Sophie Goldstein, chronicler of Saratoga Springs Jewish history, dies at 102

Sophie Goldstein, who chronicled the Jewish history of Saratoga Springs, an historic spa town north of Albany, NY, died May 14 at 102.

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Goldstein was born in Russia and moved to Syracuse with her family at age 3. She moved to Saratoga Springs in 1939 and lived there, with an exception of 10 years, until she died.

In 1956, after her husband’s death, Goldstein decided to get a master’s degree in library science, her daughter Louise said, but she found nothing on the subject she wanted to study, the Jewish history of Saratoga Springs, a town in which Meyer Lansky ran a casino in the 1920s but which has been dominated by "old money."

“There was nothing in the Saratoga Springs history books to indicate the Jews were there,” her daughter Louise told a local newspaper. “She got very angry and decided to put Jews on the map in Saratoga Springs.”

Goldstein conducted more than 75 interviews, most of which were recorded, and collected many documents about the city’s Jewish history, which are now in the Saratoga Springs Public Library Saratoga Room. A small sample of her work has been placed online by Saratoga’s Chabad House.

Librarian Teri Blasko said the Sophie Goldstein Jewish History Collection may be featured in a college course this fall.

A Saratoga blogger noted that “Goldstein was a living link between the new Saratoga and the old Saratoga, including the city’s anti-Semitic past.”

The Eulogizer highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org. Follow the Eulogizer on Twitter @TheEulogizer

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