Leo Azose oral history interview, 1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Azose, Leo
Leo Azose oral history interview
1982 (inclusive)
3 sound cassettes; transcript: 49 pages
Collection Number
3286 (Accession No. 3286-001)
Tape recorded interview and transcript of a Turkish immigrant who discusses family life in Turkey, his father's career as a rabbi in Marmara and Seattle, his emigration and various activities
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Leo Azose immigrated to the United States from Turkey with his family in 1913. They travelled from Ellis Island to Seattle where Azose attended Pacific School. After a year in public school, he went to work as a jeweler's apprentice at Mayer Brothers. Schooling continued at night at the Settlement House. After stints in logging, grocery, and the butcher trades, he settled into jewelry eventually owning Leo Azose & Sons Jewelers.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Tape recorded interview and transcript conducted by Howard Droker on 31 Mar 1982.

Azose recounts the story of his family's life in Marmara, Turkey, and especially his father's career as a rabbi in Marmara and Seattle, Washington. Rabbi Solomon Azose immigrated to Seattle in 1911 to join his eldest daughter, Fortuna Halfon. With the aid of Ashkenazic Bikur Cholim, the Sephardic community began organizing itself as a religious group, with Rabbi Azose as haham. Rabbi Azose sent for the remainder of his family, with all of them arriving by 1913. Leo Azose discusses his emigration and his first impressions of Seattle. He describes his father as haham of the entire Sephardic community until 1915 or 1916 and the purchase of the synagogue at 13th and Washington where his father served as rabbi of Sephardic Bikur Holim. He discusses the split-off of the Sephardim from Rhodes, who formed Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. He speaks briefly about the families that formed Ahavath Achim and that congregation's subsequent merger with Bikur Holim. He discusses failed attempts to merge Bikur Holim and Ezra Bessaroth, especially those of the 1960s. Azose also reminisces about Rabbi Avraham Maimon and his family, including the future rabbi Solomon Maimon. He recalls his own work history in the grocery and butcher business and the jewelry trade. He briefly describes the Sephardic community's arrangement to bring Rabbi Isidore Kahan to Seattle as rabbi of both congregations - and Bikur Holim's dissatisfaction with that arrangement. He discusses the decision to build a synagogue at 20th and Fir streets in Seattle, and the difficulties of financing construction during the Depression. He talks about Sephardic Talmud Torah and tells of the problems in bringing Reverend Samuel Benaroya to Seattle as Bikur Holim's cantor. Azose closes with mention of Bikur Holim's relations with other Seattle synagogues and Sephardic bootleggers during Prohibition.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Forms part of the Washington State Jewish Archives

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Access to streaming MP3 files of this oral history and PDF of the transcript are available by following this link .

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Jews--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Jews--Washington (State)--Seattle--Interviews
  • Sephardim--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Azose, Itzhak
  • Azose, Leo--Archives
  • Azose, Nessim
  • Azose, Solomon
  • Behar, David J
  • Benaroya, Samuel, 1908-
  • Caston, Joseph
  • Cordova, Marco
  • DeLeon, Haim
  • Levy, Albert
  • Magnuson, Warren G. (Warren Grant), 1905-1989
  • Maimon, Avraham
  • Maimon, Solomon, 1919-
  • Muscatel, Morris
  • Peha, Ness
  • Policar, Jacob
  • Sharhon, Morris
  • Corporate Names :
  • Ahavath Achim Congregation (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Congregation Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Droker, Howard (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Washington State Jewish Archives (University of Washington)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Washington State Jewish Archives (University of Washington)