NMJHS received a generous grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council to undertake four new oral family histories project entitled: “Telling the Stories: The Personal Accounts of New Mexico Jews in Business and Community Life.”
The interviews of family members and their descendants are included in this section to share the stories and contributions they made to 20th Century New Mexico Jewish history and communities.
Si and Becky Goldman
Both Si and Becky Goldman arrived in the American Midwest as immigrant children from Russia at the turn of the last century. Their stories mirror the experiences of multitudes of Jewish families who departed the Old Country fleeing persecution and seeking a better way of life.
Si grew up in Denver, and Becky in Evansville, Indiana. They were married in 1939, moved to Albuquerque in 1940, and immediately joined the close-knit Albuquerque Jewish community. In 1944, Si bought a general store from Sam Shalit and converted it to western wear and uniforms and named the store Simon’s. It became a fixture on Central Avenue – the place for New Mexicans from city and town to go for jeans, boots, and snap-button shirts.
They were both life-long members of Congregation B’nai Israel, chairmen of the Federation and the UJA drive, and were a driving force in the local efforts to establish the State of Israel, in 1948. Si also served as president of the congregation, and as B’nai B’rith Man of the Year. He was honored by the Jewish Welfare Fund and his Employees gave him the “Best Boss in the World Award.”
Simon’s Western Wear, with its iconic neon sign of a wrangler complete with horse and lasso, was sold years later to his employees, many of whom worked there for 30 years and more.
Si and Betty Goldman Family Interview: Click Here