Interview with Martin Kaplan, May 12, 2016

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Dr. Martin Kaplan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and raised in the Bronx, New York City. Both of his parents, Samuel (born in 1899) and Clara Kaplan worked as school teachers. His father was a Russian immigrant from a village named Olshan near Vilna, Lithuania. Both of Dr. Kaplan's parents were raised in Orthodox Jewish homes but became more liberal with their Judaism in their own homes. Dr. Kaplan recalls lighting Shabbat candles, having a bar mitzvah, and keeping kosher at home, but seldom attended synagogue. He also discusses systemic anti-Semitism.

After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, Dr. Kaplan attended the City College of New York for one year. He then transferred to Syracuse University, his father's alma mater. Dr. Kaplan went to medical school at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the United States Air Force between the Korean and Vietnam wars because of the likelihood he would be drafted as a doctor. He was stationed at Greenville, South Carolina where he would later meet his first wife Nicki Nixon. His wife converted to Judaism through the rabbi at the conservative synagogue in Greenville.

Dr. Kaplan moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1959 where he joined an allergy practice with Dr. Maurice Kaufmann and Dr. Lloyd Mayer. He discusses the medical community that existed in Lexington at this time and the Jewish doctors that he could recall. Upon moving to Lexington, Dr. Kaplan joined Temple Adath Israel, the only reform temple in the city. He also joined B'nai Brith. He became president of the congregation at one point when there was an attempted "uprising" against the Rabbi of the time--Rabbi Leffler. He goes on to name the different rabbis of the congregation over his years of membership. He discusses his current wife's membership in the Hadassah organization. Dr. Kaplan explains his relationship with Judaism in comparison to his parents' and his children's. He describes his support of Zionism and his family's connection to the Holocaust growing up.

Interview Accession

2016oh059_jk021

Interviewee Name

Martin Kaplan

Interviewer Name

Janice Crane

Interview Date

2016-05-12

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Kaplan, Martin Interview by Janice Crane. 12 May. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Kaplan, M. (2016, May 12). Interview by J. Crane. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Kaplan, Martin, interview by Janice Crane. May 12, 2016, Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7c862bc91s