Malka Lew

b. 1943

Malka Lew, a New Orleans-based painter, was born in Houston, Texas, in 1943. After her mother suffered a stroke, her family moved to New Orleans to be closer to her maternal grandparents. Her family belonged to Congregation Beth Israel, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Metairie, Louisiana. She graduated from Newcomb College with a political science degree. In 1964, she married Morris Lew, a businessman and owner of Express Ship Supply, and they have two sons. At the time of Hurricane Katrina, Malka was a student at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. She is also a member of the National Council of Jewish Women and Hadassah.

Scope and Content Note

Malka Lew describes her family background and childhood as one of seven siblings. Malka attended Newcomb College and belonged to Beth Israel growing up. Malka explains that she is part of the growing numbers of Orthodox Jews moving to the area drawn by Rabbi Rivkin and the Chabad community that began at Tulane University. Malka talks about her family life and transformation to a more observant household. A month before Hurricane Katrina, Malka underwent cancer surgery. After the storm, Malka and her husband left New Orleans and stayed near her grandchildren in an apartment complex in Houston. One year after the storm, Malka was still living in a trailer on the property of her condo. She discusses the difficulty of living in New Orleans and the medical and financial toll of the storm. She says God and faith have carried her through the uncertainties.


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How to cite this page

Oral History of Malka Lew. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 12 October 2006. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 12, 2024) <>.

Oral History of Malka Lew by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at