Description: Photograph of Louis and Frayda Klivitsky outside their store, 1702 Seventh Street, NW. An advertisement “EAT MORNING STAR BREAD” is seen across the top of the display window, 1918
Background: The Klivitzkys left Russia for Baltimore in the first years of the 20th century. They moved to Washington, DC, and ran a grocery and kosher butcher shop on Seventh Street NW, for decades. The business was one of many that carried Morning Star bread.
The owners of Morning Star Bakery, like the Klivitzkys, were European immigrants who first lived in Baltimore and then relocated to Washington. After operating a few small bakeries in different parts of the city, they settled on 4-½ Street SW in one of DC’s Jewish neighborhoods. The Morgensteins’ bakery and retail shop took up the first floor of the building at 613 4-½ Street and the family lived upstairs.
The bakery’s name, Morning Star, held special meaning. When Harry’s oldest brother arrived in Baltimore from Austria, the Immigration official mistook the penultimate letter of the family name, Morgenstern, which means “morning star,” changing the family name to Morgenstein. All Morgenstern brothers who followed to the United States took on the new name.
In 1924, the Morgensteins expanded and renovated the bakery. Then, under rabbinical supervision, Morning Star began using an oven for Passover cakes and macaroons. The Jewish community previously had to import Passover foods from Baltimore and New York.
Much of the bread used by the Jewish Foster Home in Georgetown and the Hebrew Home for the Aged, then on Spring Road NW, was donated by Morning Star. During the Depression, the bakery contributed much of its sliced white bread to food lines and various institutions throughout the city.
By 1934 when the Morgensteins sold the bakery, the business included several trucks delivering bakery goods to many Jewish butcher shops, delicatessens, grocery stores and even private homes.
This year, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, in conjunction with the Jewish Food experience, is featuring DC’s rich Jewish food history in its Objects of the Month. For information on DC’s Jewish history – including programs, exhibitions and publications – visit jhsgw.org.
Other stories by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington