Rochelle Moss: Establishing a School with the Richmond Delta Jewish Community Association
Date:Tuesday, April 12, 2011
ID:Digital audio recording #: 20.11-08
RM: I was very much involved with the start of the Richmond Delta Jewish Community Association, back in the 1970s, I’m really going back here but…
BG That’s okay.
RM: It was, I think it was about 1970, a group of us that lived in Richmond, we had, we met at the home of the Rabbi, I’ve forgotten the name of, at the time and we decided that we wanted to have a school, a Jewish school set up in Richmond. And what came of that meeting was the formation of the Richmond Delta Jewish Community Association. We had a meeting, trying to get all the Jewish people together, at the Jewish Community Centre, I can’t give you the exact date but different people took on positions, my former husband became ways and means, I was nominated and I was, accepted, the position, of becoming the first education chairman for which was then Richmond Jewish, which then became, okay well I’m messing up here.
But we had many meetings at different people’s homes, I can’t tell you how many meetings were held at our home and how many cakes I baked for different functions. We realized that we needed a Jewish school and we realized that we needed different places for our High Holidays, for, you know the High Holidays, and various other events. So, I was education chairman, so I had a committee made up of many teachers. [Laughs] And as I said before, thank goodness I didn’t become a teacher, but my committee were mainly teachers. So, we managed to find, a space in a church in Richmond and we decided that we were going to rent that space, and I said, it wasn’t what was important, because people challenged us, “How could we have a Jewish school in a church?” And I responded, because the price was right [laughs]. But what I said was, it didn’t matter about the external walls, it was what we created within those walls.
RM: So we managed to have a nursery school, a kindergarten, and an after school day school, two days a week. The third day was held in my former husband’s and my home, on a Sunday. So, that, I, I think I spent four or five years in that position and we managed to really get things off the ground in those early years. We rented different spots in different hotels for High Holiday services, it was a fun type of thing, we were actually creating something from nothing, at all our meetings, so we would plan different events…We were trying to, besides the school, we were trying to get youth organizations going, we would meet with, “Oh, you have nothing for my children.” And then we’d go back to people and it was “Oh well, you didn’t have something before so you know, my kid’s became involved, it’s too late for them to be involved.” That type of person, of course, really expected everything to be handed to them. And they weren’t prepared to, to help out. But that was also a very exciting time. It was, we were building something from nothing. It created a wonderful sense of community. And we, you know I hired David Ruben to become our senior teacher, to be our Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah teacher, and we had other teachers, certainly nursery school, kindergarten, all of course with Jewish content. So this certainly was a great boost, for me. It was a confidence builder, getting the school off the ground, no one expected us to get the school going, you know, there were different things we had to speak to, we had to speak to the fire department, and this department and that department. At the time we didn’t get much money from Federation, so everything was just, but it was an exciting time and certainly a confidence builder.