Monday, November 22, 2010

The last Jew of South Shore Gardens

She died this past April and I just now found this article. Found it very interesting. She was the last Jew in the area called South Shore Gardens. Well I just refer to that area with it's boundaries as Pill Hill although that may not entirely be accurate:
Gloria Kolodny Chanenson, the last Jewish resident of the Chicago neighborhood of South Shore Gardens, died while visiting her daughter in Cincinnati on April 8, at age 90. She refused to move from her home, which was built in South Shore Gardens in 1954. South Shore Gardens suffered an acute epidemic of white, and especially Jewish, flight between 1967 and 1972, while the neighborhood was new and building up. These tumultuous times were reviewed in the book "The South Side" by Louis Rosen (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, Inc., 1999). The neighborhood is bounded by 87th Street on the North, Jeffrey Boulevard (2000 East) on the West, 93rd Street on the South and Anthony Avenue on the East.
When their neighbors began to move in the late 1960s, the Chanensons decided to stay in their home, and they became friendly with their new African-American neighbors as they moved in. "We integrate the neighborhood," Irving said. Eventually, only a few other staunch and stubborn Jewish families refused to "go with the flow." Among the last couples to remain in their homes in South Shore Gardens or neighboring Pill Hill were Esther Malkin Lesner, a retired elementary school French and adjustment teacher, and her husband, Samuel J. ("Sam") Lesner, retired movie and night club critic of the Chicago Daily News and a columnist for the Hyde Park Herald; Minnie Brainin Lieb and Dr. Bernard Lieb, a physician; and Dr. Max Martin Jacobson, a distinguished ophthalmologist who had studied in Vienna early in his career, and his wife, Eugenia ("Jeanne") Rydnik Jacobson, a pianist and piano teacher.

These three couples all died while remaining in their neighborhood homes, and Irving passed away in 1990, leaving Gloria as the last Jew in the South Shore Gardens area and probably the only Jew in the entire South Shore-South Chicago area from 71st Street southward to the city limits and from Lake Michigan to Stony Island Avenue.
An interesting story taking place on the South Side.

If you want to know more about this racial change that took place in that particular area then I would like to refer you to this post I had written in 2005 about a book I had checked out of the library. It was about this very community that was populated by the Jews and what happened when Black Americans started moving in.

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