Morton Dodek: Aleph Zadik Aleph, Jewish Youth Organization

Posted by jyuhasz

AZA group photograph
Rights - JMABC
Dodek, Morton
Roberts Creek, BC
Dodek, Irene
Saturday, July 18, 1992
Digital audio recording #: 19.92-01
ID:          So then in your teen years you were involved in AZA I think.
MD:       That’s right.
ID:          Tell me a little bit about AZA. Where did you have your meetings?
MD:       The, all of a sudden there just seemed to be a sudden appearance of a large number of young Jewish people my age, young kids. And the AZA seemed to be a focal point where everybody met and were able to get together and became very strong. And we used to meet at the Jewish Community Centre. We had taken over…Chapter 119. It was, by the time we got to 14 or 15 years of age the previous member of the 119 were all gone. They all went in the war. And so there were only a few left. And there was just, like a just a sudden surge of new blood that became available in the community, this youth. And the movement was so successful that within about two or three years another chapter was formed called Totem AZA. So there’s 119 and Totem.
ID:          And what about the girls? Same thing?
MD:       And same thing, the girls obviously whether boys or girls, and the BBGs [B’nai B’rith Girls] became very…successful as well.
ID:          Did you have to pay rent in the centre for your meetings or how did they work?
MD:       I’m not sure. We had the basement and I don’t think so. I’m not sure whether the B’nai B’rith sponsored it and paid rent. Whatever it was it must have been nominal.
ID:          How often would you meet?
MD:       We would meet once a week.
ID:          Once a week.
MD:       Yep, once a week.
ID:          Sundays…
MD:       On Sunday night. And we would, we planned some very successful programs but one of the highlights of my life in AZA, of course I eventually became an Aleph Godol, president of my chapter, and prior to that I think I was Aleph Mazkir, that’s secretary. And a good friend of mine Gordie Katznelson was Aleph Godol during that year. And Gordie Katznelson and I were at school since Grade 4, when I was on 16th Avenue went to Cecil Rhodes School with him and knew him since that time. Anyhow, we put on a regional convention and this would have been about 1945, ’46. And it was an unbelievable convention. Very successful. People that came Seattle, there were at least two chapters in Seattle, there was at least two chapters of AZA in Portland, and there was a smaller chapter from Spokane.

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