Missode Israel Piha

b. 1907

Born in Tishmay near the Isle of Rhodes, Greece where she was raised, Missode Piha spent her childhood in a tight-knit Sephardic family of which her father was Hazzan [cantor]. In 1928, she met and married her husband, Sam, an American visiting his family in Rhodes, and leaving her family behind, moved to the United States with him. First settling in Atlanta, Georgia, they moved to Seattle in 1932 where they raised four children and Missode became a beloved volunteer and member of Seattle’s Sephardic community and Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. Missode Piha died on October 17, 2003.

Scope and Content Note

Missode discusses her family history, parents, siblings, and childhood growing up in a religious household in Tishmay, Greece.  She describes their Jewish customs, traditions, and holiday celebrations, including Shabbat, Sephardic food, Friday night meals, singing for special events, and her father’s role on Passover.  Missode tells the story of moving to Rhodes, meeting her husband Sam, who was vacationing there, getting married, and their honeymoon.  She talks about the reasons for leaving Rhodes and coming to the United States with Sam.  They first settled in Atlanta, Georgia, and started their family there.  In 1932, Missode and her family moved to Seattle.  She remembers the move and their new neighborhood and synagogue, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.  Missode recounts the challenges of raising four children, her volunteer work at the synagogue, and the Jewish customs and traditions she had with her family in Seattle.  Finally, Missode reflects on the loss of loved ones, travels with her friends, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Missode Israel Piha. Interviewed by Roz Borsntein. 28 June 2001, 6 September 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/piha-missode>.

Oral History of Missode Israel Piha 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 https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.