Memories of a Redman's Rd Talmud Torah
1938 Barmitzvah, - by Jack White - the location of Redmans Rd Talmud
Torah is circled in red on the 1923 map on the left.
barmitzvah photo provokes many memories. The suit was made
- whose workshop in Bromehead Street is pictured on
the right. He was a master tailor and had his own
"set" which consisted of himself as cutter, a machiner, a
tailor and a presser [men] and then a felling hand and a
button-hole maker[ my Mum!] This was my first long trouser
suit, as it was traditional then , that you didn't wear
long trousers until barmitzvah. The winters were
particularly painful as short trousers and cold winds
inevitably caused chapped thighs which were partially
relieved by applying an ointment called "Melrose". The
situation was not helped by the apparent conspiracy
between the makers of short trousers and the makers of "gutkas"
or combinations. This conspiracy made sure that The "gutkas"
always were at least one inch longer than the shorts, so
that we were constantly tucking them up!!!
When I hear of the elaborate parties that
go with the modern day barmitzvah, I think back to mine. I
went with my family to Redman's Road shul, read Maftir and
Haftorah, was showered with nuts and raisins [not wrapped
sweets in those days] and then went to my "Zaida's" house,
which was just down the street from our flat. There, my
Zaida made kiddush and we had some wine and biscuits. My
uncle gave me a signet ring, one aunt gave me an Ingersoll
watch and my other aunt gave me a pair of gloves. And that
was that!!! No computer, no Play Station, no cell phone,
not even a fountain pen!!! How did we manage and how would
the modern barmitzvah boy accept such a "celebration"? We
then went home and had our "cholant" lunch. After lunch, I
went to Jeromes in Whitechapel and had the photo taken.
The cost, sixpence halfpenny for three!
label on the left dated 1938 is from the last prize that I got from the Talmud
Torah. It shows Class Eight, signed by Mr.Horovitz. The
President of the Talmud Torah is shown to be
Mr Phil Hyams of the Grodzinski's
He was the owner of the Troxy Cinema in Commercial Road,
which when it was opened in 1933 with "King Kong" caused a
sensation. It seated well over 3,000 people and had
queuing facilities INSIDE! As the owner, Mr. Hyams was
able to let the Talmud Torah have the use of the Troxy for
our annual prize giving. Of course this took place on a
Sunday, when cinemas did not open.
Troxy which used to show two films and a stage show
eventually closed and is now a Bingo Hall [photo].
When Sunday opening for cinemas came in, prize giving for the Talmud Torah
was shifted to the Shoreditch town Hall [photos on the right)]