Portraits of the Past: The Jews of Portland
Dr. Konnilyn G. Feig, Director
Commissioned by the Jewish Community Center, 1976
The Oral History Project of Documenting Maine Jewry
Supported by the Maine Humanities Council, 2009
The Jewish Bicentennial Committee was formed in 1975 by the Jewish Federation of Southern Maine to plan an appropriate way to celebrate the Bicentennial. After much deliberation over the best way in which to do so, the decision was made to create an oral history folklore of Portland Jewry.
Forty-four Portland Jewish residents were interviewed, the majority over the age of fifty and born of immigrant parents or were immigrants themselves. In reading or listening to these oral histories, one will learn of their backgrounds and family and community traditions, as well as the contributions they have made within the Greater Portland area.
Each record contains the final transcript of the interview, a set of audio files of the interview, and a photo of the interviewee. The full transcripts of the interviews are held in Portland Public Library Special Collections Archive and can be viewed in the Portland Room upon request.
Louis Bernstein, Interviewee
Judge Louis Bernstein was 75 years at the time of this interview and was a life long resident of Portland. He was a graduate of Portland High School, Bowdoin College, and Peabody Law School (the forerunner to the University of Maine Law School). He was a leading figure in the Portland Jewish Community and the Portland Community at large. He was a senior partner in the law firm founded by his brother, Israel. The firm later merged with Shur and Sawyer. He was also a founding member of Temple Beth El.