Maimon Family's 75th Year Reunion

The Maimon family, a key component of Seattle's Sephardic community, celebrated their 75th anniversary in the city when 140 of its members gathered for a Reunion on July 30-August 2. The family now consists of approximately 240 members, who are either the direct descendants or their spouses, of Rabbi Abraham and Vida Sultana Maimon, known as papu and nona (grandfather and grandmother). Rabbi Maimon left Tekirdag, Turkey in 1924, bringing his family of 6 children (and two older daughters who joined a few years later) to Seattle to serve as the rabbi of Sephardic Bikur Holim (SBH) Congregation. The Reunion activities included a Shabbat luncheon at Sephardic Bikur Holim Cong., a tour of the "old neighborhood", i.e., the Central Area, with stops at key locations, a gala dinner at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth and a picnic at Seward Park.

Among the important places of interest that were visited on the Sunday morning tour of the Central Area were the homes of Rabbi and Mrs. Abraham Maimon and their children (15th and Yesler and 18th and Alder), as well as the former site of SBH Congregation. The old SBH synagogue is now the Tolliver Temple, and the Maimons came by just as the Temple was finishing its service. Rabbi Solomon Maimon, current head of the family, met with the Elder O. J. Jenkins, the pastor of the Tolliver Temple and exchanged reminiscences of the old neighborhood.

This was the third major reunion that the family has held, the first being in 1974 (50th anniversary), and the second in 1979. The family tradition is that they are direct descendants of the illustrious Maimonides, although there is no hard proof of this. At the time of the 50th, the majority of the family lived in the Seattle area. Now, there are about 60 family members in the state of Washington, but nearly the same number in New York, and considerable numbers in New Jersey, California, Illinois and Israel. Out-of-town participants came from six other states. The 140 who participated ranged in age from the oldest, Aunt Louise Azose, at about 95, to her new great grandson, Isaac Azose, about a month old.

At the time of the 50th, all of the eight children of Rabbi Abraham Maimon attended, and they traded stories of how things were when they were growing up. Unfortunately, only four of the children remain, Uncles Isaac and Rabbi Solomon Maimon and Aunts Louise Azose and Rachel Benoliel. At the luncheon and at the dinner, each of the eight branches of the family were given about 10 minutes to tell all the highlights of their specific branch. This way, the younger members, especially those who live outside Seattle and haven't had an opportunity to know their cousins and hear family stories, were able to learn first hand about their family.

One of the unique aspects of the family is the presence of a large number of rabbis, approximately 20 all together. Some of them are or had been pulpit rabbis and others are either teachers or administrators in Hebrew day schools. Twelve of these rabbis attended, and each was given the opportunity to "say words of Torah" at the various occasions, including Rabbi Haim Benoliel who delivered the Shabbat sermon, and Rabbi Michael Azose who gave a Shabbat afternoon class on Maimonides, his life and what it means to the family today.

The Reunion was organized by a committee of family members living in Seattle, with the participation of several out-of-towners. The family has had an award-winning Internet webpage for several years, under the management of Rabbi Abraham Maimon, Isaac Azose and Yoseph Maimon. This webpage was used to inform the out of town family members of the details of the Reunion. The Sunday night Gala featured a unique museum-like assembly of artifacts, pictures and writings by and about the family members. This included the enlarged pictures of the family from 1974 and 1979, the signet ring and circumcision tools of Rabbi Abraham Maimon, and a rich literature produced by and about the family. Albert S. Maimon and Dr. Judy Belsky organized this exhibit. Other highlights included the 100-year old donation book from the old Sephardic Bikur Holim synagogue in Tekirdag, and the book The Beauty of Sephardic Life by Sam Bension Maimon (MAIMON IDEaS Publications, Seattle, 1993).

A picture was taken at the Gala of all of the attendees, but because there were so many people, it had to be divided into two groups.

Dr. Eugene Normand
Associate Technical Fellow
Chief Scientist, Boeing Radiation Effects Laboratory
Boeing Phantom Works
P. O. Box 3999, MS 2T-50
Seattle, WA 98124-2499
Phone (206) 544-5626
FAX (206) 544-5438