HomeDecember 2011Celebrating Orange County’s Jewish History

Celebrating Orange County’s Jewish History

Max Mendelson, aka “Don Marcos” is seen relaxing in his store in this photo taken in San Juan Capistrano in the late 1880s.  His teenage son, Marcus, is on the left and a local Chinese man is in the center.  Mendelson was a large presence in the small town, and according to the 1930 book, Capistrano Nights, a town resident “was walking past Mendelson’s hotel and store and was surprised to see Marcos pacing the corridor in evident distress of mind.”  When asked what was wrong, Mendelson replied, “Four sacks of wool that were in my yard were stolen last night – gone and not a trace of the thief!”  Mendelson, knowing nothing of local Catholic tradition, was unaware that his wool had been “borrowed” for the night and would be returned after morning Mass.  Much relieved, he calmed down, but the story became part of local folklore.


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