Abe Scrinopskie was one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Topeka. Born in Sake, Russia, in 1895, the son of Eli and Mollie, he arrived in Topeka in 1902, and eventually started the Hub Clothing Store at 5th and Kansas Avenue. After this, he opened the Cozy Loan Office at 7th and Kansas, a building which later housed his Topeka Diamond Shop.
He was a veteran of World War I, president of both the Topeka Lodge of B’nai B’rith, a member of Masonic Lodge, the Arab Shrine and Scottish Rite. He married Mollye Fogel, from St. Joseph, Mo., and the couple had three daughters: Elaine, Joy, and Saundra.
Abe served a total of five years as president of Temple Beth Sholom and during those years he suggested many family activities for the congregation: monthly dines on Friday evenings before services, a Seder for the members of the Jewish community prepared by the Sisterhood, a tradition which has continued until this day; and special dinners where the men in the congregation, who came to be known as the “singing waiters,” served in aprons and chefs’ hats.
He showed concern for the service personnel stationed at Forbes Air Force Base during World War II by inviting them to take part in the community celebration of Jewish holidays. He tried to expand the Temple’s reach into the Jewish community in Topeka by urging that the younger members of the group, particularly Sidney Kross, Roy Shapiro and Raymond Briman, serve with him and the older members of the Temple. He also encouraged any member who could not financially support the Temple to do so with their time instead and thus remain a member in good standing.
He had also been active during all of his years of association with Tempe Beth Sholom, in working towards the elimination of the mortgage, and in 1945 when this finally came about, he was chairman of the committee to celebrate the burning of the mortgage.
Abe passed away in December 1950 during his term of office, and his death was the occasion for many moving tributes. As his funeral procession went by, the doors of the Temple at 5th and Harrison were opened to honor his memory. One year after his death, a bronze Chanukah menorah was presented in his memory to the Temple by the Board of Trustees and was dedicated on the Sabbath, during Chanukah.