Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Janis Doctrow, March 7, 2016

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


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00:00:00 - Family and upbringing

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Partial Transcript: Uh, for official purposes, today is March 7th, 2016, and my name is Janice Crane. And I am part of the interviewing team for the Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project, which is funded by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. I’m honored to be here today with Janis Weisenberg Doctrow.

Segment Synopsis: Janis (Gay) Weisenberg Doctrow was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky on October 2nd, 1934. Her grandfather immigrated from Germany and her grandmother was born in St. Louis. They moved to many different cities while they were raising Janice's mother and her eleven siblings including Louisville, Shelbyville, and Owenton, Kentucky. Her parents worked in the Owenton Department Store in Owenton, Kentucky that was owned by her grandparents. She also names her husband, David Louis Doctrow, and her five children.

Keywords: Cincinnati (Ohio); David Louis Doctrow; Georgetown (Ky.); Good Samaritan Hospital (Lexington, Ky.); Janis (Gay) Weisenberg Doctrow; Jeffrey Alan Doctrow; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Martha Jacob Steinberg; Matt Douglas Doctrow; Mindy Sue Heller; Owenton (Ky.); Owenton Department Store; Pamela Doctrow Gould; Reuben Weisenberg; Robert Mark Doctrow.; Rosalyn Abraham Wiesenberg; Shelbyville (Ky.); St. Louis (Mo.)

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Entrepreneurship; Family histories.; Immigrants; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Owenton, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.536456, -84.8418926
00:05:14 - Family's relationship to Judaism

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Partial Transcript: How would you describe your parents’, both your mother and father’s, relationship to Judaism?

Segment Synopsis: Janis' s father was orthodox and her mother was reform. The family would primarily only drive to Lexington for holiday services because of the distance from Owenton where they lived. She discusses some of the Jewish practices of her family, and names some of her many relatives. Janis's large extended family played a significant role in her Jewish upbringing because of the large family gatherings for Jewish holidays.

Keywords: Anti-Semitism; Barney Miller; Bernie Milller; Cincinnati (Ohio); Clifford Abraham; Edward Abraham; Gertrude Abraham; Harry Abraham; High Holidays; Isidore Abraham; Julius Abraham; Kosher; Lerman's Department Store; Lexington Dairy; Louis Abraham; Louisville (Ky.); Morris Abraham; Ohavay Zion Synagogue (Lexington, Ky.); Orthodox Judaism; Owenton (Ky.); Passover Seder; Purim; Shelbyville (Ky.); Shelbyville High School; Sunday School; Temple Adath Israel; Yiddish

Subjects: Family histories.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Worship (Judaism)

GPS: Shelbyville, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.2120144, -85.22356660000003
00:13:48 - College years and Phi Sigma Sigma at the University of Kentucky, 1952-1956

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Partial Transcript: Well, where did you go to university?

Segment Synopsis: Janis Doctrow attended Indiana University for her first year of college but when her close group of friends all transferred or moved back home, she decided to do the same. In her second year of college she attended the University of Kentucky where she joined the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. She discusses the different aspects of her Jewish student life including her membership in Hillel, meeting other Jewish students, and the activities of the sorority which she became president of in 1956.

Keywords: Alan Blumfield; Anne Leah Ruby; Connie Goldberg; Erle Levy; George Spector; Hillel; Inez Ringel; Jerry Bohn; Jewell Hall; Keeneland Hall; Marty Solomon; Owenton (Ky.); Panhellenic Council; Phi Sigma Sigma; Phil Frost; Social work; Sorority rush; Student Union; Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT)

Subjects: College students--Religious life; College students--Social conditions; Greek letter societies.; Indiana University; Jews--Identity.; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.0306511, -84.50396969999997
00:24:55 - Jewish life in Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Um, we haven’t really talked about this but how did you meet your husband?

Segment Synopsis: Janis met her husband, David Louis Doctrow, on a blind date in Cincinnati and they continued to live there for 10 years after they were married. After Cincinnati, they moved back to Lexington, Kentucky where they raised their family. Janis and her husband were involved with the Jewish community in different capacities throughout their lives including as presidents of the men's and women's associations at Ohavay Zion Synagogue, B'nai Brith, and many others. She concludes by naming some of her Jewish relatives in the Lexington community.

Keywords: B'nai B'rith; Bar mitzvahs; Bat mitzvahs; Betty Miller; Camp Shalom; Cincinnati (Ohio); Confirmation; Council of Jewish Women; Gertrude Abraham; Hadassah; Harriet Rose; Ida Rosen; Ida Waldman; Israel; JN Shoes; Jay Abraham; Jewish Federation; Jewish youth group; Kosher; Lowell Doctrow; Morris Rosen; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Richmond (Ky.); Sunday school; Temple Adath Israel; Zionism

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

GPS: Ohavay Zion Synagogue
Map Coordinates: 37.9986288, -84.47181260000002