Magazine article Moment

Jewish American Roadside Attractions

Magazine article Moment

Jewish American Roadside Attractions

Article excerpt

Jewish heritage pops up in the least expected places. Any fan of roadside America will appreciate these idiosyncratic attractions. No matter how offbeat, off the beaten track or downright bizarre, these gems of Americana tell important stories. American history and Jewish heritage come together in a fascinating melange, best savored one item at a time. Here are a few sites to start you on your journey.

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Mount Ripinsky

A favorite of hikers, Mount Ripinsky bears the name of Haines schoolteacher, business owner and eventually mayor, Polish-born Jew Solomon Ripinsky. The "frozen chosen" are a special breed, indeed. The first mayors of both Anchorage and Fairbanks were Jewish. Visitors may be surprised to find evidence of Jewish pioneers past and present throughout the state. Haines Alaska

Houdini Museum

Harry Houdini, aka Erich Weiss born in Budapest, seems to have enjoyed his performances in the Scranton area. Houdini spent his early years in Appleton, Wisconsin, where his father served for a time as rabbi. The magician later claimed that his finest trick was actually getting out of Appleton. In Scranton, visitors enjoy Houdini memorabilia as well as magic shows in his honor.

1433 North Main Avenue Scranton, PA

Shoney's Monument

That the restaurant chain Shoney's was established in West Virginia might not surprise anyone, but that its name derives from "Schoenbaum" just might. That's right: Betty and Alex Schoenbaum founded the original Shoney's, then called the Parkette, in 1947. Shoney's was among the first chains to have the "Big Boy" franchise. …

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