Israel Gordon

Name: Israel Gordon 3/15/1867-1/06/1951

Family: Wife, Rebecca Blankenfield, children, three daughters, including Lena Gordon

Gordon was a tailor in Kiev. When he moved to Durham, he bought stores in the black neighborhoods in Hayti. He and several other Jewish store owners were apparently the only whites living in those areas. Jewish store-owners had a good relationship with the African-American community, and Gordon especially so.

Jewish Historian Leonard Rogoff relates that Gordon was mugged in 1938 and that the The Carolina Times, the black-owned newspaper, expressed its regret for his misfortune.

Later, the Gordons moved to North Roxboro Street where many Jewish families lived. This area was nicknamed "Jerusalem."

Gordon was "the most generous and kindest person you could meet" according to his daughter, Lena. He helped bring over several families from the old country. He also belonged to the Chevra Kadisha. He was very quiet.

Gordon's generosity paid off in a number of ways. As his daughter, Lena, relates, when she was ready to get married, he told her he could either give her a wedding or give her a car. Lena chose a car. When she did get married, members of the Chevra Kadisha pitched in to contribute money.