Interview with Morris Weiss, August 1, 2016

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Morris Weiss begins the interview by discussing his family background dating back to Alten-Schoenbach, Germany and how his uncle, Josef Solomon, emigrated to Louisville, Kentucky in 1863. He explains how his family became one of the founding families of Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky when Weiss' great-uncle Dr. Leon Solomon and a number of other prominent Louisvillian physicians decided to form Jewish Hospital in the winter of 1903. Weiss discusses his early upbringing during the 1940s in Hardin County, Kentucky. He talks about how the community was largely made up of Jews who had emigrated (or whose ancestors had emigrated) from Eastern-Europe and that he was raised in a Reform Jewish household.

Weiss completed his undergraduate education at the University of Michigan in the 1950s, and then went on to complete his medical internships at the University of Pennsylvania. He finished his internal medicine studies at Washington University at Barnes Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis. Weiss talks about Jewish Hospital's involvement in civil rights, focusing specifically on how it hired, in 1951, Dr. Jesse Bell (the first African American doctor practicing at a non-African American hospital in that region) and Dr. Maurice Rabb, who was another prominent African-American physician. One of the interesting stories that Weiss tells is when he is asked about his experiences with anti-Semitism. He experienced anti-Semitism as an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania and as a medical professional. He tells how during his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, while attending a party, another student made a joke about Jews having horns. He then talks about how while he was on the board of the Kentucky Heart Association he couldn't attend an event held at the Pendennis because they didn't allow entrance to Jews. He concludes the interview by discussing his own current medical practice as a cardiologist in Louisville, Kentucky, the legacy of Jewish Hospital, and how the shrinking population of Jews in Louisville, Kentucky (which he notes has been seen in many other small southern Jewish communities that have virtually disappeared) could begin to threaten the dynamic of the Louisville Jewish community.

Interview Accession

2016oh252_jk028

Interviewee Name

Morris Weiss

Interviewer Name

Carol Ely

Interview Date

2016-08-01

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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Weiss, Morris Interview by Carol Ely. 01 Aug. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Weiss, M. (2016, August 01). Interview by C. Ely. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Weiss, Morris, interview by Carol Ely. August 01, 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/xt7crj48sc8k