Carole Millman: I was born on Broad Street, lived on Broad Street.
OK, I grew up, I was probably the only Reform Jew on my street at the time. There was a cheder [traditional Hebrew school] there on Chester Avenue, and all the Orthodox kids, they used to tease me. But I never felt that I was left out. I felt I had my home and they had theirs.
I grew up there. I went all through the religious school from kindergarten to high school. I can still remember some of my teachers.
At one point, the Sunday school became too crowded and we used to have a certain number of classes that would meet in one of the public schools. We would congregate at the temple, walk to Peace Street School, have our class, walk back. All the kids, we would stop at the little store on the corner for some goodies, and walk back to be dismissed from the temple.
I remember coming in and the synagogue was upstairs and there was, well, the social hall, the classrooms, the offices were down on the lower level. When it would be time for High Holidays, we had one secretary then, and her name was Sarah Blistein. And she would call me because she didn’t have to worry that I needed transportation to the temple. So I would help her get the tickets out, I would stuff the envelopes for her, and I would help Mattie Pincus, who was the librarian and school principal there. Just because it was convenient for me and I loved being there.
We were always close to the temple.
It was a wonderful place. It truly was. I mean, not just the building but the things that went on there. When I was a teenager, they had the most wonderful concert series with all the big classical musicians: Pablo Casals, Arthur Rubinstein. I’m talking big names back then. I bought tickets as soon as I was old enough to be working and had my own money.
My mom and dad were one of the first couples that Rabbi [William G.] Braude, who was the rabbi at the time there, married when he first came to Rhode Island. And I am the first child of any of the couples he married. I was the first offspring. So he and I had a real bond. He watched me grow up.
Rabbi Braude and I had such a wonderful relationship. Even when he was older and got ill I used to go to his house and read to him. It was a special bond.
There was just such a warmth.
When we were doing confirmation last year, my Matthew [her grandson] was part of that confirmation class. There are many old pictures from all the old confirmation classes. And we found my mother’s. My mother was born in 1910.
It’s nice, because again, it’s continuity. Here I was looking at my mother and kvelling [feeling happy and proud] that my grandson was being confirmed.
I just feel the warmth even now.