Stores of Memory_Liza Zapol

“Stores of Memory”:
An Oral History of Multigenerational Jewish Family Businesses in the Lower East Side

By Liza Zapol, 2010
Found in the Academic Commons
Listen to the audio documentary on

The Streit’s Matzo Factory has been in the New York’s Lower East Side since 1925. The entire matzo process, from flour to boxed cracker, takes less than 18 minutes, and the mixing and baking covers five floors and four tenement buildings on Rivington Street.

Listen to an interview with Aaron Gross, the fifth generation of the Matzo making family, or engage with my hour-long audio documentary while reading the annotated transcripts of interviews about the history of Jewish businesses in the Lower East Side. I conducted in depth oral histories with Streit’s Matzo, Economy Candy, and Harris Levy Linens. This project was created in affiliation with the exhibit “Shop Life” (2011) at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Liza ZapolLiza Zapol is a Documentary Producer and an Oral Historian. She creates sound, multimedia and performance on the themes of memory and place, using documentary methods. Liza has worked with the Whitney Museum of American Art to better understand and build relationships within the museum’s new neighborhood, and produced films about the Whitney Women, Vito Acconci, and others. She is currently working on an oral history of the Whitney Independent Study Program. Liza leads the oral history project for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and has been an interviewer for the  Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture since 2011. Liza has created live performance events and audio materials for the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, The Rubin Museum, The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Massachusetts General Hospital, and collaborated on theater performances with Elevator Repair Service Company.           

Liza has worked with Director Julie Kline to create dynamic oral history based theater in senior centers in New York. Other theater and dance collaborations include an artists residency with iLAND and LMCC, creating interview-based artistic installations with True Body Project NYC, and co-founding the Combustibles, a physical theater company.

Liza teaches Oral History Methods at the New School for Drama. She has lectured at the New School Memory Conference (“The Museum as Ventriloquist: Oral History in the 9/11 Memorial Museum”), the NYCMER Conference (“Story, Memory, Fantasy: How to Gather Visitors’ Narratives and What to do Once You’ve Got Them”), and Columbia University (“Stores of Memory”). She was a lecturer for the ART CART: Saving the Legacy project, training graduate students to conduct oral histories with older artists in New York. She earned a certificate in Physical Theatre from the London International School of Performing Arts, and a certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. B.A. with Honors from Northwestern University. M.A. in Oral History at Columbia University.

Liza has received grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Fractured Atlas, the Puffin Foundation, the Arvon Foundation, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts. Her work at the Whitney Museum was funded by the Altman Foundation.

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