Albert Goldstein

Duration: 1hr: 31mins
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Interview with: Albert Goldstein
Interviewed by: Louis Marchiafava
Date: September 9, 1975

 

 

LM:     September 9, 1975 interview with Mr. Albert Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein, I’d like to begin the interview by getting some background on you personally and how you became associated with the Jewish Community Council.

AG:     Well, I got out of law school at the University of Maryland in 1934. In those days, you couldn’t get a job, so I took a job with the Bolivar Relief Commission as an investigator. It’s a temporary relief organization. Then finally took my masters in social service at University of Chicago, and was very happy working in Bolivar, Maryland with the Association of Jewish Charities. I had no intention of ever coming to Texas. I had no intention of coming to Houston because I didn’t know where it was. A friend of mine worked with Robert Neese and Associates. He was down here for a survey. He called me and said that a position here was open, and what do I think of coming down. I really wasn’t interested because I was quite happy in Bolivar. But one thing led to another. I came down for an interview in 1946 and we got together. I became the director of the Jewish Community Council on November 16, 1946. That’s the history of my coming to Houston.

LM:     What is the background of the council? When was it organized?

AG:     The council was organized in 1936, and its purpose is to act as a spokesman—if there’s such a thing as a spokesman for a Jewish community. There is no such thing, really. But the closest thing to the voice of the Jewish community of Houston would be the Jewish Community Council. Its purpose is to fundraise for local, state, national, and international social services, to coordinate the activities of member organizations, and to try to do what they can to wipe out duplication of fundraising efforts and activities. It is—the council itself is a very democratic body. It consists of all the Jewish organizations in the city, or members. They can apply for membership. They’re never turned down. We have a delegate body. Each 100 members entitles you to one delegate—minimum of one, maximum of four. The delegate body of the council consists of about 185-190 people. That is the body that is like a congress. There is a board of trustees which sets the policy for the Jewish Community Council of Houston consisting of about 75 people. It is not a functional body. We don’t have any programs, as such, but we coordinate the activities of other organizations in the community of Houston. And we’re fairly good. We brag about these social services because we ourselves don’t do it, so we’re not bragging about ourselves, you see. But we are the parent body of the organizations, which by the way consist of autonomous organizations. We plan social services, and we finance social services. That’s about the fundamental structure.

LM:     It is national in scope, though?

AG:     No, it’s local.

LM:     It’s only local?

AG:     It’s only local. Of course, we have counterparts throughout the United States. This is the Jewish Community Council of Houston. Dallas has the Jewish Welfare Federation of Dallas. San Antonio has the Jewish Welfare Federation of San Antonio. (__??) has the same thing. There are about 220 Jewish Community Councils or Jewish Federations throughout the United States. Each has the same type of function. The difference is that in a small community you’ll find a multiple function federation, which means that people like me, in addition to setting policy, also actually do the physical social services. Whereas here in Houston, we’re big enough to have a Jewish Community Council, then we have autonomous Jewish Family Service, autonomous Jewish Community Center, and autonomous Jewish Home for the Aging. It works much better that way. Of course, no one is that smart that they can do all these things at one time. I certainly don’t qualify that way.

LM:     Is there any cooperation between the local group and other groups in various cities.

AG:     Yeah, for example, I’m leaving tomorrow morning for a board meeting of what we call our parent body. It’s the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. We all are a part of that. They don’t control us in anyway, but this is the—as the local agencies in Houston work through the Jewish Community Council of Houston, the 200 Jewish Community Councils work through the National Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. They don’t tell us what to do, they don’t control us. We just consult, and they advise and they coordinate.

 

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LM:     You mentioned that policies are made by the board. How are these policies decided upon?

AG:     Well, for example, if—functions can be divided broadly into to two parts. One is fundraising, which takes up a lot of our time. The other is social planning. We have a very active social planning council. This committee has brought to it, or ferrets out, unmet needs. Once we determine an unmet need, we assume the responsibility that that need is met. I’ll give you an example that we got a national award for. We in Houston had, and still have, adequate provision for our Jewish senior citizens—a Jewish home for the aging. We determined a long time ago that that wasn’t enough. That was good for those who needed institutionalization. There were others who were healthy who needed some place to get together for companionship, for recreational, social, and cultural outlets. We, the council, conducted a survey, and we determined that we needed something, which is now called the Day Center for Older Adults. It’s not new. It’s not unusual. It’s universal. We determined that there was a need, but we’re also smart enough to know that we couldn’t do the job because we were unqualified. So we turned this need over to the Jewish Community Center, which is in business to do these kinds of things, and we financed it. We went one step further and we came to the conclusion that we had a good set-up for an institution. We had a good set-up for cultural and recreation outlets. But we again determined that there was a need for adequate housing—decent, adequate housing. I brag a little bit. We won a national award for this because we developed a program which is a perfect example of cooperation between private social service agencies, private industry, and the United States government, and we have a housing project here that is beautiful to watch. No one knows who is in the project because we didn’t build a project for elderly Jewish citizens. We went out, and with cooperation of private industry, we rented apartments in existing facilities. We worked through the Houston housing authority. These are examples of how we ascertain needs and we meet them. Another good example of how we operate is that the medical center here is internationally famous, obviously. At any one day, you will find 50 patients of the Jewish faith not from Houston, but from all over the world. People either come down here either with their family, or they don’t know anybody and they come with themselves. Nothing could be more devastating than to be sick all by yourself in a strange town. We got the idea that we should do something because the Rabbis had their hands full catering to their own members. So we hired a Rabbi on a part-time basis whose job it is to visit with patients of the Jewish faith from out of the city. And it just grew and grew and grew. We hired him, I think, for a couple of days a week. Now he’s full-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ve got a corps of 50 volunteers. We have an office in the medical center. This is how we develop means to meet needs when we ferret them out. We’ve just completed two surveys. One is a demographic study in which we’re going to try to find out what’s going on in the Jewish community—who they are, what their needs are, their backgrounds. Again, to help us plan for the future. We also just completed a study for the care of the aging. I’ve told you of the institutional care, the Day Center for Adults, the housing. Do we know who they are? Do we know all of them? I don’t know. This is a survey that—everything is to help us do a better job—to do the things that we were created to do.

 

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I:          11:26.0 The relationships that you have had with the other agencies under you, have you at any time had any difficulties with your role of establishing policies?

AG:     No, because—well, it depends upon the person, and it depends upon your attitude. I admit I don’t know everything. And I admit that if an agency such as Jewish Family Service or the Jewish Community Center, which has its own board of trustees and has its own director who is more qualified to do that job than I am. Why should I impose my things on them? We consult. We work closely together. You never—one thing I’ve never—by the way, I’ve retired. I’m no longer director of the council. I retired as of July 1, and now I’m devoting my time to development and talent programs. But never did we walk into an agency and say, “You’ve got to do this.” We could have done it. Of course, we hold the dollar over their heads, you see. But if you take advantage of that power, you lose normal cooperation. To me, the only reason you’re in existence is to give service and not to throw your weight around. We’ve had an excellent relationship. I think they respect me and I respect them.

I:          You just mentioned a few minutes ago that you recently retired. So you were in that position from 1946 until 1975?

AG:     Twenty-nine years.

I:          Twenty-nine years.

AG:     Or a million years. (laughs)

I:          Why do you say that?

AG:     Only because it’s an unusual situation. Very few men or women stay in that job and want to stay that length of time. You just move around. I never was one who wanted to move. Dangling $1000.00 more salary never convinced me to move. I’ve been very happy here. I think I’ve made a contribution. I take a lot of pride in the work that I’ve done. Houston has come a long way, and I like to think I had something to do with it. But it has been a long time. Twenty-nine years at one job is a long time.

I:          What, Mr. Goldstein, do you consider your most significant contribution? I know that there must have been many, as you said, that you are very proud of.

AG:     Well, the thing I think I’m the proudest of would be the idea that I had about this housing project. As I said—conceitedly I have said this—we won a national award for it. And then the program for the in-hospital visiting committee at the medical center, we won an award for that. It’s the only city of its size in the whole United States that ever won two awards, and we did it, I think, in a period of 3 years. I think I’m proud of the—this is going to be a terrible thing to listen to after a while, I’m sure. I think the thing that I’ve enjoyed doing most is—one of the things I’ve enjoyed doing so much is we have something in the medical center called a Jewish Institute for Medical Research. You may or may not have heard about it. When I first came to Houston back in 1946, I was greeted by a delegation of doctors who thought that Houston just couldn’t exist without a Jewish hospital. I was just as convinced that it could exist very well without a Jewish Hospital. (laughs) This was a very pleasant fight that went on for a number of years. And if you go through any of the hospitals, any place in the country, you’ll see plaques on doors. This room donated by Mr. X and Mr. Y. I think you can get a room with your name on it for about $1000.00. I think that’s the going rate. I don’t know. Well, a group of men that I was associated with was called in by the medical center powers that be. They said, “There’s nothing Jewish in the complex. There are Jewish people there, but there’s a Methodist Hospice, a St. Luke’s Hospice. Here’s a piece of land. What would you like to do with it? In the medical center?” Well, I won’t go through all the gruesome details, but—and I think this must have been about 10 years ago. I forget the time, now. Right after we had a very difficult fundraising effort for our normal causes, we conducted a drive for a building to be known as the Jewish Institute for Medical Research. It is right alongside the Baylor College of Medicine, right now. It’s got nine stories of research facilities. I think we must have raised $650,000.00 in a most difficult period of time. Like I said, we had just finished a most difficult normal fundraising effort. Then we gave this to the Baylor College of Medicine. It’s a beautiful thing to see. We are proud of the people who are there. We’re proud of the work which is coming out of the institute. I think this is typical of what a group can do if you can put your mind to do it. Every time I walk by I just—every time I go into the medical center—my car goes by itself alongside that building to take a look at it, you know? I’m so proud of it.

 

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LM:     17:55.1 You mentioned one of the most significant achievements that dealt with the housing project? Can you give us a little more detail about how you accomplished this?

AG:     Well, I—this is going to sound terrible to listen to. I’m not as conceited as all get out.

LM:     Not at all. You were the director.

AG:     I don’t believe and don’t pay any attention to the numbers game. I don’t worry about statistics. When you get into the bigger cities where you have large Jewish populations, nothing makes sense unless you’re taking care of a couple of thousand people here, a couple thousand people there. Everything’s got to be numbers. I never worry about that. I thought if you can do something for one person, then what you’re doing is worthwhile. Everybody was doing something—building facilities for the aging. I just couldn’t see myself being in the building business. I couldn’t see myself worrying about payments to the government and mortgage payments and did the roof leak or did the commodes work. I’m a social worker. I’m not a maintenance man. I had a friend who her name was Marie McGuire. She used to be in San Antonio. Did you ever hear of the name? One of the greatest women who ever lived. She used to be in Houston then went to San Antonio. Then became—was in charge of HUD in Washington. She used to prod me about things. We had that good relationship. I told her what I had in mind—doing something with the aging. And then I—I am an attorney. I got this idea, which turned out to be pretty good, about utilizing, not the building we’re building, but utilizing existing facilities. And Tom Booker who’s the head of the Houston Housing Authority—he’s a very good friend of mine—we worked together. And I got this crazy idea; it was wild. Marie actually sent an attorney down from Washington to talk to me whose primary purpose was to punch holes into my theory, and we had a marvelous time kidding around with one another. And they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. The idea was I went out and I found an existing housing—an apartment house. It had to be close to synagogue, it had to be close to a shopping center, it had to be close to transportation, and I found one like that. I won’t give you all the gruesome details, but what we did was we went to the Houston Housing Authority. We would enter into a lease with the owner, and then we, in turn, would lease the apartments to needy people. A person, to get in, couldn’t have an income over and above a certain amount. The Houston Housing Authority, using government regulation, would determine how much the person could pay. The person had to be certified by the Jewish Family Service, and the rent came from the government and what the person, he or she, could pay his self or herself. The difference was made up by a subvention by something called the (Wolf Home Intent?). And here was a perfect example of everyone working together. And no one knew who was getting the subsidy. For example—oh, by the way, I had to appear before the city council, and you’d think I was on trial for murder. The questions I was being asked because it was new, and when they saw that I was legitimate, I wasn’t trying to pull anything, it went through. I think they passed a resolution or some ordinance whereby we could utilize, I think, 50 or 100 apartments this way. It’s nice to go to the place—oh; by the way, when I negotiated with the owner, I think the apartments were renting for $150.00 a month. They were beautiful—air-conditioned, rugs, curtains, a 1-bedroom apartment with painted bathroom—you know—swimming pool in this apartment house. I told the guys, “You know, this is going to be the easiest money you ever made in your life because there are no kids to break windows or put crayon marks on the walls. There are no rowdy parties. It’s just nice people who enjoy the company of one another.” I said, “In exchange for this, I will collect all the rent. In other words, I’d get all the money. The Jewish Family Service would send me a check for what the (Wolf Home??) was giving them, I’d get a check from the government, and then each month the people would come into my office to give me their share. I’d give the landlord a check in one lump sum, which is an easy way to do things. As an exchange for that, you’ve got to give me an apartment free of charge.” They did, and I turned it into a clubroom. And here these people—they rented that little club. I think the dues were 25 cents a month. We scrounged a television set, a radio, cups and saucers, and coffee stuff. They entertained there. There service by our representative is a beautiful thing to watch. That’s why I had so fun doing it.

 

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I:          24:19.6 This particular project and some of the others that you’ve mentioned have seemed to be all extremely worthwhile and have been predominantly centered in the Jewish community. Has your council extended itself anywhere beyond the Jewish community?

AG:     Yeah, primarily I’m paid by the Jewish Community of Houston and they have first call on me. However, I’m a person who lives in Houston, and I’ve been active. Now it gets personal. I’ve been active in anything anybody has ever asked me to do on a non-secretary basis. I was part of an interfaith housing corporation that helped organize with eight other people—3 Jews, 3 Catholics, and 3 Protestants. I worked with United Fund. I worked with the Red Cross on their disaster activities. I’ve worked any place where what little talent I have as a social worker could be utilized. I just cross all lines.

LM:     Are there any non-Jewish organizations that have worked directly with the council in some community activities?

AG:     Well, I guess the place where that would be closest would be in the field of community relations. Jews are a minority, black people are a minority, and Chicanos are minorities. We don’t protect—we work together. Many times I’ve offered my services, particularly to the black community. If you’ll turn that thing off I’ll tell you a story.

LM:     Do we have to turn it off? It sounds like it’s going to be good.

(laughter)

AG:     Well, I’ll tell you—Judson Robinson, do you know him?

I:          Yes.

AG:     He’s a good friend. I know him well. I’m real fond of Judson. This was before he was city councilman. There is a mutual respect. He’s probably forgot my name by now, but I haven’t seen him for a long time. But you get upset when you see people who need help and there’s no direction. The United Fund or the CWPA has its directors, the Jews have their directors, the Catholic Church has their directors, but the black people don’t have their directors. I forget where I was one time, and I went—oh, yeah. The Interfaith Housing Corporation has got two—I’m no longer a member. I resigned because I didn’t have time. They have two housing projects. These two buy sick projects from the Houston Housing Authority—the Federal Housing Authority, I think it is. They would renovate it, and I think they got two beautiful things going now on a non-sectarian, on a black, white, colored—you know—difference. I went to a meeting one time and I was just so upset by what I saw, so I went to Judson. I said, “You know, Judson, I’d love to—I represent a fairly successful operation, the Jewish Community Council. I would love to help you organize a black community council utilizing our concept of representation, organizations, leadership of organizations, a delegate body, a board of trustees that would report to—you know---the same as I do.” He said, “Yeah, you’ve got a good idea.” He said, “There’s one thing wrong. I can’t tell you who the black leaders are.” And that was just the most frustrating thing. And to this day, I don’t know. Who are the black leaders in the community? I don’t know. And when I say leadership, I don’t mean money. I mean, who are the recognized black leaders. Maybe they’ve developed since then, but in those days I just didn’t get the first—(inaudible).

 

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I:          28:28.4 What period of time were you speaking of?

AG:     This has got to be 10 years ago.

LM:     That’s not that long ago, really.

AG:     Well, I couldn’t get—I let it be known that I was available for consultation and help, because, again conceitedly, we do have a good operation. It’s well-oiled, we think we know what we’re doing, and it would seem to me that it didn’t make sense to keep this to yourself when there are those who could utilize it. I never could find anybody to talk to. The thing I haven’t talked about, and you know you’ve got a bad project, you’ve got a bad (__??) because I don’t stop talking.

LM:     That’s what we like.

AG:     Fundraising—you know—you have to pay a price to be a Jew; you really do, because you are a member of a community and you participate financially in community needs. By that I mean, of course, United Way. We would like to think that the Jews in this city, as in other cities, do their share to the meeting of needs of people, whether you’re white, black, yellow, Jew, Catholic. It doesn’t make any difference. If people have needs, you meet them. But in addition to that, we have a further responsibility of taking care of Jews. I’d like to think that the Jewish community of Houston has done its share with the non-Jewish community, in addition to taking care of its responsibilities to its fellow Jews. The council was organized in 1936. I think in those days, the first year they raised $30,000.00. I don’t know how many Jews were here in those days, but this was 39-40 years ago. There couldn’t have been too many Jews, then. We now have about 20,000, 21,000, 22,000 Jews, and we’re raising in excess of 5 million dollars a year. We utilize methods that the non-Jewish community won’t use. Frankly, I’ll do anything short of steal to get the money that we need for our projects. I won’t steal, but—

LM:     You said short of steal.

AG:     31:30.1 But we will get you in a room and we’ll lock the doors and we’ll tell you you’re responsible for such and such. Oh, I’ll pull some stuff that I’m almost ashamed to tell you about. Not only me—I mean—guys like me all over the United States did the same things. It’s not unusual to have a meeting of 200 people. We’d use very emotional people. I remember bringing down to Houston some of them who stayed in a German concentration camp with a number and put the person on stage and lift up their sleeve and say, “See, look.” Then walk around the room and ask for money. And, again, the reason, the justification, is the needs were so desperate. When you’re needs are that great, you do everything you can to meet those needs. For example, the things that we’re going through now with the Russian refugees—of course, in fund raising—if I may—can I go into the fund raising?

LM:     Certainly, yes. I’d like to do that.

AG:     We have—again, we’re autonomous. Nobody tells us what to do. This I can’t stress too much. A Jewish Community Council takes orders from no one nationally or internationally. It takes its orders from its local leadership. We raise the money, we’re intelligent, we know what our needs are, we know what our responsibilities are, and, to the best of our ability, we will distribute this money equitable. You may not agree with it. Of course, you might have a vested interest in certain agencies, but to the best of our ability we’re doing what we think is right. We have, I think, about 60 beneficiaries locally, nationally, internationally. The biggest claim on our funds, and has been for the last 25 years, has been the people in Israel. Our money can’t go for arms. Our money must go for the rescue of people like from Russia or Romania, Poland or wherever they are, to bring them out of those countries and into an Israel. It’s our responsibility to get them out and to maintain them until they are retrained. And I think there must be 3 million Jews in (__??), I would imagine. And part of the pleasure that I’ve had in my work, our first visit to Palestine in WWII—I was there in 1943, when it was Palestine. I’ve since been back 24 times, and I have probably as many friends in Israel as I have in the United States. I am a very lucky person in that I’ve been able—I’ve been privileged to meet leadership of the Jewish communities throughout the world in terms of my field—social service wise. It’s been a great, great feeling that I’ve enjoyed very much. But getting back to the money aspect of it, we raise—for example, we pit one against the other. I know of no one who ever went hungry because he gave too much to charity, no one. I know of no one who ever sold a Cadillac because he had to give money, nor do I know anybody who couldn’t buy a fur coat that wanted one. I don’t go for this business. I believe that it’s my responsibility to outline a plan whereby maximum funds are raised, again I say, honestly. We don’t pull any tricks, we stick to facts, and we never mislead anybody. But having said that, our needs are so great that you’re your true self if you’re a sincere professional—to raise maximum funds for a cause which you know is right. And the costs are astronomical. I think the last estimate we got was that it cost, I think, $35,000.00 to rescue and rehabilitate a family of four people from Russia to Israel. I mean, it goes into millions. Well, one of the things we want is to raise maximum funds, but, again, we maintain our integrity and our autonomy. We have budget hearings, and we get requests from God knows how many different organizations. We categorize them to local needs and national health and welfare needs, national and community relation needs, national service needs. As I said, we’re smart enough to raise the money; therefore we’re smart enough to spend the money. We don’t let anyone exert pressures on us as to how we spend the money. Oh, sometimes we do. For example, if a man is a big giver he can throw his weight around.

 

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LM:     What do you mean by ‘big giver’? Give us an idea of one.

AG:     Well, a man gives you $50,000.00; I think he’s a big giver. I say this. I say that, theoretically, money should be distributed on what needs are. Sometimes you bend just a little bit if a man who is a big giver suggests gentlemanly that perhaps you should reconsider allocation to Agency X, and you reconsider it. But one thing I must say is that we’re not a rubber stamp. One of the things I love best is that you go to a budget hearing—and we’re so careful. We have sub-budget committee meetings whereby we recommend allocations by category. The recommendation of sub-budget committees is then sent to budget committee. Then the budget committee reviews these recommendations and makes its own recommendations, and then its recommendation goes to the board of trustees. What they agree upon is it. There’s no such thing as a smooth, smooth budget meeting, never, because people, rightfully so, speak their mind, and if you have exerted pressures on a lower level, those pressures might be changed in upper levels. And when we finish, a little blood is on the floor, but you have a reasonable assurance that you spent your money the best way it could be spent. Of course, we all make mistakes, and I’ll be the first one to admit that we made a lot of mistakes budget wise. But we do a pretty good job.

LM:     39:08.47 Do you get requests from Israel for money for various projects?

AG:     Well, let me go into that. The major beneficiary would be something called the United Jewish Appeal. The United Jewish Appeal is a fundraising arm for three organizations. One is United Israel Appeal, which takes care of needs in Israel—which is where our money is funneled for the rehabilitation of refugees in Israel. Two is something called the Joint Distribution Committee, which takes care of the needs of Jews throughout the world except Israel and not the United States. The third beneficiary is something called the United Organizations for New Americans, which operates out of New York City, because the bulk of the refugees that come to the United States want to stay in New York. It’s not fair for that city to share the expense we share for that. That’s where the bulk of the money goes. Now in addition to that, in Israel itself there are agencies that do not get funds from the United Jewish Appeal or from the United Israel Appeal, therefore they come to us for funds. For example, we support educational institutions very heavily. There is something called the Hebrew University, there’s something called (Tech Young?) University, there’s something called Weizmann Institute. These organizations do not receive funds from the United Jewish Appeal; therefore they have a right to come to us for allocations. And, again, we make allocations there. There is something called League for Israel. Its new name is called Histadrut. It may still be around. I don’t know. They are a labor party, but they have one of the best medical programs in Israel. We give them an allocation, not for political purposes. We make it distinct. We don’t support anything political. But they have a system of health and welfare care, which is great; we support that. Again, this is not part of the United Jewish Appeal. Probably the most famous medical organizations in Israel is called Hadassah. They receive no funds from the United Jewish Appeal. They, likewise, have a fantastic Medical set-up. They apply to us for funds, but we make them an allocation. These are examples of Israeli institutions we support outside of and above the United Jewish Appeal. Then we—and this is also true in international organizations. For example, there’s something called United HIAS Service, which has the responsibility of moving people from distressed areas. When a person leaves Russia on their way to Israel, they go from Russia to Vienna, I think, or while they are in the transition period, they are in the charge of United HIAS. We make an allocation to United HIAS. They work for persons going from Russia to the United States and they’re in Vienna waiting for transportation or something—clearance. United HIAS takes care of that. We support them. In other words, we have a well-organized system of charities. Again I say, we make a lot of mistakes, but I think, by and large, we do a fairly good job.

 

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I:          42:58.1 Can you tell us something about your council being involved in relocating Jewish people from other places here in the Houston area? Hast there been—

AG:     Into the city of Houston?

I:          Right.

AG:     No, we don’t do that. We don’t go out and look for people. United HIAS is an international agency with headquarters in New York City, which we support. They will bring in people. Oh, I imagine they will bring in, say, 3000 people from all over the world into the United States. They have got to be spread from New York City throughout the United States. They will ask us to take a quota of five families. I think in 1975 Houston took a quota of 50 people—Russian refugees. We will take them after—this is how the council coordinates—after resumes of people’s backgrounds are sent to Houston. If Jewish Family Services will take them, we will take them and try to get them a job. We support that operation locally through an allocation to the Refugee Advisory Committee here in town. It has nothing to do with the allocation made to United HIAS. That’s national. But, again, we’re consulted before someone is sent here. Now that doesn’t mean Mr. X who lives in Dallas can pick up and decide to come to Houston. He can do that, of course, but no one in New York says, “You’ve got to take this person.” They consult with us.

I:          And you say it’s within the past year you have received at least 50?

AG:     I think we’ve gotten about, I don’t know, maybe 30 people. Now something else we’ve done, everyone has done this, the Jewish agency are now helping resettle Indonesians. I’m sure the Catholic Charities is and I’m sure the United Fund is—the Protestant Health Center—family service. But that’s being paid for by the federal government. The government is using the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant expertise.

(End of tape 01 45:37.5)

(Beginning of tape 02)

AG:     Unfortunately, we have more experience in anybody else in resettling refugees, you see, because we’ve had so much—(inaudible). So we’re doing that now. And I say ‘we’. It’s not the council; it’s the Jewish Family Service. And every place where it says ‘I’ in that thing, it’s not ‘I’ at all, it’s ‘we’. I just left this ‘I’ business—(inaudible).

 

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LM:     00:34.7 In doing the research for the interview, we ran across an article which stated that the council was responsible for bringing an Arab family here. Do you recall that?

AG:     No. I recall one thing where I almost got in trouble. I offered to raise money for the Arabs, and I got pretty close to it because I felt they were people. Some preacher—somebody told me that my action would be misunderstood. Oh, that was when they had a big ad in the paper. We were raising a lot of money. I forgot when it was. We’d been raising a lot of money, and there had been an ad in the paper that the Arabs were trying to raise money to help refugees. So I offered to raise it for them, and I was turned down. My own people told me not to do it. I don’t remember bringing an Arab family. Do you remember when it was or a name?

LM:     1972—sponsered the relocation of the Abdul, leader of the (__??) family from Uganda.

AG:     Of course. I didn’t do it, our agency did it. I was—1972, I was in Israel on a sabbatical. It was in the fall of ’72. My then associate, who is no longer here, Dan Ascher, was very active and helped the council participate in resettling this family here. Of course, we worked with the Jewish Family Service. I must tell you that. But when you mentioned the country and the year, I remembered. I wasn’t here. He did it. They weren’t Arabs, were they? Ugandans—they weren’t Arabs.

LM:     Muslims.

AG:     Yeah. That wouldn’t have made any difference, because I said I did try to raise money for (__??).

I:          I would like to go back just a minute to fundraising. You mentioned that you were doing anything short of—

AG:     Stealing. (laughs)

I:          Give us some ideas of when you were just in the general category of fundraising, what does that entail? I know that some time ago you had invited groups from Israel that have come and sort of—

AG:     Spoken to groups. There’s nothing new in fundraising. There really isn’t. It’s the same thing day in and day out, except that you must change for the sake of change. At one time we had what we call trading professions whereby each people that was in a trade would solicit those people. We used to have dinners whereby all the attorneys would get together at a dinner or all the members get together at a dinner. You’d have a man speak to that group who’s in that profession and you’d talk about the responsibilities professionally to the drive and the big crowds would come out. And after a time, they didn’t come out because they knew why they were coming. They wouldn’t come, you know. So that played itself out. Then you changed that to giving categories. Instead of having all the attorneys get together into a division, you’d have everyone who gave 100 dollars or 200 dollars individually—everyone from 2-3—division that would—and then you had what you call big gifts divisions. That’s what we had up until, I think, 2 years ago. Then we went back to trading professions again. Then there were all sorts of gimmicks that we used. Again, they were legitimate, but they raised—you know—you have to—who’s going to hear all this?

LM:     Researchers who want to learn something about the council.

AG:     You do things that play on the ego of people. You have snob appeal. I remember years ago we organized something called the Sentry Club whereby a man could join the club if he gave 100 dollars to charity. Well, today this is—a 100 dollar gift today is not too great. The state of Israel conducts something called the Promise Initiative. I must tell you a funny story about that. I’ve been on all of them except this year because I really wasn’t able to go. Here’s where they get the cream of the Jewish community of America. They’ll charter an airplane, and you’ll leave New York City on a Sunday night and you get to Israel on a Monday. You’re there for 3 days, and then you come back. It’s the most intensive, in-depth study of need you’ve ever been through in your life. You’re so tired you don’t know it. You get no sleep, and you’re on the go the whole time. It winds up with a dinner in the Knesset, which is the Parliament, and the Prime Minister speaks. I was there because I’m a pro, not because I’m beginner. Each community is entitled to send its professional and two prospects—big givers. This was about 3 years ago. You know—million dollar gifts were the real oddity in those days. For a man to give a million dollars that’s a lot of money—you know. So I was—I made friends with a guy from Denver whose name I don’t even remember. He seemed a real nice guy. Plain as he could be. There were tables of six, and I was sitting at the dinner table with him. The way this thing works is the Prime Minister makes a speech, we discuss needs, and each one—no one is called upon. Each one that is so inclined gets up and makes a gift. And the guy that I’m with gets up and asks to give a million dollars.

 

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I:          07:21.3 Do you care to say who that was?

LM:     He can’t remember.

AG:     If I knew I wouldn’t tell you. I was sitting alongside this guy. But the funniest story out of all this was, it was 2 years ago. I was, again, on a Promise mission. We were only there for 3 nights, and at night you try to relax. I remember I took a walk with two guys—three guys—just as plain as we’re sitting here, just batting the breeze and doing nothing. I sat alongside one guy whose name turned out to be Charles Goldstein. Maybe it wasn’t Charles. His name was Goldstein. We went to dinner, and this guy gets up after all these speeches. He was such a plain guy. He said, “You know, I have heard so much talk, and I’m so tired. So I would like to make my gift. Last year I gave a million dollars.” He said, “The needs are so great that this year my gift will be 2 million dollars.” Which was fine, and we raised a lot that night. But the point of the story is the security was so great on this plane because all they had to do was shoot up this one plane and all the money in the world would be gone. So they would take us to it on prison buses. The plane was way out. You couldn’t even get to the plane. I think there were four buses of 50 people. We had a 747 all dressed up. Everything was done beautifully except how they got you back on the plane. They were so scared and the security was so tight, they goofed. What they did was they would send teams of people on each bus and they would call out names. When they called your name you raised your hand and walked up and they gave you a ticket and you went off on the bus through a guarded corridor to the plane. Of course, they were scared. It was done in such an unorganized fashion. They should have known who was on each bus, but it didn’t work out that way. The guy gets on my bus I’m on and calls Goldstein, so I raised my hand. So I get a ticket. Now this ticket had a different color than the rest of them, but I didn’t see anything. I went to get on the plane. So I’m walking through the corridor, and I’m about to get on the plane when somebody stops me, “What’s your name?” I said, “My name is Albert Goldstein.” He said, “Are you the guy that gave 2 million dollars last night?” I said, “No.” He said, “Give me that ticket back.” After all, this ticket entitled this guy to a first-class seat. That was really funny.

AG:     10:41.9 Fundraising is a technique; it’s an art that Gentiles should copy from the Jews. And without trying to be in a disparaging way, the maximum amount that could be raised in Houston has never been raised. Now that sounds terrible coming from me, but I can’t help it. I’m assuming very select people will be listening to this thing. There are a million and three-quarter people here and they’ve raised 10-11 million dollars. There’s an awful lot of wealth in this community. Detroit, which I think is about on par with Houston population-wise, raised about 30 or 40 million dollars. It’s true they haven’t unionized the community. But, again, I don’t know how much these big corporations have. I really don’t. But it would seem to me that a city with our wealth could give more than that. And that’s a terrible thing to say for publication, so you just do what they did with Nixon and get this part off of the tape.

LM:     Well, there are some forms after the interview that need to be completed which will deal with any restrictions you want place on it. We will get to that after the interview.

AG:     I mean—this I just said in the spirit of conversations because I certainly wouldn’t want to be quoted on something like that.

I:          Are there particular segments of the community that contribute heavier than others?

AG:     No. I think what you’re getting at is would the reformed Jew give more than the conservative Jew? No. I guess if you pressed me I could gather some statistics, which I won’t do, as to which temple gives more than the other. But that’s meaningless in this community because it’s a relatively young community. You’ll have people with membership in more than one congregation. Now, where do you divide your gift? You’ll have a family gift and members of the family belong to all the temples. Really, your background in terms of whether you’re reformed or orthodox really doesn’t play too big a part in your charity. It’s according to you. It’s according to how you feel about those who are not as lucky as you are. You just can’t categorize it that way.

 

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LM:     It seems part of the success of your fundraising activities is the very preservation of identity as a member of the Jewish faith.

AG:     Yeah. And that’s not only true of Houston, by the way. That’s true of the whole United States. A Jew is born with something—and we’re no better than anybody else, believe it or not. But you are made aware of your responsibilities to your fellow man. Again, as I start off by saying that we would like to think that we do our share service-wise and giving-wise in the general community. But over and above that, we give money to our Jewish charities and we give time to our Jewish charities. And then we’re proud of the fact that if you’ll look at the leadership of the United Way and your CWPA here, you’ll find Jewish names up and down leadership. There have been a couple of Jews who were head of the United Way. (Irving Schlock?) was a good friend of mine. (_Meyers??) has been head of the United Way. Max Levine has been head of the CWPA. The boards of directors of the organizations—you’ll find Jewish names, which means that they’re willing to give themselves for nonsectarian causes as well as Jewish causes—which is the way it should be.

LM:     15:12.8 During the recent conflict between Israel and the Arab states, what kind of reception did the Jews here give your appeal for funds?

AG:     Well, it was fantastic. In 1967, which was the rough one, you didn’t have to run a drive you just had to take in money. In 1973 it was just the same way. People were so aware of what they needs were. In ’73 I think we raised close to 6 million dollars. It was survival. And then, of course, I must say one thing about that ’73 war. That was a blessing in disguise. We’re sorry about all the people that were killed, but it convinced Israelis they weren’t supermen, that they were just human beings. They can make mistakes, also. Israel had had such a success militarily speaking, they could do no wrong. Well, in ’73 they found that they could do some wrong. I don’t know whether they were carless or whether they didn’t pay attention to the intelligence reports they got, but something went wrong somewhere. I was in Israel a month after the war was over in ’73, and it was like a ghost country. The stores were closed, because Israel doesn’t have a professional army. It was a civilian army. They’re all reserves. They’re a very small army, but they have a beautiful, compact, efficient mobilization set up. They press buttons, and everybody knows where they’re supposed to be at a certain time. When I was over there a month after the war, the men were still in the army. The stores were closed because bills weren’t being paid. I remember going into the Dan Carmel Hotel in Haifa where normally you can’t get a room. It was at 5 percent occupancy. There was nobody there, nobody to give service. Tourists were afraid to go. I’ve had some bad experiences there, which has got no—do you want me to talk about these experiences?

LM:     Sure, go ahead.

AG:     I went to Israel and visited—remember it was the guerillas that shot up all those school kids?

LM:     Yes.

AG:     Ma’alot, I think that place was. We visited the school house where the kids—you could see the bullet holes in the walls. You could see where the kids jumped out of the windows and were killed. You could see where the kids were shot. Then they took us to the cemetery where the kids were buried, which was a real emotional charge. Then they took us to temporary Jewish cemeteries where soldiers had been killed. They had to do something with them, so they buried them in temporary cemeteries. I think there’s a huge Jewish law that says you can’t move a dead body for at least 11 months. I was there in October of ’73. I went back in ’74 when those 11 months was over and I saw the second burial, which does things to you. Then you say to yourself, Jews have taken arid lands—arid, not Arab, but arid lands—where there’s sand, and by utilization of irrigation methods, they turned it into green, producing land. Again you say, if all the money that is spent on arms could be spent on people, what a hell of a world we’d have. And just in today’s paper—I think it was in this morning’s paper—Israel has offered to open up their ports to Arabs. Israel has offered to share their techniques in irrigation with the Arabs. Israel can’t survive another war. It’s just impossible. You know—you can keep winning wars and just lose one and Israel is finished. Israel can’t afford to lose one war.

 

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LM:     You’ve been in Israel, and of course being an American you might be able to make some observation about the next question I’m going to ask you. It’s been said that the Israeli Jews, while they certainly welcome the support of American Jews, have a certain—they look down upon their American counterparts in that they’re living soft. They’re donating the money, true, but they’re really not there. Do you find this to be true?

AG:     21:04.2 Well, that gets you into an area of who and what’s (Zion?). I’m not about to get caught in that trap. No chance. But what you do find is this—and then I’ll make a blanket statement. When the Jews performed so beautifully on the battlefield, every Jew in this country felt like he was a hero. You’ve heard the statement that the Jews in this country walk 10 feet tall when the Jews over there did it. It’s true. They were giving their lives, we were giving our money. There’s no comparison. Some people say to be a good Jew you must go to Israel. I don’t accept that at all. I’m a good Jew right here. If all the good Jews who are here went there, there’d be nobody to raise money here, you see? So that doesn’t make sense either. So this I will not accept. I do think it’s a rough breed of kids over there because they’ve been through it. They, I think, know that their lives are on the line. And what they have, they did. Now it’s true they couldn’t have done it without our money except that our money didn’t give them arms. The government gave them their arms. I must tell you again that my wife and I—I had my sabbatical in ’73. I went to Israel, and I spent 2 months as a consultant for the, I think, 20 or 25 fundraising agencies, Jewish agencies. I’d been all over the country, but my wife hadn’t. She’s only been there about 10 times. So we took a weekend off. We got a driver and a car and he took us up in the Golan Heights. This guy was about 22, and my wife fell in love with him. He was just kind of a sweet guy. He was a paratrooper. And as he rode along he would say, “Here is my beautiful Israel.” The pride that this guy had in just sand, it was unbelievable, and she just fell in love with him. That was prior to the war. That was in ’72. War broke out in ’73. I was there a month later, and I found out he’d been killed. Now, I did not tell (Olive?). I had more difficulty telling her that this kid had been killed—I mean—he was just like part of our family. These guys, they don’t mourn over us. They don’t think they’re better than we are, but they know that what’s there, they got and they fought for. And there are a lot of guys in this country—I don’t mind telling you—who walk around with their chests stuck out, “Look what we did.” Well, they didn’t do a damn thing except give their money, which of course was needed, but the actual doing is there. I don’t like the idea of a guy sitting at a desk like I’m sitting here now, and me telling the Israelis what to do with their government. I don’t like that. By the same token, I don’t want that guy telling me what to do with my government. It’s you take care of yours and I’ll take care of mine. They need us, they need our money, for the help with their rehabilitation and relief of Jews who come in. We’ve started a lot of relief projects, but we’ve never finished them. There must be 400 or 500 farm settlements, which are not self-sufficient. Well, someone’s got to do it—our money. But the thing I’ve got to stress as much as possible is not one penny of our money goes for arms—not one penny. If it did we could raise billions—billions. If I could walk into a room and say, “Let’s raise enough to buy a Hawk.” We’d do it like that—(snaps fingers)—a Spitfire like that—(snaps fingers).

LM:     25:18.9 You’ve already had these indications made to you?

AG:     I know it. There’s no question of it. We’ll buy a tank like that—(snaps fingers). We can’t do it because that violates every principle of charity. Our money must go to people. Our money can’t go for government. We can’t give any money for the government of Israel. Now Israel sells bonds, which is legitimate, but charity money cannot be used for war and it cannot be used for politics, it’s got to be used for charity.

LM:     How strict an accounting is it?

AG:     Plenty strict, plenty strict. Every dollar that is spent in Israel—every American dollar that’s spent in Israel is spent under the supervision of an American. I think his name is Dr. (Lewbert?). Now, of course, we all make mistakes, but that’s all that guy does. What they do is they have projects over there that they submit to—they get the project there, they determine how much it’s going to cost, they submit that to the United Jewish Appeal office in New York, and they accept which of those projects that they want. But our money is—there’s a guy in (Fulbright?) that would be really after us.

 

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I:          You mentioned time and time again that your work is predominantly in the area of charity and none of the money can go to arms. What about political contacts from the Jewish population in Houston—political figures from the Texas area? Do you at any time solicit their help?

AG:     Well, you solicit help this way, and it’s done of a very general basis. We all have friends, obviously. If you want help in Congress, whether it’s for Israel or for oil or for anything that you want, you contact those that you have influence with and you sit with them and you talk to them. There’s no question about the fact that Jewish people throughout the United States have contacts with politicians. One of the leading Republicans in our country, a Jewish Republican, is a guy named Max Fischer, who in the Nixon days was always talking to Nixon. Maybe he goes to Ford these days. But all of us speak to friends. For example, if I wanted something done in Houston, I must have a friend someplace on the city council I talk to. Well, just multiply that. That’s the way things are done. I guess to use a dirty word it would be lobbying, I guess. The Arabs are attempting to—the University of Houston campus has all kinds of Arabs out there, very active Arab student population. They bring down, and rightfully so—I don’t believe in keeping people out, to tell the truth. They bring down people who espouse their cause, which they have a right to do. We do the same thing. I see nothing wrong in selling your product to a community, but tell the truth. That’s the important thing.

I:          28:59.0 Are there any particular people that you would care to mention that have given assistance in politics?

AG:     Again, politics is not my bag. I have never worked for a politician, even on the city council level. It’s just not my cup of tea. I’ve been asked, and I refused. I don’t give any money to any political party because I’ve got to be consistent in my point of view. I won’t help anybody, I won’t hurt anybody, but I will not lift a finger because it’s not my way of doing my business. I have never made a phone call in my life to a politician for help. I have friends that have, but that’s the way of life. When Rice University wants money for indebtments they go to alumni. You hand out honors to alumni. This part of the way of doing business, this is the ultra dignified way of raising money for universities. Without endowments you all wouldn’t exist. But how do you get endowments? There are ways. I know hospitals put people on boards. There’s no price, you understand, but they don’t turn down a nice gift from a new board member. I remember the first year I moved to Houston they built Rice Stadium in 9 months. They started on January 1, 1947. The first ball game, I was there because I’m a sports nut. It was played in November or October of ’47. I think Brown and Root were the contractors. Mr. Brown is an alumnus, isn’t he? He’s a officer, or something, on the board of trustees. I remember I was invited to participate in something called the general assembly that Rice conducted down in San Antonio, or someplace. One of the rich alumni donated two airplanes—took about 100 of us down there for 2 days—paid all expenses, which was wonderful. It had something to do with population explosion. I forget what it was. But, again, I see nothing wrong in rewarding a friend. I only have one thing, just tell the truth.

LM:     31:45.3 During the wars, was there a confrontation here—or I shouldn’t say confrontation—but a conflict—at least verbally—between the Arab residents and the Jewish community?

AG:     No.

LM:     Did you come into any conflict with them?

AG:     No, there wasn’t. The only thing that was there about this whole scenario—in 1973 we had a meeting at (Beth __??) who I’m friends with. We brought down—no, it was all done locally. We got all kinds of threats. It got so bad that we had police protection at our office around the clock. Then we got some threats about there will be some problems at (__??). It got so bad that they made us wear bulletproof vests—those of us that sat on the podium.

 

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LM:     I don’t think that’s publically known.

AG:     Only those who spoke had on bulletproof vests. The rest of us that were there that didn’t speak; we didn’t because if you got to speak you were a pretty big target. And the police, we worked beautifully with them. We really did. They said they weren’t worried until one name cropped up who was a known agitator. What we were doing, we had a rally to raise money. We must have had 3000 Jews there. And outside there were these kids, teenagers, who were marching and they caused a riot. And there was a trial here some time ago, as well. If you want to demonstrate that you are right, you don’t demonstrate with a piece of metal—that you have a placard, not a Billy club, a piece of metal that you hit heads with. And a lot of heads were broken open at that. Then, I’m not sure the kids who were marching knew why they were marching. I think it came out that they were marching because they were opposed—why the hell were they marching? They didn’t know a conflict between Arabs and Jews. They were just marching. I’m sure they were paid to march. I’m not sure. I don’t know. I just assume because I understand you can buy a marcher for a few bucks and hour these days.

LM:     Did you have any other questions that you wanted to get to?

I:          No, not in particular, I don’t think. I think you covered most of the things that I had.

LM:     One last question. Since you’ve been here since 1946 and director, you’ve been in position to notice any trends in the Jewish community here with regard to, perhaps, an increase in self-identity, or whatever. Are any trends noticeable?

AG:     No. I don’t think there’s any increased identity. I think that as you get older and your community gets older there’s a greater awareness of needs and a greater sophistication. I think there is more of an awareness of why you who can should participate. For example, if you go back 50 years—this is true of the gentile community, also. Leadership was developed based on your wealth. If you were rich you had to be a leader. No question about that. Otherwise, how could you be rich if you weren’t a leader? But then as time went on, we began to realize that a man can be smart and have no money. I’m a firm believer that there are many poor people who are brilliant, many of them. No man was ever put on our board because he had X number of dollars in the bank, never. That would never take place as long as I had anything to do with it. You know—a director does have something to do with who gets on the board. You can pull a few strings here and there. I always insisted that the best man should be offered a position on the board. I paid no attention to whether he belonged to Beth Israel or Immanuel or (Beth__??). I couldn’t care less. I didn’t care what part of the city he came from, didn’t care how long he’d been here. My only requisite was, are you a good Jew. By that I meant—I don’t mean religious wise. That’s your business, not mine. Do you have awareness for the needs of your fellow man, and do you have any ability? If you had that, you were my man. And I was pushing people that I thought were good citizens. We have a reputation in the United States of having the youngest board in the community. I’m a firm believer—and I’ve had a lot of—not ‘I’. We are firm believers that if you train your youth, get quality youth, you got no problem. Our leadership doesn’t have a price on it. It never has and it never will. I hope not anyway.

I:          38:34.0 Just one additional question for researchers. You have left the position of director. Who did you say took your—?

AG:     A man by the name of Earl Jordan took my place as of July 1. He’s a rabbi, ordained rabbi. He had a pulpit at Midwest, and most recently was on the staff of United Jewish Appeal. He is a brilliant man, and will make a good successor.

 

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I:          Are there others on the staff that you would care to mention?

AG:     It’s a small staff. Jordan is the director. The associate director is a guy named Jay Yoskowitz. And then on the staff there are two other professionals. One’s a guy named Sherman Harris. He’s in charge of our Civic Protector Accumulations Committee. He sees to it that Jews like Jews and Jews like Gentiles. Then there’s a professional by the name of Rabbi Rabinowitz, who is the director of the Commission of Jewish Education. Those are the only—and of course, Rabbi Witkin, who is the Rabbi that handles the hospital visiting committee. Those are the only pros. I have severed my connection as director. I am now devoting my attention to development of endowment programs for the council. I’m leaving on the first of the year. I’ve applied for a position with some international agency in Europe or in Israel as a social worker, where I plan to spend the rest of my days if I get a job.

I:          Your position, then, was executive director. I’m trying to find out if you were elected from year to year, or you just simply maintained the job.

AG:     That’s a good, good question because the constitution says that you must be reelected each year. I’ve never been elected once, never. I guess if you do a good job—unless you do something real wrong—you stay forever. Now my retirement, seriously, was voluntary. Someone said that you should retire when they still want you, not when they’re saying, “When the hell is he going to get out of here?” So I’m conceited enough to think they still want me. I could have stayed. I could probably stay some more at my present position at the first of the year, but I’ve had this desire for about 10 years now to spend the balance of my professional life working with people in some atmosphere of not fundraising—some atmosphere of utilizing what little administrative ability I have in some sort of social work which is functional—administrative—rather than fundraising. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.

I:          42:01.3 Leaving the Houston area, do you leave it with regrets?

AG:     Oh, yeah. Sure. No (__??) was ever treated better then my wife and I were. We established fantastic friends. The reason I’m going to be successful in my endowment program is because there’s not a Jewish office I can’t get into, not one. I’m spending my time like an insurance man just calling on people. I never get turned down. I don’t sell anything because they might not be interested in what I’m doing, but no one refuses. It’s been a fantastic relationship. And my leaving has nothing to do with my personal relationships, nothing. It’s because I have this burning desire to work with people in Europe where I can be of some use. There are not many men with my background who are going to leave; therefore I think I’ve got something to offer. Now whether or not I’m right will be proved by whether or not I get a job, you see. If I don’t get a job, I was wrong. But I’m not worried about it.

I:          What kind of awards have they given you as a result of your work? I’m sure you have had numerous commemorations.

AG:     Oh, a few here and there.

I:          What was the best?

LM:     The most meaningful to you?

AG:     Well, it’s been fun. I was named Man of the Year by the Houston Zionist District. I was made a Fellow by Brandeis University. The thing I think I got the biggest out of, the biggest of all times, was when I retired here in June-July—(Merhoff?) proclaimed Al Goldstein dead, which was kind of funny. I’ve got a few plaques here, but I think the thing that I’ve enjoyed so, so much was the medical research building that I had a hand in building, the hospital program that I love so much, and the housing project. And then it’s just been nice to part of a community that grew up. I think we raised—since the council started—I think we’ve raised close to $40 million, which is a lot of money. I think we’ve got 21,000-22,000 Jews. It’s a good Jewish community, and can only go up. The potential is unbelievable. I’m almost envious of the young guys who take my place because it can only go up. It’s a vibrant community. It’s got good leadership, it’s young, it’s intelligent, and they’re there because of their ability, not because their money. All these factors make for good—(inaudible).

LM:     On that positive note, I think it’s probably a good place to conclude.

AG:     Yeah, I think so. You ought to be real tired by now.

LM:     No, I imagine you are. On behalf of the Houston Metropolitan Archives Research Center I want to thank you very much for taking the time out to visit with us and give us this very excellent interview. Thank you.

AG:     I’ve enjoyed it, I really have.

LM:     I’m glad you have.

(End of dictation 45:37.0)