Jewish Histories in Multiethnic Boyle Heights

Kapshut Books: 2205 Brooklyn Avenue

Born in Lithuania (then part of Russia), Chanoch Kapshut and his wife Bluma immigrated to the United States in 1904, settling first in Chicago and then in Los Angeles in 1912. They moved to Boyle Heights soon after, where he opened Kapshut Bookstore at 2205 Brooklyn Avenue in 1913, offering Hebrew books with or without translation, ritual items, including tall it (prayer shawls), tefillin (phylacteries), and shofar, as well as decorative Judaica. He also became the city's only distributor of Manishewitz products, supplying matzo to the Soto-Michigan JCC (then the Modern Talmud Torah and Social Center), the Breed Street Shul (Congregation Talmud Torah), and dozens of other individuals and congregations until at least 1920. The store moved locations several times—first to 419 Soto Street, then to 2201 E. First Street, each time the family residing in apartments above, or behind, the store—and while it closed in the late 1930s, Kapshut's books provided a vital service to the area's Jewish residents, particularly those who were religiously observant, from the earliest days of Jewish settlement of the neighborhood. The Kapshuts had five children, Charles, Harry, Esther, Rachel and Judith, and lived in Boyle Heights until they passed. These photos of the Kapshut family were generously provided by Esther's daughter, Fran (Kapshut) Oberman. 

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