August 12, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Jewin' the Charleston in West Virginia

Jewish Community to Reunite

For one weekend, West Virginia's Jewish population is expected to converge on Charleston for an event that is catching international attention.

The Simon & Ida Meyer West Virginia Jewish Reunion is scheduled for Aug. 18-21 with an event calendar packed full of cultural, educational and social opportunities.

Simon Meyer first arrived in the state's capital city during the 1920s to begin a job with Union Carbide. He quickly set out to find other Jews and a Jewish wife in particular. He found both. He married Ida Polan in 1930 and quickly became involved in several vibrant Jewish communities throughout the state.

Through his searching, Meyer realized West Virginia had a strong Jewish population, but it was vastly dispersed, according to Tom Scarr, chairman of the reunion committee. That's when he got the idea to give West Virginia Jews the resources to regularly assemble and celebrate their culture.

(hat tip: JTA)


Reb Yudel -

I was born in Morgantown, W. VA. My dad was born in Charleston, W. VA., and both my grandparents on that side were born there as well.

It has been about two years since I was there, when I went to go through some things in my grandmother's house after she died.

One of the most impressive things I noticed at the shul there was their incredible archive of Jewish life in Charleston.

They had pictures of kindergarten classes and basketball teams going back to the 40s, and I got a kick out of seeing my dad and uncle's pictures in their "museum." There were poster sized pictures of jewish-owned businesses, and I got a real thrill seeing pictures of family businesses that I had not been able to see before.

Thanks for bringing that article to my attention. I am going to be driving from NJ to Detroit on that Sunday, and I am going to look into how far out of the way a WV sidetrip will take me.

Posted by: Air Time at August 12, 2005 3:43 PM
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