: Minorities in higher education; University of Kentucky. College of Dentistry

00:36:37 - Adjusting to Jewish life in Lexington in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: From a Jewish perspective, what was the biggest adjustment that you had to make from Boston, to Seattle, to Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Saxes describes the biggest differences in regard to his Jewish practices between Boston, Seattle, and Lexington, particularly due to location relative to community centers and the values of each Jewish community. He also shares the story about how he was invited to attend holiday services at Ohavay Zion Synagogue by a friend when he first moved to Lexington, and he has been a member ever since.

Keywords: Chevy Chase; Conservative Judaism; Jewish communities; Ohavay Zion Synagogue (Lexington); Reform Judaism; Rosh Hashanah; Seattle (Wash.)

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.); Worship (Judaism)

00:41:08 - Employment and research at the University of Kentucky from the 1960s to the 2000s

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Partial Transcript: What was your position at the dental school, and, um, the specific areas of instruction or faculty responsibilities that you had?

Segment Synopsis: Saxe describes his work at the University of Kentucky, including his chairmanship of the department of periodontics, the establishment of courses in geriatric dentistry, and a major research project investigating the relationship between mercury dental fillings and the development of Alzheimer's disease with the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

Keywords: 1960s; Alzheimer's disease; Brains; Dental amalgam; Dental fillings; Geriatric Dentistry; Medical research; Mercury; Periodontics; Periodontitis; Sanders-Brown Center on Aging; Silver fillings; University employment; University of Kentucky College of Dentistry; University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Subjects: Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky. College of Dentistry; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine

GPS: University of Kentucky College of Dentistry.
Map Coordinates: 38.032, 84.508
00:51:54 - Evolving attitudes in the Lexington Jewish community in the 1970s

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Partial Transcript: Um, I know that Dr. Wekstein was Jewish. What was it like for you to work with a fellow Jewish faculty, um, from the university?

Segment Synopsis: Saxe describes the shift to a more tolerant opinion about the role of women at Ohavay Zion Synagogue and his involvement with the establishment of a Havurah, or an egalitarian and alternative service, in the 1970s.

Keywords: 1970s; Gender in Judaism; Havurah; Jewish communities; Jewish practices; Jewish religion; Jewish tradition; Jewish women; Lexington Havurah (Lexington, synagogue); Ohavay Zion Synagogue (Lexington); Religious practices; Religious services; Role of women; Temple Adath Israel (Lexington, synagogue)

Subjects: Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.); Religion; Worship (Judaism)

01:00:25 - Discrimination in professional organizations and the creation of the American Society of Periodontists in 1960

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Partial Transcript: As a, um, a Jew working at the University of Kentucky, describe any adjustments that you needed to make, um, if you needed to make them.

Segment Synopsis: Discrimination within the American Academy of Periodontology led to the creation of a new professional organization for periodontists, the American Society of Periodontists in 1960.

Keywords: 1950s; 1960s; American Society of Periodontists; Consolidations; Education; Jewish communities; Jewish friends; Journal of Periodontology; Journal publications; Mergers; Prejudice; Professional conferences; Professional organizations; Racism; University of Kentucky

Subjects: American Academy of Periodontology; American Dental Association; Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Discrimination.

01:13:24 - Jewish identity and more tolerant attitudes toward Jews in Lexington in the 1960s and 1970s

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Partial Transcript: Were there other Jewish faculty at the dental school while you were there?

Segment Synopsis: The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry's policy of non-discrimination, the relatively welcoming Lexington community, and the push for change by Jewish individuals migrating to Lexington in the 1960s and 1970s helped foster a supportive and active Jewish community.

Keywords: 1960s; Education; Fraternity; Jewish; Jewish communities; Jewish friends; Jewish identity; Jewish population; Migration; Prejudice; Racism; Social change; University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

Subjects: Anti-Semitism; Antisemitism; Discrimination.; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky. College of Dentistry

01:27:58 - Involvement with the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass and interfaith and inter-community efforts

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Partial Transcript: While you were busy at the University, um, of Kentucky, uh, in the dental school, you were also very active in the Jewish community.

Segment Synopsis: Saxe outlines the many roles he has played in the Lexington Jewish community, including his time with the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass. He also describes how raising his children Jewish was easier in a smaller community because the Jewish community was much more tight-knit and there was more interfaith and inter-community interactions.

Keywords: Board of directors; Camp Shalom (Lexington, Ky.); Central Kentucky Jewish Federation (CKJF, later Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass); Community involvement; Education; Interfaith Council; Jewish; Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass; Jewish communities; Jewish holidays; Jewish life; Jewish networks; Jewish organizations; Jewish women; Jews in civic/social scene; Responsibilities

Subjects: Jewish children; Jewish leadership--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.)

01:36:22 - Lexington Jewish community's growth and change from 1960 forward

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Partial Transcript: So you've been here a long time. How has the Jewish community in Lexington changed over time?

Segment Synopsis: Saxe ascribes Lexington's Jewish community's growth to an influx of people moving into Lexington for jobs beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. Saxe describes his family's involvement in the Lexington Jewish community and their participation in Hadassah and Young Judaea. He also mentions Lexington's Jewish community's attitudes towards Israel, specifically the role of Lexington's Hadassah women leaders on a national scale.

Keywords: Community involvement; Entrepreneurship; Family life; Hadassah; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Israel; Jewish communities; Jewish life; Jewish networks; Jewish organizations; Jewish women; Judy Saxe; Migration; Population growth; Summer camps; University of Kentucky; Young Judaea; Zionism

Subjects: Jewish leadership--Kentucky--Lexington; Jewish women--Kentucky--Lexington; Jews--Identity.; Jews--Kentucky--Lexington.; Lexington (Ky.)

GPS: Location of the Lexington chapter of Hadassah.
Map Coordinates: 38.009, -84.470