Friday, April 21, 2006

Tough Jew Redux

Abe Capon was another tough one, and you can see from his record he was a smart one too. My understanding was that his death might have involved malpractice. He was always in top shape. When he lived in the city he was a regular at the handball courts in Brighton Beach along with his Seward High School pal, Hank Matthow-Walter's brother. This was a record I scanned years ago-it wasn't in the S-T treasure, but my hope is that perhaps some family member googling Abe Capon will find it in cyberspace. Here's something I found that was written shortly after Abe died almost 4 years ago. "In particular we are saddened by the tragic untimely loss of our good friend Abe Capon who lived in Albany, New York. Over the years, Abe would call me, send me letters and share with me his avid interest in sharing his Sephardic traditions and Judeo-Spanish language and music in his community. Abe had a love and commitment to his Jewish heritage and to Israel. His family, his wife Dorothy and his daughter, Linda have made a generous donation to Sephardic House, an institution that was dear to him, to perpetuate his memory. We are proud to announce that all our music cassettes and CD's for sale will now be known as the Abe Capon Music Collection of Cassettes and CD's. In addition we will be dedicating our June 9th Concert featuring Yale Strom and The P'Stromi Ensemble to the memory of Abe Capon. For those of you who did not know Abe, I introduce you to him: Abraham Joseph Capon was American born of Sephardi parents who immigrated in the early 1900's. His father came from Salonika, then under the Ottoman Empire, now Greece; his mother was born in Izmir, Turkey. Abe grew up speaking the Ladino or Judezmo language of his parents. He matured in the multi-cultural environment of the East side of New York where his medieval Spanish dialect mingled with the sounds of Yiddish, Italian, Russian, and Polish. He graduated from Seward Park High School, attended City College of NY, served for three years in the armed forces during WWII. Shortly after, he married and raised two children in Queens, NY. In 1974, he accepted a job opportunity and moved to Albany, NY. He gave lectures at his Temple Israel on Sephardic history, culture, and language. He served as a consultant and made a presentation on his Sephardi experiences for LLAVE, a Sephardic exhibit and lecture series at Sage Junior College in Albany. We will miss Abe."

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