HomeJULY 2024Orange County’s Jewish History- A Real Live Spot

Orange County’s Jewish History- A Real Live Spot

Jennie and Max Schenfield in front of their storefront, Huntington Beach, 1934 (unknown newspaper).

Max Schenfield arrived in Orange County around 1915 by quite the circuitous route. Born in Iași (pronounced “Yash”), Romania in 1887, he emigrated to New York from Paris, France in 1902 (it’s not clear how he got from Romania to France) and received American citizenship in 1911. He then moved to Haifa, where he met and married Rebecca Jaffe. For some reason the two then move to Paris, where their first child, Sarah, is born. In 1914 Max comes back to the U.S. with his young family, arriving in Galveston, Texas before moving to San Franciso, Los Angeles, and, finally, Huntington Beach. Their sons Leon and Bob were both born in California but sadly, Rebecca passed away at the very young age of 36. Max remarried in 1926, to Jennie (née Kaplan), and their daughter Ellen was born in 1927. All this time Max was doing anything and everything he could for his growing family, working as a fruit peddler, a junk peddler, and a truck driver, until he saved up enough money to buy a storefront at 440 Main St. in Huntington Beach. He started out as an auto accessories dealer but when Prohibition ended in 1933 he went into the liquor business, where he became known for his huge Balboa Beer signage. The business was actually named the Huntington Beach Bottling Company, but everyone knew it as Balboa Beer, and it was a Huntington Beach staple for many years. In his spare time, Max played right guard for the local HB football team, which belonged to the Orange County All-Sunset Football League.

DALIA TAFT, DIRECTOR OF THE ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY, HIGHLIGHTS IMAGES FROM THE ARCHIVES EVERY MONTH. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT HTTPS://WWW.JCCOC.ORG/PAGES/OC-JEWISH-HISTORICAL-SOCIETY. YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT DALIA AT DALIAT@JCCOC.ORG OR AT (949) 435-3400, EXT. 360. THE ORANGE COUNTY JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS A PROGRAM OF THE MERAGE JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER AND IS FUNDED BY THE JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION ORANGE COUNTY.

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