The Autobiography Of

Abraham

Zalman Cohen

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The Autobiography of Abraham Zalman Cohen
Forty-five Years on the Block

Abraham Zalman Cohen, born 1903, left Bogushevichi, Belarus, in 1923 to immigrate to the United States. He was a resident of Ossining, NY until his death in 1987. The sub-title refers to the author's retirement after forty-five years working on the butcher's block. The Autobiography was originally audio-taped by Mr. Cohen upon his retirement, circa 1970, and later transcribed to a typewritten, pre-Word script. This year the Autobiography has been copied to Word format, edited and also translated to Hebrew by his son, Zvi Peretz Cohen. The description of Bogushevici, Belarus and the Abridged Autobiography were authored separately on different occasions and are added to complete the autobiographical information.

© All rights reserved. 2006 Zvi Peretz Cohen P.O.B. 164 Hoshaya, Israel 17915 zpc@netvision.net.il

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The Autobiography of Abraham Zalman Cohen Description of Bogushevichi, Belarus, by Abraham Zalman Cohen Page 4 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 "Essen Teg" The Revolution, Part I The Revolution, Part II Ship Brothers, Part I Ship Brothers, Part II Peekskill Kosher Market War Activities Travelers' Aid Congregation Politics War Effort Tarrytown Ossining, Part I Ossining, Part IIa Ossining, Part IIb Ossining, Part III Ossining, Part IV Jerry Page 5 Page 14 Page 28 Page 39 Page 50 Page 59 Page 69 Page 80 Page 87 Page 96 Page 106 Page 117 Page 130 Page 140 Page 153 Page. 162 Page 169

An Abridged Autobiography, authored after 1983

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Bogushevichi, Belarus Bogushevici (Bogushevichi), in Russian, or Bushavitz, in Yiddish, was a small “mestichko” or “shtetl” in the “gebenya” of Minsk, White Russia. The distance from the village to the Berezina River was about 8 vyorst. It was about 20 viorst from the village of Bogushevici to the town of Berezin, which was on the Berezina River. Bogushevici was encircled by forests. About 3 vyorst from the town, deep in the woods, there was a plant to extract tar and "scipidar", turpentine from the tree roots, which the farmers from the surrounding villages used to dig out in the fall. The roots were afterwards used as coals by the blacksmiths, of which there were three in the village. There were about 40 Jewish families in the village and also about 75 Christians:- Russians and Poles. There was a Russian Orthodox Church and a Polish Catholic “costiol”. There was a market place in the center of the village, surrounded by a half a dozen stores owned by Jews. There were about 5 shoemakers, 2 tailors, 2 butchers, and one glazier. The Rabbi was Shlomo Welitowsky and the Shochet was Eliyahu Hirsh Kagan (father of Abraham Cohen). The community had a “shul”, a bathhouse, a “cheder”, a mill, a very old cemetery about 300 years old, and also a new cemetery. During World War I, the town was occupied by the Germans, Polish and Russian armies. Under the Communist regime the Jewish way of life changed greatly. During the Nazi invasion, the Jewish Community was wiped out.

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Chapter 1 – "Essen Teg" From olden times, Jewish parents tried to give their children as much education as possible. In most cases Jewish education also could have been achieved through charity "Tzdoko", it was the biggest thing in Jewish life. Every Jew was compelled to give charity according to his means. Those who were not able to study law themselves because they had to go make a living at an early age, lost out on a great opportunity. Because of this they could not study too much of the law. They tried to help as much as possible the students that were able to study at "Yeshivas". Each community had a "cheder" or "chadorim", one school for young pupils and one for teenagers. Youngsters used to travel from the villages and the farm section to towns and cities where there were "Yeshivas". Some of them were able to find lodgings to sleep in. Many slept in the synagogues on the floors and on the benches. As for food this is what is called "Essen Teg". The poorest Jew was glad to provide a day's food for a scholar, for a student of "yeshivas". Some were able and lucky to get food in a rich house and others were not so lucky and they will get a day's food in a poor man's house. The family hardly had enough to feed themselves. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a room to stay in but had to "eat days" sometimes in well-to-do houses and sometimes in poor houses. I remember one in which the owner had a bakery. They were baking white bread and black bread and "chalah". Both were busy and in the bakery day and night. They had somebody in the house attending to the students to give them the meal. Twice a day I used to come around for the meal that used to be put down on the table. A "bulkah", that is a white bread and tea and sugar. That was the meal. The "bulkah" is a white bread. The difference between the "bulkah" and the "chalah" is like day and night. "Bulkah" is plain whit bread. "Chalah" has a taste of holiday and Sabbath. To a boy that is hungry it is a pleasure to eat the "bulkah" and sweet tea. I had one day, a Sabbath, on which I used to eat in a doctor's house. In the doctor's house there was plenty of food, very nice surroundings and atmosphere of holiday, intelligent people. They made me feel like I was home. There was another house. I never saw the people. The man and wife were both in business. The maid served the meals and she put out a meal like nobody's business. She was putting out the best of everything. Another house was the house of an old scribe or "soyfer". A "soyfer" is the one who writes the "Torah", "tfillin" and 5

"mezuzas". They were usually poor men. This one was a poor man. He lived with his son-in-law who was a shoemaker. Both did not make a living. But that had nothing to do with offering a student a day's food. They felt obligated to do it. I used to come around on Fridays, and honestly, it was a crime to come around and eat a piece of bread because they did not have much themselves. I remember one Friday they put on the table some kind of soup. I was a small eater and they put a full plate of some unappetizing soup in front of me. I just looked at it and got sick. I told myself how am I going to muddle through a plate of soup this. I could not put the spoon to my mouth. I was thinking to myself how to get out of eating that soup. So I started to complain of a toothache. I thought to myself I would rather go hungry than eat that soup. I told them I had a headache and that I should go lay down. About my having a room where to sleep my father used to kid me. He was left a total orphan when he was about seven or eight years old and he went to live with his grandparents, and as soon as he got to be a little older his grandparents sent him away to a "yeshivah" and with no place where to stay he slept in the "schul" on the floor putting half of the coat on the floor to lay on, one sleeve for a pillow under the head and cover up with the other half. This is an act to muster. So me, having a room to stay in with a bed, I was rich. I would never forget an experience I had in one town called Lapitch. I was about fourteen or fifteen, studying in that "yeshivah", the time was during the First World War. My father was of military age, but through some assistance and recommendation he was able to get a deferment job, to work in a lumber yard. White Russia was full of woods and forests and they used wood for all kinds of power in factories and also trains ran on wood burning locomotives. Also lumber used to be floated down rivers Berezina and Dnieper to the Ukraine, so that wood was an essential commodity and the government gave deferments to people of military age to cut wood, but people had to have "protection". Father was accepted through some friends he knew. My father was accepted and the camp turned out to be near the same town, Lapitch, where I was studying in "yeshivah". One day I was having my midday meal in a home, and as it turned out the owner was the contractor of the lumber yard where my father worked. My father had to come see this man and here my father walks in the house and I am seated at the table having my meal. I don't know which one of us felt worse. I know I almost choked on my food. I had the most terrible feeling that my own father had to meet me at a strange table although actually "essen teg" was not considered charity. To my mind it was one of 6

the nicest traits in Jewish life that they felt obligation to provide food for a student to enable them to study the "Torah", and for a Jewish boy to know that they will not go hungry, that minimum livelihood will be provided for them, so they could give their full attention to their studies. The day began early in the morning with the morning prayers and several hours study then go over for a meal and study the rest of the day. After the evening services go for the evening meal and then learn again till nine or ten PM. I remember that I used to like to get up early about five in the morning and go over to the "yeshiva" and sit down and study. Your head is so clear and receptive at that hour that the hardest part of the "Talmud", complicated sections and questions, all fall in line in the morning hours. Your mind is very alert at that hour. The first year I went to a "yeshivah" I was about twelve and one half years old, in a town not far from our home town. I stayed in a house with an old couple who were distant relatives of my grandmother. Since it was my first experience away from home and it was not far from our town, my father did not wand me to start "eating days", so he arranged with the old couple that I should eat in their house and for that my father would bring them flour and meat and potatoes once a while. So my first year in the "yeshivah" I was a privileged character, I did not have to "eat days". The old man where I stayed was a potter and several of the neighbors on that street were potters and it was very fascinating to watch them work and many an evening or any spare minute I could spare during meal time I used to spend watching them making all kinds of jars and dishes and all kinds of pots from a blob of clay. I watched the preparation of the clay and kneading it with their feet and molding it into beautiful and useful dishes and pots. Saturday was the official day off from school, except for the morning and afternoon prayers, so after the noon meal, I used to go visiting another relative of my grandmother, Liebe the "Schochet". "Schochet" means slaughterer. This is one who slaughters animals and fowl according to ritual. He was a tall man who was very pious. He liked to sniff tobacco. By him to slaughter a calf or a chicken was a rite. He would start honing the "chalef", the special knife, which is supposed to be so sharp with no obstruction of any kind. He would wash his hands clean, put on his long coat, tied around his middle with a belt and thus he was ready to perform the holy rite of taking a life according to ritual. He had a houseful of children since a widowed daughter lived with him and those were her children. Some were my age so I used to 7

visit them on Saturday after the meal, but by Liebe the "Schochet" it was still in the middle of the meal, since it is a "mitzvah" to enjoy the meal and to prolong it and to sing "zmiros", that is the special poems for the holy Sabbath. So it was something to see the whole family around the table, Liebe at the head with a "yarmulke", his shirt open to be free to sing. Every couple of minutes he would fill his nose with snuff and all the children would follow him in song. The "tscholent", that is the main course, consisting of fat meat, potatoes and beans which were stewing all night in the oven and is put on the table nice and steaming smelling of all kinds of spices with pepper and garlic and that aroma is mixed with the smell of snuff tobacco with the sun shining on the steaming bowl, it gave me the feeling of a rite, something like the "kohanim" were performing in the Temple. It left a very profound impression on me. There was another house I used to visit also some distant relative. They had two sons, one was a year older than I was, and the father was a musician. He played the violin and he was teaching his son how to play the fiddle. I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have him for a father. He was usually sitting opposite the boy keeping time with his foot and as soon as he detected a wrong note SMACK he would give the boy a hit over the head. I felt very sorry for the boy and was glad that I didn't have him for a father. Watching these days what people put themselves out to do for their children for a "bar mitzvah" it brings to my mind my own "bar mitzvah". As I mentioned before I was sent to "yeshivah" when I was twelve and a half years old. My father came later and paid the "soyfer" three dollars to make me a set of "tfillin", those are the phylacteries with which a Jew prays the morning prayers. When my thirteenth birthday arrived I simply put on the "tfillin", which every Jewish boy is supposed to know how, from observing the elders, and also from instruction. I was called up to the "Torah" as a full fledged Jew. This was the extent of my "bar mitzvah" what with the war going on. The front at that time was at a town about two hundred and fifty miles away from us, which is called Baranovitch. But after a while the Russian front started to crumble, so many people started to run, and a steady stream of people filled the roads leading deeper in Russia. This was a sight I will never forget. The main road was not far from our town and it was filled with wagons and foot walkers. Every family and every individual with as much possessions as they could muster to carry on a wagon or pushcart or on their shoulders. Some had cows and some had pigs and chickens. The noises on the road of the animals and babies and the shouting and cursing of the elders 8

blended together and it all spelled misery. All along the road started to appear little wooden crosses where people died. They were buried along the side of the road and the family or friends traveled further. The news of the war to us and the sight of the refugees brought fright to our eyes and to our part of the country and many started to get ready to leave if it will be necessary. All studies stopped. Life became so abnormal people could not plan for tomorrow. Soon the Revolution broke out, the German army occupied our part of the country, then the Polish army took over, and then came the Bolsheviks. Then came the Balfour Declaration and with it the hope arose for the Jewish people to finally get a corner in the world where they shall have their own home, especially when it will be "Eretz Yisrael". In our town came a representative of the Zionists selling "Nachalos", that is settlements in Israel. Many Jews were buying, so my father bought a "nachalah". After the Russian army came in, contact was lost with the outside world and with Palestine, so I don't know whatever happened to the transaction. The records were lost, for all I know I own a piece of land in some part of Israel. Folks started a movement to go to "Eretz Yisrael". Some started to make preparations and some did go, too. From our town, including myself, five boys started to get documents ready to go to Israel. This was under the German occupation. Travel was free anywhere. The border was at that time the River Berezina and this was near to us. So we sent in our affidavits and requests for passports on a Thursday, hoping to get them by Monday. But over the weekend the Bolsheviks made an offensive and crossed the Berezina and the Germans retreated. The Communists occupied the country and every border was closed. There was no travel anywhere, and so it happened that my trip to Israel was stopped. Otherwise, I would have been in Israel all these years, almost as long as Ben Gurion. When the front from Baranovitch started to crumble and the flow of refugees started to stream north everyone started to think about the possibility of also having to run. In Bobruisk, a city about 70 vyorst south of us, some of the refugees who had the price discarded their horses and wagons and went by train. So the news reached us that in Bobruisk one can pick up a horse and wagon for very little money. Many people, who never owned or had anything to do with horses, went to Borbruisk to buy horses and wagons. My father too went to Bobruisk and came home with a good wagon and a large grey mare. But then came the trouble. Being a man who never handled horses, he did not 9

know how to harness the horse or to feed it. We knew we had to give her hay and oats, but to put her in harness was something else. Father had to pay, during the first weeks, many packages of "machorkah", that is the cheap strong root tobacco, to fellows to help him harness the mare. But after a while, he learned the art and so did I, and we were able to use the horse even though we did not have much use for a horse. We kept her in case of emergency. However, soon after, and due to the fact that we did not know much about horses, a smart horse trader talked father into trading the mare. He gave father a horse and five rubles and father gave him the mare. Needless to say, the horse that father received was worthless. As it turned out, our town did not have to move. The Revolution came for a time. The Polish army occupied our country. They were miserable. Shooting and looting and robbing, especially Jews. Every Jew was considered a Communist. Then the German army came and this is for the record: the German army behaved civilized. They did not mistreat people. As an occupying army, they could and did requisition houses, sometimes allowing the owner to live in part of it. Sometimes the owner had to move. In our house, which was quite large, five soldiers were stationed which took up half of the house and as it turned out they were very polite. I remember one explaining to father that in Germany everybody is equal. There is no difference between Jew and non-Jew. They were so respectful that knowing that the house and the dishes were "kosher", they did not want to cook in the oven and any cooking they did, they did outside. It is hard to conceive that a people, not the same individuals, but of the same culture, would turn out to be the monstrous Nazi killers. Before the Revolution, my father having enough time on his hands was trying to get in all kinds of businesses. He once got a contract to produce khaki uniforms for the army, that is a sub-contract. He got everything cut up, prepared and then it had to be sewn together. So tailors in our town and seamstresses and plain housewives were sewing uniforms. Another time he got a contract to make boots and the half dozen shoemakers in town who were Jewish were making army boots. That is where you could see the difference. Arye, the shoemaker, who was very good and an honest master shoemaker, turned out perfect boots. On the other hand, Avremel produced boots of the same material and the same specifications which did not look or amount to anything. Another time he got a contract to buy cows for the army. This was also a sub-contract. He was to get so much profit per head. So my father let it be known that he was 10

buying cattle and most of the Jews in Bushevitz went out in the country to the farms buying cows and bulls. The method was "neemonuss", which means trust. Every buyer received three rubles above what he paid and I can vouch that no one cheated on his "neemonuss". Then father got a contract to bake bread. That every housewife could do. Father provided the flour and then they had to turn in so much bread. There is intricate figuring in the process. If bread is baked well, it weighs less than bread which is not baked well. So some bakers took advantage of the army and the bread came out quite messy. Most of the town's people became bakers. The water mill which we had in town was working overtime to provide flour for father. When the bread was ready, it was delivered to our house. Then it was transported by wagons to the army base which was in the town of Berezin, 20 vyorst from us. As I mentioned before, my father traded his original horse for another which came from a neighboring village. One day, when a transport of bread, of about ten wagons, was going to deliver the bread to Berezin, my father decided to send his own horse and wagon, too, and for me and my sister, Tzipa, to go with it for the ride. A couple of the peasants who were hired with their horses for the trip, promised to watch over us. Both my sister and I were happy to go for the ride. The ride going was uneventful. It was a mild late summer day and we enjoyed the trip. The bread was delivered and weighed-in. The horses were fed and everyone had something to eat. We started home towards evening. The others put our wagon in the middle so we would not get lost. Soon it got dark. Tzipa and myself must have dozed off and our horse evidently passed a familiar turn which lead to his original village and to his owner's house. All of a sudden, we woke up and we were standing near a house and there was no sign of the transport. I got off the wagon and knocked at the farmer's door. I tried to explain what happened to us, but the farmer started cursing and yelling, "Get away from my house whoever you are." I got very scared. I was all of about 11 years old. I got back on the wagon and drove to the outskirts and not knowing which way to go, we parked there until daylight. When we started to see people going to work, we asked for directions to get back to Bushevitz. The people, seeing two lost children, gave us instructions and in about an hour we were home. At home there was great rejoicing. Already a posse was being formed to start a hunt for two lost children.

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The Revolution came and preparations were being made for national elections. This was during the Kerensky regime. Speakers from various parties started to come around to enlighten the people and to make propaganda for their parties. The biggest hall in Bushevitz was the second grade school building. Whenever a speaker came to town everyone assembled and he would start to praise his party's program and what it would do for the people. The he would ask, "Soglasno?" in a loud voice. Then as it was usually happened, a speaker from an opposing party would get up to answer him and after knocking the other program to smithereens, he would ask, "Soglasno?" and the crowd would yell, "SOGLASNO". That shows how enlightened the people were. When the terms "Bolshevik" and "Menshevik" were introduced in the small towns and villages, it was like a foreign language. Nobody knew anything about it. Then the bandits started to roam around the countryside. Some were demobilized soldiers; some were deserters. They were hiding in the woods or at friendly isolated farms. They robbed people on the roads and came into the towns, villages and farms at night. As always, the Jews were most of the victims. Since most of the Jews were merchants and always had some money around and because of the inborn hatred for the Jew, Jews were usually victimized. One Saturday night, a band of bandits came to our town very late in the evening. They got a couple of hostages and were looking for my father since he was known around the country as "resnik", which means cutter, since he was the "schochet". But as luck would have it my father was not home that Saturday night. I was coming home from a friend's house. They grabbed me not knowing who I was. They already had Paisie, the butcher, and a woman storekeeper. They were looking for Leibfried, a son of the richest man in town, and for my father. They asked for ransom money. The woman and Paisie, the butcher went with the guards to their houses and to those friends and collected what they could: money, fancy silver, dishes, and clothing. The bandits let them go. But as for me, there was no one to get ransom. When they were ready to leave, they tied my hands with wire. They put somebody's over coat over my shoulders. The head man was riding on a horse and they had a couple of wagons filled with loot. I made up my mind that if they took me with them, I would start running so that they would have to shoot me. I just did not feel like being strung up on a tree, which was their method. As soon as we crossed the bridge by the mill and started to leave town, the head man called to one of my two guards and when he came back he told me to take my coat off 12

and my boots. I said to him, "Untie my hands." He did. I threw off my coat and jacket. The guards sat me down and pulled off my boots and pants and then the commander yelled, "RUN." So I started running to town zigzag. I figured if he started shooting maybe he would miss me in the dark, but he did not shoot. They left. I ran towards town and the first house in which I saw light was the Rabbi's. It happened that the bandits tried to get into the Rabbi's house and his son got scared and tried to climb out through the back window and was shot in the arm. When I walked in, he was walking around with a wet towel bandaged around his arm, his mother was crying and water and blood were dripping from his arm. I walked in without pants or shoes or shirt. I must have looked funny. The "Rebbitzin" ran and got me the Rabbi's pants which were twice my size, since the Rabbi was a six-footer. She also hunted out a jacket. After helping bandage the son's arm, which was not a dangerous wound, I ran home to see what had happened at our house. As it turned out the children were out at an old neighbor's house and only the old housekeeper was left in the house, as she was sick in bed. When the bandits came looking for my father, she told them that she had typhoid fever, which was common in those days. They ran from the house and they did not know that I had been taken as a hostage. When I had walked in, in my outlandish dress, as scared and frightened as they were, all burst out laughing and we all thanked G-D that father was not home. Who knows what would have happened if they had gotten a hold of father.

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Chapter 2 – The Revolution The Revolution came. Every underworld character put on a red armband and became a Communist. Every former businessman, religious leader or executive became an outcast. The slogan was "Robbi da Yesh", which means work and you will eat. Anybody, except a shoemaker, blacksmith, carpenter or farmer was not considered a worker. Such people as storekeepers, office workers or teachers were not classified as workers. Private business was taboo. Any body caught selling a pack of matches or a pack of "machorka", that is the black root tobacco, was considered a "speculant", that is a speculator. He was subject to arrest and jail and perhaps to be shot. Any citizen can stop any wagon or individual, search and arrest or be bought out for graft. Business stopped, also transportation. There was not any merchandise around. So people turned for necessities to the Black Market. The price soared. Money they had no trust in. The Kerensky money or the Communist money, which were by then printed by thousand, ten, twenty and fifty thousand ruble denominations. I was only a young boy and already I served in three armies. The reason was because we owned a horse and wagon. This was an important commodity. Since all armies and soldiers and equipment had to move, so horses and wagons were commandeered by all armies whenever they moved. Since our part of the country kept changing hands from Russian to German to Polish and back to Russian Communist, every army grabbed horses and wagons for their trains. One was lucky when after a few days he was released. Some were taken away and returned years later. Our town, Bushavitz, or Bogushevici (Bogushevitz) as it was called in Russian, was situated not far from the Berezina River at points 8-10-20 miles. The Berezina River had its fame because that is where Napoleon's army was beaten. I remember my grandmother telling stories how the French army retreating while crossing the Berezina. Hungry, half frozen, drowned by the hundreds around there. When the Russian army retreating from the advancing Germans kept moving and crossing the Berezina at all points. Many detachments passed our town, Bushavitz. It so happened that the last rear guard company, which was supposed to cross the Berezina in the village of Yackshitz, where there was a very long and elaborate bridge across the Berezina, stopped to rest in our town. Our house which was quite substantial, with a large barn for a cow and horse was inviting to any army. A lieutenant with a few soldiers piled into the house. They had to be fed and bedded. Noticing that we had a 14

horse, the lieutenant immediately ordered my father to get the horse and wagon ready to get in the train. Conditions the way they were, so uncertain, I could not let my father go and let a house full of children alone. My mother was already dead. I insisted that I shall go. The lieutenant consented on the plea of my father and he promised to let me go as soon as they crossed over to Shelibah, which was a few vyorst on the other side of the bridge. This bridge was an engineering dream. Although it was all built of lumber it was a masterpiece. This bridge, this last detachment was supposed to blow up after they crossed it. This they did when we started out from town. Since I was the only one local and knew the road, they put me in front. So we started out and as the last train passed the bridge, they dynamited it and blew it up. We came to the town of Shelibah, which was about five vyorst on the other side of the Berezina. We could see fire from the bridge for quite a while. We parked on the street and in some yards of houses. We had to feed the horses. The soldiers made bonfires to cook meals and to delouse their clothing. This was standard Russian army procedure. They get their shirts, coats off and some their pants off, too. They put them over the fire fleetingly so they lice gets burned and drops off. Only one that lived under these conditions can appreciate what is meant to put on undergarments and clothing which are temporarily deloused. The lieutenant who commandeered me from our house and promised my father to let me go as soon as we get to Shelibah, kept his promise. He came over to me and said that I was free to go home, but how am I to get home, the bridge across the Berezina is blown up and besides who knows who is on the roads in so uncertain times. I decided to travel through side roads and along side farms hidden in the woods and far from the main road. I stopped in a few places to inquire how to cross the Berezina to get home. In one place I was told that in some hidden cove there was a man who owned a small raft and that he probably would be able to ferry me across. After quite a bit of searching I came upon this man. This is true, no stranger could ever find him so hidden was he from any observer. I started to beg him to take me across. Since I had no money he did not at first want to talk to me, but I must have stated my case very well. I told him of the house full of children with no mother and if I stay here the Bolsheviks will pick me up and take me into the army. There is one thing the people did no generally have much love for the Bolsheviks. After a while, he consented to ferry me across. He took the wagon, the harness and the feed that I had, since I had no money. Towards evening he took me and my horse across. It was a good thing, too, 15

since the raft was so small he could never have placed the wagon on the raft, too. I came riding home on horseback to everyone's surprise. They thought that the lieutenant would not keep his promise. The bridge was blown up, who knows when I would return, but there I was. During the German occupation, I was taken to work many times myself also with the horse and wagon. This was mostly for a day or two. Then they let me go. Any occupying army can confiscate anything or commandeer anyone to do whatever they want since they have the gun. The Polish army was the worst. They occupied our country for a while. They were bad. This is something to wonder. The Polish people were split up under three governments, the Russian, the Austrian and the German for many years. They should have known what it means to be under somebody's rule, but they behaved miserably. They treated people like slaves. One day we bought a new cow. A cow is the main supply for livelihood for milk, cheese and cream. Animals have the instinct to remember to find their way to their original home. Since the cow was by us just about one week, the first chance she got she ran away to her former owner. My father and I went over to the farmer and sure enough she was there. As the custom, we tied a rope on the horns and led her back to our house. It takes sometimes two people to lead a stubborn cow. On one of the porches sat two Polish officers. As we passed by busy directing the cow, we could not possibly take our hats off to greet these two officers. One started calling us back and cursing us, "Dirty Jew",we should turn around and come back, take off our hats and greet them. We had to comply. That is how mean the Polish army was. Anyway, I was fated to have another meeting with this officer. I was taken one day with my horse and wagon by an army detail. We were heading towards the river Berezina at a point ten vyorst from our town. The road was very sandy toward the shore of the river. This detail was a cavalry company. The train was not large, about twenty wagons, carrying food and ammunition. We stopped to rest in a little knoll, a few dwarf trees covered with sand was all the protection. Further down the river was the sandy shore where the soldiers dug in and were shooting across the river. The men from the train had to move ammunition and take charge of the horses. Machine guns and artillery shots were booming all around. The company was changing over every while. One group would come up and rest and another group would go down toward the river, and every time there were more horses without riders. 16

I witnessed a stirring scene. My old friend, the officer who made me and my father turn around and greet him with hats off, and a major started to bring a fresh group to the shore. I was standing on the road near my wagon, as the major tells this captain to take the command over. This officer tells him, "Please, Sir, Let me go. You have a wife and children." The major consented. The young captain led the group down. It took very little time before this captain was carried back to the wagons. He was shot up very bad. There were many holes in his coat and he was full of blood. They put him in my wagon to take him over to the first aid station which was about a half an hour drive. In the rear, one soldier came along with me and the poor officer kept crying, "Wodi, wodi." that is water. We did not have any. What with the wagon hitting old roots on the road kept throwing him from side to side. It was a pity. Somehow we got to the first aid station and the doctors took over. I heard later that they amputated one of his legs. I never saw him again. I went back to the front position and they loaded my wagon with boxes of ammunition. The command came to move up closer to the front. As luck would have it, I happened to be up front, the first wagon. We started out. We did not go a half a vyorst and we see soldiers coming towards us from all sides. They are yelling, "Zavrutch, zavrutch", which means turn back. Now I am only a civilian and my orders were to go forward. So I don't turn. One soldier grabs a hold of my horse and turns him around and as I am the first in line, it turned the whole train. All of a sudden, the lieutenant who gave me the order to go forward came galloping on his horse and started yelling and cursing how come I turned when his order was to go forward. He is seated astride his horse, his gun on his side, the saber on the other side towering over me, a small boy, standing by his horse. I told him that the soldiers turned me around when they were running back. He kept cursing me with the choicest Polish curses. He grabs out his saber and a thought flashed through my mind. In a minute my head will be at the side of the road. As he swung the saber, he turned it and hit me with the flat side. It circled around my shoulders. I carried a blue decoration around my shoulders for a couple of weeks but I also still carried my head on my shoulders. I suppose I could not blame him much in the heat of the war. I was taken yet many more times for various services. They were a mean lot, the Polish army. During that time, various bands of bandits roamed the countryside. They robbed and killed people on any pretext. Law and order were at their lowest. They came to our house and cleaned us out of everything they saw: money, clothing and anything else 17

they fancied. The Bolsheviks made an offensive across the Berezina and drove the Polish army back. They established the Communist system of government. Now I was serving the Bolshevik army. Again, I was commandeered time and again on short trips with my horse and wagon. This was not too bad, only one or two days drive. Once they assigned me to a big wagon train going to Minsk, which is 100 vyorst from us, and this would take weeks. Since they traveled very slowly, they usually stop in any village on the road to forage for food. I also heard of cases where they take drivers with horses and just keep them for months or a year or more. I was not looking to get lost in an army wagon train. This time there were a few more Russian "muzhiks" from our village taken into this wagon train. Every evening they handed out a portion of feed for the horses and also food for the driver for the next day. Now there is no more valuable a possession by a "muzhik" than a horse. This beast provides for his livelihood. He till the soil, brings in wood, brings in the harvest. A "muzhik" without a horse is lost. To him a horse is more valuable than a wife. For a horse he has to pay money. A "baba", a wife, he can pick up any time for nothing. They take very good care of their horses. I knew what I had to do. I spoke to one of the drivers whom I knew well. I offered him the oats which was given me for my portion for my horse. I made some kind of deal with him he should not get on what I was doing and so my poor horse went hungry that night. The next night I made a similar deal with another "muzhik". So by the second day my poor horse was really starving. My aim was that if my horse is not able to keep up with the train they will throw me out, since for one break of any kind in the train, the whole train stops. After a while my horse started to fall back. He started to stop every few minutes. The soldiers kept urging him and hitting him to keep up for a while, but later he just gave up. The curses and reproach on my head and my poor horse. This I leave to your imagination. They pulled me out of the train and dispatched two soldiers to the nearest village to get a replacement. After a few hours they returned with a horse and wagon. They unloaded the cases of ammunition from my wagon and on parting with me gave the choicest Russian curses. They left me there. By now it was toward evening. I unharnessed the poor horse and let him feed in a field of beautiful buckwheat along side of the road. I slept on the wagon. It was a beautiful night. The stars were out and it was nice and warm. I was just thinking how I got away with it. Knowing full well what a chance I took if I was found out. I just could not see to let them drag me away to any unknown place for who knows how long. In the morning I 18

harnessed the horse and started toward home, but the horse was so starved out that even to pull the empty wagon was too much for him. In the next town, I left the wagon there. I came riding home bareback. It was during the Polish occupation in 1918 that the Spanish influenza swept the country. There was no family or house that was spared. They took over our house and made us move across the street in one room by a neighbor. That was when my mother took sick and in only eight days she died. We were then left a houseful of children without a mother. Although the army moved out soon after and we got our house back, our mother was gone and my sister, Tzipa, she was only two years younger than me, became the housekeeper. She was at that time 14 years old. It came so sudden and so cruel a blow. Our youngest brother Moishe was just one year old. I shall never forget the last night. I was by mother's bed watching her. By then what a change in her. Her skin turned yellow and she was feverish. All that could be medically done for her, under the circumstances, was done. Father brought a big doctor from Ihuman and he did not give much hope. I evidently dozed off for a while. I heard her calling me, "Avrom Zalman, Avrom Zalman." I tried to give her a drink and change the compress on her head. Soon her eyes closed and for a while she gave out strange noises and she passed out. It was in the month of March. The funeral was the next day. It was snowing. According to custom, the casket is being carried all the way by volunteers to the cemetery which was about a half a mile out of town. It was symbolic that they put the older orphans in front of the procession. As we started out, my sister, Tzipa, my brother, Shaye Itzchok and myself. The snow coming down and you cannot see anything in front of you. Only grey, uncertain and empty. I thought just as the future of orphans in grey, empty and uncertain. The only consolation was that we were not the only ones. There was hardly a house that was not touched. As I mentioned before, Tzipa assumed the role of housekeeper, but later my father found an elderly woman whom he hired for the house. We started to get used to life without a mother. During all of the disturbances of changing government and robberies, we dug a big hole in our barn. Insulated it with straw and buried most of our valuable clothing and dishes, covered it and masked it so good that with all the searches it was never found. Next to our house lived an old couple. Moishe the goat, he used to be called and his wife, Tzipa. Their house was very old and dilapidated. The roof was caving in. To walk in one had to stoop so low was the ceiling. No one would ever dream that there 19

would be anything of value in a house like that. So after a while we dug out our belongings from the hole in the barn and stored them in Moishe the goat's house. He was called "tzig", which means goat, because on "Simchas Torah", the holiday of rejoicing with the Torah, he used to get a little tipsy and go out in the street and call out, "Tzoin kodoshim", holy flock, "Baa, Meh". So we loaded up much of our belongings in his palace. Evidently somebody must have squealed because of what happened one day when a new army came to town. This is the rule. It seems that when a new army comes to town they get the freedom to appropriate or liberate whatever they want. We noticed that soldiers are carrying items which looked like ours and sure enough they were our belongings. Somehow they discovered the treasure and cleaned everything out. I went outside through the back of the house and I saw a soldier struggling with a bundle of clothing and a samovar. I said to him, "This is too heavy for you." He dropped the samovar and left it. I hid it in the grass. The same was with the Singer portable sewing machine. I saw a soldier dragging it with a bundle of coats. So I talked him out of it and saved that, too. But the rest they cleaned out like the locust. We settled down to live under the Communist Regime. All business transactions stopped. Merchandise or any commodity was not to be gotten. People paid black market prices for anything they had to buy. Since there was no commerce, there was no work. In order to survive, many people turned to black market operations. Actually, it was by necessity. Since one had to live and what could a businessman or religious man or even office people do when their livelihoods were no more. It was against government regulations. They had to make a living somehow. The demand for black market merchandise was all around: merchandise of any kind. In the country it was not so bad since a farmer can get by without the outside world for a long time because he can make his own clothes from linen or wool. He has his food and produce, milk and some meat. They usually kill some pigs before Christmas and they salt away some meat and smoke some and it lasts for the whole year. Then he can always have a calf or sheep slaughtered during the year. For light he burns kindling of roots which burn like candles. He hardly needs for all kinds of cooking for breads, soups, potatoes and especially for meat to cook and cure, but there was no salt. On one rich estate near us where the owner, fearing arrest by the Communists, ran away, the help discovered a storehouse filled with something that looked and tasted like salt. It was some kind of fertilizer. It tasted salty, only it left a bitter after20

taste, but it was not harmful. We bought it from the help, transported it by night and we were in business. People from all around the countryside came around to buy salt. They brought rye, oats, barley, chicken eggs and some also had money. It was a godsend but this was the life then. We took the risk of being arrested, sent away to Siberia or being shot as counter-revolutionaries. Then there was the feeling that we are actually helping people – which we did. Later, we heard that in a town not far from the Polish border there was plenty of salt to be gotten. The distance was about 150 vyorst from us. I hired a "muzhiks" and his horse. It was winter time and to ride in a sleigh without any freight one can travel very fast. I also harnessed my horse and we had a team of horses. We started out. Actually I had some freight. It was dry fox, squirrel and skunk skins which were being transported toward Poland and Germany. They brought a good price near the border. Since the skins don't take away much space and the weight was very light. We packed them in bags with hay which were hard to detect in case we were stopped. Luckily we were not stopped. We traveled at night. We arrived at that town. I made contact and sold my skins. Salt was easy to get. I got a 200 pound bag for the money I had, but then I got an idea. I sold my horse and was able to get another 200 pound bag of salt. Sure I took a big chance. If I were caught I would have nothing left. But then if I was caught with one bag of salt it would be the same. We lived by daring fate. As it turned out we were fortunate. We traveled by night and my "muzhiks" knew side roads which were not traveled by everybody. We arrived safe. Although it sounds unbelievable that I gave my horse away for a bag of salt, for the money I took in from that bag of salt I could have bought half a dozen horses. One had to get paid for the risks he took. We combined with two local young men. One was Koppel and the other one was Chayim Elia. They were older than I was. Actually the partnership was with my father since I was a youngster, my father having the connections and experience. I was doing the traveling with these two men. We were buying up wheat, flour, meat, butter, live cows, chickens, geese, and any commodity was useful and in demand. We transported it to Borisov, Minsk and Bobruisk. These cities were approximately 60, 70 and 100 vyorst from us. The sys tem was we traveled by night and rested during the day in some inn where horses and wagons were driven into a barn so no one could see them and start questioning. Also we had to stay out of sight ourselves in order not to draw any undue attention. The term for black marketers was "speculant". Any soldier or any 21

plain citizen could stop anyone and search him and make an arrest. With luck when we got through a transport of merchandise much profit was made. Inflation was rampant. The "Bolshevik" money came in denominations of one thousand, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 thousand rubles. "Chabar", graft, was all over. Since anyone had a right to stop anyone and search them, we were stopped many times, searched and threatened with arrest, but we managed to buy ourselves out since this is what they were looking for in the first place. I remember one night Chayim Elia and I were carrying merchandise which we picked up from a factory about 20 vyorst from us. It was in the fall of the year and we had to pass through a village with one very long street. It was very muddy. We thought nothing of it. Who would be up at that hour of the night, but, as luck would have it, in the middle of the village we saw a light in one house and people walking around. It developed that a group of soldiers were traveling and they stopped by the mayor of the village to change over to new horses and wagons. As soon as we came up to that house they made us stop and started to question who we are, where are we traveling and as soon as they saw what we had in the wagon, that was it. The factory where we came from manufactured wooden lasts for building shoes, also, little wooding pegs which the shoemakers used to fasten the soles to the shoes. We got this in a deal with the commissar who managed the factory. For a price he would leave the store house open with no guard and we come and load ourselves. Should we get caught there, he does not even know us. We would be plain burglars. As soon as the soldiers and their lieutenant, a pockmarked "kalmik" saw what we had in the wagon, they immediately knew where it came from and that was enough. We are crooks, "speculants", enemies of the government and we should be shot or hanged or both. They turned our team in the yard, put a guard on it and put a guard on us, too. Even to the outhouse we could not go without a guard. We started to talk to the lieutenant but he would not let us talk to him. Well, for once it looked very bad. We made it our business to try and approach him several times with various pretexts. Somehow we wore him down and he started to listen. All this had to be done in a few hours before day break. We arranged with him that he will send his group on their way, the way they were scheduled. He will go with us on our wagon supposedly to bring us over personally to the commanding officer in the "Volosts". For that, we are to give him 1000 Tzarist Rubles. Now Tzarist money was then priced very high. Since nobody trusted the Boshevik money because they practically had no value. As soon as we concluded the deal, he gave the orders to his sergeant. The lieutenant got 22

on our wagon and we were off. It was just starting to get light when we came to our house. I drove the horses in the barn and asked my father for the 1000 Tzarist Rubles, since this much we did not have on us. As soon as he got the money, we took him over to the mayor's house where he commandeered a horse and wagon in order to catch up to his group. This was a close call. He was a tough customer. Most of the time the transaction went over fast. They knew what they wanted and in many cases they were afraid themselves since this was risky business for them, too. Our wagons and sleighs were fitted out with double masked bottoms to be able to carry light products such as leather, saccharin or animal skins. One day it was winter we had a big transport of merchandise going to Borisov. We had a wagon of meat, butter and cleaned, dressed geese. We had three "muzhiks: spaced about two hours apart, leading live cows. I had an uncle in Borisov, where I stopped every time we came to Borisov, also this time. After we arrived in the city and made contact with merchants to sell all that we had. It took most of the day and evening. We were lucky this time we were not stopped once. Chayim Elia was very happy we sold everything at very good prices and we had a good size bag filled with money. By the time we came to uncle's house it was quite late. Now there were soldiers stationed all over the city, also in my uncle's house. There were two soldiers sleeping in a room. When we came in, my Aunt Mere started to make a meal for us. She knew that I liked oil with herring and since oil was a delicacy and hard to get that was a treat. She brought out a bottle of oil and it looked so beautiful against the light. I opened the bottle and took a sip from the bottle. At that time there was official prohibition on hard drinks in the country, although everywhere there was home brew. Everyone had it and most everyone made it. The soldiers sleeping in the other room saw me drinking from a bottle ant thought it was home brew. One got dressed and walked out. We did not think anything of it. We had our meal and were getting ready to go to bed. Somebody is knocking on the door. We open up and there are three soldiers with guns ready. They walked in and started to search in all the rooms. What they were looking for was vodka. They saw us drinking from a bottle. No matter how much we tried to convince them that it was oil that I drank, we could not convince them. We showed them the bottle of oil but nothing doing. They turned the house upside down, but they did not find anything for which they could charge us with. What happened was we had that bag of money. My Aunt Mere as soon as she saw the soldiers she put the bag under her dress. She saved all of us and also all that money. 23

Her presence of mind saved the day. The soldiers in order to save face arrested Chayim Elia and me for questioning. Since we were strangers, they took us in and locked us up in a jail together with some crooks and prostitutes. Later we found out that they also took in our horses and sleigh. In the morning they interrogated us. What we were doing in the city and who we are and a thousand questions. Being that they found nothing on us and we maintained that they had no right to arrest us and that they had better let us go. The only thing that worried us was that they should not find the secret compartment in the floor of the sleigh, and then we would be lost. Luckily, they did not think to search the sleigh. They did not find it. They kept us three days and when they saw that they could not pin anything on us, they announced that they would let us go but will make a deal with us. They will trade horses with us. The story they gave us was that being they have to move to another city by train and they have a couple of horses who are afraid to get on the train, they will take ours, since they looked tame and would give us their horses which turned out to by two mangy half starved animals. We refused. We told the captain that if he takes our horses we will make an official complaint to the general. He tried all ways to scare us but we held out. They did not take away our horses. They returned all our belongings a let us go with the money we had. We brought home saccharin and made a fortune. This was the life in those uncertain times. Many farmers ran short of food and seed. When a farmer has no seed to plant he is lost. He will have to starve for the next year. Somewhere we laid our hands on a load of potatoes. Now potatoes are one of the main staples in our part of the country. It was spring and some farmers got to know that we had potatoes. They started to flock to our town and to our house. Wagons by the dozen used to come around to buy potatoes for seed. It got so that we had to ration them the amounts. It reminded me of Joseph in Egypt with his doling out the feed. They brought wool and linen and sheepskin coats and chickens and geese, whatever they could spare. Actually we did them the biggest favor since otherwise famine was staring them in the face. Famine I saw in Siberia. I got together with a friend and we made plans. We should travel to Tashkent which is very far on the border of China. Over there, we heard things could be gotten very cheap. We got dressed in army uniforms. We took with us soldiers' knapsacks filled with bread, underwear and a few kilos saccharin each, since this was bringing high prices deeper in Russia and in Siberia. The travel on the Trans24

Siberian train was a story in itself. There was no schedule. With a ticket or without a ticket it was almost impossible to get on any train. The cars were mostly cattle cars filled with demobilized soldiers. They just refused to let anyone on. Most of them traveled for weeks on the train. They were the authority. We, being dressed as soldiers, somehow got on. Now this was in the midst of winter and it was very cold. They got a metal plate and put it on the floor an a little wood burning stove. They chopped a hole in the roof to let the smoke escape and we had a heated car. Wood was gathered at any station, from whatever was available: porches, fences, furniture, anything at all. In the car those that were sitting near the center got a little warmth and the others froze. In all fairness, at times they allowed to change places for a while. After about ten days traveling, we crossed the Volga and entered Siberia. At the first big city, Samara, we decided to get off and to try our luck. We got off the train and got into an "isvostchick", that is a horse taxi on a sleigh. We asked him to take us to a hotel. He brought us to a modest little hotel, where we rested overnight. The year was 1921. There was a famine in Russia. Transportation as I mentioned was almost broken down. Industry was nil. The government was helpless to supply food for the population. The sight which greeted us in Samara is something which I shall never forget. The weather is freezing and people are walking around in big sheepskin coats and big sheepskin "kutchmas", that is hats. On their feet, felt boots. Dressed like that and being that they are tall, they looked like giants, but so many of hungry, their faces drawn. Their eyes are deep in their sockets. They hover around restaurants and watch through the windows. Some bolder ones walk in the restaurant and when one finishes a meal they grab the plate and lick it up. It was uncanny. One could not enjoy a meal there. In the street, beggars are all over in the bazaar. In the market place one could buy anything. For a loaf of bread, fancy coats, jewelry, and fancy dishes and for a "pud", which is 40 pounds of bread or flour, one could get a horse and wagon, a camel or anything. It is hard to describe. All around children crying "chlebtzo", bread. At night when it is still the voice "chlebtzo" echoes in the dark from a little child huddled in the corner or a grown man or woman who is not able to move and in the morning you find them frozen stiff like statues on the sidewalk or in the corner wrapped in the few rags that they had. They have a system over there, tea houses, where one can walk in and buy a pot of boiling water. The pot can be of five glasses, ten or more. Then if you have tea and 25

saccharin, you brew tea and even have a meal if you have bread. If not, at least you warm up. It was something to see. Those big individuals dressed in those heavy sheepskin coats and "kutchmas" and felt boots, sitting down in these tea houses, cold and frozen, drinking 5, 10 or more glasses and after a while they started to get warmed up and start to perspire and steam and they sit like in a cloud. We stayed about a week. We sold our saccharin and started to look around for merchandise to bring home. It should be profitable and it should not be too bulky. We settled on soft leather for shoe tops. We saw that it was plentiful in the market place and at a very cheap price according to what it brought in our part of the country. It did not require much space. We could pack plenty in our knapsacks. The only drawback was that it smelled strong like fresh leather does and this could give us away. We wrapped it around with our underwear and sprinkled some "machorka" tobacco to kill the smell a little. The next thing was to try to get out from the city. It was something to see around the station. As I mentioned before everyone was trying to sell their belongings and move. They all wanted to leave Siberia and travel toward the Ukraine where food was plentiful. It was the transportation breakdown which was causing all this trouble. The government could not move food or people form one part of the country to another. People were spread out for blocks around the station with their belongings and their children. Old and sick people lay literally on the floor and sidewalks. The system was that one first had to get a number in order to get a train ticket. For that one had to stay in line for weeks in hope of getting a number and a ticket. The cold, starvation and sickness took their toll. People were dying all around. The station attendants were carrying out corpses continuously. It was a steady parade that people got so used to it and so indifferent that nobody cared. Now our purpose was to get out from the city. We started to look around and we came across two fellows who had two tickets to get out two stops out of Samara. They asked a lot for them but it was worth it for us just to get on a train. We knew that on the train somehow we will be safe. Since the traveling soldiers did not even let conductors or inspectors in their cars. Somehow we managed to get on one car. On a couple of other cars we were chased away. They said this is only for demobilized soldiers fan when we tried to tell them that we too are going home from the front, they did not believe us. We were too young. On one car we managed to get on and now we were on our way. It was the same kind of ride, a cattle car with fire burning in the center and every station we had to forage for wood. For this we searched everywhere in streets, backyards or on trains 26

which were not in use. Often we found frozen bodies, either in train cars or in back streets. But on the train, with the crowd pushing and shoving, somebody managed to pick my pocket. They got away with my pocketbook, my money an also the passport. If I would have been stopped and inspected I would have been left in Siberia what with no passport and no ticket. Luckily almost all the way home I managed to avoid inspection with the help of my partner and a few of the soldiers with whom we got friendly. There was no use not to board the train. I had to chance it. I did have a few close calls of inspection where the conductors were stubborn and insisted on inspection. My friends were watching for me and when the inspector would get in one door they would slip me out through the other door. I would crawl under the car until the inspection was over and then my friends would bring me up into our car. It was very risky but somehow we kept traveling nearer to home. When I came to Smolensk, which is about 200 Vyorst from home. I got off and went into the police and reported the loss of my passport. I was told put an ad in the newspaper for a week and then they would issue me a temporary document. It was a good thing because coming into Borisov, where we got off the train, there were inspectors checking everyone and without a document I would have been lost. Anyway, when I got home as far as profit we made a tremendous amount of money. From the road with all the dirt and unsanitary conditions and lice, I got sick with typhoid fever and was laid up for almost a month. When I got better I lost my hair and I noticed that when I spoke, people turned away. They could not look me straight in the eye. So I understood that I was not communicating right. I stopped talking. Just bare necessities did I answer. After a while my hair started to grow back and I got my mind and thoughts straightened out. I started feeling normal again. My father was in friendly terms with the army commander, the mayor, the postmaster and the lone policeman that we had in our town. They came in very handy. Of course, this cost plenty "chabar", graft, but it was worth it when my time came to be called to the army. For a good bottle of vodka to drink up and another to take home to army commander in the "Volosts", that is the county seat, gave me a document that I was one year younger. So I was not called. I did the same for my friend Hillel Zacharin and he, too, was not called up. I also proposed to do the same for four more of our friends of the same age, but they refused, too patriotic they were.

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Chapter 3 – The Revolution Part II I could not see going into the army to serve the Communists. There were four that refused to change their documents. One was Reuven who crossed the border with me later to go to America. Another was Chayim Hirsh, who was scheduled later to become a general in the Red Army. The other two I do not know what became of them. In order to exist, one had to resort to all kinds of deals. Some perhaps were not very ethical in normal times and standards, but these were uncertain times. You dealt with a government that existed on legalized robbery and confiscation. They confiscated homes, businesses, synagogues, anything that they laid their eyes on, giving no thought or consideration to people's condition or circumstances. The work and savings of a lifetime was gone. To teach a child Hebrew was against the law. To circumcise a child was prohibited and punished by jail terms or exile to Siberia. My father was a "mohel". That is he was an expert in performing circumcisions. My sister married after I left for America. She married a big commissar, Aharon Levine, a party man. He held a big executive job in "Less-Bel", that is the lumber industry. He was getting a very good salary. They lived very well with a housemaid, mind you, in Communist Russia. Later, when they had a little boy and from photographs they sent me, they and the child were dressed as well as we were in America. Now when this little boy was born, my father offered to perform the circumcision, but my brother-inlaw would not allow him to do it. When he went away some place in line with his job, my father circumcised the boy. When he came home, he was very angry. He wanted to report my father to the authorities. Only my sister's crying and begging finally made him change his mind. Only he forbade my father to come into his house when he was home. My father came home one day from Borisov and told me that he met two men who had a small tannery. For 100 American dollars they would teach me the process. It sounded good since calf skins and cow hides were plentiful in our part of the country. Finished leather brought a high price. It sounded like a good deal. I took US$ 100 and went to Borisov and made the deal with the men. They will show me a complete run of a batch of skins form the beginning to the end. I am to write out the complete process, such as timing and chemicals used and formulae. The whole process took eight days, in contrast to a couple of Turks who lived in our town. They used to tan skins with bark of trees which took them about thirteen or fourteen weeks. I stayed 28

with those men for eight days and learned all the mechanics of the process. I paid them US $ 100 and bought some chemicals to take with me and I came home a tanner. We hired a house at the end of town, not far from the lake, because for the process we needed lots of water. It was funny, the man who rented the house to us and his brother-in-law had gone to America for a few years. They made a little money and came back to their families and their farm land. Every once and a while they would throw in a few English words to show their knowledge but they were hard workers. We got plenty of skins and it started out to be very promising. It was actually half legal because we accepted skins from farmers to tan it for them. It was easy to mark most of the skins with some fictitious names and claim that we were merely workers instead of "speculants". The product came out quite nice, if I may say so. I turned out to be an expert. The leather came out beautifully colored and pliable and soft. This was a very promising business. My father was always getting new ideas and projects. We always got together with people and picked up all kinds of news and ideas. One day he came home with a new project about an oil pressing undertaking. It seemed that he knew where to get an oil pressing establishment. In our neighboring communities linseed was plentiful. It sounded like another good idea. The farmers grew linseed for the linen to make clothing. A water mill we had in town, since the seed first has to be crushed into flour. We hired a house next to the mill and father got the press and we installed everything. I remember we had to get sturdy oak poles, 18 in. x18 in., to hold up the press which by the way was powered by manpower. A half a dozen men were needed to lean on the bar to press the seeds. I don't know how this would be counted in horsepower, but this is the way we did it. We waited until four or five farmers brought in their seed. Then we started to work. First, the seed has to go to the mill to be crushed to a pulp. You could not call it flour because the oil in it kept it moist. Then it had to go in a container over a fire to be toasted, constantly being mixed and turned around not to burn. Then it was put in a linen kerchief and put in to the press between metal perforated plates for the oil to run through. Six people leaned on the bar. I shall always remember the beautiful aroma of the first oil starting to ooze out. I was always partial to oil, perhaps because I am a "Cohen". Nothing tasted better than to dunk black homemade bread in the hot oil salted with coarse salt, each one to his own taste. This project, too, started very

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promisingly. This was almost legal. We were merely performing a service to the farmers. Naturally, we had oil for ourselves and there was a very good profit in it. The reason we waited for four or five farmers to start work was plain. We had to have manpower, so each one helped the other. I divided my time between my tannery and the oil press. In the tannery I had the two men working so I was able to get away after giving them the instructions what to do while I left to go to the oil press. It was to the press that my sister, Tzipa, came running one afternoon saying that some Commissar is looking for me. I knew at once what it was. I half expected it. Since about a week before, this on a dark Saturday night, one of the four fellows, my friends to whom I suggested to fix their documents, came into our house and called me out. The other three were waiting and they broke the news to me. They are called into the army. They will have to leave their homes and go to serve and perhaps go to war. Since I am not being called because I fixed my documents, I should pay them some money so they could leave it to their families. These were all boys with whom I grew up. I told them, "Fellows, I offered to do the same for you. There is nothing so important or deserving that any one of us should go to serve in the Communist army. But you refused and now you want me to pay you money? For what?" Well they started saying that they did not want to cheat the government. Now they will leave their homes and don't know if they will ever return. Here I am working and making money so I better pay them or they well report me. I told them, "Go and do whatever you want. I have a legal document. I shall not pay any blackmail." Now it was a dark night and they were four against one. They could have harmed me, but we were friends. I did not think that they will try to harm me, but they said I will be sorry. I expected that I shall hear about this. Now when my sister came with the news, I went over to a friend's house and did not go home. The inspector was from the "Volosts" regarding my army standing. Although I had a document, if any investigation would take place, the Commissar, our friend and I would get in trouble. The best thing for me to do was to run away from home for a while. I left home for a few weeks. Our friend, the Commissar, fixed things up in the "Volosts". My three friends went into the army. One turned out to be one year younger than he was supposed to be for the army. He stayed home. After a few weeks I returned home. After a few months, toward spring, I got notice to report to the "Volosts" for army training something like the home guard. This I could not avoid. My friend, Hilie, and I started to go a couple times a week. There were so 30

many boys from our town. We went and got some instruction how to march, sing, and carry out orders. They did not give us guns yet. Then one day we got a letter from my Uncle Jacob Bobrov in America. He had affidavits for me and my sister, Tzipa, to come to America. This was a gift from heaven. Here I had an out to get away from the accursed Communist Russia and not have to go into the army for two years. My sister, Tzipa, refused to go. She would not leave the rest of the children alone without a mother, but all of us agreed that I must go. This had to be kept a secret, since I was of military age and already in training. I could not think of getting a passport. I had to steal across the border and this had to be done very fast. In the tannery I had to get out thirty-five calf skins. In order to get them out I had to work my last night home. I worked all night. My father made arrangements with a friend of ours to take over the tannery. I started out on my first leg to America. It so happened that the parents and two sisters of my friend, Reuven, were getting ready to travel to America. They had a son and a daughter who sent them affidavits to come to America. The parents and sisters could get passports and travel legally, but Reuven was also of military age and could not get a passport. I spoke to him and asked him if he would want to travel with me. We would try and cross the border together. After consulting with his parents, he agreed. He did not care to remain the only one of his family in Russia. We left home together. Now we had no plan where to go whom to contact. But I, being in the smuggling and black market, knew that we can always get contact with people who are in the know. The general direction we knew we had to travel across to Latvia towards the Polish border. We got to a town by the name of Dagoa, about 60 vyorst from the border. We stopped in a boarding house and started to get information. Sure enough a man showed up and started to ask us questions. "How we are traveling? How many bags we have with us? What clothing we have?" Now this is where my experience paid off. When we left home, I insisted that I do not want to travel with any baggage, since I heard enough what happens to people with baggage. Most of the time they are robbed and some instances murdered while crossing. I did not take anything with me and insisted that Reuven not take anything with him. When this man started to ask about clothing and baggage, he did not believe his ears. "How do you travel without any extra clothing?" But I assured him that we travel just the way we are and that on the other side our friends will supply us with whatever we need. When we left home I 31

made up with Reuven to let me make the deal with the agent because I knew that these types will soak from a candidate as mush as they can. I just took with $20 American money and a ten ruble gold piece Tzarist. Although Reuven had with him $100 American money, I insisted that I should deal for both of us. When I started to talk to the man, he wanted $50 from each of us for crossing the border. I told him that he was crazy. We did not have that kind of money. All we had was $ 40 for both of us. First he was jumping to the ceiling, but seeing that it did not help he quieted down, I explained to him that this is all the money we had. My ten ruble gold piece was sewn on as a button on my sheep skin coat. I explained to the man that he was not dealing with old people or women with children, and we will not be any burden to him for either walking or running. He agreed. He gave us the plan. We will start out from this town, and where we will stop in a village to stay over night, who will pick us up from there to a farm just on the border where a man will walk us across at night. The border was a creek. On my insistence he agreed to take twenty dollars on our first stop and the rest when we crossed over. I must say he turned out to be a very honest man. The actual proceeding went as to his original plan without a hitch. The man to take us across the border turned out to be a Latvian farmer about 50 years old with a long black beard. The snow was very high with large drifts around the creek. In some places it reached up to our armpits. This poor man was sinking in the snow and Reuven and I had to dig him out time and again but soon we were over the border and in a house with a big fire burning in the oven, with a nice warm meal. It was heaven. We were in Latvia and out of Russia at last. After the meal they bedded us on the warm oven and we fell asleep immediately, happy that it was over. In the morning they took us with a horse and sleigh to a town where we met a Jewish family and we had a good meal with sugar for our tea instead of saccharin. We really felt free. I changed my 10 ruble and we paid the good people for their room and meal. They provided us with a horse and sleigh to get to Riga. It was something to fee free, to sit down to a meal with butter and real sugar. At home I handled sugar, but that was as a commodity. For ourselves we used saccharin. Here we could use as much sugar as we wanted. We came to Riga. Riga was a beautiful city, modern and clean. Before the Revolution, Latvia and Lithuania and part of Poland belonged to Russia. After the Revolution, they became independent states and governments. Riga was the European part of Russia. There is a beautiful park in the center of the city, with a nice lake. Not having 32

anything to do we spent many hours in that park, either walking or hiring a boat. At the first house where I was brought to stay, there was a mother and a daughter, a very nice girl of about 18 or 19. It took only a couple of days for the mother to try to talk me into remaining in Riga. She liked me and her daughter liked me, but I was determined to get to America. It seems mothers are that way all over the world. I remember on the way to Borisov, when we used to travel by night, we stopped at one inn about halfway from home which was managed by a woman. She was a widow and had a very good looking girl by the name of Bluma. One day my father told me that this widow made my father a proposition to have a double wedding for him and for me. I told my father, "Sorry." He was a free man and can do whatever he wants but I could not see myself growing roots in Russia. I guess my father himself was not very interested in that proposition since he never followed it up. In our town, Bushevitz, there were also girls with whom we grew up and were friends. There was Shulamis, Goote, Busche, Chana Dnorem and some of their brothers Hillia, Shepsel, Itche, Yudel Surach. Who knows what became of them, also the two older men, Koppel and Chayim Elia, with whom we shared so many experiences. How may times we got lost at night in snow drifts and how many times did we face danger of being arrested. Not knowing if this is the time that we will not be able to buy ourselves out. How many times did I have my feet frozen and we had to rub them with snow to get the circulation back into them. Memories, memories. When I left home there were left in the house Tzipa, my sister two years younger than me. Then there were Shaye Itzchok, Yirme, Benyamin, Moishe and another sister, Chaya Beyle. My father remarried after I left and had another little boy and girl, Chayim and Leah. I never heard anything of them after Hitler. It seems that no one was left. Although, it is hard to believe that there is no one left since my brothers were all of military age and must have been in the army. It is inconceivable that all of them were killed on various fronts, but I never heard from them after the war. Reading my Yiddish newspaper one evening, after the war when organizations started to get information on refugees and survivors after the Hitler Holocaust, I came upon the name of an old aunt of mine, Geshe, who was trying to get information about my uncle Jacob Bobrov, her brother. I immediately called my uncle and I wrote to her. We sent her some money. I asked her about my brothers and sisters. She answered me that those who did not move away to Siberia before the advent of Hitler's army were all killed. Russia did one great thing when they sent away many Jews to Siberia thereby 33

saving their lives. By a miracle she and two of her daughters survived. The men were all killed. I corresponded with her for a couple of years and sent her some money. I did not hear from her any more and presumably she died. From her daughters I never heard anything. My brother Shaye Itzchok went into a military school after I left for America. He became an officer and made a career of the army. That is what my father wrote me. I used to send money regularly to my father. One time I did a foolish thing. I sent $25 to my brother. This must have stirred up a hornets' nest. Imagine a future Communist officer receiving money from the accursed capitalist America. He wrote me a long letter with a big argument and that I should never do this again. I did not. I did not write to him any more. I did not want to embarrass him. My father while he was alive used to give me information about him. It seems that after he graduated he got a big, responsible post somewhere in Siberia. He married a daughter of a Tzarist general. After that I heard nothing more. My sister Tzipa, as I mentioned before was married after I left. My father wrote me about it. Her husband, Aharon, was an ardent Communist. He held a big post in the lumber industry as I already mentioned. For the wedding he came to town one Saturday afternoon with a horse and sleigh with bells. They picked up Tzipa and rode away to register. This was all the wedding. They lived very well up to the time in the thirties, when Stalin had his famous "tchistke", that is purge. Good party men were picked up suddenly and either shot or sent away to Siberia for hard labor. Aharon was taken away one day and never heard from again. My sister, Tzipa, was left with her little boy, Lyiov, without any support. She, because of her husband's supposed guilt, could not even get a decent job. She was washing dishes in a restaurant anything to make a living for her and be able to support her little boy. She survived until the Hitler army made and end to her and all the rest of my family. My other sister, Chaya Beyle, was also married and had two children. They were also wiped out. My father being a religious man and a past businessman was considered a "Lishenetz", that is he had all his civil rights taken away. His children could not get any higher education. My two younger brothers, in order to get on with education, had to leave home and to change their names. One, Yirme, graduated "agronom", agriculture, and Benyamin was studying something, I never knew what. What Moishe did, I did not know. Later on, my father had two more children with his other wife, but what became of them all, I will never know. My father was arrested several times 34

on such gross charges, such as slaughtering a calf or teaching a youngster to read Hebrew. Then he was arrested with many more Jews and actually held for ransom. They had the record of people who had relatives in America and who could be induced to send dollars for their relative's release from prison. They arrested hundreds of such Jews on trumped up charges and forced them to write their relatives in America for money for their release. They had to lay their hands on foreign currency. The "Dollar Inquisition" it was called then. I received an urgent letter from my father, who was in jail, to wire immediately $150 for his release. I did and they let him out. Then in 1937 he was arrested and sent away to Siberia to a lumber camp. Over there he could not survive very long what with the cold weather, the hard work and no proper food. He would not eat anything that was not "kosher". I sent home food packages from this country with salami and "kosher" canned foods. They were sending it to my father. He did not survive long. He died there. I don't even know where it was. It is curious how I got the date of his death which enables me to keep "yahrzeit". A package of food came to the camp after my father was already dead. Another prisoner, knowing the importance of the date of death to the family, sent back a message on a little piece of crumpled packing paper that this man died and the date he died. This man sure earned a big "mitzvah". At least he lived long enough to receive from me a "talis". He asked me to send him a "talis" because his "talis" was torn to shreds. Knowing that only old clothing could be sent to Russia at that time, I got for him a woolen "talis" and put some spots on it, crumpled it and soiled some parts of it, and together with some old clothing I sent it out. It took months and I got the package back. It seems that by then the law changed and only new clothes would be allowed to enter Russia at 100% tax. When I received the "talis" back, the spots which I deliberately made on the "talis" with condensed milk were holes. So I had a holey "talis". I bought another and sent it to father which he received. He was the richest Jew in Russia to own a new "talis". The same was with Jewish calendars. They did not allow printing of Jewish calendars in Russia. The Rabbis over there had to figure out when to keep the "Rosh Chodesh", that is the new moon, and the holidays. My father asked me to send him some calendars. I used to send him about half a dozen each year. He wrote me that he used to copy them and distribute them to the neighboring communities. Once he found a mistake in one calendar and he wrote me that I should go to the institution which printed it and ask them to correct the mistake. He was right, they did make a mistake. 35

I notified them. It goes to show how important is a "luach", a calendar, which here is given away free by so many institutions. I could have made arrangement to have some congregation bring him as a Rabbi. Many Rabbis were hired this way. It was a good deal for both parties. The Rabbi was able to enter this country and the congregation got an inexpensive Rabbi, since the newcomer did not expect a high salary, but this way he would only be able to enter himself, without the family. I could not yet bring him in since his son was not a citizen. Before long, President Hoover eliminated this possibility. He put a ban on clergy entering this country outside the quota. It was an insurmountable problem to move a family with children of all ages. To leave t he children with a stepmother was another problem. So that nothing could be done and so it dragged on even after I got my citizen papers. Then the war started. My father passed away and after that the whole world went crazy. The only good thing, my being a citizen helped me to bring Rae in as a bride from Canada. That was the joke. I, an immigrant, who had to wait for the quota to come to America, was able to bring in my wife, who was born in Canada, to the United States. In Riga we stayed until the middle of May. Then we went to Hamburg, Germany, where we boarded a boat June 19th and arrived in Boston on July 1st, 1923. On the boat there were few from the original group from Riga. We had a very good voyage. I was hardly sea sick. The time of the year was very nice. It was warm and we enjoyed watching the sea and the monster fish jumping from the water. The food was very good. We were able to help some people who were really sick. For a boy that grew up in a small town and never saw the sea, it was a terrific experience. It really made me understand the Psalm where it talks about G-D's creation. The sea and the various creatures and the "Leviathan" and how big the world is and how little a man amounts to against the power of nature. We did not see the Statue of Liberty on entering America. We landed in Boston, but I was not denied from seeing it. A brother of my Aunt Jennie, Sam Friedlander, who was just graduating as a medical doctor, took me to see the Statue of Liberty the first week of my coming to America. Sam Friedlander is still around practicing medicine in New York. We don't see him as often as when the uncle and Aunt Jennie were living in the Bronx but we run into each other once in a while. My cousin, Sol, who was a little boy when I came to them, grew up and became a dentist. When he started to look for a place to set up an office, I talked him into opening it in Ossining, since it was as 36

good as anywhere. He and his wife, Suki, liked the open country. They used to like to ride horses and they spent many hours riding. I went out with them a couple of times but I was not as free with time as they were. For a while we had family here. They used to come around and play with the children. Jerry was about one year old and Sara Lee was already a lady of five. I remember they used to come around for the 4th of July and shoot fireworks from our porch to the delight of the children. Then when the war started in Europe, he was itching to volunteer for the Air Force. He tried to get in the Canadian Air Force and it came out funny. Here he was a dentist but he was not accepted on account of his teeth not being straight enough. When he was a child straightening his teeth was not the most important thing by his parents. They had to worry first to make a living. Later on when our country entered the war, he volunteered in the Army and sure was accepted. When he came on furlough, he was describing the hardships of the training period in the Michigan woods. In zero temperature and how people not being used to these temperatures froze ears, feet and hands. He was an amateur photographer. He would spend much time on it to the extent that he neglected his profession. He was a specialist as a dentist, but money was nothing to him. He enjoyed living and the same with his wife, Suki. He was sent to the Philippine Islands and went through all the battles over there. His rank was a captain. When they left Manila and then returned with McArthur, he practiced his hobby whenever he could. He had a most valuable collection of pictures from the country and the people and the army. He wanted to have this for his little girl, who by then was already a grown young woman. She married and is a teacher. This hobby of his was his downfall. He was trying to snap a picture of a Japanese sniper and he was shot instantly. That was after the army returned to Manila. Three days after he was shot and we hear the whole story, he was buried there. After the war, when the government offered to bring home the bodies for burial, they brought him home, but I remember my aunt saying that she was very sorry they did it. One funeral is enough and a second time was too much to go through. With his wife, Suki, we kept contact. After some years she remarried. She married a very rich man but he did not live long and she remained a rich widow with a big drug store on Broadway in New York. She manages all these years with a partner. Uncle Jake and Aunt Jennie moved to Los Angeles. Uncle Jake lived there for about 10 years. We went to see them once and they were very contented. My uncle told me 37

he lost all pains and aches which he had in the east. The reason they had moved was my cousin Ruth, their daughter, who by now was married after a stretch in the Navy as a Wave. She is a professor in UCLA. Her husband is also a professor in Valley College in Los Angeles. They visited with us several times on their trips east. They have two lovely daughters. We visited them last summer. Aunt Jennie by now is old and frail. She lives in one of the finest resident hotels in Santa Monica. I wanted to see her. We were fortunate that this place had a vacant room. We had a fine visit with dear old Aunt Jennie. She was so happy to see us. Not only I, but Rae also, also considers her as a mother since this is the way she treated us all through the years. We were happy to see that although she was very frail; her mind was sharp as always. We write to her, but she is complaining that her eyes are not as good to be able to write. Sol's name is on a plaque in our Synagogue, also naturally, in the village park for veterans.

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Chapter 4 – Ship Brothers, Part I People who travel together tend to become like one family. In this case especially the people who left Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland to start a new life in America, certainly had a common cause traveling through cities which they never saw, getting on a boat for the first time in their life and spending two weeks or more on the ocean which also was a first experience for most of them. All this cemented a wonderful comradeship which in many cases lasted for many years, in some even a lifetime. Since 99% came with hardly any funds to speak of and had to start making a living for themselves from the first day, many were thrown together working in the same shop or staying as a boarder by the missus who were in most cases from the same town or neighboring "shteltl" from the old country, and this is how the societies and "landsmenschaften" were created. It was for self preservation and protection since as a body they could do much more for themselves than as individuals with no language or knowledge of life and customs in a strange country, and here also is worth to mention the reason why so many of the new immigrants flocked to the shops, coming into a new land and not knowing the language and customs, it was the best thing which could happen to one when a brother or friend was able to bring one into the shop where he worked and get him a job also, or to take him in as a boarder in his own house or to get him a place by a friend or a neighbor. This was common practice those days, and since the new green immigrants were glad to get something to do to be able to feed themselves, they were the cheap labor. Who knew of hours or holidays? Long hours per day, seven days of the week for meager few dollars a week with no Sabbath or holidays, that was the system. Later on, came the idea of the union and the struggle for better conditions of work in the shops. Here also I believe it is in place to explain about the term – Boarder. Since the wages were so small, the rent to keep up an apartment fell hard for most of the newcomers. So to supplement the income, most of the people took in a couple of boarders who helped to pay the rent for the apartment. To sleep they slept anywhere. If there was a spare room good, if not, it was in the kitchen or on the floor. Nobody demanded luxury. In most cases they were either single boys or girls who could stand hardship, or married men who had to save every penny to send to their families back home. At that many stories remained from that period of the missus and the boarder. So this friendship and camaraderie which started with the Ship Brothers and developed in "landsmanschaften" societies to help 39

an assist each other was the driving power which created the now known large institutions, such as hospitals and old age homes and built synagogues and "yeshivos" and imported well know (in Europe) Rabbis and Cantors, created the Yiddish press and theater and created a culture which was the envy of many minorities in this country. The Ship Brothers, through the societies, were getting together on regular meetings and once a year they usually ran an elaborate Ball where everyone met one another and received the latest news from friends form the old country. These days these same institutions are far from being active. The members got older, many died out. New immigrants were not coming in for many reasons. The children who grew up in this country have many other outlets so they are not interested in the "landsmanschaft" society, so these organizations have no outlet for their energy and since the membership is old have no outlet for their energy, so many exist just in name only. The accumulated funds some share it out to various charitable organizations and some send it to Israel, buy Bonds or plant trees through the Jewish National Fund. This is the change of an Era, changing times, and changing conditions. History will still have some day to evaluate and credit these "landsmanschaft" societies for their part in building and forming the future citizens of this country. In 1923 this country came forth with a new law allowing immigrants to enter this country. Up to that time it was free for anyone to come to America if he or she passed the health inspection and could show that they would not be a burden on the country from the first day. In 1923 America set up a law which permitted immigrants to enter this country on a quota basis, based on the percentage of people who came into America from that country in previous years. The system was inaugurated July 1 st, 1923, so that year anyone who wanted to come to America had to wait for July 1 st if he was lucky to be in the number allowed for that year's quota. Russia only allowed women and children and men not of military age to leave the country, and all these people had to assemble in one of the neighboring countries like Poland or Latvia to make contact with the free world. When I received the affidavit from my Uncle Jake Bobrov to come to America, I was already mentioned before, I made up with one of my friends in town who was also trying to leave the country for America to go together. So we set out towards the border and as I already described the crossing we arrived in Riga, Latvia. Riga was a beautiful city. Real European life after Russia looked free, but anti-Semitism was there. I remember a friend and I were walking on the sidewalk in one of the streets and a soldier came towards us. He actually pushed 40

me off the sidewalk with a curse for me as a Jew and for the Jewish people. These were a people who just got free from Russia and just became a people, but the hate for the Jew is something else. Since we came into Latvia without passports, the Latvian government arranged for us to legalize us and gave us transit passports and visas, charging us $10 American per head and placed us in old barracks to stay there for the duration of two or three months until we would be able to start boarding the ships to go to America to arrive there for July 1st. But so many immigrants started to come into Latvia that soon they upped the price per head to $50. I arrived in Riga in March and stayed there until the end of May and then I went to Hamburg, Germany, from where I boarded the ship which brought me to Boston on July 1st, 1923. In Riga, there was a HIAS office. This is the American Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and this was a godsend. This was the first contact with the outside world. They arranged with the Latvian Government about staying over and the cost. The director, a stern man, a German Jew, although he looked very much down on the "ost yuden", as the German Jews refer to the Russian Jews, he was genuinely concerned about everyone of us. The first thing he explained to us the length of time which we will have to wait until departure and what arrangements he made with the Latvian government for us to stay and the cost. When he told me that I have to wire my uncle for $250, I thought he was crazy. To me $250 sounded like a million. Where is my uncle going to get $250? But he said, "Never mind, leave it to me, I shall get it. This is what your stay will cost you until you board your ship." We were willing to go out looking for work, but the Latvian government would not allow us to work, and that is how we stayed in Riga until the end of May and then went to Hamburg where we boarded the boat for America. During our stay in Riga in the barracks, the system was those who had families were allotted one or two rooms, but us single men were in one large room No.28 which had double deck bunks. Having no work in the daytime, we were not tired. Lights in the building went off early when no one was sleepy. During the day we went visiting the HIAS office, spending some time there exchanging news and views with one another, walking in the park or taking a ride on the lake which ran through the park sometimes taking lunch with us and having a picnic on the grass or in the boat. There also was a bicycle shop where we rented bicycles by the hour and rode around the park. Somehow we managed to kill the time of the days, so at night no one was sleepy and when the lights went out the fun started, pillows started to fly around. Beds were turned over. Clothes were hidden and as usual there were some 41

casualties, but it was not intended, just in the way of fun, letting off steam. Everyone was young and with the knowledge that the worst was behind and the future will be much brighter, I got acquainted with 4 boys who were very nice and we stuck together. Their names were Joe Rabkin, Nathan Sorokin, Saul Gorelick and Alex Levin. This is what I mean by Ship Brother. We did not all come to this country on the same boat, but our friendship lasted all these years. We kept in contact with each other, getting together several times during the year. After we were married the wives became friends, too, to this day. Children were born and there were "bar mitzvas" and weddings. Alex, Elinke, the way we called him, had no children. Joe Rabkin had two daughters. They are both very nice girls. Both are married and living quite well and have children. Alex and Joe are both dead by now. Joe suffered very much. He died from cancer. After being operated several times and he lasted two years and passed away. Alex had heart trouble and died soon after Joe. Nathan Sorokin separated form us many years ago. The gang did not like him very much. I can only recall what he did for me when we came in to Boston. I had no money left. The money which my uncle sent me to the HIAS was doled out to me piece meal and just lasted to come to America. I wanted to have at least money for a taxi to get to my uncle's house in case my uncle should fail to meet me. So Nathan lent me $2. This I shall never forget. A loan of $10,000 by a friend these days would not compare with the $2 loan that time. Since I knew that Joe's daughters would not be able to observe "kaddish" for their father, and Alex left no children, I said "kaddish" for both of them. That was the least that I could do for my friends. Now there is only the two of us left, Sol Gorelick and myself. He lives in Metuchen, NJ. By now he also is retired and spends half of the time in Florida. He worked up a very big business in greeting cards and together with his two sons have now about half a dozen very large stores in the finest shopping centers in New Jersey. We get together with Paula Rabkin, Joe's wife, also Alex's widow, about once or twice a year. I must relate one more experience from Riga. As I stated before, we were visiting the HIAS office daily and met with various people. This one has a brother in Argentina. The other one says he has a friend in Mexico. One more knows somebody in Cuba. In all these countries there is no quota. One can pick himself up tomorrow and go there. Some were talking about going but the truth is there were not many takers, but after some weeks going around doing nothing, we got restless and we started to toy with the idea. What if we try to go to Cuba? If we like it, we will stay, and if not, within 42

two years we could go to America, and it did not look so bad to us anymore. So we decided to ask permission to go to Cuba. I was made spokesman, for one thing everyone else from our group was afraid to approach him. Another thing, I knew a little German, perhaps this will help. So one morning, we five ask permission to talk to the director and that was like meeting the Czar, he sitting there in his office holding our future in his hands. He listened to my proposition which I presented as best I could, then he let us have it, in a loud authoritative voice he started on us. "You just left a country of war. You went through the Revolution, and now you want to go to Cuba or Mexico where there are revolutions every year, when by waiting a couple of more months you can go to America. No, I will not allow it. You stay here and wait." He went on more and more to preach to us telling us that we will someday be thankful to him for his advice. I suppose we owe that man many thanks. Naturally, we gave up the idea and stayed. When we landed in Boston, they transported us by small open trucks to some sort of barracks where we were kept for three days of quarantine and inspection. In those barracks we found housed about 300 Chinese. Later we found out that they were illegal immigrants who will be shipped back to China. Now in Russia we occasionally saw a Chinaman with a pigtail. They were going around selling silks, but meeting so many of them in close quarters, that was something else. For one thing, due to their slight build it is hard to tell their age and their fast talk and their constant washing. They are a very clean people. The barracks were outfitted with big washrooms with rows of wash basins, so they were constantly washing in those basins. No wonder so many of them are in the laundry business. They were peaceful in their leisure time. They played some kind of long card. We had no trouble with them, but it was strange. Here we travel half of the world to come to America and the first people we meet are a bunch of Chinamen. After three days they put tags on us to signify our destination and took us to the train. My train was to arrive at Pennsylvania Station early in the morning. My uncle was notified but I did not know him and he did not know me. He left for America when I was a little boy and I only knew him from a picture, so when we arrived I followed the people out from the train, hoping that my uncle will meet me and, if not, I will take cab and go to his house. But my uncle was there. He was standing on the side and calling out, "Avrom Zalmon, Avrom Zalmon", and soon we were united and had a little cry. My uncle kept asking about mother, his sister, and about the rest of the children, and about father, who was a personal friend 43

of his. He soon got a taxi and we got in and were off to the Bronx. The day was July 4th, 1923. My uncle lived on Brook Avenue and 148th St. where he had his kosher butcher shop. Anyone who remembers New York about 48 years back, on July 4 th, the noise of the cars honking and trucks and the elevated trains, plus all the fireworks, it was some reception, and I thought to myself that I had left a country of war to come to this nice peaceful land. My uncle explained to me that this was a holiday and it was just fun, but the first impression was that this was a very noisy country. My uncle brought me over to his house and I met Aunt Jennie, who turned out to be a wonderful person and all the years from the first meeting up to this day when she is quite along in years, I consider her as a mother, and this is how she was to me and later also to Rae. There was Sol, a boy of about six or seven, who later grew up to be a dentist and was killed in the Philippines in the Second World War, and Ruthie, about five years old, who fell in love with me and later only insisted I should marry her, and who is now a professor in UCLA. Later I got acquainted with Aunt Jennie's family. Her parents were very fine and dignified people, her two brothers, of whom one, Sam Friedlander, is still practicing in the Bronx, and her three sisters, of whom, Minnie, gave birth that weekend and the "Briss" was the following Sunday. Of course, I was invited to be there with the uncle. They named the boy Samuel, Sam for short. So I said that we both arrived in this country the same week. Later on, as Sam was growing up, going to school, to college, and getting married, I said that he is catching up with me in years. We don't run into each other too often these days. I went into my uncle's store. I must say it was not very impressing, a small store, sawdust on the floor. There was no refrigerator, only ice in those days, and the block and the bench bloody. In the back a man was sitting on a chair surrounded by a pile of feathers, plucking chickens and this was the job which awaited me, since this was the understanding that I shall come to work for my uncle. It was not very inviting, but I did not dare to say anything. My uncle did not let me start work the first week so I sat in the house and played the phonograph most of the time and listened to all the wellknown cantors. Some of the melodies I knew, but many were new to me. On the second week I started to work in my uncle's store. My job was plucking chickens and carrying out orders in a basket. Since this was a neighborhood business, the customers were in a radius of a couple of blocks in apartment houses, so one had to climb stairs with a basket of orders marked 3-B, 4-C, and 5-D. The trouble was that so many of the apartments were not marked and some had no bells and I did not know how to 44

inquire so it created some comic situations. If there is no bell and nobody answers the knock, what remains to do but to take the order back, only to have to climb later again, so I opened the door and there stands a lady, half naked, getting dressed and she opens up on me a scream of yells and screams. What she said I did not understand, but I had a pretty good idea. The first time I encountered tips was when I walked out with my basket with about half a dozen orders. By the corner a man stops me, "Have you got my order here?" I don't know. He starts looking in the basket and finds it. He picks it up and hands me a quarter, which I refused. He insisted for me to accept a tip. At home, tips, which were called tea money, were given to boy apprentices. I did not realize that this is what I, too, was at the moment. I was still under the spell that not long ago I was carrying out quite substantial deals on my own on weekends. We used to get together with the boys. Sol Gorelick was in the Bronx. Alex Levin was in the Bronx, and Joe Rabkin was working for his uncle, also a kosher butcher, in Jamaica, Long Island. Poor Joe, he was such a fine person, but we used to kid him a lot. He looked like a Chinaman. His features were like an oriental, so some called him "Chai Naman", but he was a prince of a fellow. His uncle also was a butcher and he, too, took him into his business and later opened another store in partnership with Joe. He was the first one to buy an automobile, a new Ford and he was the first of the gang to become a successful businessman. We used to go out riding with him in his car. Later, when he started to go out with Polly, his future wife, many times he still insisted that we go out together. Of course, with Sol and Alex we meet more often, since, as I mentioned before, they lived in the Bronx. Alex's sister had a candy store on Tremont Avenue, so we used to meet over there many an evening. His sister and brother-in-law were very fine and friendly people and it was pleasant to be in their company. They were young, hardworking people. They had two lovely children. So between visits with them and also to Sol's two uncles' houses, who lived in the Bronx, and Crotona Park, and occasionally Prospect Park in Brooklyn, that is how we spent our time getting acquainted with the new land. My job with my uncle did not last very long. After working there a couple of months, my uncle sold the store. Somebody offered him a very good price, so he sold it. For me it was a godsend, since I despised the work of delivering orders with a basket and the plucking chickens and the feathers and dirt. So although the new owner very much wanted me to stay with him, even offering me a raise, I refused. On my rounds of delivery I used to pass a non-kosher market which had a large showcase full with platters of cut up 45

meat with a row of green lights hanging over the showcase illuminating the various cuts and everything looked so clean and orderly. So I thought to myself, if I am to be in this business I might as well get into the non-kosher line. So on a bright morning, I bought a copy of the Jewish Morning Journal and started looking for a job. Sure enough, there was an opening for a helper in a large butcher market on Ninth Avenue and 41st St. So I went there and met a peasant Jewish man by the name of Savitzky, who spoke quite friendly and hired me to work for him. One has to bear in mind that all jobs for beginners in any line paid between twelve and fourteen dollars a week. Just to prove to myself, prior to applying for a job to this Mr. Savitzky, I got a job in a shop where they made ladies pocketbooks and I had to stand by a press and press on buttons and buckles, which was not very impressive. So after three days, I told the boss that I am quitting and that I shall go back to the butcher business and asked to be paid for the three days. So he tells me to come Saturday when everyone gets paid. This is my experience with working in a shop. So when Mr. Savitzky asked me what I did before I told him of my last job and that he asked me to come back Saturday. Here if I took this job I shall not be able to go over to collect my money. So he says to me, "Don't worry. I shall get my nephew to collect the money for you." It seems that his nephew, Jacob Katz, just graduated from law and he also was a Rabbi, who later became Chaplain in Sing Sing Prison for many years. But at that time, he just graduated and this was experience for him. Sure enough, I gave him the name of the shop and in no time I got my money, and so, I started to work for this Mr. Manny Savitzky. The name of the market was "Live and Let Live". The store employed six men and a bookkeeper-cashier girl. Mr. Savitzky asked me if I knew how to drive a horse, so I said, "Sure, I drove enough horses at home," not taking into consideration that this was New York City where cars and truck are all over the streets. Our market was supplying quite a few of the hotels around Times Square and they demanded several deliveries during the day. So my boss hired a horse and wagon from a livery stable on Eleventh Avenue and 40th St., and I was supposed to pick up the horse in the morning, see to feed it on time, and bring it back about 6 PM. They had just instituted traffic lights and east-west streets. The joke was on me. I did not want to remain in the kosher line because the store was not clean. Well this was a big business and catering to the cheaper trade. The whole section was known as Patty's. Market prices were much lower than uptown, so people came shopping there from all over, and every day there were dozens of boxes and barrels and bloody paper to break up an pack away, 46

fat cans and platters to wash, clean the ice box, sweep the floor, run out for coffee for the gang, feed the horse, deliver to the hotels and everybody calling, "Abe". Since I was the lowest rank, everyone had jobs for me. I should have been twins or triplets. So as I said, the joke was on me. There was more dirt here than in my uncle's store. But I made up my mind to stick it out. For one thing, here I had to learn to talk English since there was no Yiddish spoken there although Harry, the manager, and Mr. Savitzky were Jewish. So every new word that I learned I wrote it on a paper bag and stuck it in the back on the icebox wall. I was not religious at that time and didn't worry about handling pork products, but when my boss brought the next day a barrel of pigs heads, all nice white and rosy, not a hair on them with the eyes clear and whole and Harry, the manager, started to display them on the top of the showcase, it looked to me that from all angles the pig was following me and looking at me. It was a queer feeling seeing the open eyes of those heads. I could not shake that feeling for a long time. My father was already married at that time. He married a spinster just before I left for America and her father, Moishe Reichlin, lived in America. He was an old man with a long beard and he was known to his friends as Moishe the Beard. He was a customer peddler. I used to visit him in his house in Boro Park, where he also brought out a son and another daughter. I don't know why, but I had a funny feeling when I visited them. They took me up very nice and I suppose that that girl also wanted to get married, although it was never mentioned, but I could not see becoming a brother-in-law to my father. So after a while I stopped going there. This Moishe had to see me one day about family affairs, so he came looking for me in the "Live and Let Live Market", but he would not dare to enter the store with all those pig heads. He waited outside until I saw him and went out to meet him. I did not work there too long. Came the holidays, "Rosh Hashanah" and I did not work. "Yom Kippur" came on Saturday, so I hear the boss calling out to Harry, the manager. Evidently he asked about taking off Saturday. So he calls out loud, "Anyone who does not come in Saturday doesn't have to come in at all." So I told Harry that I will not be in Saturday and I went home Friday and went to "Schul" Saturday, and Monday morning I came in dressed up to get my salary. So Mr. Savitzky greets me and says why I did not come in the morning. So I told him that I followed his orders that whoever does not come in Saturday does not have to come in at all. So he says, "Forget it. Get to work." So I told him that if he wants me to work for him, it will cost him a five dollar raise. That he would not do, so we parted for the time, anyway. I worked for him later, but 47

this we will come to later. At this time I was not worried since the starting wages which paid me I could get anywhere and by now I did have a little experience and knew a little of the English language and I thought perhaps to start looking for some business for myself. Sol Gorelick was out of work. His shop where he started to work was slow and he was laid off. So I spoke to him and proposed the idea to him for us to start a partnership and he consented. Since both of us had no money, so the business had to be with very little investment and since I was already in the meat business I thought along this line and we decided to open a kosher chicken store. The business consists of buying from a live chicken market kosher slaughtered chickens and selling them daily to the public and since a store of this kind requires very little fixtures and no stock is kept over we are able to undersell the regular butcher markets. So I started to walk around the streets of the Bronx to find a suitable location and after some days we settled on 165th St. near Sherman Avenue. Since, as I mentioned before, we did not need any fancy fixtures, we bought some lumber and we put up some shelves and a counter and benches. We printed some leaflets and delivered them in a radius of several blocks around and we opened the business. Actually, some advice I had from my Uncle Jake, after selling his store, he went in as part owner of a large live poultry market on 138th St. and he got the idea in my head. So naturally chickens we bought from him. So, the first order they used to deliver in the morning by truck and if we needed any more in a hurry one of us could get to the market with Morris Avenue trolley and by back in a half an hour. But business did not start off very good and we were making very little for our work. So after a couple of months, Sol got restless. In his shop he heard they were getting busy so he was getting ready to get out. My Uncle Sam, who was married and has one little girl, was out of work, so he suggested that he will take over Sol's part and we shall take in butcher fixtures and make it a regular kosher meat market. My Uncle Jake thought that this was a good idea. I did not mention my Uncle Sam much before since I was thrown together with Uncle Jake from the beginning and worked for him and lived in his house, incidentally for which I paid. I must mention this, the first week that I came over, my Uncle Sam came over and took me out to a store and bought me a beautiful blue serge suit, although I came to America in a blue serge suit made in Hamburg. Anyway we took in butcher fixtures and opened up a regular kosher butcher store and we started to do business. We again printed leaflets and put up a sign in the window, but business started very slow. Since my uncle was a family man, we set it up on a 40% - 60 % basis. Also I moved in with 48

him so my pay would supplement his income, but he did not have much knowledge in the meat business. It was understood that he will handle the meat part and I will handle the chickens. But here came my Aunt Dora. She wanted to manage everything and everybody and this was not very good. Actually between my uncle and me, we did not need anyone else, but she had to be there all the time.

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Chapter 5 – Ship Brothers, Part II And this was very unpleasant. She criticized everything we did and nothing was good enough for her. The meat that came in was to fat. The chickens from the market were not fat enough, and so on. Well, my poor Uncle Sam, he was married to her and had to stand her; I was not married to her. So one day, when I just returned from the chicken market with a bag of freshly killed chickens which I brought by the Morris Avenue trolley and it was raining outside and I was tired and wet from the rain, she started to throw the chickens around and criticize me and my Uncle Jake for the poor quality. I just could not stand any more, so I took my apron off and without a word, walked out. I went over to the house and picked up my belongings and moved out and left them the store, not asking or getting a penny for my investment. In fact, about a year later, when they wanted to sell the store, they had to ask me for my signature since officially I was a partner. I came over in the evening and signed the papers and walked out. I just did not want to have much to do with them. All this time I was seeing and meeting my friends. We used to travel to Coney Island and to parks and learn a little about America. When I left the store, I moved back to my Uncle Jake's house. They did not approve of my walking out without a penny. But I did not listen to them. By me it was worth getting out clean. I went to see my former boss, Mr. Savitzky, and he was glad to see me and immediately offered me a job with a substantial raise, not that I was an exbusinessman. So I started again to work in the "Live and Let Live" and to drive the horse. I mentioned before that they just then had first installed traffic lights and the east-west one-way streets in Manhattan. One of the hotels which we served was Hotel Navara on Broadway and 38th St. One afternoon, I drove east on 38th St. on Eighth Avenue. The light was still new and I forgot to stop on the corner on the red light and as I started to cross Eighth Avenue, a big truck was on the top of me. So I turned my horse to my right to get out of the way of the truck. But it was too late. The truck just touched my wagon and it pushed the poor horse forward and he fell and slid away forward and this saved us. The truck was able to make a stop and the driver came down with a string of curses, which by then I already had known and plenty more which I did not know or understand. I was frightened. What will happen if the horse is hurt? What will I tell the boss? I pulled at the horse, and he got up. His legs were 50

alright. He was not hurt in any way that I could see, only one small scratch. The driver, after a while, asked me if I was hurt. No, I was not hurt, just frightened. All I wanted was to get away from there as soon as I could. I was afraid I should not spend too much time on the trip, so I straightened out the harness and left. I did not know about insurance or compensation. Another incident which happened with the horse, which, as I mentioned before, was rented from a livery stable on Eleventh Avenue, and this livery stable was supposed to look after him and to groom him. One day I was called out to the front by Harry, the Manager, somebody wanted to see me. So I came out and a man flashed some card in front of my face and Harry explained to me that he was some sort of an inspector and he watches out for cruelty to animals and that my horse, standing in front of the store, has some sort of sore. So I says to him what does he want from me. He says that he is going to give me a summons to appear in court for a hearing. I got good and angry. Why should I get a summons? I don't own the horse. Let him go and take it up with the stable. They own him and they rent him out. They are supposed to watch out for their animals. But the inspector would not listen. He got his book ready to write and he wanted to know my name. I would not tell him and Harry tried to convince me that I should not start up with a representative of the law. But I say, "No, the law has to do the right thing. Let him go to the owner. I only got the animal for the day." I would not give him my name and accept a summons. I argued. Let him wait for the boss. Let the boss tell me what to do. And what do you know, I won out. The inspector either got tired of listening to me or perhaps he saw that I was right. He went away. My manager, Harry, an American born boy, could not get over me, a greenhorn, winning out against the inspector. I did not stay with Mr. Savitzky very long. I got the bug to go in business for myself. Sol Gorelick was just married and his shop had no work for him. So we again started to talk about starting a business. This time, I made up my mind to but a store, a nonkosher meat market. So we looked around and found a store on Church Avenue in Brooklyn which looked quite nice and clean, too clean, if we had had any experience. Since again we did not have enough money, we borrowed from our friends and from Sol's wife's family and we bought the store and started to do business. But there again customers did not flock to our store. There was a little trade but not enough to make a living for both of us. So after a few months Sol again started to itch 51

for a steady salary and I took the store over for myself and also the obligations for the loans to our friends since I was single. I carried on the business for about a year. The trouble was that I did not have capital enough to buy stock and also did not have credit enough in the market to shop properly. I had to pay full price for meat products, so it left me very little profit. One day I happened to think why do I need all this responsibility, for I have to get up very early to go to the market to buy, come to the store and work all day, worry about covering bills and rent, and at the end of the week, I have nothing left for myself. I am not married to the store. Spring was coming and I just about had enough from the city life. I decided that I would try something in the country. So one Saturday I called up Joe Rabkin and told him to come over and pick up anything that he could use in his store, because I was closing my store. He came around and took away paper and bags and some knives and I closed up my business for good that night. As I mentioned before, we four used to go out together, and the summer before, we hired a basement in Coney Island where we had some sort of club. Other boys and girls used to come over there to visit. We had a phonograph and they played music and this is where Sol got to know Esther, whom he married and also Joe met Paula, whom he married. For a while after Sol and Esther married and we went in business together, I moved in with them so it would help them with their expenses. They took an apartment in a new house which was in a row of identical houses. The apartment was nice and clean. I remember two incidents form that time. Once, I came home late and after opening the door I did not want to put on the light and disturb them. So I just closed the door and started to get undressed and went to get the covers off the bed. Somebody was there. It started a commotion. It developed that I was in the wrong house. They were built practically the same inside and out. I apologized and went out. Another incident from those days was when Joe Rabkin invited me to go indoor iceskating. Now, I never skated before and he told me, "You'll learn." We rented skates and the learners skated in the center so that they wouldn't get hurt. We went to the Brooklyn Arena and we hired skates and I put them on and started to learn how to skate. I flopped a couple of times, but all of a sudden, I saw myself skating. I did not know how, but the next thing I saw was myself being carried by my arms and legs by two men and around me it was just like a cloud. It did not last long. By the time they 52

deposited me on the side, my head cleared and I was alright. I felt myself, nothing was broken. I decided to call it a day or rather an evening. I went to bed for in the morning I had to go to the market very early. When I got up, it was still dark and not to make any noise, I did not put on any lights, not even in the bathroom. I got dressed and left for the market. At the market, everyone asked me how the other fellow was and they were laughing and I did not know what they were laughing about until someone told me and took me over to a mirror and showed me that I had a beautiful black eye and then it dawned on me that when I fell I hit my cheek bone, not enough to get hurt, but evidently enough to get a black eye. Anyway, nobody believed me that the black eye came from a fall. I had occasion many years later to again get a black eye. Our son, Jerry, when he was about 2 1/2 years old and I was playing with him, hit the side of my face with a spoon and I got a black eye and again nobody believed me that a baby could give me a black eye. By then Alex had also married. His wife's name was Sadie. I was the only single member of the gang. When I closed up the store, I made up my mind to find something to do away from New York. The time was May, 1927. Money I did not have and I started to look for work. I did not go to my old boss, Savitzky, because, truthfully, I was ashamed. It was the second time I had failed in business attempts and besides that, I just had made up my mind to get out of the city. I used to pick up the paper in the morning and go out looking for jobs. I made it a rule not to spend more than $1 per day on transportation and food, because most of the time, this dollar, too, had to be borrowed from Joe. After going around a couple of weeks like that, I met an old acquaintance, also a butcher and after talking for a while, I told him that I was looking for a job outside of the city. So he said to me that he knew someone in the country who was looking for a butcher. Where was the country? Peekskill in Westchester County. Now at that time to me Westchester County might as well have been Honolulu. He explained to me that I had to take the Grand Central and that it took about one hour to get to Peekskill. He gave me the name and address and I told him that I would go in the morning. But he said to me, "You go now." It was on a Friday, so I rushed to Joe's and borrowed $10. I took the train to Peekskill and got there late in the afternoon. When I got to the place of business I saw that it was a very busy store. I met the two owners, Mr. Sam Poritzky and Harry Weinger. They told me that they needed a man and that I should start the next day, Saturday. Mr. Poritzky took me to his house where I met his wife, 53

Rose, a charming person and the boys. At that time, they had 5; later another one was born to them. Mr. Weinger also had 5 boys and one girl and that was my first step in Westchester County and my meeting with people whose friendship I would have all their lives. Now they are gone. All this time, the friendship with the ship brothers kept up. We used to meet in New York at Joe's or at Sol's. I had to pay up all my obligations to our friends and besides I sent money to my father. For the first year and a half I hardly spent anything on myself. Whatever I made, and they paid me a good salary, I used for my own living expenses and sent $50 monthly to my father. The balance went to clear my debts and this took me a year and a half. One of the two ties, which I wore during that period, I saved and have it to this day for remembrance. The market in Peekskill was a very bust place, especially in the summer. Peekskill attracts many people who come for vacation around Peekskill and Mohegan. After having spent one year in my own store, which was a very slow business, it was good to find myself in a fast-moving business in a busy surrounding. It was also quite different from the "Live and Let Live" store where, during the time I worked there; I was only a helper and not allowed to sell. I remember after being there a while, on a busy Saturday, a lady asked me to give her a cut of rib roast. I watched Harry work a how he trimmed and prepared a rib roast. So I started to do the same and I must say that I was doing quite well. My boss, Mr. Savitzky, saw me and started to give me an argument as to how come I was doing it. I told him that the lady asked me to wait on her. He started to holler that I had some nerve. I was only there a couple of months and already I wanted to work on a rib roast. I could have answered him very well, but I did not and he took over the customer and I must say that the way he worked on the roast, he still should not have been allowed to handle a roast. The was a part-time worker there who used to work weekends only, Friday and Saturday, occasionally on a Thursday. He used to teach me how to cut meat. He was partially retired, a German, and spoke half German and half English. His name was Joe and he lived in Linden, NJ. He took a liking to me and was teaching me how to cut meat since I wanted to learn on any occasion that we had free time. He had very little work and was always waiting for me. He called me Abele. He was a very fine man. He saw that I wanted to learn and he helped me.

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I also wanted to learn English and tried as hard as I could, I could not keep up and go to night school regularly since the store was open until 7:30 in the evening. It was very hard to travel to the Bronx and get to classes. There was Ben Shapiro, my Aunt Jennie's brother-in-law who was a high school teacher. He offered to give me private lessons for $2.50 an hour. So I took lessons from him on Sunday mornings during the time I worked for Savitzky. Later when I was myself in business, I could not afford it anymore. On Ninth Avenue where I worked, our store was on the corner and in the middle of the block, there was another store owned by a man by the name of Barlow. Although he was related to my boss, Mr. Savitzky, he never spoke a good word about him. That store also had a rented horse and wagon and also had a green all-around-boy by the name of Sam. We used to know each other. We could not help seeing each other on the block and if the bosses did not speak to each other, which had nothing to do with us. This Sam later took over the store and he worked up a tremendous business. His store, "Sam's on Ninth Avenue", a market, became a landmark in New York. But I heard later that he became sick and suffered a lot and eventually died. On those days, we used to get in the store Saturday mornings at 6:30 and work until 11:00 in the evening. Officially business closed at 10:00, but to clean up and get things in order when everyone was tired took about an hour. Then we all marched to the subway to Times Square on 42nd St. There was the State Cafeteria there and we always stopped for coffee. Since we were all tired, the coffee usually lasted for an hour. It was a long day by the time we got home. Many times we would go to a Turkish bath and stay over until some time in the morning. It was very refreshing to get steamed out and massaged after the hard week's work. I remember one time I got to my Uncle Jake's house about 1 AM and I found that I had lost my key to the house. I was sorry to wake my uncle, but I could not help it. I rang the bell, but there was no answer. I tried again, but still no answer. Then it dawned on me that they went to a Landsmanschaft Ball. They mentioned it during the week and I had forgotten. Here I was dead tired and I could not get into the house. So I decided to go to the Turkish bath. I went to the subway and got into a train and sat down and fell asleep. I woke up on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. There was nothing to do but to go to the end of the line which was on New Lots Avenue and go back. I also went back to sleep and woke up in the Bronx. I thought I might as well go to 180thSt. And then go back to Manhattan. To make a long story short, I rode up and 55

down the line until about 7:00 in the morning and then I went home to sleep. That was the longest ride for a nickel I ever had. During the weekends we were very busy since, as I mentioned before, before the prices were very reasonable and people came from all parts of the city to shop there. On Fridays and Saturdays we used to hire 2 or 3 extra butchers. After a while, my boss assigned me the job of hiring these extra butchers and to show them what they had to do. It gave me a funny feeling. Here I was the lowest employee in the place and I did the hiring of the butchers and also supervised their work. Harry, the manager, did not mind. It took some responsibility off his shoulders and he did not have to worry about competition. Some of these extra butchers were characters and were very interesting. Some were quite old and could not hold a steady job. Some did not want to work and the two day's salary was enough t o last them through the week. Others did not have to work but were coming in weekends to keep in trim, just like my friend, Joe, whom I mentioned before. I remember one man, who I had put on one Friday to cut steaks and chops in preparation for Saturday's business. He was working in the ice box, and he sang all the High Holiday prayers, while working. Somehow it did not jive, him cutting pork chops and singing "Kol Nidre". But the bosses did not mind. Once I was talking to one of the old timers and complaining about all the work and the long hours. He said to me, "Why are you complaining? In my days we came in Friday at 6:00 AM and worked until 12:00 midnight. We would grab a little sleep in back of the ice box and get up about 4:00 or 5:00AM and work until 12:00 Saturday night." What right did I have to complain when I only worked Saturdays for about 15 or 16 hours? I had nothing to say. When I was working in the store that was off-Broadway, many actors and actresses would come into the shop. They would walk in all dressed up with fancy tie and pin, spats and cane, and buy 10 cents worth of bologna or liverwurst for a sandwich. The ladies would come in wearing fur coats and fancy hats and sometimes carrying a little poodle. They would order 10 cents worth of sliced bologna for themselves and 1/2 a pound chopped round steak for the pooch. We certainly met all kinds of people. The actors and actresses lived in boarding houses around Broadway in the 40's. Between engagements they would be broke, but still they had to dress well and look good as this was their stock in trade.

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One middle-aged, well-dressed man came in a few times on Saturday evenings and it so happened that I served him. After a while, he started to wait for me to serve him. He was a fine dignified man and he started to talk to me and to ask me questions. From listening to my English, he knew that I was not long in the country. I told him that I was in America about 5 or 6 months. He wanted to know where I came from and he was interested in all that we had gone through in Russia and about my plans in this country. Then he asked me if I would like to see an English show. I told him that I would never understand a play in English. But he told me that this was the best method of learning a language. One evening, he told me that he would call me during the week to let me know where to go. He would get the tickets to a show. I thanked him and waited. Sure enough, on Tuesday, I was called in the office. Mr. O' Hearn is on the line and he told me to go to the Belasco Theater and there will be tickets for me in the box office. I called up my friend Joe and he came over. We had a bite to eat and went to the theater. Sure enough the tickets were there, third row orchestra. It was an opening night. People were coming by carriage, dressed to kill and I, too, am there direct from the butcher market, sawdust in the cuffs. No questions were asked of us and we saw the show. From then on, Mr. O' Hearn or his secretary would call me every week to tell me to go to various theaters on Broadway to get tickets for shows. That season I saw more shows than in any other time in my life. I gave tickets to my boss and the manager and my uncle. Mr. O' Hearn explained to me that he managed a string of theater houses around Broadway and he was renting them out to various troupes with the proviso that if the play is a success and they would need a larger house, they would be able to change houses. Mr. O' Hearn explained to me quite a bit about show business and how much it cost to produce a production. I remember one show in particular. The name was "The Song of the Flame", and it was very spectacular. Mr. O' Hearn told me that that production cost $100,000. It must have been a lot of money in the twenties. Now, probably, it is peanuts for a production. Anyway, these show helped me a lot to learn the language. After a while, I started to understand and was able to follow the plays. I should have had the sense to keep contact with Mr. O' Hearn, but when I left Mr. Savitzky, I lost contact with him. Mr. O' Hearn was always dressed immaculately and proper. But one Saturday night he came in and did not look like himself at all. He was disheveled and his face was

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puffed. His eyes were bleary and his clothes rumpled. He looked not at all like the dapper Mr. O' Hearn that I knew. He apologized for his looks and told me the reason. It seems that he was a big man in Tammany Hall and they just came through the campaign of Al Smith for President and the last few days had so much pressure put on them, and hope. But instead of the expected celebration there was terrible disappointment. Some boys drowned their sorrow in drink for a couple of days for consolation. That was what accounted for the change in appearance of Mr. O' Hearn. During the time that I was around Broadway and even to this day, the lights and the crowds of people on Broadway always fascinate me. It seems that life on Broadway never stops; it keeps its tempo 24 hours a day.

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Chapter 6 – Peekskill As I already mentioned, I arrived in Peekskill late on a Friday afternoon. Business in the store was going on at full speed. It was a very busy market. They also handled fruits and vegetables and a few grocery staples. The two owners, Sam Poritzky and Harry Weinger, took me up very nice and offered me the job immediately to start the next morning. Saturday, Sam Poritzky took me to his house for supper and I met the family. Everyone was pleasant. They lived in a big house on Diven Street, just around the corner from the store. The was a brother of Mrs. Poritzky, Ben Kasnetz, who worked in the market on the fruits and vegetables, and another young man who was officially working for Fleischman's Yeast, but who also was keeping the books for the Eagle Market, this was the name of the store. He was working on that evenings and weekends. His name was Jimmy Tenenbaum. So he and Ben Kasnetz were living in the Poritzky home in one large room and they also ate in the house. When the talk came where I am to sleep, the two of them suggested that we put another bed in their room and I could stay with them and so it was decided that I move in with them and this started a friendship that lasted a lifetime. The house was what I would call an open house, very friendly atmosphere. Our room upstairs became headquarters later also for two more friends that I got after a while, Ben Poritzky and Eli Gleiberman. They would come in and take a shave, change a shirt or tie; no one kept track. The only way we knew Ben's shirts was because they were larger. Suppertime we used to talk shop and exchange ideas and many a time I told Mr. Poritzky when he did something which I did not approve that if he was working for me I would fire him. There was free expression. Some evenings they used to go out for a ride in their new Packard and it became a standing joke by Ben, Eli and I, the way Mrs. Poritzky used to refer to the car as "My Packard". Harry Weinger was a very hard working man, very honest and straight. He respected everyone and everyone had respect for him. He was steady behind the counter. Sam Poritzky, he seldom worked in the store. He was always busy on the outside. He was the buyer. He went to New York and Yonkers. He had a knack for buying and most all times was able to get merchandise at his price. He also attended to contact selling to various institutions, schools, and hotels. He was a born manipulator. Harry Weinger had a brother who also came over not long ago from the other side. His name was Phil, "Feivel" in Yiddish and he too worked in the store. He was short and stocky but 59

he had trouble with his back so he could not do any lifting. But there was a job made for him. This store specialized in selling a lot of chopped meat. The special was 3 pounds for 50 cents and this was a good buy. The meat was good. They used to get special bull meat which normally lean and dark and mix it with fat trimmings and this made a fine mixture. So this Phil used to stand most of the day by the chopping machine and grind meat and weigh it out in 3 pound containers. So proficient did he become in measuring out 3 pounds, that he never had to add to the original scoop or take off when he put it on the scale. He just put it on the scale to verify it. So I named him "Three pound Feivel". After a year in my own store, where business went on leisurely, it was good to fall into a busy store where you could really let yourself go. Evidently my work was satisfactory. The first Saturday they offered me $45 and I accepted and so I made my first step into Westchester County. I often wonder how small incidents are sometimes the causes for great events. That chance meeting with my friend Harry, the butcher, was the first step in my getting out from New York and settling in Ossining, where I spent most of my active life. It was good to really work in earnest. Also, it was good to receive wages after spending the year in my store always worrying how to meet the bills. So now I was able to start paying off my debts to my friends from whom we borrowed the money to buy the store, also to send some money to my father, also to buy some clothes for myself. I got acquainted in Peekskill with many people through the Poritzky Family and up to this day, Rae and I have many friends in Peekskill. I met Sam's younger brother, Ben, who with another brother had a kosher meat market in Peekskill. It seems that Sam Poritzky brought over his father and mother, these two brothers and a married sister with her husband and settled them all in Peekskill. So with this Ben, and another fellow, Eli Glieberman, who was a native from Peekskill, we started to pal around and I am proud to say that this friendship lasted all these years, and to my wedding, which took place in Montreal, since I had no family here, only these people came with me to attend the wedding:- Ben and Rose Kaznetz, they were at that time married five months, Ben Poritzky with a girl friend whom he did not marry later, and Eli with my cousin Anna, who came visiting Uncle Jake from Kansas City, Missouri. At that time, Ben and Sidney were doing a tremendous business. They were working day and night. As I mentioned before, Peekskill 60

attracted many summer people who came for the summer from the city. Just being discovered were Lake Mohegan and Lake Peekskill and people first started to build and develop around there so they were very busy. So many a Saturday night after finishing in the Eagle Market around 10:00 PM, I went over and cut meat at Benny's helping him fill order to go out Sunday morning. It seems when you are young, you can do anything without any ill effects. And so I felt quite comfortable in Peekskill. Everyone was friendly, as I said before. I was often invited to go for a ride with the Poritzky's, to go to visit Mrs. Poritzky's mother who lived in Mt. Vernon with an unmarried sister. I don't know if it was by design or not, but it was a homey atmosphere. Poritzky's house was always, as I mentioned before, an open house. The boys were all over the place and it was always lively. It was nice to watch the boys grow. Now they are in business and Peekskill is full of Poritzky's. All this time while one is single, people always are trying to find you a mate. I remember during the time when we had the store with Sol Gorelick. All the customers were out to marry us off. How come two young boys should not get married and everyone had a daughter, sister or cousin which would be the right girl for me or Sol. The same thing was in Peekskill. This one had a girl and someone else knew of a girl for me. A sister of Sam Poritzky came visiting to this country from Poland with a daughter, a very fine young lady. But I could not see this girl coming from a rich family in Warsaw to settle here in Peekskill on a butcher's salary and to have to do her own housework. It just did not add up. So she went back to Poland. Luckily she got to Israel and married there a very fine man. Some years back they came for a visit to the Poritzky's and I met them. I was glad to see that they were a very happy couple. But at this time this seemed to me the farthest thing from my mind. I had the responsibility on my shoulders of paying off my debts and helping out my father and my brothers and sisters in Russia. So I just dismissed every opportunity that came along until Rae arrived on the horizon and all resolutions and figures went overboard. It just goes to show that there is a time and a place for everything and that somewhere somebody is managing everything. In my first years in New York, I tried to set up a landsmanschaft organization from our people who came from Bushavitz. I tried to contact some of my countrymen and found one, Reb Chayim. He was a brother-in-law of Yaakov, the butcher, whom I knew very well. But this Chayim, who was married to Tzipa, Yaakov's sister, him I 61

did not know but I met him in New York. He was an interesting person. He was many years in America but did not know how to read or write. However, he managed to speak a little English. He knew where each of our country people lived and there were quite many. He knew which train to take and where to get off and how many blocks to walk to the right or left and how many floors to walk up. It was unbelievable how he managed to store up all this knowledge in his mind. So he took me around to get acquainted with the people. Some knew me as a child and some did not know me but everyone knew my father, and when I explained to them my purpose most of them agreed. But the trouble was transportation. Some lived in Brooklyn, some in the Bronx, and some in Paterson, NJ. None yet had cars at that time, so some kind of central point had to be set up so it would suit to most people so I hired a meeting room in the "Forverts" Building and sent out handwritten invitation cards to all the addresses which this Chayim provided for me and to the first meeting we had thirteen people attending, which was not bad. They all thought well of the idea. We all decided to call the organization The Bushavitzer Benevolent Association. I borrowed a constitution booklet from some other organization and we set up a committee to study and outline a constitution for our organization. My chief assistant and moral support was one Mordechai Kurnick who came to New York not long before me. He was a married man. He had one son in America for a long time and he came to America with one son a few years younger than me and one grown daughter. She was and intelligent young lady from home. She played the piano and all around cultural for Bushavitz. He, this Mordechai, was a very good friend of my father and it was his hope that we set up a landsmanschaft organization and start a synagogue of our own and bring over my father as a Rabbi. Many of the immigrants in New York were doing this. It was self-preservation with an organization and some kind of a prayer house. They managed to keep together and also be of assistance to one another in time of need. Encouraged from the first meeting, we called another one in a month, but the attendance started to dwindle. We had several meetings. I was the unofficial secretary and manager, but at that time it was that I settled in Peekskill, and this is an hour travel to Grand Central and then first to downtown. It was really a problem, but I held on for a few months in the hope that we will succeed to set up an organization and I will be able to bring my father over as a Rabbi outside of the quota.

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But then, in 1928 or 1929, President Hoover eliminated this exclusion for clergy to enter this country outside of the quota. Since the organization did not seem to progress and it was so hard to get people interested enough to do some work, I dropped the idea and did not follow it up anymore. So between this and the hardship to travel and the lukewarm reply by my "landsmen", we dropped the whole project. I still have by me the first minutes and minutes of the first few meetings that we had in the "Forvertz" Building. All this time I kept in contact with the boys in New York and visited them as often as I could. Joe and Polly always managed to have a girl visiting them when I came in from the country. Joe and Polly had many friends and they always had people in the house so it was pleasant to get together with them. Polly had a brother by the name of Charley "Hatcha", who also lived in Brooklyn. He was married and had three little girls. At that time, he was more unemployed than employed. It seems there always was slack or strike in his shop, so this Charley also kept mentioning all the time that he had a couple of nice girls for me. The joke was that these were twin girls and this is the story. In Russia, where he was born, his parents died where he was born, his parents died when he was a baby and a woman next door took him in and nursed him and brought him up together with her children and then they all came to Canada, where that family settled in Montreal and the twin girls were born there. Charley went to New York where he got married and lived in Brooklyn, but he kept in touch with his foster parent family, so these are the girls he kept mentioning which he will import from Canada. So this was just talking since there enough girls in New York. One Sunday, I came to visit Joe and Polly and there is a new girl in the house whom they introduced as Rachel Grossman from Montreal, who came to visit Charley, so for once Charley made good his promise. So we had a nice meal which Polly prepared and since I already had a car at that time I took her out for a ride toward Coney Island. The day was very cold and by the time we came back her feet were almost frozen, but we had a very nice visit. I must state right here that I liked the girl since I late married her. This I noticed that she did not come from a rich home, but certainly this did not bother me the least, perhaps it was an asset. Since I was leery about girls from rich homes who would have demands for a rich standard of living and which at that time I would not be able to provide, and to be set up by in-laws I could not see that I would enjoy. 63

I came back to Peekskill and told my friends, Ben Poritzky and Eli, that I had met a very nice girl. To this day they kid me on the way I described my new acquaintance and since this was the weekend of Christmas, we decided that we shall all go out for New Year's Eve. Ben and Eli had girls from which to choose for dates and we decided to spend the evening in Locust Manor in Peekskill. So I went and brought Rae to Peekskill and we had a great evening together. We even called Montreal and spoke to Sara, Rae's twin, and by the time we took Rae back to Brooklyn and the other girls home and came home to Peekskill, it was an all night affair. Ben and Eli still claim that it was my fault since I spent too much time saying good night to Rae. She stayed in New York a couple of weeks and went home. We corresponded for a while and then I stopped since, as I mentioned before, that I felt the responsibility of helping my family at home. I did not feel that it was right of me to tie myself up with a girl, so I explained it to Rae that I am in no position to think of marriage at this point and it would not be right for me to keep up our correspondence any longer and I stopped writing to her. Meanwhile, Ben, Eli and I used to be together all the time around Peekskill and also traveling to New York to see shows. They named us the Three Musketeers. Benny's brother, Isaac, the one who was in business with him, was a very quiet man even before he married. He never went with us. He was more settled. I remember one Sunday afternoon we were on Second Avenue coming out from some Jewish theater, and we met Isaac walking in the street with an umbrella, and for many years we kept kidding him about the umbrella and it status. Eli was a happy-go-lucky guy. He lived by himself in Peekskill, although he had a father in town, but, since his mother was dead and his father remarried he was not living with him. He worked at odd jobs, but mostly he liked to be around cars. He used to drive like crazy and was in many near accidents. His father used to say that the reason he never got into a serious accident was because he was fast for them. He had a grandmother and aunts and uncles in the Bronx, whom we occasionally visited. They were nice people and they took us up very nicely. Benny was at that time going out steady with a girl by the name of Ruth from the Bronx. He already gave her an expensive diamond ring and they were considered engaged. As it turned out later, they never were married. Instead, he later married a Peekskill girl, Lena Kuritzky, and lived happily ever after. They have a son and a daughter both married. His son came into the business with him and they have 64

established a very big meat business supplying hotels and restaurants, not in the kosher line. But at that time, he and his brother were doing a tremendous kosher meat business. There were a lot of people coming out all around Peekskill for the summer since it was so near to New York. So people discovered that they can go to the country and still be near New York, what we now call commuting. Jimmy Tenenbaum was also married and set up a home for himself. He married a very fine girl by the name of Fay from New York. She was a school teacher and although Jimmy was later elevated to a very high job at Fleischman's, at a great salary and they lived in a very nice home, she continued to work all the years. They had one son. Both of them are already dead. Ben Kasnetz, who on my advice and reasoning with Sam Poritzky, was transferred; to the meat department and trained as a butcher. He was going out with a Peekskill girl named Rose Bensky. Her father and six brothers had a large corner stationary store on Main Street in Peekskill. He later married her and it was something to be at that wedding where six brothers were the ushers. Meanwhile time rolls on and on. During my next visit to Joe and Polly, they told me that Rae from Montreal is coming again during Christmas and New Years holidays. The year was 1930. The previous year, as I explained before, Polly's brother, Charley, invited her but; evidently his wife Rose was not very gracious to her since she was under no obligation to the Grossman family herself. So there was no second invitation from Charley, but my friends, Joe and Polly, took it upon themselves to invite her to their house in their effort to do something for me even without my knowledge. Naturally, I came to visit her and took her out once and by then it was already clear in my mind that I shall not let her go and we announce our decision to Joe and Polly, who were very happy for us. Unfortunately, something terrible happened. They had a little boy of about 2 1/2 years and he sick and just in about a few days he died. It was an awful blow to the young parents and certainly was no time for Rae to visit. I did not want to let her go back so soon, so I got her lodged by a family in Peekskill, and I even had an idea for her to find work here and remain in the States, but her mother would not hear of it. So after a couple of weeks she went back home, officially engaged. That winter, I got my naturalization papers and became an American citizen. So for Passover, I decided to go for a visit to Canada and visit my future family. With an eye for Rae's twin sister, Sara, I invited a friend of mine from New York, Milton Smith, to come along. He, too, was single, so we made the trip in my car. We were received 65

very nicely. Her mother was a very fine Jewish mother. She presented me with the traditional pocket watch, which is usually given to a "chosen", that is a bridegroom. I forgot to mention that before Rae left from New York, I presented her with a very fine watch and an engagement ring. Besides Sara, there were two other sisters and two brothers married. They all took me up very nice and it was decided that we should get married at "Lag BaOmer", which is a half holiday about three weeks after Passover. Since there is a period of seven weeks between Passover and "Shavuos" when no marriages are performed and this is the only break in those weeks. The date was Tuesday, May 5, 1931. As I already, my friends Ben Poritzky with his girlfriend, Ruth, Eli and my cousin Anna, from Kansas City, who was visiting East at that time and Ben Kasnetz and his bride of three months, Rose, came to our wedding and they were in lieu of my family. We came in two cars and they all had a lovely time. All through the years the trip to Montreal and the wedding are a constant piece of conversation by them. As I mentioned, I bought Rae a ring and a watch. Since I had no money, I barely finished paying up my debts and was sending money to my father so I got them on credit to pay off later, and certainly I had no money to set up a house with furniture, so we decided to hire a bungalow for the summer months so that we would not have to worry about rent and furniture. The figure was that we would not be sitting h home the summer evenings and weekends. Joe also wanted to send Polly away from the city, so we decided to hire a bungalow for the four of us and we got a nice little inexpensive bungalow in Mohegan not far from the lake. So after the wedding which was held in a nice synagogue followed by a nice meal in a restaurant, we stayed overnight in a hotel in Montreal and the next day in the afternoon we started on the way to New York and Mohegan. Before that I had a funny sensation while attending the papers for Rae in the American Consulate, where Rae was entering the United States on my citizen papers, me, an immigrant, who a few years ago had but to hope and pray to enter this country. Now the American Consul takes me up as a countryman and is so eager to help and assist in any way. How things change. The figure with the bungalow was that since between Joe and me, it will be easy to carry and during the summer I shall save up some money to buy furniture. But as so many times we figure and somewhere else quite different arrangements are set up. Polly came down to the bungalow the first week. The weather was yet chilly and there were no other people around yet so she 66

did not like it and she decided to give up the project. Well, if she did not want to come out certainly I would not hold Joe to the deal so I had to assume the full obligation for the bungalow. A couple of weeks later, I came home and found Rae in bed with a wet towel on her head. To my question what is wrong, she makes to nothing. She has a headache and it will go over. But I did not like it and I ran over to a doctor I knew from Peekskill, whom I knew and who lived on Lexington Avenue not far from us. He came over and looked at Rae and called me out and says that I must take her right over to the hospital to be operated on for appendicitis. Now the question was how I tell Rae that she is to be operated on. Here I marry a healthy girl, bring her to Mohegan and she has to be operated with no one of her family here, but it could not be helped. It had to be done. I told the doctor to make arrangements in the hospital and I went in to Rae and started to fabricate a story. It must have been alright, since she did not question me much or because she trusted me. Anyway, she was operated the next morning and was in the hospital for 12 days. I called Montreal to let them know and her mother came over to be with us for her convalescence. All these added expenses I did not figure on. So as the summer rolled on, I had no money to think of for furniture. But as it turned out I was to settle in Ossining. Since my bosses by that time had a branch store in Ossining, which they opened the year before and they decided to put me in charge of it at this time so there was no reason for me to get an apartment in Peekskill, and, instead, we looked for a place in Ossining and we found a very nice little apartment in Ossining. So I took a loan of $500 and let Rae and her mother go out shopping and sure enough when the time came to move from the bungalow we set up a modest apartment. It was in a twofamily house. The rooms were not heated to we bought a combination gas and coal stove and were heating it ourselves. Later we had it changed to kerosene, which was much easier than coal. In that apartment, our daughter, Sara Lee, was born and although she was bundled up in my old sweaters, she never had a cold. She was a remarkably healthy child. That summer in Mohegan, in spite of Rae's illness, we had a very nice summer. Eli and Benny were always visiting us. For a while my cousin Anna stayed with us. We used to go out on the lake boating and fishing. Sometimes us boys went out and hired horses to ride and came riding up like Cossacks to the bungalow. I remember we tried to put Rae up on a horse and she was too to talk or move. Rae and I went out 67

either on an evening or on Sunday morning fishing on the lake and catch a bunch of sunfish, clean them up and fry them right away, and they tasted like nothing else. Around the lake there were berries. One type of berries grows on trees, which I did not know what they were, so I brought a bunch home and my mother-in-law says yes, sure, she knows. So I went to town and bought a barrel and picked baskets of elderberries and she started to fill the barrel with them and also with sugar. We put the barrel in the corner of the living room of the bungalow. Came Friday evening we had our meal. Rae and her mother lit the Saturday candles and since there was nothing much to do and I had to be up early, so we did not stay up much and went to bed. All of a sudden there is an explosion and a hissing sound and a flood. Evidently, mother had the barrel too tight so it blew the stopper out and the wine started shooting up to the ceiling. I ran out and stopped it with my hand gradually, but not before half of the wine ran out and the ceiling and the walls were painted in various designs.

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Chapter 7 - Kosher Market War Activities I was managing the Eagle Market for ten years. The later years were the depression years. Business fell down very much. We were just two men working in the store and the chain stores started to take in meat. The prospect for advancement did not look too good. The bosses were complaining that they were losing money, and the outlook for any raises in salary just was not there. Here we had Sara Lee and Jerry was on the way and by rights I should be looking out for an increase in income, so, although the place and conditions were pleasant, I decided that it was high time I started to look towards doing something for myself. There was in town a man by the name of Spatz, who owned a small meat market where he also sold live poultry. The store was in the Italian section which was just right for this type of business and he wanted to sell out, so I made a deal with him. We agreed on the price, and, since we knew each other well, he told me that he did not want a deposit from me. We made up that within two weeks I should take the store over since I wanted to give my bosses two week's notice, and at that time I should settle with him the complete deal. So I notified my bosses, Mr. Poritzky and Mr. Weinger that I am leaving them. To them it came as a complete surprise since by then we were like one family. But I explained to them that by now I had to try something for myself with the added experience which I will have. And I could not see from the business in the Eagle Market that I should be able to count on any substantial increase in the near future. They tried to talk me out of it, stating that the time was not good and it is risky to try any new business, but I had my mind made up. I must state here two things. One, that this step was taken with the full cooperation and understanding with Rae, and second, that I still had no money to go in business with and that for any financing of the deal I would have to make a loan. But we decided on this step with the full realization of the risk. So, when we came to the agreement with Harry Spatz and I was ready to give him a check for a deposit, he told me that he trusts me and that his word is like a million dollars. I notified my bosses that I shall leave in two weeks so that they could get somebody to replace me. This was towards the weekend. Meanwhile, Mr. Harry Spatz went into New York to visit his sick sister, and by Monday or Tuesday we were supposed to get over to the lawyer to settle the sale. So by Monday I am notified that Harry's sister died and that he is sitting "shiva" with the family in New York, so that I could not start to do anything in preparation and had to wait. 69

After a few days I called Mr. Spatz in New York to find out when he is coming back since I had to make arrangements and preparations here even as to borrowing money. So he starts telling me that he is sorry but the store is sold. I could not believe my ears. What does he mean the store is sold? Did not we make a deal, and he even refused a deposit, saying that his word is worth a million dollars? Well, he was hemming and hawing that he could not get out of it and anyway this was a cash sale and from me he was taking a mortgage and he needed the cash. So said to him that we had made an agreement and why did he not let me know about it. I did not come from the street – he knew that I was leaving a job where I had stayed for ten years and I just gave my bosses notice that I am leaving. Well, all he could say was that he was sorry. One can just imagine how I felt. Here I am left with nothing and made a fool of to boot. I felt that perhaps he should have died instead of his sister. My bosses, Poritzky and Weinger tried to console me and told me to forget it and that nothing changed and that I should continue to stay in the Eagle Market. But I told them that I could not do that. Once I made up my mind to leave, it would not be proper to remain on the job any more. In town it made quite a commotion. The man who outbid me was the kosher butcher in Ossining by the name of Daitch and he owned the kosher market for about 7 or 8 years. By working with his wife in the store and living very modestly he had accumulated a little money. So now he wanted to branch out to another business. So this became the topic of conversation for the town, since we all three belonged to the Congregation Sons of Israel in Ossining. Everyone knew that I was handed a dirty deal and that both Daitch and Spatz did a bad thing. If Mr. Daitch had wanted the store, he could have bought it earlier and not cause me to leave a position which I held with respect for ten years. And the same was true with Spatz – he knew that I just resigned from my job to take over his store, and if he had wanted to make a deal with Daitch, he could have done so earlier. So people were talking and everyone thought that it was wrong. When I came to the Congregation meeting everybody was on my side tearing those two to shreds. A move started to advise me to open a kosher meat store and I would bet the support of the Congregation. Worse yet, Rabbi Goldman, our Rabbi in Ossining, flatly advised Mr. Daitch that he would not allow him to run the two businesses together. He either shall run the kosher store, or take over the other market. On this Mr. Daitch never figured. In the kosher store he was making a living and he bought the other one for speculation 70

to make some easier money than plucking chickens. So, when Rabbi Goldman forbade him to carry on both businesses, and when he also heard talk that I might open a kosher store, and with all the Jewish population up in arms against him, he let it be known that he would sell the kosher store. Some of my friends advised me to buy this store, since it was an established business. If one can not make a fortune in it, a living it will give. But I was so sore at this man that I did not want to have anything to do with him and I said that to go into the kosher business I will rather open a new store than take over his. But in general I was at that time far from the thought of the kosher line. Here I was for the past ten years in Ossining and almost two years before in the Eagle Market in Peekskill and got used to this type of business. I already had a following in the community and to start a new project entirely, I just had no heart for it. On Spring Street there was a vacant store, actually a double store, which could have been gotten for a very reasonable rental, including three months' concession, so I told my friend Manny Lauterbach, a local attorney, to go ahead and make arrangements to hire the store. But here he and another friend, Phil Kleinman, started to work on me not to do it but to consider taking over the kosher store. For one thing they knew I had no money to play around with. Secondly, since this Daitch had to get the store off his hands, it could be bought cheap, and thirdly, it was an established business and with careful management and hard work one could make a living there. With that and the pressure of the rest of the Jewish Community, I really did not know what to do. I remember I came home form the meeting about eleven o'clock in the evening and sat up in bed with Rae almost all night discussing the issues back and forth. Taking everything into consideration, and since we had no funds to play around with, we decided to buy the kosher market. Since Mr. Daitch would not require all the cash anyway, it would be easier to swing and perhaps be able to make a living immediately instead of gambling with a new business where one is not sure how good it would start off. So I told Manny in the morning to start negotiation with Daitch. But I left it to him and to Phil Kleinman to put through the deal. I did not want to deal with Daitch directly myself. So this is how I became a kosher butcher, I paid to Daitch $500 and gave him notes for $500 payable in a year, and I was in business in a line which I did not have any idea of getting into. It took time to get used to it with the small amount of stock one is forced to handle since, by rights, meat should not be kept longer than three days. After that it has to be 71

either washed or koshered and that already changes its color and people know that it is not fresh. Other problems one comes to know, such as that everyone wants the best cuts, first cut, and what shall the poor butcher do with his other cuts? That's his headache, literally, and I was forced to sell my expensive meats which were left over to my friends in restaurants with whom I had dealt before at much reduced prices. Then also there was not enough activity for me in this store, coming from a large market where there was always enough to do I found here too much time on my hands, since after the morning rush there was very little to do in the afternoons. But little by little, I began to get used to it and to find my way around. We lived on Croton Street, right around the corner from the synagogue on Waller Avenue, so any time anyone needed a "minyan", I was on call, and I started taking more interest in the activities of the congregation. Since now, I had all the Sabbaths and Jewish Holidays free, I started to serve on various committees and to take an active part in the congregation affairs. Sara Lee was growing very nicely, Rae's family from Canada were visiting occasionally. We settled down to a quiet life. Jerry was born and for his "briss" I invited as a "mohel", a dear friend of my father's with whom he studied in the "yeshivah". His name was Mendel the "Shochet". He lived in Patterson, New Jersey, and I knew that when I shall write to my father that Mendel the "Shochet" was the "mohel" of his grandson, it will be as if he himself did it. Mendel was a European Jew with a beard. Now it is a rarity to see one without a beard, but at that time a Jew with a beard was considered a greenhorn, so I was criticized by some friends for bringing in an old time "mohel", but I did not care. As if for spite, it had to happen that Jerry was a lively baby and he kicked off the bandage during the afternoon. I forgot to mention that the "briss" was on a Saturday and since I had no one to attend in the house to prepare for the Sabbath, I arranged with Rabbi Goldman to have Mendel stay with him. So late Saturday afternoon we took a walk to the hospital and we were told about the baby kicking off the bandage and starting to bleed. But by the time we came over everything was fixed and thanks to G-D there was no damage, but people had something to talk about after. Waller Avenue was an old street and on both sides there were old chestnut trees growing, so come around the holidays, I remember Sara Lee dressed in a cute little dress made by Rae, picking chestnuts from the sidewalk. Now all the trees are cut down and the synagogue is also not there any more. A veterans' organization bought it

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for a club and meeting place and as the time went on the children grew up a little and soon they started to march off to Park School together. This Croton Street deserves mentioning. Actually, if I had the power, I would rename it America, since on a stretch of two small blocks which was actually one long street, there lived Irish, Italians, Blacks and Jewish people and all the years I can remember there was never an argument between them. They were all like one family – quite a difference from the progress we arrived at these days with the race problem so prominent everywhere. When we moved out from Croton Street to Forest Avenue, we were the only Jewish family on the street. Only Mannie Lauterbach lived two blocks away and we used to see each other often. One of the residents of Croton Street, Sam Chernoff, had an old father living with him at that time. He was about eighty-five years old. In Russia where he came from he was playing for years in a military band and he had all kinds of stories to tell of his life and experiences in the old world. He was an intelligent man and in his youth he came in contact with many great personalities. He knew personally the Yiddish writers Mendele and Sholem Aleichem. It was very interesting to listen to him tell of places and persons of whom I either heard of or, read about, and here he was there or knew them. Another interesting person in town was Abe Rosen. He lives by himself. He did not have any family here. He was married in his younger years and had a son somewhere but here he had no one. He was a happy go lucky guy. He used to go around selling shirts and ties. Everyone was his friend or he better be. He was very sensitive and opinionated and you'd better agree with him or he was you enemy – quite a character. These people, knowing that I had time in the afternoons made a practice of visiting me and killing some time. In the congregation there was this man, Moe Myers, whom I mentioned before, a powerful personality, respected by Jews and non-Jews, and Chayim Brown, who was conducting the services on weekdays and also on Saturdays and holidays. He was an interesting man, although he was going around with an old truck collecting rags and old metals, everyone respected him. He was an honest man and he lived a long life. He was about ninety-four when he died. Rae, besides raising the children and attending to the house herself, also took part in the affairs of the Sisterhood and the Congregation and served on many committees in the Sisterhood and the Hadassah, the two active Jewish organizations in town. She later served as president in both of these organizations. The congregation was small at 73

that time and new members were a rarity and everyone really pitched in and worked wholeheartedly for the congregation. Meetings were held every two weeks, dues were a half dollar per meeting, and those meetings were attended by about ninety-five percent of the membership. There was a personal interest by the members to take an interest in the activities and some of the meetings were quite heated. An expenditure of 79 cents was an item for an hour's discussion. It is quite in contrast to these days. Now it is hard to get people to attend meetings and the natural tie to the congregation is not there the way it was those days. I can see many factors contributing to it. Those days not everyone had radios or even cars, not to mention television, so the main social contact was the synagogue and the meetings where one could exchange ideas and receive news form the community, the city and the country. It is surprising how fast news travels, but still one must confess that our present congregation is striving. We moved and built a beautiful temple for us at a very high cost and somehow it was done and we maintain a Rabbi and Cantor and a principal for the school and we keep going. So it must be that people are working and contributing now, too. The Second World War started with shortages in many commodities with rationing of gas, meat, butter, sugar and the business of stamps. I was of military age and had to register although it was far-fetched that I should be called in the army. Business, as usual during a war, was good. People seemed to have more money. The problem was to get merchandise, so the Black Market started. From the slaughterhouses, for legal prices, one was able to get very little supplies and in order to exist and stay in business, one was forced to pay black market prices, and this in turn had to be transferred to the customer wanting a meal, who had to pay the inflated prices. And why were they inflated? Because I had to pay much more than legal prices and for taking a risk of fines, one had to be compensated. Also the amount of meat handled was less than in normal times and from this small amount one had to draw out a living since I was not engaged in anything else. So this was the vicious circle one was caught in. The justification was that we fed the population so they could go on with every day activities and also contribute to the war effort. There were in Westchester County three small slaughterhouses where farmers used to butcher sometimes a cow or a pig. They were not modern, but for the amount of animals slaughtered it was sufficient. Then even the laws were much less stringent than they are now. As I mentioned before, I found a lot of time on my hands and since 74

I knew how to butcher animals from the old country, I started to go out in the country from time to time and buy a cow or a calf, bring it over to the slaughterhouse in Yorktown and get the "shochet" to kill it and inspect it for kosher. Then I would call up the Board of Health in White Plains and a Board of Health inspector would come out and inspect the carcass and stamp it fit to be sold so that I had a record as an abattoir in White Plains. Now that the supply of meat which I could legally get from the slaughterhouse was limited, I started to go out in the country and again buy up here a cow or calf and butcher it and this way was able to supplement my meat supply. And this is where my previous record as a slaughterer came in handy, because the government put on strict restrictions on new slaughterhouses, permits were issued only to those butchers who formerly had a record as abattoirs and so I received an official permit number and I was allowed to go and butcher animals legally. I also had my own stamp number to stamp each carcass. So now I got together with my friend Eli Glieberman from Peekskill and we set out to do business. I had my store and I also had the extra ice box which I brought over from Maple Place to where I had moved to Spring Street, to store the hind quarters and some animals which did not go through the Rabbi's kosher inspection and I also had a little truck, so we started to slaughter cows and calves. The idea was that everything is slaughtered kosher and whatever I can use for the store naturally I take for me, and the balance of the meat and the hind parts and those animals which did not stand kosher inspection we sold to butchers and restaurants. This is where Eli came in, he is a born salesman. He can go out and sell anything, anytime to anybody, aside from the fact that meat as a commodity at that time sold itself, everyone was begging to buy. We arranged with a cattle dealer from upstate to supply us once a week with about half a dozen cows and from fifteen to twenty calves and he would have them delivered to us in the Yorktown slaughterhouse Monday morning. We would have them butchered during the day. By Tuesday morning they would be inspected and by Tuesday afternoon, Eli would bring in the meat and for the balance of the week we would work it out. Some of it was sold straight to butchers and some we sold to restaurants and this required work, but who cared, we were young and hours did not count. There were a lot of details about the stamps; one had to report the weight of the carcasses to the O.P.A. and turn in the amount of stamps according to the weight. There is where the trouble came in, nobody got enough stamps to buy as much meat as they wanted and there were cases where one had to use some common sense. A 75

family where two or three people worked for the war effort had to have substantial meals in order to complete a good day's work and they have not enough stamps to buy their food. So one has to use his head to figure out what is more important, the letter of the law or the war effort to see that the workers had a decent meal to eat. The stamps had to be deposited in the bank in envelopes, each one marked with the amount it contained. I remember one day I brought in some envelopes with stamps to deposit and proceeded to count them. In one envelope he found one too many, and in another there were two short. So I told this old man that I had no secretary to do my work and that we had to do everything ourselves and sometimes one can overlook one or two stamps in one way or another. The poor man could not see it. According to him I should have gone over each envelope twice to make sure the count was right. Once I was called to the main office of the O.P.A. in New York so I went over and there was a tremendous office with many men and girls working, each in his or her cubby hole. I was directed to a nice, well-dressed man who started immediately to question me on my conduct of business, so I asked him why I was asked to come here. Don't I turn in my report or don't I deposit my stamps regularly? So he says, yes, they get my report and stamps but what he wants to know is how I arrive on the right amount of the animals I slaughter, so I answered him that people who handle animals steady get to know to gage the yield of a carcass from a live animal. He could not see it; one can still make a mistake. Would it not be simpler to weigh the cows before they are slaughtered, and so, no one would have to guess? So I asked him, "And where will Farmer Jones get a scale?" He thought a minute and says how about a coal yard. They have scales. So I just looked at him. There sits an intelligent, educated, well-dressed young man who probably never was out to a farm whose only interest is that the figures should agree not caring how. So I answered him, "Do you know that I get allowed 64 gallons of gas for three months for my truck, so how could I afford to travel with the cow to a scale to be weighed not to mention the time lost?" So he asked me how, then, do I buy from the farmer. So I give him al little lesson on doing business with a farmer. I told him that sometimes we buy a cow and end up with a dozen eggs and a rooster and two chickens all in one deal. To this day, I don't think I convince this city slicker on the method of country business. Ben Poritzky from Peekskill was also doing the same but butchering only on a larger scale. He also got a permit as an abattoir since for years he was going out in the 76

country and buying cows and calves and slaughtering them in a little farm slaughterhouse near Peekskill, owned by a man named Myer Lupian. So now Ben bought up a partnership of that farm and they were doing quite a business there. Eli and I were quite busy in our own work. On the horizon arrived at that time my old friend Smith from Brooklyn. After not seeing him for quite a few years, he suddenly appeared as a just returned soldier from the Korean War, and looking to settle some place and get some work. In the army he learned to be a tin smith. The government at that time was selling surplus goods. Some was war material and some things could also be used for civilian use. So I talked him into going and buying up some of the surplus goods, and we will get a store and see what he will be able to work out. Perhaps some he can prepare as a tin smith and some other products we will be able to sell to various other business places, and so we set up some sort of a partnership that would give him a livelihood if thing went halfway alright. But he did not turn out to be much of a businessman. The lots of merchandise which he bought did not turn out to be of a nature which could be utilized or sold around here. For instance, he bought an electric generator which needed a truck to move it alone, and what could we do with a generator of this sort in Ossining? Or he bought a lot of some boxes made of wood reinforced with metal to which could be attached wooden handles to carry electric batteries in the jungle. I peddled some to various people and some I stored in the basement at 2 Maple Place, and I believe they are still there. And to work in his shop he also did not have much patience. So after some months of trial he decided that he had enough and he left and I remained with some of the stock to sell out as well as I could – one more adventure. How did I come to know this Smithy? When I had my store in Flatbush, he, at that time used to go around with a little truck selling cut parts of meat to small butchers. So one day he stopped in to me and we got acquainted and he used to stop over to the store all the time. Sometimes I bought from him and sometimes not, but we became friends. In any business place all types of people are coming in, some to buy and some to sell, and many are people who are engaged in work for charity institutions, no difference of which religion. So I shall never forget one day some Catholic sisters came in and left me some literature on the particular institution that they were working for. So I was sitting in my little office and reading the literature, since time I had enough and Smithy walks in and asked me what was I reading the literature for,

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so not thinking much I answered him that things the way they are I think I shall change my religion and become a Catholic. Maybe things will be better. So he looked at me and he says, "You a Catholic, you with your nose?", and we both had a good laugh on that, so for a few months I came in contact with him again and I don't know what became of him after that. To do the slaughtering for me as "shochet", I used a man from Tarrytown since at that time we had no "shochet" of our own in Ossining. His name was Mr. Shulman. He was a very short man, but he was an expert "shochet" and also was a marvelous Cantor. He had a very melodious voice and he was chanting the prayers beautifully. He was my "shochet" for a few years before I started to butcher with Eli. He used to kill the chickens for me weekly and also an occasional cow or calf. As I mentioned before, I had a motorcycle with a side box for delivery and a young boy dressed in a chauffeur's uniform to do the delivery, and it was a familiar sight to see my driver drive this Mr. Shulman to or from Tarrytown or to the country to slaughter some cow in the motorcycle and poor Mr. Shulman huddled in the box against the wind. But he did not mind that at all. He was for many years in Tarrytown and then he got a cantorial position in Troy or Rochester and he moved away. Some years later I got al letter from him that he was in an old peoples' home in Rockaway and he was pleading for some kind of help. His wife was dead already at that time. It broke my heart to read his letter, so I showed it to Ben and Eli and we decided to go visit with Mr. Shulman. It turned out that this was a hotel for elderly people and his son was paying for him, but the poor man was very unhappy, especially after the loss of his wife. He was more lonesome than anything else. He cried like a baby. He was ashamed to be seen like this since all his life he was and active person and here he was put with old folks, some sick, some helpless. We could not do much for him in this respect. We spent the afternoon with him and left him $25 and went home. I never heard from him anymore. All these years we saw Ben and Eli regularly and visited each other, also Isaac Poritzky, that is Ben's brother who was by then separated from Ben. He had the kosher market in Tarrytown and we visited with them quite often. Their children were a little older than ours, but Jerry and their Sandy were playing together very nicely and so were the girls. They had no car, so we were driving to them most of the time. After, when they sold the store in Tarrytown and moved to Beacon, NY, we missed them very much. This already was a longer trip and we could not visit them so often. 78

They had two daughters and one son. Ben had one son and one daughter. Eli had one son and two daughters, and we have two sons and one daughter, all approximately of the same ages. Our children naturally went to Hebrew School and were brought up in the spirit of Zionism and bringing them up kept us quite busy, what with meetings of the congregation and sisterhood, the Zionist organization and Hadassah, the Masons, the Eagles and the children's Young Judaea and scouts it kept us hopping. Jerry was also very busy with sports. Later on when he and Paul started caddying at Briar Hall, I had to go and take them over and go and call for them. Paul, when he grew up was president of Westchester Young Judaea and he had to get himself a car to make all the rounds through the county. Our time was quite taken up.

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Chapter 8 - Travelers' Aid One of the greatest "mitzvos" for a Jew is to give charity and assistance to the poor and strangers. In every large and small Jewish community there exists a committee for travelers' aid, to put one up overnight or Sabbath and get him car fare for the next town. Another type of traveler's aid was the "shluchim". Those are the representatives of the various institutions, such as "yeshivos", old age homes or orphanages. They come to a town and get into some known business place where they can get information about the Jewish population. In most cases it was the kosher butcher. He is supposed to know the community and who is who for a touch. Years ago we had in our town, a family by the name of Rogers, who had a boarding house where al the travelers who had to stay over were sent to. For a set price they stay over night or over Sabbath as the case would be. For many years I had the job of chairman of the traveler's aid, to attend to them. I must say that one meets all kinds of strange types. Some are very honest and deserve assistance. Some are arrogant and demanding and some are just out and out lazy, good for nothing who never want to work and this is their way of life. I remember one man whom when I first met was a young man. As year after year he came around, he got older and older. I guess he saw me the same way, since on ourselves we do not notice the change. One man kept promising me that he will put a dollar on a winning horse for me but that horse never won. Once, this was after Mrs. Rogers gave up the boarding house and I used to put up the travelers in the Ossining Hotel for sleeping only, a Rabbi came to town. He traveled with a "shames", that is a servant. Him I had to put up in my house. So the demands he put up for the accommodations and meals were shameful. I felt very bad for Rae. When he came around he talked my head off, he disturbed business, and he demanded all kinds of attention. I was glad to take him down to the train to get rid of him. Only I missed the train, so I took him down to Tarrytown so as not to have him on my neck for another few hours. One old man used to come around for many years. He had one eye, one wooden leg, one crutch and pockets full of pills and capsules. He was a walking drug store. Him I had to meet at the train and take to Mrs. Rogers' house, later to the Ossining Hotel and to the train. How could I let him maneuver himself, but then he traveled by himself. There are many interesting memories of the many individuals that we met. Many years before the hippies were known, on a summer day, a fairly young man came into 80

the store, barefoot, torn shirt, pants tied with a rope, a long red beard and the same long hair. He really looked like one of the apostles. This is the way he chose to live. He was not looking for any work, but help he wanted. Nowadays, you see many like him. At that time it was a novelty. It required a lot of time to attend to these people but, as I said, in my business I had enough time to spare for it. Since the busy time was in the mornings and in the afternoons there was hardly anything to do. So one afternoon, I was standing behind the showcase and I see a man walking down Maple Place towards my store. A man poorly dressed with dark eyeglasses with a cane being helped by another man who looked to me like another poor, poor blind man coming to beg. As he was approaching the door, I turned to the register and rang up a no sale, took out a nickel and started to hand it to him even before he asked for it, but as I turned the man called out in a loud, base voice, "Have you any loin lamb chops?" Now one must realize that loin lamb chops are the most expensive of lamb chops and besides they are not kosher. With my first impression of him as a blind beggar, it was hard to connect him with loin lamb chops and here I have the nickel in my hand which I was ready to hand him. I had to collect myself fast, so I answered him as best as I could that loin lamb chops we do not have, since they are not kosher, that the best we have are rib lamb chops of which he purchased a couple of pounds since this is what he wanted in the first place. It turned out that he was a very rich French Jew by the name of Findenque, and he lived in Briarcliff. He was in the import business. The man who was with him was his private chauffeur. He used to come each time with a different car the most expensive ones, Cadillacs, Chryslers, and Packards. So go know who is who. His wife also used to come around and we became very friendly but after a while they moved back to France. I kept a book for the money I spent. Also for the money that came in. The income was mostly from "yahrzeit", that is the yearly memorial day for the loved ones who passed away. People usually donated charity in their memory. Then people donated small sums on other occasions. If I was short, the congregation reimbursed me for it. The amounts which I handed out were according to my judgment. One can more or less see who is honest and deserves help. Some are chronic beggars and look for donations as something due them. Having plenty of idle time in the afternoons, I had many offers to take part in various card games in which some people participated, but I could not see anything in playing cards to the wonderment of some of my friends. How come a person does not play cards? 81

A man came to town, a middle aged Jewish man who was going to open a large grocery store and meat market. I guess nowadays you would call it a supermarket. While they were fixing the place, rather than hang around there, he started to come and spend hours in the afternoons in my store. He was an interesting man, experienced in the ways of the world. It was good to talk to him. We almost solved all the world problems. He being used to big business, big markets could not stop wondering how I with my small business and meager stock was able to exist. I had to explain to him the basic rules for kosher business. Meat could not be kept more than three days. After that, it had to be washed, refrigeration not being what it is nowadays the meat turned darker. It was not presentable any more; therefore, one could not keep large stock on hand. Then again, my business was limited just to the small Jewish population in contrast to his business where he is open to the general public. He can keep his meat much longer in his ice box or showcase not being restricted to any particular time. Anyway, he said in a joke that the Jewish butcher must be a magician to be able to draw a living from this little stock and so small a business. Those days there were still farms around Ossining. I used to go out in the country and buy a calf, cow or chickens. Inspection on slaughtered animals was done by the White Plains Board of Health. All I had to do was to call the Board of Health and the inspector would come out, inspect and stamp the meat. I used to go out over the weekend in the country and usually made some contact to buy chicken. Then by Tuesday evening I usually went to pick them up. The "shochet" used to come Wednesday morning to slaughter them. This was routine. The main thing was to pluck dry. We are not allowed to put them in hot water which is the easy way to take the feathers off. I had a helper named Charley, a colored man, happy go lucky, who was a kind of an all around man. He helped to clean up, pluck the chickens and do other odd jobs around the store. I inherited him from the previous owner of the store. Now in plucking chickens, those that are experts can do it fast and neat. Charley was neither. So the length of the time I did not mind, but he used to make a mess of a chicken. He used to tear the skin to shreds so that when he went to singe the excess hair and feathers the chicken looked very unappetizing. Now I came to this business from the non-kosher trade where chickens came packed in boxes. Beautifully clean. I could not for the world see how people were willing to pay money for something so unappetizing a product but people were used to it and this was the custom. Now for the record, there was nothing wrong with the chickens, only it did not look nice. 82

Later on, somebody from England introduced a dry plucking machine. As soon as it was possible to get one I ordered a machine. This was the most progressive step and in spite of the fact that it cost much money and made a terrific noise, I immediately order a plucking machine. It was heaven. Within a couple of hours, we were able to pluck all the chickens. They came out nice and clean. What a difference from Charley's creations, but what a noise the machine made. It was a good thing that there were no tenants over the store. Our Rabbi used to stop over and spend some time in the store. We used to talk of various things. Some pertaining to world news and mostly it was about things concerning the activities of the members of our Jewish congregation which at that time consisted of 65 members. Meetings were held once every two weeks and to a meeting usually turned out most of the members. About 90% of the membership attended meetings where ideas were aired out and exchanged. All problems were discussed, sometimes very heatedly. Dues were collected at $0.50 each meeting. Since almost everyone attended meetings regularly there was no problem of delinquency or arrears. Those days with prices soaring on everything including Rabbi's salaries, it is hard to conceive that a quarter a week dues covered the upkeep of the Rabbi and the synagogue, but those were different times. For one thing, the Rabbi was the teacher of the Hebrew School, also the Cantor and the "shochet". In short he fulfilled all the functions for a religious congregation. They never demanded luxuries. They were satisfied with a modest livelihood, at that things started to change after a while. I remember that at some time, it was in the 40's, together with a committee I went over to the Yeshivas Rabbi Yitzhok Elchonon, which is now known as Yeshiva University, to look for a Rabbi. When we told the placement director what we needed, he explained to us that they do not recommend their Rabbis to act as a "shochet". They will only allow him to be Rabbi and perhaps Cantor, which nowadays is also separate. When I questioned him what a congregation should do which cannot afford to employ two separate people, a Rabbi and a "shochet". He thought for a moment and answered me, "Sorry, but for the whole world we cannot worry." We came back and reported this to our congregation, to an open meeting that to hire we can only hire a Rabbi. One old-timer, Mr. Gordon, who used to go out in the country and buy a couple of chickens, bring them to the butcher shop for the "shochet" to slaughter, got up and asked, where will he get his chickens slaughtered 83

now that there will not be any "shochet" locally. So I answered him that as far as me being a kosher butcher, I hope to have the services of the "shochet" from Tarrytown, who was a friend of mine and would be glad to come out to earn an extra dollar and it would be under the Rabbi's supervision. As for Mr. Gordon, I told him what the placement director told us that for the whole world we cannot worry. So he got very sore at me and insulted me. The next morning, he came over to the store and told me that from this day on, his wife and the wives of his four married sons will never come into my store anymore. They did not. They all stopped patronizing me on his orders. I lost their business for serving on the Rabbi committee. The one hard fact in the kosher butcher business is that every housewife wants the first cut steaks, first cut chuck, first cut brisket. What is the poor butcher supposed to do with the other cuts? One cannot eat everything himself. I was forced many times to sell the other cuts to restaurants, naturally at much lower prices. The price on the first cuts had to be higher in order to give me some return on my investment and labor. The cry was that kosher meat is priced too high. Another factor on prices was that we had no refrigeration the way we have now. So meat could not be processed and kept the ways we do now so that contributed to the waste and price increase on the meat sold. I remember where I mostly tool a loss was on fish. Fish is a product that must be sold fresh, whereas meat, one can convert roast or pot roast into chopped meat and dispose of it in another way. This cannot be done with fish. Many a Friday, by noon time, I sent away 40-50 pounds of perfectly good fish of the best quality, since I had to handle nothing but the best, to Maryknoll Seminary, free. Since I could not sell it I might as well have somebody make use of it. While talking about fish, I remember the first years being eager to please people. I set up for delivery a motorcycle with a box on the side painted all around Cohen's Kosher Market Rapid Delivery. The driver was a young fellow, Jim Ryder, whom I dressed up in a uniform. I used to send him out in a radius of eight miles around Ossining. The expense was not tremendous, since he doubled in plucking chickens and cleaning the store. The main expense was keeping the motorbike in repair. No matter for what or where people used to call and they got delivery. I'll never forge one woman used to call from halfway to Peekskill, where she used to come for the summer. She used to order one pound of butterfish, priced $0.35, once a week, nothing else. I used to send 84

it to her. It probably cost me half a dollar the delivery to her. Take another instance, where an old mother or father came out to visit, the son or daughter had to provide a kosher meal. They would call the kosher butcher to send out a quarter or half chicken or a pound of chopped meat for the guest. The distance would be five or six miles and I would certainly stand to lose half a dollar on the deal, but I would not dare to refuse since I would not carry on my conscience that I refused to provide a kosher meal for an old mother or father. Or the pathetic scene, wherein walks a young woman with an old Jewish mother or mother-in-law, and she is buying for the old lady a quarter chicken, a pound of chopped meat or a little broiler, so she will have it for several times and G-D forbid she should buy meat for a meal for the whole family by the kosher butcher, heaven help her, she would get poisoned and the old mother standing and bargaining with the butcher to prove to the daughter or daughter-in-law that she is looking out for her expenses. Since, as I mentioned before, time I had plenty on the afternoons. I fixed up a little smoke house in the cellar of my house where is also served as a garage. I started smoking various items such as calf tongues, lamb breast and fowl. It came out very nice. It helped to supplement the income a little. Above all it helped to dispose of items that did not sell originally as fresh products. It was a novelty and it went over well for a while. Then I ran into trouble. I used apple wood for smoking to give the products a sweet taste and that left a sweet aroma hanging around the house for days. My tenants started to complain, so I had to cut it out. Those days we used to keep the store open Saturday evenings after the Sabbath. As soon as it got dark we used to open the store for business and it usually was a fine evening. Everyone was relaxed after the Sabbath. For a couple of hours we used to be busy and they used to hang around to keep me company until 11:00 or 11:30. Usually there always was someone to chew the rag with. Only it was hard to open up the store, one had to cut up the meat into cuts and also answer to customers but we managed it. After the war, Saturday night business was cut out, and wonder over wonder nobody missed it. Well, by then everyone already had refrigerators. They could shop for a few days ahead. As I mentioned before, my store was on Maple Place, a small store with a small icebox. On Spring Street directly facing Maple Place, was a butcher who was there for years passed away. The store fixtures were for sale, so I bought them. Now I had a nice big store with a large icebox. It was not originally a kosher place, but that can be fixed. It 85

has to be washed and cleaned. I also moved over my original icebox in the back, so that I had a spare icebox and good refrigeration. Over the store lived a man by the name of L. Cohen, who was crippled up very bad with arthritis. I was visiting with this man every spare moment I had. He was suffering very much. He had a son and a daughter who never married. At that time the daughter was quite along in years. They appreciated very much my visiting them. It is something to observe that some people are born to suffer. Take this family, the mother was bedridden for years and the daughter nursed her. After she died the father got sick and crippled. The daughter had to nurse him for years with one operation after another, so that she had no life of her own and remained an old maid. By then, we had a new Rabbi. The original Rabbi was Rabbi Goldman and now our Rabbi was Rabbi Fader. Before him we had a very young man and he did not last either. This Fader was not actually a Rabbi. He was a good teacher and Cantor. He was able to bring on Saturday morning about 30 to 35 children to the synagogue to pray. Considering that the congregation was much smaller then, it was an accomplishment. He had a beautiful voice to sing and it was a pleasure to listen to him. Since then he served in many congregations such as Newburgh, Miami, FL and is now the Cantor in Chevy Chase, near Washington, D.C. From time to time he comes around to visit Ossining and some people met him while he held the position as Cantor in Florida. In that store I stayed about nine years until I moved my business into my own building on the corner of Spring Street and Broad Avenue. On the advice of our son, Paul, who was then a little boy, we named the place Cohen's Broad Corner Kosher Market. In this place we stayed about 15 years until the end of 1969 when I officially stepped out business.

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Chapter 9 - Congregation Politics Into my store on Maple Place walked Mr. Morris Finkelstein, Mr. Morris Schleifer and Rabbi Goldman on the afternoon. As I mentioned before, in the afternoons there was not much to do. So after asking each other for our health and about the latest town news, they started to talk and let me know the reason for their surprise visit. They offered me the presidency of the Congregation Sons of Israel. This came as such a surprise to me. One has to understand that this was an established organization then about 40 year old with old families in town and also older members who worked for the congregation for years and I was just a newcomer and a young man. I just did not think that it was proper for me to take on such an important job. I thanked them wholeheartedly for the offer but I told them that I must decline. I did not think that I should accept the offer at this time. Perhaps at some later date when I am a little older and more acquainted with the community. I kept my promise, for I served the congregation in later years in many capacities. However, at the time it was flattering to me, a young man, new in the community, to get the offer of the presidency. Certain dates stick in a person's mind. One morning when Rabbi Fader came in the store and told me that Germany invaded Poland and from then on we followed the advent of the Nazi hordes all over Europe. I remember Mr. Martin Ogransky reporting that dark war clouds are gathering over Europe and the Nazis are poised to swallow all of Europe and you keep thinking back how I landed to become a kosher butcher. Before this I was managing the Eagle Market on the corner of Main and Central Avenues in Ossining for ten years for Poritzky and Weinger. Sara Lee was about four years, Jerry was on the way. This Eagle Market was the largest store of its kind in Ossining. This was before the chain stores took in meat and before the supermarkets. I stayed in that store for ten years. Why, I don't know. Part of it probably was because I was married and partly because it was a pleasant association. I was trusted in everything: to buy and sell, hire and fire people. I had a free hand to do what I wanted and I actually worked as if it was my own business. I retain the memories from that period. There was Sam Bassac, a Jewish boy from New York and an excellent salesman. He could sell anything to anybody. He should have been a barker at Coney Island, always with a joke but not a bit neat. He would pack up a bag full with various cuts of meat and chicken and put liver in a paper on the bottom and by the time the lady walks out from the store, blood is running all over her coat and there is commotion, but Sam gets away with a joke and a story, and everybody wants Sam to wait on them. There 87

was Joe Walsh, an Irishman, a very fine butcher whom I knew yet first from Peekskill, an old timer, excellent cutter and salesman. He had no children and he was a veteran from the Spanish American War. He was saying that all he was waiting for was until his wife dies and he will be able to go to a veteran's home. Later, I lost track of him. I don't know if he had his ambition fulfilled. He used to work for six months and then to for a two week period of drinking. After that he would get back to work earnestly. Then there was Julius Levin from the Bronx who also came from Russia and I started him off in the business the way I was started in New York., in the "Live and Let Live Market". We became very good friends. He ate lunches in our house. He lived in the Bronx with his mother and two unmarried sisters and for years we were friends. Then he married and settled in Pennsylvania and somehow we lost track of each other. So after spending ten years in the Eagle Market, I became a kosher butcher. Actually I never dreamt that I will go in for this kind of business, (How I landed in it I shall explain later.) but I found myself in the kosher meat business and had to start to take an interest in the congregation and synagogue, take part and serve on various committees, and when Mr. Moe Myers became president, I really found myself busy with the congregation. He was an interesting individual, a very strong nature who could work endlessly himself and would demand the same from his fellow workers. He had a big mouth and everybody called him so, but he had also a good nature. He was a native of Ossining, so when he became president and he asked me to work with him, I promised gladly and I did give him a hand in whatever I could. Unfortunately he was no liked by a lot of people and they refused to work with him so time and again he would turn to me for assistance which I could not refuse. It became to me a moral obligation not to let him down, since I knew of many good deeds which he did without fanfare or advertising and which his critics would hesitate to do. The house where we lived that time was on Croton Street. It was a two family house. We lived downstairs and Shirley and Joe Berkowitz lived upstairs. The house, as so many those days was taken over by the savings bank. The former owner lost it to the mortgage. So the agent offered it to me to buy. For one thing I did not have any money to invest in houses at that time and secondly, to settle permanent in that street I did not want since I did not care to raise children on that street. I wanted a little more open space. Anyway, the house was sold and we were given one month to move, which is very short notice. I tried to reason with the new owner for more time, but he

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would not listen, so I told this to my friend Moe Myers and he told me plain that I was a fool for not buying the house since the price asked, $6,500, was reasonable enough. Meanwhile, I took Rae around to look at apartments, but she could not settle for any. So one of the salesmen started on, why don't I look to buy a house. Since the bank owned any number of houses at various prices, the down payment was only ten percent. So we went out to look at houses and we saw many. Most were in a higher range than we could carry, but a couple of them looked nice and the figures looked reasonable for us to carry. They were two family homes where the other tenant will help with the payments. One house on Park Avenue was selling at $7,500 and the agent told us that Mr. Bentz is looking at that house, so I told him that that house was out. I will not grab a house for a home for myself which someone else is trying also to buy for a home. So we looked at out house where we live now and as soon as Rae walked in the house, Rae nudged me, "Buy it. Buy it." The price was $ 7,000. So I needed $700 for a down payment and I did not have it. So I spoke to my friend, Moe Myers, and I told him about this house and he agreed that this house is more worth $7,000 than the one on Croton Street for $6,500, and without questioning, he signed for me in the Congregation Loan Society for a loan of $700 for a down payment on the house and we bought the house. And after this gesture I could never refuse him anything since so many other people let him down. Those days we started to organize a Zionist Organization in Ossining. In town, at that time, lived a man, Mr. Philip Rogers, who was very Zionist-minded and a few others like Emanuel Lauterbach, Nathan Slomovitz, Dr. Birenbaum, Harold Dittleman and myself. We invited speakers to come and instruct us how to go about starting a Zionist group here. We held meetings in houses, parlor meetings, at first. One of the first speakers and advisors was Rabbi Macabbi from Mount Vernon, New York. He was a very kind and intelligent man and he was of great help to us. He is dead many years already and it is funny how fate brings people together. Last December 13, 1970, at a meeting in New York, for capital for Israel Bonds, the Minister of Tourism, Moishe Kol, was the guest speaker. He especially came from Israel to introduce the new type of bonds, so Rae and I sat down to a table, the director for Westchester Bonds, Mr. Silver, came over with a lady, and says to us that it would be nice if this lady should sit with somebody from Westchester and he introduces her as Mrs. Macabbi. So I asked her if she is any relation to Rabbi Macabbi, and she says sure that he was her husband. So we got to talking about Rabbi 89

Macabbi, from so many years back and it turned out to be a very interesting evening. Now one has to understand that Mount Vernon is not that far from Ossining, but we never had a chance to meet before. We started to work towards setting up a Zionist District in Ossining. Mr. Rogers had a "Chanuka Latke" Party in his house and we signed up members and elected officers and we started to function as an organization in the Westchester Region, which also started about the same time. We got an energetic young man as director, so we started to get busy between the local meetings and the county meetings and also sometimes national meetings and conventions in New York City. Our local organization took roots very fast, perhaps it was on account of the times, but in no time we had a strong, live Zionist District and pretty soon I became president of the District and we had a membership of over 100 members, which for Ossining, 25 years ago, was a strong organization. We sent youngsters to Camp Tel Yehudah, the Zionist camp for the summer, where they got indoctrinated with the Zionist spirit, and in 1948, when Israel was established as a Jewish Government and we celebrated the occasion in our synagogue on Waller Avenue, the place was full, overflowing on the steps outside and on the sidewalks. I also was a member in the Region in Westchester and attended hundreds of meetings serving for many years in the Youth Commission and on various other committees, and I believe that at this time, I am the only one of the original Regional members left alive. I visited Camp Tel Yehudah many times in Barryville, New York, where all our children attended, first Sara Lee, and then Jerry, who was one of the first youngsters to go to Israel for a summer, and then Paul Zvi who went for a year to Israel and remained there and is serving in the army as a sergeant demolition expert. The time was before the creation of the State of Israel and the Z.O.A. and all American Jewry were exercising all possible influence on the American people and government to help the Jews in Palestine and also the remnants of the refugee camps. So meetings were held constantly in New York by the Zionists where important speakers, Jews and non-Jews, Americans from Palestine, were bringing important messages. So we tried to attend as many of the important meetings as was possible. I remember once the order came to come out to a meeting to be held in one of the important hotels in New York, the purpose of which was to acquaint the non-Jewish Americans with the demands of the Jewish people and for each district to contact some of the influential Christian individuals and invite them as guests to a dinner and 90

to get informed on the Palestinian problem, so a few of us contacted some influential non-Jewish citizens from our community. I remember I asked Eddie Fath, a banker and another good friend, Richard Abraitis, who was a banker and insurance expert, and someone asked a young minister from one of our churches and a couple of others. We went down in two cars, I drove Eddie Fath and Abraitis and the young minister, who sat in front with me. He showed such a keen interest in Jewish matters and religion that I found myself lecturing and explaining to him all the way to New York various customs and the meaning of the holidays and the passages of the Old Testament. This young minister wanted to know so much about our religion and customs. I was more than happy to explain to him all I could about some of our past and the hope of us for the future to get settled in the land of our forefathers as a nation. Well, we attended a very fine dinner and speakers. Everyone had a very interesting evening and on the way home the Christian friends expressed their thanks to us for the invitation and for all the information that they got from all the speakers and we parted very good friends. I know I came home with a sense of accomplishment. A few days later, I was standing in front of my butcher store with my apron on and this young minister was passing by and I said good morning and called him by his name. Well, I never saw such a changed person in all my life. He was actually scared to be seen speaking to me. I felt that he wished the sidewalk would open up and swallow him or that he could escape any other way. It was a pity looking at him suffering and I looked at him and pitied him that a person of the cloth, who in solitude of a car could be so warm and friendly to a fellow man of another religion, should be so frightened and cautious to be seen speaking to a Jew, a kosher butcher, in front of his kosher butcher market. It so developed that in the absence of a Rabbi, I started to read the portion of the "Torah" on Saturdays and holidays. Before that there was an elderly man, Mr. Philipson, a local merchant, who did the job. I don't remember whether he eased off by himself or he got sick, but anyway the job fell to me between Rabbis, and Rabbis we changed often those days. It would seem that they all were staying at their positions with one let, because if we put an ad for a Rabbi, replies used to come in by the dozen. Everyone it would seem was ready for a change. I don't know when exactly the job fell to me, but I had the responsibility to put an ad for a Rabbi and make the appointments for a trial. They usually were invited for an evening or for a Saturday. 91

When they came out for a trial meeting and talk and if the committee thought well of them then they would get invited back to meet with the whole congregation to meet with them and to express their opinion. We met many interesting people and had many interesting experiences. Rabbis are like people. Most of them are sincere and dedicated individuals who studied for and are ready to serve in their capacity the congregation which will hire them, and some, and I must state that they are in the minority, who just are out to get a job and get whatever they can out of it. Some of their character reflected in their attitude to their respective congregations that at a drop of a hat, they are out to change their position although legally they are so permitted. So it was interesting to read the application letters, and I especially remember one such letter which I received from a young man of 25 years, just a few lines, but so precise and to the point and expressive that after reading it, it impressed me so much that I walked into the kitchen where Rae was washing dishes and I told her, "There is your Rabbi.", and sure enough he was hired. His name was Mortimer Rubin, a very fine young man. He served by us as Rabbi and teacher for about four and a half years. He made very many friends here. He left of his own accord to take a position with Bnai Brith. In all cases, when a Rabbi or cantor was invited, I had to meet him and in most cases bring him over to the house for a meal and especially if it was for a weekend, for Friday evening's and Saturday's meals. I remember it was the period when we were considering changing our congregation from Orthodox to Conservative. We invited a representative from the United Synagogues to come and to explain to us the Conservative ideas in Judaism, and they sent us a young man named Siegel, and he came out for a Saturday, and he stayed in our house and we had much discussion walking home from "schul" and during the meals. He was an enlightened young man and very interesting speaker. No wonder that he is now the Executive Vice President of the United Synagogues. At that time, he was just a young man starting out. I don't remember which year it was, but it was a couple of Rabbis after Rabbi Rubin, that we were again looking for a Rabbi. From the experience that we had, I did not think that it was proper to invite candidates to come to Ossining individually to be interviewed, so I proposed that we should meet the candidates in New York, since most of them either come from New York or are visiting New York. To that end I hired a meeting room in Hotel Astor and a committee 92

of four of us went down to New York where we spent the whole day interviewing candidates. We scheduled them for an hour each, and, I must say, that was a day's work, meeting various types and asking questions and getting answers and being asked questions in return. We finished the day with full heads. But we hired a Rabbi. That was Rabbi David Prince, a very fine Rabbi and person, and I am proud to say that now after 20 years that he left Ossining, we are still friends and visit each other occasionally. That evening after the big day in New York, we made up for the ladies to meet us in the city and we all went out to celebrate the occasion and it was good to relax after a strenuous day meeting various character and airing views. This whole business is very educational. One meets so many different types of men with different outlooks on life, with contrasting demands. I remember one candidate for the position did not care to come out for an interview. He lived in Riverdale, Yonkers, so we then met a very fine scholarly gentleman with high ideals and principles and after discussing with him for about an hour, he told us plain that he would not come to Ossining since there would not be enough Jewish atmosphere for him in this type of community. We also had one very fine young Rabbi once, very idealistic, who stayed with us not quite a year and begged off. He claimed that there was not enough of a Jewish climate for him in Ossining. Anyway, after we came home from New York, and the report made the rounds, some people criticized us for going our for a good time on the congregation's expense, which was totally untrue, since we would never dream of doing a thing like that. Each one of the committee was capable to stand the expense himself. It was an occasion and we felt that we should celebrate. It just goes to show how people are critical and suspicious. Another interesting phase of congregation affairs is hiring a cantor for the high holidays. You invite one or more for an evening for a trial and a committee is there to listen to them, and this is quite different from a Rabbi committee, since here we are not delving as to the character of the person, mostly it is his knowledge of chanting the prayers and his melodious voice that we are interested in. And if one has a little understanding in liturgy, one can detect who is educated and knows how to present the prayers and who just learned the words and how to chant them. One more important function of congregation business is selling the High Holiday tickets. We had a map of the synagogue and all available seating and people picked 93

whichever seats they preferred but there was always trouble and complaints. Seats that people wanted were already sold and people complained of politics and favoritism. So at a Board of Trustees meeting we decided one year that tickets should be sold a certain evening on first come first serve basis so that t here will no be any reason for complaints. The hour was set for 8 PM and the committee was there earlier and any member who came in was handed a number and they had to wait until they will be called. Even Moe Myers, who was the Senior Past President came in and took a number and stood in line. So Mrs. Bernstein comes in and she came in about 9 PM. The Bernstein's were a respected family. They had two married sons who did not live in Ossining but were coming in for the holidays to be with their parents. By now the choice seats were already picked out and were plainly marked on the map as "sold". She does not want to know from nothing, she just puts her hand flat on the center of the map and says here is where she wants to sit, so do her something. We had to use al our statesmanship to convince her that his section was already sold and that she will have to settle for another location, since there is nothing anyone can do at this moment. Somehow, grudgingly, she picked out some seats. Another man, tall and powerful, came in late and did not like the seats which were left by then and started to give us a big argument that we don't know how to conduct the affairs of the synagogue and that we have no right to refuse him to sit where he wants. When I tried to explain to him that this system was set up for everybody in order to avoid any complaints of favoritism, he offered to take me outside and teach me a lesson. I told him that I don't oblige just anyone who feels like fighting. These were some of the experiences which one encounters when engaged in the affairs of a congregation. At those days, we just initiated the system of late Friday Eve Sabbath Services, where the whole family came out to pray and it went over quite nice. I don't remember between which Rabbi it was, but we found ourselves without a Rabbi, so I set up a series of Friday Eve Services with participation of lay people from the congregation, men and women. I remember when I proposed this Dr. Finkelstein asked me, how I figure to do it since you have to know which prayers to use at any given time. Poor Dr. Finkelstein, it did not dawn on him that I might be fluent in the "siddur" and have a complete knowledge of all the prayers and when to use them. Also I got an idea. Since we live in a small community, it would be a good idea to get acquainted with all the various branches of our government, so I invited the Fire 94

Chief, the Chief of Police, a judge, the Mayor, the President of the Board of Education and the Director of the Recreation Department, one at a time, each Friday evening, and it was very much appreciated. It was a great success. The services were all well attended. I dare say I would not be ashamed against any Rabbi services, and time continued to run and we still had no Rabbi towards Passover. The Hebrew School was going on, since the teaching staff was volunteers at that time; and we had an excellent teaching staff - Mrs. Perschetz, Mrs. Jean White and Mrs. Hirshfield. I believe there was someone else, too. So towards Passover, we always had a "seder" for the Hebrew School children. With the help of Gitty Wachtel, I ran a "seder" for the school and Bill Wachtel took pictures of it and, if I may say so, it looked nice. I still have the picture of that "seder". The children had a lovely time. Originally from my youth, I was bashful and did not dare to get up and talk in front of people. But as time went on and I came in contact with organization work, I got up nerve to stand up and talk to people. I remember the first acceptance speech I had to make when I was elected president of the Z.O.A. and at that time the Z.O.A. was a good going organization with over 100 members. I was literally shivering. It was one thing to discuss projects in committee and something else to stand up and carry on by myself, but I later found courage to stand up and talk in front of audiences and I survived. Naturally, the topic has to be something that I am acquainted with.

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Chapter 10 - War Effort Tarrytown To do my part toward the war effort I became a warden, and also an airplane spotter. As a warden, we were called to control all kinds of movement of people and traffic, also to inspect houses at night to see that all windows were properly blacked out. I was issued a helmet, gas mask and water sprayer, and we had to get out as soon as the air raid signal was given. I also took up first aid and for that we had to go for instruction and exercises. We had to learn bandaging and tying knots. It was all very interesting and also one felt he is doing something for the community and the country. Airplane spotting was very interesting. They set up a shack on top of the Maryknoll Seminary which happens to be the highest spot in Ossining and from there was a direct line to Mitchell Field, New York. So this was the system, during the day the Maryknoll brothers took over and at night time it was attended by volunteer citizens and we changed off every three hours. My time was from nine to twelve AM, one week, and from twelve to three AM the other week. On a clear night we could see the George Washington Bridge lights from our station. I believe this was the coldest spot on earth. I come from Russia and I was in Siberia and I don't recall being that cold as in that shack on the top of Maryknoll Seminary. We had two electric heaters and extra blankets and coffee was on all the time and we were freezing. The wind was blowing all the time. We were given instructions by officers of the Air Force how to report a flight and how to recognize a plane even by the sound, and we learned pretty well how to tell the type of plane and approximate height it was flying. But then on a snowy night it was hard to tell whether it was a cat crying below or a truck laboring up 9A, or a transport plane. So the report goes out to Mitchell Field - "Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, and Unknown". This may sound that this was a wasted call. Not so, and this the officers explained to us. The warning stations were set up all through the country from five to ten miles apart where possible so if a call comes through from Ossining, it had to be substantiated by Peekskill and Tarrytown and then further so our calls were not wasted. After a while we were given some sort of medal of the Air Warning Serviced and we were praised and told that we, the Air Spotters, are saving the country and taking the place of a full division of soldiers. This really made us feel very good. President Roosevelt announces that he is running for a fourth term as president. It was the first time in American history that a president ran for a fourth term, but the times 96

were abnormal and he was re-elected. He looked very bad and sure he died and Harry Truman became President. I remember that Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, when the news came on the radio that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and that she officially declared war on the United States. It was hard to believe that little Japan could muster so much power to overwhelm us and that we should be caught so unaware and suffer such a defeat. When I first heard the news on the radio, I, together with probably millions of more Americans could not believe it. I told Rae that it was impossible. It must be a lie, but alas, it was no lie. I was the truth and later the defeat of our forces in the Philippines and McArthur forced to run away leaving the Army to be taken prisoners by the Japanese. One could hardly believe it happening but it was indeed. But we lived to see the war coming to a close and the Japanese beaten in the South Pacific and the Nazis in Europe. The Zionists were very active. I was president of our District in Ossining. The hope and the feeling was that after the war they should get Palestine for a homeland and as soon as the United Nations started to function in Lake Success, all attention and effort was turned to create a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. It was the crime of the century that the remnants of the holocaust from Nazi camps could not find a place to rest their weary bones. England, holding the Mandate on Palestine, reneged on the promise of Lord Balfour's Declaration. They blocked their entry to the Promised Land. Our country shamelessly, with the message of Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty inscribed facing for the entire world to see, turned the refugee boats back and we did not find it in our hearts to take in these poor wretched people into our great land and give them shelter. So on whose conscience shall the fate of the Struma and other boats fall? And then after months of deliberation, the United Nations voted the creation of the State of Israel and gives the Jewish people after two thousand years a homeland of their own. I remember the agony and suspense that we sustained preceding the decision. Everyone was glued to the radio and scanned the newspapers for the latest remark by President Truman and the then big silent ghost Gromyko in the U.N. I went down with Rabbi Rubin to a session of the U.N. in Lake Success and witnessed the entrance of Gromyko into the hall with his entourage and all eyes turned on him and he was as non-committal and silent as the Sphinx. There was such rejoicing when the good news arrived that unforgettable night of the voting. The celebration we held in the congregation on Waller Avenue superceded 97

anything that we ever held in that building. The place was jammed to capacity overflowing in the lobby and on the steps down to the side walk to the corner. It was magnificent, all Jews and many of our Christian neighbors helped us celebrate. During the war they stopped manufacturing cars and everybody used whatever they had and made due. So I, too, picked up a couple of old cars, and I had my worker, Jimmy fix them up, before he left for the army, and then Smithy after him until he too was called to the army. They were both good mechanics and they were patching up these old cars and kept them in running condition. I remember one evening I went to pick up some chickens from a farm in Yorktown and after catching the chickens we filled three coops with chickens and I settled with the farmer. I started home and the car stopped right in the middle of the village. There was nothing that I knew what to do to make it start up, so I went in to the drug store and bought a soda and was just thinking who of my friends to call to bring me home, and next to me two men are conversing normally. I would not pay any attention to them normally, but my ear caught talk about a car that he has and had not used for years and now he would like to clean out the barn. So I turned to him and I could not help but overhearing his conversation and does he think his car would work if we put a battery and gas in it. "Sure.", he says, "there is nothing wrong with the car." I asked him what does he want for it and he says $35, so I told him, if we put my battery in and it will work, I will take the car from him right now. So he agreed and we walked out and one of his friends went over with me and we took the battery out from my car and he put it in the man's car. He put in a little gas and the car started off fine. It was a Chevrolet without a top. Evidently it had a canvas top originally, but now it was an open air car, but who cared as long as it ran. I paid the man the $35 and transferred the chickens into the new car and went home. The next day I sent Jimmy over with a friend to bring in my original car to my home. This is the way we had to make do those days with what we had. The system was that gas allowance was more per truck than for a car. This car that I got, since it had no top, Jimmy suggested that we cut out the back and make it like a pick up truck. So we did that and since it was newly purchased I had to go and register it in White Plains. I registered it as a pick-up truck and got a license for a light truck. Now I had to go to Peekskill and get my gas allotment changed so when I told the man of my conversion of this car to a light delivery truck, he did not believe me and he wanted to inspect it. So I took him to where the car was parked and he looked at it and started laughing. 98

"This," he said, "is no truck." I got good and sore and I told him, "Mr., if I am paying for truck license, I shall get my gas allowance for a truck, and if I was able to get a new truck, perhaps I would have gotten one, but since this is what I have I want my proper gas allotment." Well, I got it. It pays to stand up for your rights. Rae started to talk that she wanted another baby. I was not enthusiastic about it, but she insisted and she had it figured that pretty soon both children will be away to school and the house will be empty, so she became pregnant. But, as it happened, she had a miscarriage. Fortunately, it did not hurt her any and soon after she became pregnant again and gave birth to our second son. We named him Zvi Peretz (Harold Paul). Zvi was for both of our fathers, whose names were Zvi Hirsh and Peretz was for Rae's mother who passed away about that time and her name was Tzipora. So I just turned the letters of the name around and named him Peretz. At that time I used as a "shochet" for my poultry Rabbi Shragovitz from Port Chester, who is a much respected man. He also is a "mohel", so when we had the "briss" I invited him to perform, and as if for spite, it happened the same as with Jerry. He, too, kicked off the bandage and started to bleed and I was criticized again for getting an elderly man to perform as "mohel", but I was sure that it was not his fault, since I knew from my father who was an expert "mohel" that this will happen sometimes when the child is an active one. As it turned out, it did not hurt him or Jerry at all. He grew up to be a big boy and a good soldier in Israel. As opposed to Sara Lee and Jerry, who were both very healthy children, Paul was sickly as a child. He seemed to have attracted any sickness that was there but somehow he grew up and is married in Israel to a very fine "sabra", who at this writing is expecting a child toward the end of the summer. During the war, I got acquainted with Oscar Levit from Peekskill. Actually, I knew him as a young boy from my first years in Peekskill when his mother and two uncles Jack and Irving opened a hotel on Lake Mohegan, when people started to develop the lake section. They named it Senaqua Lodge. One brother, Irving, still runs it now. So their sister, who was a widow with two children, Oscar and Ethel, stayed with them and helped them manage the place. Together with Ben and Eli we spent a lot of time over there. Oscar was a young boy then, but now he came home from the army and got married and bought himself an old estate outside of Peekskill and named it Colonial Terrace and started to run it as a kosher hotel. Meat was a commodity which everyone was looking for and Eli and I were producing meat. 99

We soon started to do business. It was to our mutual advantage. He was new in the business and it was hard for him to get contact for meat, and for us we had at that time meat to spare and we were to deal with someone we knew. Recalling the first days of Mohegan, there was a man by the name of Harry Surret. He represented the family who owned most of the land around Lake Mohegan and he lived alone in a little bungalow on the lake front. He was selling lots to future developers. He was a very fat man and very friendly, so Ben and Eli and I were quite friendly with this Harry and visited him in Mohegan quite often. This is how we got acquainted with Senaqua Lodge and the owners. Oscar's mother was first doing the cooking until business started to pay for help. She had trouble with Oscar when he was a boy, but now he was a man and the hotel business was in his blood. He knew it from A to Z. His wife Lil was a great help. She knew how to deal with people and since this was the only kosher restaurant in northern Westchester it became a success from the beginning and we were doing business for many years until he became big and people started pushing merchandise on him from all sides, especially after the war when everybody was out to do business and cutting prices. So after a while I just had to stop supplying him since competition grew very sharp, so by mutual consent we parted as friends. During the first years, Sara Lee worked for Oscar in the summer camp as a counselor. Later Jerry worked for him also as bus-boy and waiter, but Jerry could not take him as a boss. He was too strict and he left him in the middle of the summer and went upstate and took a job in a kosher hotel in the mountains. During the years that I served Oscar he insisted that we come out to him for the second "seder", since for the first "seder" I would not go out anywhere. So for years we went out to his place for a "seder", but I never really enjoyed them because I think that there is nothing like a "seder" at home. The atmosphere is quite different. It loses its proper effect but then nowadays thousands upon thousands of Jew flock to the hotels for Passover and they like it. Also during the days when I supplied the Colonial Terrace I worked very hard. I had a small station wagon and I used to go down to New York and come home loaded with various cuts and these had to be unloaded and prepared and most of the time delivered to Oscar. So after I stopped supplying him I had quite less work. Anyway, he passed away a few years back quite a young man. Lil, his wife, and the children are carrying on the 100

business which now is only a catering place and they do a tremendous business. When Jerry was "Bar Mitzvah", Oscar catered the "kiddush" in our old synagogue on Waller Avenue and it was the talk of the town and then at night we had a banquet in his place. A few years ago when I was installed for the second time as president of our TriCommunity Bnai Brith Lodge and the ladies just were setting up a chapter we had a joint installation and dinner in Colonial Terrace and it was a beautiful affair. In connection with the trips to fill Oscar's orders, I remember on incident. One morning I was getting ready to leave for New York. I had a large order to fill for Oscar and also for the store and shopping around in the market takes time. So I was hurrying to attend to a few details in the store before I left and I had to call someone and I could not find the number. So I am getting sore at myself and I start to look in my pockets among all the papers and cards which I carry around and I can't find it. So I take my pocket book out and I empty everything out on the desk top of my office and staring me in the face is my chauffeur's license. From the first days I started with a chauffer license and so I have them all these years and here my license show that they were due fourteen months ago. I look again and again. No mistake about it, I am fourteen months late in getting my license changed. So by now I am really sore. I was driving around for fourteen months not knowing that I had no license. That was alright, but now that I know that my license is no good I am afraid to go to New York. I call up my friend Harry Hoffman in White Plains to see what he knows about it or what could be done and he called me back and told me that within the year I could get my license renewed but after a year I have to take a test. By now I am good and sore, but nothing could be done so I started out for White Plains and the license bureau. I get pictures and an application with a little booklet of instructions which I put in my pocket, got my eye test and by now it's almost noon, so I get in line to take the driver's test. Right after lunch the inspector came out and took me out for a test, so I am driving and do whatever he tells me to do and I am burning up on myself all this time for being so neglectful and worried about all the time I lost with all the shopping that I have to do here the inspector started to ask me question such a show many feet I have to keep in the back of a car and what do I do on a busy corner with six entrances and other detailed question. In my state of mind I knew that I did not satisfy him, so I took out my old license and I showed it to him and I said, "Sir, I don't know if I answered y our questions right, but this is the true story. I overlooked to renew my license for fourteen months, so that's why I am here. Evidently there was nothing wrong with my 101

driving these past fourteen months since I drive every day. It was just stupid neglect." By then we returned to the spot from where we started and as he started to get out from the car he says to me, "As for the questions, you don't know a darn thing. But I am going to send you your license.", and so he did. Needless to say, I had a busy afternoon that day, but somehow I got all my shopping done. All these years, we kept together with Ben and Eli and Ben Kaznetz. Jimmy Tenenbaum worked up to a very high position in Standard Brands which took over Fleischman's Yeast. They lived near Peekskill and had one boy. They both died early. Him we saw only occasionally. Ben Kaznetz settled in Ossining in the stationary business. They had no children of their own, and it was pitiful. The first years when we both settled in Ossining, Rose used to come to visit us and Sara Lee was a baby and Rose was playing with her. She was such a motherly woman and actually the poor thing could not hide her jealousy. But later they adopted a little boy and named him Burton, who grew up to be a very fine young man. He later took over and is running the business. He is married and at this writing is expecting a baby. Eli for a time went to Los Angeles, where he got into a profitable gas business, but later came back east. He later had a garage in Yonkers and one in White Plains, but he got out from both of them. Right now he is in upstate New York in Saugerties, running a limousine serviced to the New York airports and also a taxi business and is quite busy. We see each other a few times during the year. His son lives in New Jersey. One daughter lives in Ossining, the other one lives in Mount Kisco. Everyone is getting older and the talk when we get together is about the children and the grandchildren. All through the years, Rae's sisters, the nieces and nephews were stopping in Ossining whenever they were visiting the States, as they call it, also her brother Phillip occasionally. Sara, her twin sister, had a hard life. She had one son and they were divorced when the boy was about twelve or thirteen years old and the boy chose to stay with his father. She lived alone for about twenty years and worked for her brother Phillip, who I must say treated her very well. A few years back she married a very fine man named Jack Karpman, who is a very fine person and husband. He is very nice to her, and as mush as we felt sorry for her all these years we are now happy to see her living a decent life with a good friend.

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Her son Harvey Grotsky, who grew up under very little supervision turned out to be a very fine young man, and if ever there was a self-made man, that is him. He started to work on the Montreal Star in advertising and got to the top of his department. So he then decided to go in business for himself. He gave up his position on the Star and moved to New York. He bought a nice new home in Tappan, New York, and he and Norma, his wife, proceeded to furnish it according to their taste. They have two lovely little girls, Cynthia and Debby. We were very happy to see them. Here they were our only family here and we visited them occasionally and were glad to see them fixing up the house each time something new added. Business with Harvey went very good. He and a partner had offices in several cities in the United States and also in Canada, and this was a young man who had no college degrees, but plain common sense. Recently they decided to move back to Montreal. It seems that their business could be directed better from Montreal so he sold the house in Tappan and bought a beautiful house in Montreal. Rae and I were very sorry to loose them from here, but we sure wish them well there and hope to visit them in the new home soon. Rae's older sister, Ida and her husband Harry Shapiro are visiting with us all through the years and we also visited tem. They have one daughter married to a very fine young man, Julius Weis, and they have five sons, so we are going to "bar mitzvahs", and one son Ernie, who is also married and has a family of his own. He is an electrical engineer and quite successful in business of his own. Sara was visiting us all through the years and we always wanted to make her visits pleasant. Harry Shapiro, Ida's husband, was employed by Rae's brother. Phillip. He has a very responsible job running the office. Phillip worked up a tremendous fur business, the largest in Canada. He flies constantly to Europe and Moscow, Russia to attend the fur sales. He is in New York on business every couple of weeks. Occasionally when he travels by car, he will stop by us in Ossining and visit. That is when he goes with Dora Grossman, his wife. He has one son, Harvey, and a daughter, Beverly, who is married to a very ambitious young man, Bernie Friedman, who took to Phil's business like a duck to water and Phil is very satisfied with him. According to him, Bernie can do no wrong and this is very good, since his own son, Harvey Grossman, does not car to be in the business and for the last two years he is in Israel writing a book. Our own son, Jerry lives in Princeton quite a few years. He moved there when he and Sandra married and he got a position of assistant professor and she got a job in the 103

research department. Now they are divorced. He is still in Princeton; Sandra remarried, but I shall have to return to Jerry. One day, it was toward the end of the war, a man comes over to me. He is the kosher butcher in Tarrytown. I heard of him before, but I never met him and he wants me to take over his store. The store was an old established store, but very neglected. I went to look at it and it was very unappetizing. I talked it over with Rae. The investment was not big. It was only the obligation and the added responsibility to be considered. But by now, knowing the nature of the kosher business, we figured out a working plan. I bought the business and I hired a butcher, a refugee from France and also my man Charley who by now became general manager. This was the system we instituted. Most of the meat was in Ossining where I prepared all cuts for the Tarrytown store and in the morning I take approximately the amount need for the morning business and we go there from eight to twelve, to attend to customers who come in and also who telephoned orders. I had a man who delivered the orders and if anything was short or I did not have in stock it would be delivered the next morning. Then at twelve we would leave for Ossining, get a bite to eat and start doing business in Ossining. The Ossining people were notified that the business hours would be in the afternoon. Of course, telephone orders would be taken by Rae on the extension in the house. I even installed a free-call from Tarrytown to Ossining for the benefit of the costumers so that they shall have no difficulty in ordering their meat and poultry, and I must say that the system worked like clockwork, but it was hard work, what with going to the market, shopping, preparing the cuts, buying chickens, slaughtering and cleaning them, yes, and fish, too. Even with the added help, it was very hard to attend. Towards a holiday we worked around the clock, but is also was fun, Charley doing the managing, the new man and the extra man whom I had for Thursday and Friday. It went on for a couple of years and the system worked but then the Tarrytown Jewish Congregation built a new synagogue. By the way, I also became a member of the congregation in Tarrytown, since it was not more than right that the official kosher butcher should belong to the congregation whether he lives in the town or not. So when they built the new temple, they decided to change from an Orthodox congregation to a Reform, but not to cut off completely with the older element, they also set up a chapel for the older people which will be run as a conservative synagogue and they hired a Rabbi, His name was Rabbi Siegel, who, by the way, is still there, and he himself told me that he does not need a kosher butcher. Evidently, 104

he must have told the same to his congregation, since good families, who were originally good costumers, stopped buying in my store, telling me plain tat if the Rabbi does not have to buy kosher, certainly they don't have to. So after a while this was noticeable in the business and it became a question if it is advisable to get on with the traveling to Tarrytown and I talked it over with the people who patronized me and we made up that I shall close the Tarrytown store and deliver them daily from Ossining. They had free telephone call anyway and so I closed the store and some of the equipment I salvaged and the rest I threw out and I got out from Tarrytown and for a time I delivered to Tarrytown. But where there is no personal contact it does not have the same hold on people, and the fact that the war ended and there was plenty of meat everywhere, business fell off so that I was forced to give up the delivery service. But a few customers came to shop to me in Ossining up to the last day when I closed my store in Ossining to retire from business, and were sorry to see me give up the store. Just as some of the Ossining people who were doing business with me from the first day and never set foot inside the store. I really felt sorry for them, but I guess they got used to shopping elsewhere. I am sure somebody is taking care of them. Something I must remark on. I was for a time in Peekskill and I was accepted. I always have a warm feeling for Peekskill and I have many friends there, but I can't say the same for Tarrytown. There was not the same friendly element to really leave a lasting friendship. I know people there and I have some friends, but there did not remain the same lasting friendship. Well, anyway, good luck to them.

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Chapter 11 - Ossining, Part I Mr. W. P. Goldman lived on a very fine estate on Pines Ridge Road, about five miles out of Ossining. Mr. Goldman was a very nice middle age gentleman. He was the president of the nationally known men's clothing store, The Three G Clothing Company. He was quite an asset to our small congregation. A little before that another fine Jewish family by the name of Schwartz also settled on Pines Ridge Road and it developed that they knew each other from New York. How I came to know the Schwartz's was this way. The former owners of the Schwartz estate raised chickens, and when the Schwartz's bought the place they did not intend to go on farming. So Mrs. Schwartz wanted to dispose of the chickens, and this is how we got acquainted. We became friends with them and later also with the Goldman family. They were good customers in my store for the four or five months of the year during which they resided in Ossining, and I invited them to join our congregation which they both did. Mr. Joseph Schwartz also was a fine gentleman and he too was an asset to our congregation. They both used to come Saturdays to the synagogue to pray. Mr. Schwartz used to bring Mr. Goldman with him since Mr. Goldman did not drive himself and on days when Mr. Schwartz was not coming, Mr. Goldman came with his private chauffer and I used to take him home. I was glad to do it since he was a very nice man, a good friend and customer. Mr. Goldman owned two beautiful black and white Dalmatian dogs, so during the winter when they either lived in the city or traveled, they kept the dogs in a kennel and they only took them with them when they came out to the country. So one day, Mr. Goldman asked me if I would not like to keep a dog for the winter, since he saw how much our children, Sara Lee and Jerry liked to play with them when we visited them. So we took one of the dogs to stay with us after the summer. His name was Doughboy and he was very smart. He used to take the kids to school and come home and when school was out he used to go and meet them. We kept him several winters and it was something to see that when the Goldman's used to come back in the spring, he was reluctant to go back with them and every once in a while, he used to come back to us and the chauffer had to come and bring him home, so knowing that he was wrong he used to crawl on his stomach to get in the car. When Paul was born he was very jealous of the baby for all the attention he got. He used to go around growling and I was worried that he should not harm the baby. When Jerry started going to Hebrew School, the dog used to go with him and I used to get reports that by the library, which is about half-way from the house to the 106

synagogue, coming and going Jerry used to sit down on the sidewalk leaning on Doughboy and reading a comic book or eating an ice cream. I knew a judge who lived in Peekskill and I served him in the Peekskill store and then one day he came into my store in Ossining and told me that he had bought a house on Pines Ridge Road. He was not Jewish. He did not heed any kosher meat, but became to visit with me often, sometimes buying a fresh-killed chicken or fish. Then after a few years he told me that he had retired from the bench and expects to sell his house and go to live in St. Petersburg, Florida. He asked me if I hear of someone who would buy the house and I promised him that I will certainly keep it in mind, so I was taking Mr. Goldman home one Saturday after services and as we passed the house I told him that it was for sale and who owns it. So on the next day, Sunday, he brings over one of his brothers and he bought the house from the judge. It was a beautiful home with plenty of grounds, trees and flowers. Anyway, I got a good coat and a suit from this deal and this came as a surprise to me. Mr. Goldman called me Monday and told me about the sale and asked me to go over to their place on 14th Street, New York, and pick out a suit and coat, my commission on the sale of the house, and that I did. This brother evidently was a city man. He did not stay long in Ossining. He lived here for about two years and moved out. When I first came to Ossining there lived a German Jew named Ike Kamm. He lived there for many years. He was an old time butcher and everybody knew Ike Kamm. He was a fixture in the community. He knew how to cure and smoke meats so he started to smoke turkeys and this was a novelty and people started to order smoked turkeys from him. Then a wealthy man, who also was retired officially from his business, got interested in it and made a deal with Mr. Kamm. He bought the formula from him and he was smoking the turkeys for him. This man bought a place in the country and started a regular business of selling smoked turkeys. He advertised nationally and he was doing a very fine business. Later he started to package various parts of turkey and also various spreads and pastes. His name was Blitzer. I got to know him and we became friends. He started to raise chickens on his place, so from time to time I used to get his chickens. There were two incidents in connection with Mr. Blitzer. He was not a religious man, but he belonged to Rabbi De Sola Pool's synagogue. So one day he asked me to slaughter a half dozen of his chickens which he was taking over to Rabbi Pool as a gift for some holiday. I had to send with it a note from the "shochet" that it was done by him. So my chickens are going places. 107

Another instance which I also remember was that he had a colored man working for him in the house and he lived on Long Island. He was a Seventh Day Adventist. So come Friday, twelve noon, rain or shine, he was leaving for home. This struck me funny that there is a Christian working for a Jew refusing to work on the Sabbath, while his boss did not care less whether it was Sabbath or any other day of the week. Another influential family moved into Ossining about that time. The name was Manheimer. Mr. Manny Manheimer was in the publishing business of comic books, and he was getting a royalty on each comic which was sold. He bought an old estate with lots of land and decided to raise chickens so that is how we were acquainted and became friends. He was a very interesting person. He bought the latest equipment for his chickens, all automatic, and he was taking pride in his pet project. One day, he decided he was also going to buy a cow to have on his grounds so he asked me where he could get a good Jersey cow. It so happened that while going around the country and buying cows and calves I knew of a place. This happened to be Miss Lilian Helman's estate in Mt. Kisco. The caretaker told me that he wanted to reduce his dairy stock which was Jerseys. So I got Mr. Manheimer his Jersey cow for which he was very grateful to me and for months that's all he was talking about – his pet Jersey cow. They had a little boy, just a little older than our Paul, so they had a governess for him and they had other servants in the house. The kids used to play together. At one point he offered us to go in business together and he would put up the money. At that time the business of public storage freezers was just being introduced. So, being in the meat business, I proposed to establish a freezer storage service, in which we would also sell and package meat for customers. It sounded good to him at the time, but it so happened that his wife, a young and perfectly healthy woman, took sick and after some months she died. After that he did not stay long in Ossining and moved back to New York. Talking about old acquaintances, I also have to mention another family by the name of Goldfarb. He had hot houses and flower business on the south side of Ossining going under the name of Arcadian Gardens. He had acres and acres of hot houses producing flowers for the New York trade. One day into my store walked two ladies, one elderly and one very strikingly beautiful young one. They wanted to buy meat, fancy cuts. I was very happy to serve them. After they bought what they wanted the old lady asked me would I charge it to 108

them? The name is Goldfarb. She is the mother and the other is the daughter-in-law. I said, "Sure, I shall be glad to.", and so they became very good customers of mine. Later I found out that the young Mrs. Goldfarb was not Jewish. This was a second marriage. I also met Mr. Goldfarb and he looked to be a fine gentleman. One day young Mrs. Goldfarb calls me up and she asks me if I know of a Rabbi who could teach her son Hebrew and give him instruction for "bar mitzvah". We had at that time a fine young man who was serving our congregation as teacher and cantor, and also as "shochet". So I told her, "Yes, we have the man for her." So she tells me that this boy is a "yossem", which means he lost a parent and is an orphan, so he has to be "bar mitzvah" at twelve instead of thirteen, and she would not like to have a Rabbi with a beard. So, I promised her that our Rabbi was a young man, without a beard, and that he will be able to give the boy proper instructions. So I introduced him to the family and he got the job to instruct the boy and the time was set for the "bar mitzvah". I went into a board meeting and told them that this family would like to have the "bar mitzvah" in our synagogue. At that time we did not have many strangers so this was a novelty and I suggested that we reserve all the honors for the family as a courtesy. So my friend, Moe Myers objected. He said he does not approve of it, that it was our synagogue and that it was enough that we let them into our place. I tried to explain that from a purely business motive we should offer the family the freedom of the synagogue. Well I won out and I let the family know that they will have that Saturday reserved for them and all the honors and "aliyahs" will be given to the members of the family. Naturally, I expected that the family will come through with a generous contribution to the synagogue. Came the Saturday of the "bar mitzvah" and there were many guests. The place filled up with people and there was something to see the cleavage of the families on one side. Typical rich German Jews and on the other side the members of Mrs. Goldfarb's family, Irish from County Cork. But everything went over fine. The boy performed well and everyone was satisfied, but as it turned out my friend Moe Myers was right. Mr. Goldfarb sent in to the congregation $25 which was far less than we expected from this family after giving them over the whole service. So I got a good ribbing from Moe Myers but these are the things one runs into while gambling on human nature. I had another experience with this Mr. Goldfarb many years later, but this I will relate in another chapter.

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Another nice family settled about the same time not far from the Goldman's by the name of Shapiro. There was a mother, a widow, two married daughters and a son. Mrs. Shapiro was a wonderful person, a real clever woman. A typical Jewish mother, she commanded respect and got it. The children were very nice and it was a pleasure to know them. The connection was not as between a tradesman and a customer, but as friends. It was a pleasure to know them, they called on me for any information on Jewish matters and most of the time I was able to give them the information they wanted. There was another family which I was proud to know. They had a big estate in Croton near Croton Dam. They, too, I got to know through business and we became very good friends. He was a retired shoe manufacturer. His estate was very large with a private lake and the children and I used to go out there to fish. We had the freedom of the place. We used to fish off shore or take one of the boats which were anchored by the boat house and go out on the lake. Fish where there were plenty. I'll never forget one evening Sara Lee and Mel, her husband, were with us, so I took them and Paul and we went out to Friedman's to fish. So walking along the shore of the lake, I stepped on a bee hive. All of a sudden there were bees all over me, so I started to yell to the kids to run away and I started to mash them on my body and all the while run away from that spot. Well, I don't know how many I mashed up and killed. I had a few good bites on my body, but I survived. Our friendship with the Friedman's lasted for many years, but then they got tired of living in the country. They had no children so they decided to sell the place. I tried to bring a few prospective buyers but nothing came of it and the real estate people also could not find a buyer for the estate, so Mr. Friedman donated it to the Einstein Medical College for a research center. Around Croton, moved in another interesting Jewish family by the name of Samuels, who were a couple with no children, an old widowed sister and an old, old father who was about ninety-two at that time, but still full of life. It was a pleasure to see this old man tending the grounds. He had more energy in him than some people half his age. They were Hungarian Jews and very religious. Mr. Samuels was manufacturing office furniture in New Jersey. The old man was a very interesting man. It was a pleasure to talk to him. I called him by his Hebrew name, "Reb" Chayim. I could not call him anything else. We had many interesting discussions. He had the real old country wit and humor and knowledge which only come with age. At the age of ninety-eight he 110

was operated for a tumor which turned out to be non-malignant and he recuperated from it completely. When they moved out he was one hundred and two and when he later died he was one hundred and eight years old. He was a very interesting personality. About the family Brodsky, I believe I mentioned in another chapter. They also lived in Croton and were one of the finest families that it was my good fortune to know, the Brodsky's and Mrs. Brodsky's mother, Mrs. Seltzer, a lady if ever there was one. She was for years active in YIVO, the Jewish Historical Society and knew intimately all the Jewish writers and philosophers. They were customers of mine from the first day that I took over the business to the last day, when I closed up and were in my store only perhaps a half a dozen times through the years. We have remained friends up to this day. Through all those years, we kept contact with Peekskill. Poritzky's boys grew up and the town is full of Poritzky dentists and real estate men and they all married. Sam passed away. Harry Weinger ran the business for some years but he was sick with arthritis and he too died and the store closed up. So an era passed away. The store in Peekskill and the one in Ossining did an honest business. Everyone got their money's worth and yet many people to this day remember the old Eagle Market. Mrs. Rose Poritzky is alive and we meet her on many occasions, either when we visit Ben or on certain community functions. A couple of years ago I invited her to an Israel Bond Drive which I chaired for our Tri-Community Bnai Brith Lodge. She came and bought bonds for her grandchildren and had a very fine time. She is still very active in Peekskill Jewish Congregational affairs. She visited Israel several times. Mrs. Weinger remarried and also lives in Peekskill. Their children moved away. I don't think any of them remained in Peekskill. Ben's brother, Isaac, or Sid, who used to be in Tarrytown after spending quite a few years in Hudson, New York, as a kosher butcher finally retired and came back to Peekskill. But he only lived two years and died. He had a bad heart for years. His wife, Dorothy lives in Peekskill. We see her occasionally. So, from all his brothers, Ben remained alone. Another family which I did not mention is the Hirsh Family. Two brothers and a sister bought a very large and rich estate right outside of Ossining. They were very rich and we became acquainted. It turned out that the younger brother, Henry, after a serious illness became very religious. So naturally, everything had to be strictly kosher and this is where I came in. It is interesting that the former owners of the estate were also 111

Jews, an old Jewish family by the name of Struck, and it seemed that the family died out so the estate was sold. The Hirsh Family were manufacturing a well known brand kitchen ranges. Through business we got acquainted and we became friends, especially with the younger brother, Henry Hirsh. Hew was extremely religious. The story was that at one time he was very sick and a Rabbi blessed him and he got well after the doctors gave him up to he turned religious. After some years when they left Ossining, I heard that he was instrumental in building a synagogue in Manhattan and on and off I read in the paper about his activities in various charities. I remember one instance. We decided to make improvements in our synagogue on Waller Avenue. We were going to remodel the "bimah" and the ark and change the seating, quite a job, for about ten thousand dollars at that time, quite a sum for our congregation. So I suggested that we approach this Mr. Hirsh as a neighbor to help us out in this project. He used to come in once in a while to our synagogue. On their place they had built a small bungalow for a synagogue where they held services on Saturdays and Holidays. So I offered to go visit this Mr. Hirsh and to propose this to him and on Saturday afternoon I took with me another young man by the name of Mendel. He was a character. He was single and lived with his married sister, and he too was very religious and many people used to poke fun at him, but he didn't mind. So I asked him to come along with me and we walked over to see Mr. Hirsh. It was a beautiful summer day. The walk was about a mile and a half. The grounds by the Hirsh's were something to see. There were all kinds of flowers. The lawn was kept perfect just like a golf course. In fact after they sold the place it was turned over for a time for a golf club. It was situated high overlooking the Hudson River into New Jersey. We were received very nicely. Servants were bringing out fruit and drinks and we sat and chatted away. The orders in the house were not to answer any telephone calls, so, seeing how these people lived I though to myself that under like circumstances there is not much of a hardship to observe all the commandments of the Sabbath. We spent a very pleasant afternoon, and it was successful, since Mr. Hirsh offered to contribute $1,000 toward the remodeling of the Ark. While mentioning about Mr. Hirsh's generous contribution towards remodeling the Ark, I can't pass up Mr. Manheimer. Also while sitting in his house one evening we came to talk about the synagogue since he knew that I was very interested in it. So I told him of what we are doing and I mentioned that we still need repairs on the roof and ceiling. So without thinking he says, "I will donate a new ceiling." This came as a 112

total surprise to me because he was not a religious man and this offer coming like this unsolicited certainly was a pleasant surprise. The job was worth fifteen hundred dollars. When he told me that, I said that I shall be happy to report it to the congregation and a committed will come to see him. He said no, he does not want any committee, just for me to report his pledge and send him the bill. Another very fine family also moved in about the same time. Those days the Jewish community did not attract many new members so when on the holiday of "Sukkos" a strange couple came in to the synagogue to pray and nobody knew them it was a novelty. After the services I went over and wished them a happy holiday and also asked them if they are guests of any family in town, and they told me that they are strangers from New York and that they are here looking to buy a house. So they wanted first to check on the synagogue and the congregation before they settled the deal, which sounded very nice. I complimented them on their very sensible approach on choosing a community to live in. They told me their name was Freund. Later on in the conversation it came out that Mrs. Freund was Dr. Miriam Freund, national president of Hadassah. They bought a home in Chilmark Park and they both were a tremendous asset to our congregation. Here was a couple, educated, intelligent people with a feeling for everything Jewish. Mr. Freund was a very capable and willing person. He accepted assignments willingly on any committee and we had countless meetings in the synagogue and in their home and in other homes. Mr. and Mrs. Freund's thinking and level-mindedness helped out in-numerable times. It was a pleasure to sit with them and be in their company. This was the time when we started to lay plans of building a new synagogue and there was a lot to talk about and make plans for. They contributed a lot to the welfare of our congregation. They had two sons, one was married to an Israeli girl and the other was in high school at that time. His name was Harry. They had a beautiful dog, a scotch terrier, wellgroomed, a real nice animal. So one day I cam to the house and they told me that the dog died suddenly. Well, I was sorry to get the news. Harry was very sad and inquired as to how it happened and they told me that it came suddenly and they did not know the cause. So since nothing could be done, we left it at that. Next time I came to the house, Harry had a little skinny, nondescript mutt on a rope and he tells me that this is his new dog. It struck me funny that this dog should take the place of the beautiful animal which they had, so I said to Harry, "This one looks like a dog against the other one." In Yiddish the phrase has its original flavor. 113

They lived in the community about six or seven years and moved back to New York. Mr. Freund developed a heart ailment and was advised to live in an apartment, so they sold the house and moved to New York. He became active in a synagogue on East 51 st Street and became president. From time to time we meet Mrs. Freund on Zionist functions. He passed away a few years after they moved to New York. One time I heard that a new family moved in on Route 134. I knew the estate from some years back. A Jewish family lived there by the name of Butterman and then sold out and now those people sold it again to a family by the name of Handler and Dworkind. It developed that Mr. Handler was a widower and his sister, Mrs. Dworkind, ran the house. Her husband, Mr. Dworkind, was also associated in Mr. Handler's factory which was ladies coats in New York City. So one evening I took Rae and we went over and introduced ourselves and invited them to join our congregation. Rae was Sisterhood president and I was the immediate past-president of the congregation. They inquired as to the type of congregation we have. They told us that they come from Tuckahoe and they mentioned the Rabbi who was with them up to recently, and I happened to have met him a Zionist Convention. After a while, Mr. Handler took out his check book and made out a check for sixty dollars which was our dues at the time and handed it to me, and I thanked him and wished him well. Mr. and Mrs. Dworkind also joined. We will com back later to these people, since they are connected very much with our congregation. I can truthfully say that if I had done nothing else for our congregation than to bring these people in, it would have been "dayenu". One family which I cannot forget from my early days in Ossining was by the name of Sobel. They had a house near Pleasantville and they used to come out for the summer. They would call for their orders and I used to send it out to them. They would pay by the month, sometimes after they left for New York. That is one thing I never had to worry about collecting from my people. It happened a few times that some people after the summer would go away to Europe and send me a check from Europe. So one summer the Sobel's left for the City and there was left a balance of about two weeks meat coming to me so I did not think anything about it. Sometimes around New Year, Mrs. Sobel stops into the store. I was glad to see her and after exchanging greetings, she asks me don't I have a bill for her and I say yes. So she started giving me an argument what kind of businessman am I that I don't send out any bills. So I told her that the amount was not big and I figured that when she will come back next summer 114

she will pay then. So she got serious and says, "And suppose something will happen to me, I shall not be able to rest owing you money." So I told her, "G-D forbid, who wants to think of these things." So she pays me and we parted. In just a couple of months I read of a big catastrophe which happened in the Caribbean Sea where something like one hundred and thirtyfive people were lost when a cruise ship caught fire and almost all the people perished, and among them were Mr. and Mrs. Sobel. It shook me up terribly remembering her statement, "Suppose something happened to me, owing you money?", as if she had a premonition that something will happen. Jerry and Paul, as they were growing up, while in high school, were going out caddying on the golf courses. So one day Jerry was caddying for a Jewish woman and she struck up a conversation with him, asking him where he lives and what his parents are doing. When he told her that his father was a kosher butcher, she was delighted. It seems that she just bought a home in Briarcliff and she was happy to know of a kosher butcher. Her name was Corey. Mr. Corey was in the business of importing oil from Greece and Italy and later from Israel. Mr. Corey later died, but Mrs. Corey still keeps her home in Briarcliff and comes out every summer. Even though Jerry graduated from college and got his Ph. D. and is now a professor in Princeton, she always refers to him as my caddy, the professor. All this while time goes on and the children are growing up. Sara Lee graduated. All through high school she was talking that she wanted to be a math teacher, but it is strange how certain things are motivating a person's life. In her last term in high school she had a very strict teacher by the name of Miss Smith and she demanded perfection. She got Sara Lee worked up that she decided that she will never be a Miss Smith. Instead she decided that she would go only to a Junior College for two years, giving up the idea of ever being a Math teacher. As parents, Rae and I, made up not to force our opinion on our children. Instead, we let them decide for themselves, with the aid of the school advisors, what they wanted to do. So when she said that she would not go to a four year college we did not force her and she chose a Junior College in Worchester, Massachusetts, Becker Junior College, the course to be accounting. When we took her over there we found out that there was only one other Jewish girl in the whole school, but she was lucky. Her roommates were very fine girls and they became very good friends. I came around one Sunday and went to see what synagogues they have in the city and it developed that there was one Orthodox, one 115

Conservative and one Reform. I stopped over and spoke with the Conservative and the Reform Rabbis and told them that Sara Lee will visit their synagogue on Friday evening services and they promised that they will receive her in a nice way, and so they did. So she got acquainted with many people and made friends that way. We used to visit her quite often and we sent her packages of food. I used to freeze barbequed chickens and mail it to her and by the time she received them they were ready to eat. Sometimes we used to take Rabbi Prince and his wife Lil for a ride with us to visit Sara Lee. He was very fond of her. She was his pupil. After her graduation, she did not want to stay in Ossining, so after a couple of weeks she went to New York and got a job. We had arranged before for her to stay in the 92nd Street YMHA. We were happy that she was able to get in there because it is a respectable place and it is under semi-supervision. She stayed there three years and there is where she met her future husband, who was the son of the director of the Y. Jerry was also growing up and getting his "bar mitzvah". His Rabbi was Rabbi Rubin, whom I mentioned before.

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Chapter 12 - Ossining, Part IIa Jerry's "Bar Mitzvah" was a very elaborate affair. Our friend Oscar catered it and he really went out of his way to do it up right. He had a tremendous amount of all kinds of food and everyone had a good time. There was so much of everything that the local people took some food home. Rae's family from Montreal came out. It was a gala affair. Phillip and Dora, Ida and Harry Shapiro , Sarah and a few of Rae's nephews and my ship brothers, the Gorelick's, the Rabkin's and the Levine's, as well as Ben and Eli, still remembering and talking of our wedding in Montreal, where after the ceremony they both fell on my shoulder crying as if they will never see me again. The dinner in the evening after the "Bar Mitzvah" was held downstairs in the meeting hall of the synagogue and Oscar arranged the tables beautifully. Rae's brother, Phil, gave a very nice talk; he made a very good impression. He has the appearance and is a man of the world. With Oscar we kept up all these connections. In her last two years of high school, Sara Lee worked for him as a counselor in the camp. Later Jerry worked for him as a bus boy and waiter until one day Jerry balked on receiving an argument from Oscar for serving a big youngster a second portion of chicken, so Jerry got sore and quit, and went away to same week to the mountains and got another job. All these years, Rae and I were busy with Hadassah and Zionist work. We served on the Youth Commission. Sara Lee went to the Young Judaea Camp. At that time it was in Vermont. Later it was transferred to Barryville, New York, on the border of Pennsylvania. She went all the years to Hebrew School and was valedictorian on her graduation. She also taught one year Hebrew School. The director of the Westchester Z.O.A. was a young man by the name of Earl Peltin. He was a devoted Zionist and he built up the Westchester Zionist Organization to a solid, well-functioning organization, and if we have a Z.O.A. still functioning in Westchester it is because of Earl Peltin's foundation work. Jerry went several summers to Camp Young Judaea and then the Z.O.A. inaugurated a system of sending youngsters on summer courses to Israel for the summer. He came home very enthusiastic. He could not stop raving of his impression of the life and the Jewish people in Israel, how well he was received and how everyone went out of their way to help and to advise with whatever they could. He kept saying they like Jews over there. I kept up my contact with the Z.O.A. for many years and was one of the original group who started the Westchester Zionist Organization which functioned and grew 117

while Earl Peltin was the director. But then, when he left to become the Public Relations Director of the Westchester Building Association, Mrs. Dorothy Weiner from Yonkers, became the director and things did not work the same way. Mrs. Weiner was a domineering person and somehow we did not click together. I, as a Z.O.A. member continued to be active and to go to meetings for several years, but after a while I stopped. I said in a joke, but this happened to be the truth, that I was a member of the Zionist Organization, but when it became Dorothy Weiner's Organization, I did not want to have much to do with it. However, no one else took over the presidency; so officially, I am the president of our Z.O.A. district. I get all the mail and announcements. It is just too bad that there is not much interest nowadays to support a strong Zionist organization around here. To my mind come the original founders of the Westchester Z.O.A., Lukasheck, Lagunoff, Rabbi Feigen of Yonkers, of later years there was Louis Friedman and his lovely wife, Miriam, both devoted Zionists. He was president of the region several years and she was active in the organization in the Youth Commission. We attended countless meetings with trips to the Young Judaea Camp. On the local scene deserves mentioning, Dr. Birnbaum, for several years a devoted Zionist and president of our district. At one time we worked together for years. Now he is older and is retired from any organization work, although he still practices his dental profession. Dr. Lenny Wachtell was also a dentist with whom we worked for many fruitful years, and attended countless meetings in his house and in our house and in the synagogue and also throughout the Westchester and New York areas. He was a devoted Zionist. His wife, Gitty, was also a hard working girl, although quite domineering, but always working for Hadassah and Z.O.A. For years we worked together, Rae and Gitty, Lenny and I, in many instances for the Z.O.A. and for the congregation. They are still around, both of them, but not as active as in their younger days. There was Dr. Shoulkin, who passed away, a quiet man with the European humor that he brought with him from Riga. He was an ardent Zionist and I could always depend on him for company to go to meetings anywhere. In fact, in later years, when I turned my attention to Bnai Brith, I could count on him also to accompany me to meetings of the Bnai Brith. He used to like to come to the Friday evening services in the synagogue, but he was always coming late, jus t in time for the "Oneg Shabbat". So it became a standing joke 118

that every one was looking for Dr. Shoulkin towards "Oleinu" and the same on "Simchas Torah", when it is customary to have refreshments during the reading of the Law. He never missed to partake in the herring and gefilte fish. He used to know a great amount of Jewish stories and delighted in telling them. After a few years, he started to complain of pains in his stomach. So I kidded him, to make him feel better, but it was no joke what was wrong with him. It did not take long and he died of cancer. His wife followed him shortly also of leukemia. They left a son and a daughter, both married. Also from the real Zionist workers, there was Saul Young, an ardent Zionist, and American born. He claimed to be non-religious, but he was a one hundred percent devoted Zionist. By profession he was an engineer, and he worked for Cambridge Instrument Company in Ossining. Together with Lenny Wachtel, we had a lot to do in the Ossining Z.O.A. One could always depend on Saul for any constructive idea and for carrying it out and executing, contrary to the average people who usually work themselves up from one office to another to the highest office. He did not care to assume the presidency in the Zionist organization in Ossining. Also as an ardent worker in the congregation, where Lenny Wachtel later served as president, he refused to be nominated for any office although he served as secretary for a long time. An exception he made for me, he consented to put his name on as second vice president when I took the presidency of the congregation with the stipulation that he will not go higher. I was glad to give him any terms since he was invaluable as a worker As I mentioned he was a sincere worker for Zionism so when he suddenly took sick and in no time passed away from a kidney ailment, I proposed that we name our Zionist District the Saul B. Young Z.O.A. District of Ossining, and so we are known now. From the first Jews I met in Ossining was A. L. Myers. He was in the furniture business. He owned a lot of property in Ossining with big mortgages and he was always pressed for money. He was what you call property poor. His furniture business was going well. He was selling on credit to everybody and everyone liked him. He was an honest man. He had four daughters and took the husbands into his business. The Eagle Market in Ossining was in A. L. Myers' building and he was the landlord, so evidently he got his eye on me for his last daughter and he sent a man in to me with the suggestion to get introduced to his daughter, but I just could not see myself as another son-in-law in a large family, no offence to the people, but this is how I felt. He did not press it any further and the girl married later and went to live in the South. 119

From the other sons-in-law, one resigned from the business, one died, but his wife retained her interest in the business and now her son and the son of Sol Lillian, the mainstay of the business, are running a most successful furniture business in a new place still under the name A. L. Myers, the third generation Myers' descent. Originally there were three brothers Myers, and this Moe Myers was a son of one of the brothers. From another brother there are in Ossining two sons. One is a medical doctor and one is a dentist. Also, for the first Jewish settlers in Ossining, there was a man, Macy, a very learned Jew. He used to chant the prayers in the synagogue, a very respectful person. He had a tobacco store and had time to chat with everybody and many a time I stopped in by his store to spend a few minutes to exchange greetings and sometimes to reminisce life in the old country. Then there were two brothers Finkelstein, Charlie and Morris, who were for years in the grocery and meat business. Then they separated and Charlie opened a shoe store. One of his sons was with him in the business and another son became a dentist and opened and office in Pleasantville. Morris did not go into any other business. He had one son, also a dentist. He was a very intelligent man. He was active in the affairs of the congregation, served on the board, and became president. He was also active in the local community politics, became trustee and also served one term as mayor. He practiced in his profession until a couple of years ago when he picked himself up, and like his father before him, moved away to Florida. The two elder Finkelstein's were a fixture in Ossining. It was a pleasure to talk to them at any time and many a day either of them would stop over to the store and spend an hour talking. Charlie was a past master in the Masonic Lodge, and he was the one who talked me into accepting an office in the Lodge, which I did. But later, during the Second World War, through pressure of war and business, I was compelled to stop from going further and I withdrew and did not follow up going to the chair, that is, to become a master. I can't also bypass the family Philipson, who had a ladies' and children's dress store on Main Street. He was a learned man from the old country who had two sons. He had a very successful store at the time I knew him, but there were many people who remembered him when he first came to Ossining and was going around with a pack on his back selling, and his wife was sewing dresses. Later, he opened a little store on Water Street by the railroad, and then moved the store to Main Street. His sons live in Los Angeles. He was a very strong man and lived to old age; his last years he spent in

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a home where his mind did not function and he became just a vegetable. Later he passed away. Another large family of the originals was the Grossman's, Ike Grossman, one of the original brothers, was alive when I came to Ossining. He was a character. He was in the junk business and active in the congregation. I can still remember him selling "aliyos" on the high holidays, "Dray taller um shlishi." Those are the honors to be called up to the Torah, and this is the typical sales talk which was used in the old country and it means three dollars for "shlishi", that is to be called the third. Those are all memories and practices which were since then discarded. He had five sons of which only three remained alive. One son, Eddie Grossman, took over the business and is running it successfully to this day. He is big in the Masonic organization and we are good friends with him and Barbara. They were also good customers in the store all the years. They have one son who is in the army now. One other brother lives in upstate New York and another brother who also passed away had a second hand furniture store and one of his sons has the same type of business in Peekskill. Of the original settlers there was one Ben Bayden. He had a second hand furniture store. He was also a character. He was a crack salesman and he could talk anyone out of anything or into anything. As a member of the congregation he was heard at all the meetings. He was the official opposition, he was always against, and many an evening Ben Bayden supplied the excitement and the entertainment. From the old timers, there was Abe Rosen, whom I already mentioned, who knew everything about everybody, and whom everybody knew. Mr. Schleifer, a nice respectful man, who was active from the first years in the congregation and helped build it. He was employed as a painter foreman by the New York Central. Later, when he retired, he was able to give more time to the synagogue and many days he used to come and spend time in my store to discuss the affairs of the congregation. He was a great fisherman and he used to go out fishing a lot. Talking of fishing reminds me of one evening I went out fishing with Charlie Finkelstein who had a boat on Croton Lake, and Cy Chernoff. So we were out on the lake for about an hour and the fish were not biting so we decided to go back. I was at the oars, Cy at the anchor and Charlie up front. So I am waiting for Cy to pull up the anchor and he calls out, "All right, let's go." So I did not look back and I moved the oars and plop goes Cy in the water. It seems that he called me before he sat down and as I moved the boat he lost his footing and he was no swimmer. Somehow Charlie and 121

I managed to bring him into the boat, but he was shivering so badly that I was really afraid for him. I don't know how long it took me to reach shore. Then we rushed him into an inn that was nearby and managed to get him dry clothes. He was all right after that. Another one of the old timers was Morris Bentz. He was in the shoe repair business, a happy-go-lucky guy, always with a joke. So many times he used to come out with the saying, "What do you think I am, a shoemaker?" On "Yom Kippur" Eve, when we usually make a special appeal for funds. In the old days, we used to call out names and everyone pledged whatever he could give. So when his name was called he answered, "The same as last year." The joke was that last year he also did not pledge. So this remained as a steady joke in town, "The same as last year." The last few years of the originals were left Mrs. Gordon, Mr. Gordon passed away many years back and she remained alone in her house, although her two sons lived nearby. She was totally deaf and they could not fit her with a hearing aid. She was an interesting person. Not being able to hear whatever anyone spoke to her she was very lonesome. So she used to stop at the store on any pretext and talk. She was no fool and could tell stories form the old country and also from their first days in Ossining. I would listen and just say yes or no. She used to bring me some of her baking for all the holidays and I appreciated it very much. She used to come and ask me about various dates in the Jewish calendar. She knew of all the holidays and fast days. She used to cross the streets, not minding the cars. She was ninety-five when she died, one of the old hardy ones. She did not need any glasses in the street to her last days. She and Mr. Hyman Brown were about the same age. He, too, died last year. These two were about the last of the original settlers. Of the later, second crop, so to speak, there was the Family Perschetz. Phil had a drug store and he was a very pleasant man, quiet and sensible. It was good to talk to him. Mrs. Perschetz is a very active person, aggressive and very capable. She did a lot for the Hadassah in Ossining and was very devoted to Zionist work. One can call her the mother of Ossining Hadassah. She naturally was the president of Hadassah, and she also was very active in the Sisterhood and on the Board of Education. She also taught in our school before it got to be on a paying basis. She had three sons, one is a career officer, and I believe he is a major now. Of the other two sons, one is a teacher and one is an engineer. Phil met a horrible death. He went to fix something in the oil burner and it exploded. 122

When Rabbi Rubin was in town, they befriended him and, since he was single, he was able to spend much time in their house. Mrs. Perschetz still lives in Ossining and teaches school in Croton. Naturally the boys are not home. There was, and he is still there, Sol Kelman, a very opinionated man who will always speak his mind. For many years now he has resigned from the congregation, but when he was a member, everyone knew when he attended a meeting. He has a cleaning store now and is quite active in the Masonic Lodge. He has one son who married the daughter of the owner of Breakstone Dairy Products. He is an attorney and lives in White Plains. There was Ben Schneiderman who came to town as an agent for Prudential and plugged along for a few years. I remember one day Tilly Schneiderman telling me in my store on Maple Place that Ben decided to give up his job where he was making $36 a week, and start out for himself. Well, he did not make any mistake. By now he is retired, his son runs the business and he moved away to Florida. He owns a lot of property in town; his daughter is married to Gene Wolf, who is a grandson to A. L. Myers, the furniture man, and who now, together with his cousin Jordan Lillian, the son of the other son-in-law of A. L. Myers, the owner of the present furniture store. Then there is Phil Kleinman, who also was in the furniture business. He opened up small many years ago, together with his father-in-law, a businessman, the Ossining Furniture Exchange. Then later he took it over and enlarged it, bought a corner building and fixed up a four story modern furniture store. He and his wife Ruth were both hard workers for the congregation. They had two daughters of whom one lives in Ossining and is married to a dentist, Bill Schachter. They, too, were very active in the congregation and Sisterhood and, as their parents, both served as presidents of the congregation and the Sisterhood. By now Phil Kleinman is retired and has lived half a year in Florida, but he still takes an interest in the congregation and the credit union. Then there is Sol Klapper, who was a window cleaner. He, like most Jews in Ossining, came with nothing from New York. I know because he moved into the same house on Croton Street that we lived in. He bought the business from the wife of the former window cleaner, who unfortunately fell from two stories to his death. Sol worked hard and saved and since and since that is a business which does not require stock or fixtures, he managed to acquire a lot of property in Croton and in Ossining. By now, he is also retired and goes to Florida for the winter. There is a man who likes 123

to be by himself. He or his wife never lifted a finger to do anything for the congregation or for any organization, but we were friends through all these years. Abe Katz was a very active man, a hard businessman. He belonged to the congregation, but claimed to be a non-believer. He did not go to the synagogue even on "Rosh Hashanah" and "Yom Kippur". I believe he even kept his store open on the Holy Days. His business was automobile accessories and radio parts. From the first years we knew each other as town people. Later when I bought the building where his store was, naturally we got to know each other better. He was very much interested in scouting and during the war; his victory garden was the talk of the town. When I became president of the congregation, I had two good men as vice presidents, Lenny Wachtel and Sol Young. But I wanted somebody forceful to set up and help run the program for the year so I turned to my friend Abe Katz and asked him to take on the job. I don't know if it was for me or because it tickled his fancy to have all this power and responsibility, but he accepted and I must say that I have yet to see any one chairman be as conscientious and successful as was this Abe Katz who never went to any services or prayers to the synagogue. But he set up the program so perfectly and enforced it and surprisingly people fell in and worked. He set u p teams for all the various projects systematically and everything worked to perfection. I may be sound like bragging, but this is a fact. We used to get about thirty-five people to a program committee meeting and this was in the old synagogue on Waller Avenue. Somehow he struck it right. Nat Slomovitz was of the same era. He and Alec Kandel had a laundry in Ossining. Alec was a quiet man attending to business, a good member of the congregation wholly dominated by Nat. Nat on the other hand was a stormy fellow, very excitable, very opinionated. He served on committees of the congregation and was also president. He let himself be heard in any assembly. Later, they both moved away to Florida where I hear Alec is sick for years and Nat is still in the laundry business with one of his sons. His wife Ella was very active in the Sisterhood. Now she is a sick woman. Their daughter is married and lives in Ossining and his older son lives in Yonkers, so they come around about once a year to visit their children. Irving Ornstein came in later to town, a very capable and intelligent man with whom we shall meet later.

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Joe Berkowitz was a son-in-law of Hyman Brown and he had a delicatessen store on Spring Street which served as a meeting place for everybody. Many a day when I was too busy to go home for lunch I used to stop in for a bite there. Joe and Shirley worked very hard and one felt at home there. You got all the news, local, national and international, but mostly local, as soon as it happened. One would think that Shirley got it by carrier pigeon. With Joe and Shirley we got acquainted from our first days in Ossining. For a couple of years we lived in the same building on Croton Street. Some years ago, the town bought his place which was a very old house and the County Trust built a branch office and parking lot on the ground, and Joe opened a modern place around the corner on Main Street. They both still work very hard. A Family Rabinov moved in to town and ran a ladies coat factory on the corner of Main and Central Avenue. He never held any office in the congregation, but was always liberal financially. One son is with him in the business. He is at present a great-grandfather. Cartoon's furniture store was a fixture in Ossining for many years. The store was a branch of a store in Tarrytown. A Mr. Cartoon started it many years back and then three sons grew up and a son-in-law by the name of Harwood, formerly Horovitz, came into the family and they started to do a terrific business. They opened a place in Ossining and one brother and the son-in-law Harwood managed it and they acquired a very good name. They treated the people honestly and gave them good service. I got acquainted with them since we were neighbors and also they were my good customers. In turn we were buying some items from them. Then after some years through some argument in the family, they closed the Ossining store and the building stays empty now for quite a few years. Then there was the Kravetzky Family. Phil Kravetzky was a barber. They were a nice Jewish family. When they first came to Ossining, he advertised himself as the first Jewish barber, which was true. They had three daughters of which the second one, Selma, was Sara Lee's friend. Rena, the elder daughter, gave me a very good hand with the Young Judaea club. She was very good with children and I appreciated this very much. Later on, when Rabbi Prince moved into town and he was not yet married, he stayed in their home. So we were visiting that house many times. After some years, he sold the store and they moved to Brooklyn. Once in a while they visit Ossining. All the girls are married by now.

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Through all these years, I kept friendship with a Greek family. Chris Mitchell and a brother came to Ossining many years back and opened a small hot dog stand on Spring Street. He came to the Eagle Market to buy meat and get a week's credit and I gave it to him. Later they enlarged the business and had a regular restaurant. I must say they paid their bill and we remained friends. The brother later moved away South and Chris was here all these years. We belonged to the Eagles together and were active during the war in the war effort. Later we were for a time in a business venture together, but this we will talk about later. Now I just want to bring out that during the first couple of years in my business what with crazy high market and perhaps my inexperience in the business I was not making any money and it was hard to make ends meet. I could always count on a small loan from Chris Mitchell. By now he is retired, but he is not well. He married late in life, so he has one small son, Michael. Rae and I went to his wedding and drank their national whiskey, Metaxes. The ceremony took place in what they call a Greek Academy near Cold Springs and all during the ceremony the priest kept repeating "Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob.", and it reminded me so much of the Russian pronunciation of the names of our forefathers, the way the Russian Popes used to pray. It seems that all religions draw on the same origin. I got acquainted with a Dr. Samuel Kahn, who lived in Croton. He is a psychiatrist and was practicing in Croton and in Ossining. He ran a school which they called the Quaker Bridge School, where they taught children various arts and music. The teachers were people for the organization which surrounded and were followers of Dr. Kahn. He brought up many young men and women to change their ways, get education and later to become very highly useful citizens and professionals, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors of medicine. This Dr. Kahn held high positions in his field in various hospitals and institutions. That is how he came to be in Ossining. He was the psychiatrist in the Sing Sing Prison. I got acquainted with him and we became friends. He wrote many books and each time he wrote a book, he used to send me a copy. The books dealt mostly on his profession and how to build up self-confidence and how to get up in front of people to speak. Evidently he in a nice was gave me free instruction and I must say that they contain some lessons for many people. When I first became active in the Bnai Brith organization, I saw that the average member, aside from paying dues, has very little activity or knowledge or interest in or 126

about the organization and, having put in many years in the Zionist work, I realized that these people could be interested to help Israel. So I introduced the idea of having a Bond for Israel Drive by the Tri-Community Lodge and this should be apart from the drive which we have in Ossining by the Congregation Sons of Israel. My argument was that not everyone in the community belonged to the congregation and that some people would like to be identified from another source. Well, we had a Bond Drive and a very successful one. I mention this here because for the second year we had as honored guest this Dr. Kahn and it was held in his house in Croton. It was a most successful affair. He had the band from the school play and it was held outside on a beautiful July afternoon. Then and later, he is a good Bnai Brith member and I can call on him any time for any special assistance and he does not refuse. For years now they set up in Quaker Bridge School also a religious congregation and named it "Anshe Dorshe Emes". The part time Rabbi is David Fiscus, a very fine and scholarly person with whom we became personal friends. We see each other regularly. We had them to our house many times and we also go to their house and from time to time we attend their functions, religious and social. I was also given the privilege to speak there on several occasions. Moe Myers, whom I mentioned before, owned a stationary store on Main Street, so one day he sold it to a father and son named Harris. They were a nice family, too. The old man was a European and it was good to talk to him, to reminisce old times. His wife also was a lady, a very smart woman. It was good to talk to her. She was also a good customer in the store. The young couple was also very fine people. They had three children. When they moved in they bought a house which was owned by Ben Schneiderman and which he rebuilt to have five apartments in it. It was an old house with a lot of ground and some fruit trees on it, and shrubs and flowers, a fine house. They lived in Ossining about twelve years and then they got some very good proposition in Connecticut. So they sold the store in Ossining and were moving to Connecticut but to sell their house was a problem. At the moment there were no buyers and to rent it they did not want, so the old man Harris came to me with a proposition to take the house over. He offered me a very attractive price and practically no down payment. He said that he did not need the money at the moment. The deal sounded good. I talked it over with Rae and we took the house over and it was a very good idea. The house brought in a very fine income all these years and by now it is almost paid off. 127

Just about this time I was told of a property which I knew well since I passed there almost every day. This was an old house on the corner of Spring Street and Broad Avenue with a corner store which used to be a grocery store, but now was vacant for a couple of years. So this property I was told was an estate owned by some people who lived in Connecticut and they wanted to sell it to settle the estate. My friend, Dick Abraitis is a crack real estate man and I knew him well since we used to go out deep sea fishing with him and Sol Simon and Moe Myers. Now he is the assessor for the Town of Ossining. Mentioning Sol Simon and fishing, I can't pass up an incident which happened to us off Montauk Point, Long Island. With this Sol, we were friends and the wives were friends. When I was slaughtering cows I sold him the hind quarters and those that did not pass the kosher inspection. He was crazy for fishing. He would rather fish than eat and on any spare moment he would go out fishing. So he used to arrange for a deep sea fishing trip, hire a boat, and we would go out very early Sunday morning to Long Island to be able to leave on the boat by six AM and we had very nice expeditions. We caught weak fish, blue fish and tuna, and any fisherman knows the thrill of bringing in a tuna. So one day we came in Sunday morning and the boat which we hired broke down and could not get out and the other captains did not care to go out since it was a day after a storm. Sol became frantic. I said, "Let's fish off shore.", but he wouldn't listen. He contacted every boat until he got one captain to go out. He paid him a ten dollar bonus and we started out. The sea was very rough but soon Dick Abraitis brought in a twenty-eight pound striped bass and the spirits went up. But the waves were very high and the boat was being lifted high and came down with a terrific speed. I looked at the waves and I was not very happy. All at once we were lifted very high and came down with a smash and the boat literally split at the seams and water started to come in from all sides. The captain got on the radio calling "Mayday, Mayday!" and running around with an ax calling for us to get life preservers. In all stories of incidents at sea, the captains are described as cool professionals who calm the passengers and direct activities. This certainly was not the case here. This man panicked and he did not know what he was doing. As I was handing out the life preservers to Moe and to Sol, I looked at the water and the thought crossed my mind how long could we last in this dark stormy water.

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It did not take long and on the bottom of the boat the water was knee deep. The engine stopped running and the captain, as dangerous as our condition was, looked funny trying to stuff old burlap bags into the cracks. All of a sudden we spotted a boat on the horizon, so we started waving with whatever we had, arms, coat and life preservers. As it turned out, on account of the storm the day before, no boats were out, and this one and ours were the only boats out at sea, so for what it looked endless time that boat came close to us and tried to maneuver to get alongside of our boat for us to climb over to his boat. Finally, he got in position and we started to climb over to the other boat. This is where human nature shows up. We are actually being saved from drowning and rushing to get out of our sinking boat. Sol Simon drags with him his fishing rod even at that moment he was the fisherman. Anyway, we got to the new boat which had two fishermen aboard and they produced a bottle and we had a drink and the captains tried to connect a tow line to bring in our boat, but it broke twice, since by now she was half full with water. Our captain first refused to leave his boat since if he steps off it becomes salvage, but our new captain, after the line broke twice, gave him an ultimatum that either he comes off or he will leave him and go because the sea was heavy and his boat was small. So reluctantly our captain also came aboard and we started home. It took us a long time to get in, about one hour and a half, and when we were almost in we saw the Coast Guard cutter going out, and they say that the Coast Guard is always on the spot. We would have been in Davey Jones' locker if we had to wait for the Coast Guard that day. Anyway we got in and naturally we came home late and when I told Rae what happened she made me promises that I shall never go out deep sea fishing, and I did not since.

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Chapter 13 - Ossining, Part IIb So this Dick Abraitis I instructed to contact the owners of the property on Broad Avenue and he did contact them for me in Connecticut and he made an appointment with them and we went out there to talk business. We met a very fine family, who were the descendents of the former owners of the property, the family Barlow, and who had a hardware store on Main Street. There is where I saw an expert at work. The way Dick handled the transaction was a masterpiece, and we made the deal right then and there. The people were very nice. They took us up very friendly and we spent a lovely afternoon in their beautiful New England home. They were very hospitable and we parted friends and so did we remain all through the years. Naturally I fulfilled all my obligations on time and by now the property is paid off and is free of any mortgage. These two properties I bought and named them Rae Realty Co., just as a gesture of appreciation to Rae for her selfless effort in her help of maintaining our home. The building on Broad Ave. was very old and much neglected. The apartments were large, but very dilapidated. They were heated by kerosene burners, of which I was very scared, especially with children around. Ossining had rent control so one could not put in too much improvements, but I immediately took out the kerosene burners, and I installed instead gas heaters. I was allowed some increase in rent toward that. The big corner store stayed empty for over a year and was not rented so I later moved in myself and fixed up a pretty nice market and there I stayed for about fifteen years until I closed up shop and retired. There was another building which I bought many years before. This was the building on the corner of Spring St. and Maple Pl. This is the building where my original store was which I bought from Mr. Daitch. This building had five stores and twelve offices upstairs, but at the time we bought it, it was also much neglected and only a few stores were rented. The whole upstairs was vacant. There was a caretaker by the name of Ricky, a well-known Ossining character, whom everyone knew, a good natured man. He lived upstairs in one of the rooms. He also dabbled a little in antiques. He lived by himself and evidently had a little money. He did not need this job, but it made him feel important that he was in charge of the building. It would seem funny that at that time I already moved across the street to 28 Spring St. I did not have any idea about buying this building although I knew all the while that it was for sale. My friend, Mr. W. P. Goldman, drew my attention to it. One day, it seems that a broker in 130

New York approached him with the proposition and he thought it was a good idea, but he wanted to do me a good deed, so he offered it to me. For me, it was a great investment what with the down payment and the complete remodeling of the upstairs it was quite an undertaking. So I mentioned it to a friend of mine, Joe Nissenson, who expressed some time ago to me of his willingness to invest some money in anything promising. So I approached him with this project and he consented to come along with me. It is interesting that when Mr. Goldman heard that I took in a partner he gave me a slight argument. He said that he offered it to me for an investment so that I shall have something toward my old age when the building will be paid off. But, the gentleman that he was, he did not pursue it any further. The joke is the way it turned out the building is a long time now paid off but due to changing conditions in the village, the offices upstairs are vacant now for years and the rentals from the stores hardly cover the expenses, and quite often we have to invest money for repairs. But, of course, neither Mr. Goldman nor anyone else could foresee this. He certainly meant well. Abe Katz whom I mentioned before had the corner store at 2 Maple Pl. He was there for years and he was not religious at all and did not even come to the synagogue on the High Holidays. At one time Harold Dittleman and I undertook to set up a system to have a daily "minyan", that is a quorum of ten people for the daily prayers and we taxed each member to contribute one week attendance every six months. It worked wonderfully for a time. This was interesting, Abe Katz, who would not go to the synagogue on the High Holidays, came to this "minyan" without fail, and what is more, it was winter time and for a couple of mornings he could not get his car out and he came by taxi. So go and figure out a human soul. So Abe Katz was the main tenant in the building. One more store was rented for a bar and Kravetzky, the barber, whom I mentioned before also was in the building. Then another man came and rented another store on Spring St. Now we had to contend with the upstairs, since it was divided into offices. This was at the end of the war and we hoped for a new era with soldiers coming home. We decided to remodel the upstairs completely and set this up as a professional building. We got a contractor by the name of Martines with whom we were connected in another venture to which we will come later. He remodeled the upstairs completely with new windows and lots of tiles. It really became a modern building and we named it the Ossining Professional Building and we started to look for tenants. We advertised 131

locally and also in the New York papers, but it was hard to get anyone to rent an office. It seems everyone was scared to be the first one in a vacant building. I offered all kinds of inducements, but for a while there were no takers. Finally a young man just returned from the army, a dentist who lived in Tarrytown, decided to risk it. His name was Freidman. He was a captain in the army, a very fine young man. We had many interesting discussions and naturally I let him practice on my teeth, too. He had to start somewhere. Little by little more people came in. There was an accountant, and eye doctor, a medical doctor, a lawyer, and a medical laboratory. The place was humming and it was a pleasure to see it filled up and dozens of people coming and going to all the various offices. It also reflected on the income. In no time we were able to pay off Mr. Martines the twenty thousand dollars for the remodeling and we soon were able to see a dollar for ourselves. Sara Lee was in college at the time and it helped with her tuition. After some years, a new office building came up near the Victoria Theater, a real modern building with air conditioning and six of our tenants moved out into the new building. As it developed, one of our tenants, a doctor, was one of the partners of the new building and the deal to transfer all the other tenants was made before, so nothing could be done. Anyway, after that it just got from bad to worse. The downtown section started to deteriorate and we could not interest anyone for any office space. It was not only this building. On the corner of Main and Spring St. there was also an office building which became vacant and is that way for years. From the first days when we lived in our first apartment on Linden Avenue and where Sara Lee was born, actually she was born in the Royal Hospital on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. But this is the first house that she knew and I used to walk her naked on the lawn in the sun. The house belongs to Mr. Marino and it looks today as when the first day when we moved in there. Mr. Marino takes good care of it. By the way, we are still good friends. Living there we got acquainted with a family that was also new in the community, Sam and Shirley Rubin. Sam was a guard in Sing Sing Prison, so we used to see each other quite a lot. They had a little girl and an older son and daughter. One day there was a break out at the prison and two guards were killed. So just because the break happened in Sam's section, he was fired. Actually, he was no guiltier than I was but it seems that someone had to be the goat, so he lost his job. He had more time to spend 132

with us so he used to come over Sunday mornings with little Anita, to play with Sara Lee in the back yard. Naturally, I would have to get up although after the hard work and the long hours at the Eagle Market on Saturdays I would rather stay in bed longer. Later on, he got on the police force in Ossining. A few people had to help but anyway, he got on the force and worked up to lieutenant. A couple of years ago he retired and he visited Israel for a couple of years. It was for them very interesting. While in Israel and visiting the Hebrew University they unexpectedly came upon our Paul and they had a nice visit. This little girl, Anita, is now married and is a teacher. Her husband is a music teacher in Briarcliff. They have a little boy and daughter. This little boy, when he was one month old and had to go through the ceremony of "pidyon ha ben", that is when the first born has to be redeemed from a "Cohen" for the price of five silver dollars, they asked me to be the "Cohen" and to perform the ceremony. So to this day I kid them when I see the little boy that I sold him too cheap. Sam Rubin passed away suddenly a few months ago. He had a couple of heart attack, but he was getting along fine, and just a few days before, I met him at a Bond For Israel Drive in the Hilton Inn on a Sunday morning which was held by the First Westchester Putnam Bnai Brith District. I remarked to him how well he looked and three days later I had to say goodbye to him at his funeral. Some time during the war, a man came to live in town by the name of Henry Nelson. He had a successful printing business in New York. Here he bought an old big house and started to buy up real estate. He was very successful in his dealings. He was a friendly man and always liked to tell of his good fortune. It got so that people were criticizing him for bragging, but his stories were all true. He used to visit me occasionally and tell me all kinds of stories. Once he showed me his personal income tax return where he had made about ninety-six thousand dollars after taxes that year. He was heavy in the stock market. One day I stopped into his office and on his desk there was a portfolio crammed with all kinds of blocks of stock in various denominations and when I looked at it I told him he was crazy to keep it open like this. So he tells me that there is close to seven hundred thousand dollars worth of stock and that they are insured so that he does not worry. Later, when we built our new synagogue he gave us a good hand although he was not religious and did not come to services.

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His wife, Edna, is a very fine person. She took part in the activities of the Sisterhood. She remarried to a fine gentleman and they live in Ossining. Mr. Nelson did a lot of business with Ben Schneiderman. He was buying and selling for him and some properties they bought together. So when Nelson died the bulk of his properties were taken over by Ben Schneiderman. During all these years, we were active in the Zionist organization and money was always needed. To supplement the dues we had an A.Z. F. Appeal once a year. The American Zionist Fund and each district would honor one of its members and have a breakfast or a dinner and have a drive for funds. In Ossining, I was instrumental in quite a few A.Z.F. affairs. We honored Harold and Jean Dittleman. Mr. Harry White was a very fine gentleman. The whole family White was very fine people. Mrs. White was the lady of the house and the children grew up to be fine citizens. Sid White and his wife Jean are a model couple. Jean, Mrs. Dittleman, is a White, a very fine girl, and the other children are all much respected people. So we honored Mr. White and Mr. Hyman Brown, who was one of the original setters in Ossining, and although he was not a learned man, he was for many years the bulwark of the congregation. He was the "chazzan" on week days and the Sabbath. He also "davened Shacharis" on the holidays, that is the first part of the prayers. Then we honored Mrs. Perschetz and after Mrs. Dworkind. Mrs. Perschetz was for many years a hard worker for Hadassah and Mrs. Dworkind for her great devotion to the congregation and Hadassah from the first days they moved to Ossining. She and her husband, Jacob, were very devoted members of the congregation. Mr. Dworkind passed away after only a few years in Ossining, so Mrs. Dworkind still carries on and of course her brother, Mr. Handler. We shall meet him yet later. Mr. White died many years back and Mr. Brown passed away only last year, the last of the Mohicans. In later years when I gave my attention to Bnai Brith I was instrumental in honoring Mrs. Moe Myers at a Bond For Israel Drive, since Moe was the first Israel Bond chairman in Ossining. We honored Mr. Rose Perschetz and since I mentioned before that they befriended Rabbi Rubin when he was in Ossining, I invited Rabbi Rubin to this occasion to be the speaker. He lives Washington now and he graciously accepted and he came to the affair and I was able to show him the first letter applying for the Rabbinate position in Ossining. He was moved by my preserving this letter.

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Our Rabbi at that time was Rabbi David Prince. He was with us about four years and after he left we kept contact with him in all these years and we visited him in the few communities where he served since he left Ossining. They also visited us occasionally. For the past few years he serves as Rabbi in Bound Brook, New Jersey, where he is kept with great respect. Through Mr. Manheimer, I got acquainted with a very fine gentleman, Mr. Yates, who is the president of the Ossining Savings Bank, and although we did not do much business together, all through the years we are still friends. Rae and I, not having any near relatives here, we made a practice of inviting strangers to our "sedorim", on Passover and surprisingly enough there are always people that appreciate a festive meal and that would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in a "seder", so we had all kinds of people, some of mixed marriages, some remnants of broken families, and some of our gentile friends, and almost all of them appreciated this very much and enjoyed taking part in the festive occasion. One elderly gentleman, a butcher who worked for me many years in the Eagle Market and then some times in my own store during the Tarrytown period, his name was Tom Murphy and we were always friends. He was always telling me of his Jewish in-laws. His daughter, who was a nurse, married a Doctor Rosenberg, and the in-laws lived in New York. So from time to time he was telling me about his daughter and her children. It seems this doctor was sent as a specialist several times by the U. S. government to various parts of the world so the family traveled quite a lot. This Mr. Murphy officially retired and just worked sparingly from time to time and I meet him on the street occasionally. One day I met him and I asked him about his Jewish grandchildren and he tells me that they are here now in Ossining. It happened to be before Passover, so on the spur of the moment I asked him if perhaps they would like to come to the "seder". So he says that he will not mind and that he would ask the girls. He called me later to tell me that it was all right and that the two girls will be glad to come to the "seder" and that their aunt, a spinster, would accompany them. To they came and the two girls, age 10-12, were very interested. I don't know if they ever attended a "seder" before, but they were very attentive. I explained the proceedings to the best of my ability. But on the aunt it was a pity. She was scared not to be contaminated with the Jewish atmosphere.

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I shall never forget an incident which happened many years back while we still were in the old synagogue in Waller Avenue. It was "Rosh Hashanah" Eve and the place is full and as we started to leave, and we were toward the last, I noticed a stranger, a well-dressed man. I always made my business to greet strangers in the synagogue, so I went over and introduced myself and wished him a good year as is the custom. To my surprise he answers me, "I wish I was dead." I was shocked and asked him what happened and in what trouble was he in, so he told me he is so bitter because he finds himself alone in a strange place and he has no was to participate in the holiday. I immediately told him that he is not alone and that he is coming to us for the holiday. He was so appreciative he did not know what to say. We walked home and he told us that he just came to Ossining, recently and that he was the manager of the Starlight Drive-In Theater in Croton. He felt bad because somewhere upstate he had an old mother who was not well and here he was a stranger, so as it came out this was a real "mitzvah". I had and interesting experience with a "seder" in Israel. In Israel they have only one seder, and we attended the "seder" on Kibbutz Tirat Zvi where our Paul, who calls himself Zvi in Israel, is a member. They had a beautiful "seder" in their public dining room for about four hundred people. The whole class of kindergarten asked the Questions and it was very interesting, plenty of food and wine and tons of chopped chicken liver. The next evening, by them, it was no more a "seder", but it happened that they had a group of American students visiting the Kibbutz and they insisted that they wanted a second "seder", so the committee asked me if I would hold a "seder" for this group. I said, "Sure, I will be glad to.", so they gave us an adjoining room to the dining room and all the food and the makings of the "seder" and we had a very interesting "seder". Surprisingly enough this group of about ten boys and girls insisted on having a real traditional "seder" and not to delete or miss any of the customs of the "seder". I enjoyed it very much and I hope that they did, too. Sara Lee worked in New York and lived at the 92nd St. YM\YWHA where she met people and made friends from time to time. She used to invite a young man to meet her at her home where we also got a chance to meet the young man but nothing serious developed. After a while Rae remarked that Sara Lee mentioned a few times a boy she met by the name of Mel Nadell and she asked her why she does not invite this young man to her home for a dinner and she did and he came over to the house one 136

Sunday, a slightly built young man, very intelligent and bright. We enjoyed his company. It developed that his father was Jack Nadel the director of the 92nd St. Y, who was a well known figure in New York, active in the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. One son older than Mel was on a high position with Abraham and Strauss. The family looked very nice and we were happy for Sara Lee. They went out for several months and decided to get married. We met the family and they were very fine people. We could not wish for a nicer family and we started to look for a place for the wedding and after a number of trips to New York and visiting various synagogues and catering halls we decided on a place in Burnside Avenue named the Avelon. The place looked elegant and refreshing and after arranging for all details and the man named the price I said to him that all we want is that everything should be satisfactory and we will not question anything and I must say that these people went out of their way to satisfy everyone, and everything was to perfection. There were many well-known Jews in the Nadel's guest group and everyone had a great time. Mel was employed by the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies as a fund raiser. He did not make a fortune but he was making a nice living since he did not want to get out of Manhattan. They took an apartment on East 51st St. and later moved to E. 53rd. St. We used to visit them often and they would come out to us for the summer. Mel had the whole month of July off, so they used to come and stay with us most of the summer. We took them out swimming and fishing. Soon Sharon was born. She looked like a doll, a beautiful pink doll. We watched her grow. From time to time we also met the elder Nadel's, Jack and Clara, and we enjoyed their company. Sharon was growing up very nicely. Four years later Larry was born on February 2. I remember the date. I keep my car outside and the night before his "bris" it snowed very heavily and the car was covered with a lot of frozen snow so I just cleaned up the windshield and the doors and we went to New York and picked up the Nadel's and started out for the Doctor's Hospital on the East Side, York Avenue. On one of the streets, I was stopped by a police car. I did not know why and the officer tells me that my license plate is covered with snow and that this is a violation. I told him that I was in a hurry to go and did not know that this was a violation. This was not good enough for him and he was taking his book out to give me a summons, 137

so I told him, "You see, officer. These are two sets of grandparents going to a "bris" and everybody is waiting for us at the hospital and we came from Ossining and had to pick up the other grandparents and didn't have enough time to clean up the car." When he heard that he waved us on and wished us "mazal tov". The children were growing up very nice. We saw them all the time and the summer months they used to be with us and we took them out swimming and picnicking. Mel behaved very properly. He was a good father to the children. That is why, when the blow came, it came as such a surprise to us. We used to take out the children and the in-laws Nadel on the children's wedding anniversary to a restaurant downtown every year and as Sharon and Larry started to understand things they enjoyed it very much. So three years ago, when we were ready to go out like next Sunday, Jack Nadel called us to invite us for a dinner to the house and there he broke the news to us that Mel wants a separation. It was so strange and drastic a piece of news that it was hard to believe. Here for weeks they were talking about moving and we took them around several times on weekends to look at apartments and here such a knock over the head. I could not believe it. I am a firm believer in talking things over. I believe that there is nothing which could not be straightened out with a meeting of minds and I insisted that I want to talk to Mel. I simply could not see Mel, an intelligent, loving father that he was, that he should abandon his children. The whole idea was so preposterous that is was hard to believe and especially we could not forgive ourselves, Rae and I, for being so blind and not noticing anything. Of course, we could no have expected to hear anything from Mel, and Sara Lee said that she did not want to hurt us, as if she could spare us from it at all. Anyway, I sat down with Mel in the presence of his father and this may have been the only time that I managed to be calm during an argument. I did not ask him the reason for his wanting to break up the home, since I knew he would not give me the right answer, but I asked him how in the world he, an intelligent young man and devoted father that he is, can make his mind up to abandon his children whom he loves so? What does he know what fate he is subjecting them. Sara Lee is still a young person. She will probably remarry and what does one know what kind of stepfather she would get for his children and who knows how they will grow up without the supervision of a father.

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It could happen that she will get a very good man who will love and treat the children very good and the children young as they are will transfer their love to that man and they will forget about their father and perhaps be adopted by this man/ Or, on the other hand, she could bring into the house a real stepfather who will make their lives miserable and this will have to be on his conscience. In general I explained to him that by every normal couple there are always differences of opinions and if people are intelligent and fair enough they came to an understanding. Well, he heard me out. He did not move all the while but also he did not answer me a word. He just sat there. Jack, his father, told me later that Mel told him before that he had his mind made up and that he will not change it. Well, they separated and they made some kind of financial settlement and he remained in the apartment. Sara Lee did not want to stay there so she moved to a nice garden apartment in Flushing. After a while she got part time work. We offered to move her to Ossining but she did not consider it wise. She is a proud girl. She was considering mostly us, and then any chances for a job would be better in the City. So she moved to this apartment in Flushing. We helped her move and get fixed up and set up the furniture. For a few months while the hurt was yet fresh she was a bit touchy but little by little she got composed and was able to look at life and future with a resolute mind and will. Later on, when Larry started regular school, she started to work regular hours. Fortunately, she has a good position with Petro Oil firm, which is near her house and she does not need to travel. A few years ago, Jerry had to go to England for a year. He gave her his car since he intended to buy one in England. So she has a little car now, too, and by now she is getting along pretty well under the circumstances. We see them quite often. At first Sharon felt very bad. As little as she was, she understood and she was hurt and frightened. It reflected also in her school work and truly we were scared, but little by little she got a hold of herself and her school work improved and she is growing up a very fine child, and so is Larry. Their father visits them and so life goes on. Sara Lee belongs to a Reform Temple and the children go to the religious school there, but Sharon says that she does not want a "bas mitzvah". I think that she must have figured out in her mind that it would not make for a perfect celebration with the family broken up. Well, we will have to make this up to her some time, perhaps a trip to Israel to visit her Uncle Paul and Aunt Rina, and the twins.

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Chapter 14 - Ossining, Part III Cantor Irving Sobel came to Ossining and he was a likeable fellow. He made many friends. We were yet in the old synagogue on Waller Avenue and started to build our new temple in Briarcliff. He had his widowed mother living with him. During the summer months he was engaged in the mountains in some hotel as a toast master or master of ceremonies. He was very good at that. He also was training our congregation choir. Rae was in the choir since its inception, over twenty years now. During Rabbi Fader's time, it originally consisted of eighteen members, but after the years it dwindled down to six who stuck it out all through the years. From them were Mrs. Bentz and Mrs. Apel and Rae, from the originals. Rae took an active part in the Sisterhood and the Hadassah all through the years serving on various committees and also as president in both organizations. Later, when the Bnai Brith became active in Ossining, we started to talk about organizing a chapter and the first organization meeting took place in our house and since the chapter was established, Rae is quite active in the chapter and is serving on the board. About fifteen or sixteen years ago, we started to earnestly talk about building a new synagogue, that is talk was going on for many years before, but this time we really meant it. The first step was to acquire some land. The people behind the push were Anton Schnap and Irving Ornstein. I remember the first luncheon we had in the | Central Grill on Main Street at which nine people were present. Anton Schnap is a worldly person, full of experience and wisdom and also knowledge in the building line. Irving Ornstein, a young man, full of education and enthusiasm. I must state here that we were thrown together many times on many committees and on many projects, and we had countless arguments and disagreements, but we always respected each other and remained friends all these years. I must give him credit for the initial push to build. Of the initial committee to look for land were Dr. Finkelstein, Ben Schneiderman and I, and we treaded enough dirt and contacted enough people for information. In the center of the town a little east of Croton Avenue, there was an old school building. Years ago there was a military school. The ground was about five acres and it was one of the few level spots in Ossining. The school building was a four story affair, wooden and neglected. It was for sale and it was mentioned that it deserves to be looked into.

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When I became president of the congregation, I decided to investigate this property properly. I had on the committee Mr. Moe Myers and Nathan Slomowitz and Dr. Finkelstein. I invited a gentleman who at that time was not even a member. I heard of a family by the name of Kavy, who just settled near Ossining, and who were builders, so I called up and I spoke to the elder of the two brothers, Bert Kavy, and I explained to him our situation and I invited him to come with us as an expert to look over the old St. John's Building. He was gracious enough to accept and we set to meet Sunday morning at 10 AM and I shall never forget. It came Sunday and it was during December and it was slushy weather, a lot of soft slushy snow, but the whole committee showed up and we went over and really looked the place over. The consensus of opinion was that for us it would be too expensive a project since we could not utilize the old building at all and to demolish it and just have the use of the ground it would be too costly for us. It took us about two hours to look everything over and come to an official conclusion. I am to this day thankful to Mr. Bert Kavy for coming out on that miserable morning to give us of his time and experience, especially when he was not a member of the congregation. Today he is a member for many years and also a past president of the congregation. Later, the St. Anne's Church bought the property for a school. They too did not use the old building. They tore it down and built a modern school. Well, evidently, they had more funds than us. At that period we had no Rabbi and we were looking for candidates, already the problem of a house or apartment for a Rabbi became a problem since a Rabbi should have his home within walking distance of the synagogue and this was hard to get. So to one of the meetings I suggested that we should look in on the idea of buying a house for a Rabbi no matter who the candidate shall be and we will have a good offer for the prospective Rabbi since he will not have to worry about a home. The idea was so new that even and intelligent person as Dr. Finkelstein thought I was crazy. Who ever heard of buying a house for a Rabbi and investing so much money in it? But I explained it to him and to the board how much of an asset we would have in bargaining while hiring a Rabbi and they went along with me. A committee was formed to look for a house for a Rabbi even though we had no Rabbi yet. So now we were going around looking for houses and quite a few Fridays after I got through in my business I picked up Nat Slomowitz and Ben Schneiderman and we 141

went out to look at a house, and pretty soon we settled on a house on Gilbert Place which was just a few blocks from the synagogue on Waller Ave. and we purchased the house in the name of the congregation for the Rabbi even though we had no Rabbi yet. It turned out to be the best investment because when we met Rabbi Gelbart and negotiated with him the fact that we had a home for him was a great factor in our favor. Of course the Sisterhood took upon themselves to pay off the mortgage. Before me the president of the congregation was Mike Jessup, a very forceful and active person. We got along very well. When I became president I had as vice president Leonard Wachtel, a dentist, with whom I worked as I already mentioned before in the Zionist organization and also Sol Young, a devoted Zionist and a good friend and I must say that they both gave me a lot of support, physical and moral, and many of the projects I must say would not have been accomplished without their help. In general, looking back at those times, I must admit that I was fortunate to get a lot of support from all the members and committees. After Lenny's regime, Dr. Bill Schachter, also a dentist became president. He is a sonin-law to Mr. Phil Kleinman. His wife, Joyce, a very bright and active girl was president of the Sisterhood during my administration and Rae was president of the Sisterhood during his administration. Those were stormy days, meetings and meetings, what with buying the house for the Rabbi, hiring a Rabbi, buying property to build the new synagogue, and making plans for the building, visiting other communities and checking on school rooms and kitchen sizes and locations. The days were very hectic and we met constantly. This is when the presence of people like Freund, Schnap, Ornstein, Handler, and Finkelstein were invaluable. There were many more. If I don't mention everyone it is just because that it is impossible to mention all of them. When Rabbi Gelbart was getting ready to come to Ossining, we fixed up the house for him and made it ready for the family and when they arrived and settled in their new home I called a special meeting together with the ladies to officially present the home to the new Rabbi. I asked Judge Dittleman, in honor of the Sisterhood, to read the chapter, "A Woman of Valor", and I said a few words and I finished that we all hope they will be comfortable her in their new home and if the need will be we will build out. As it happened they did have two additional children in Ossining but we did not build out there since we bought a new house for them when we built our new temple in Briarcliff. 142

I can't bypass from commenting on the connection between the Jewish Community and the Ossining and Briarcliff Police Departments. There was never any pressure on the congregation and there was always a respect on the part of the departments for the congregation. Of course, the Jewish community had hardly any disturbing element for the police to handle. I remember we were sitting in the old synagogue on Waller Avenue at some meeting in the meeting room when about 11 PM the telephone rang. The Ossining Police Chief was on the phone. Moe Myers answers and he says to the chief that he will come right over. It appeared that there was in town an elderly Jewish man, a painter, who never bothered with the congregation and he was a little off by now. So the police got him for something indecent and the chief did not want to keep him in jail. So this is where Moe Myers showed up without consulting with our group. He told the chief that he is coming right over and after telling us what happened he went over to the Police Station and put up one hundred dollars bail for that man, and he was let out. The Police Chief knew that this was an exception and he did not want to have this dragged through the paper. Later the man was fired and the case was closed. Into my store various people used to come, local and travelers. A kosher store is a place of assembly to hear and also impart of any congregation news. After the Second World War a man came into my store. He originally was from Czechoslovakia and went through the war and survived the Nazi camps and now he was fortunate to be in this country. He got a job in the Printex shop which was on State Street in Ossining, just a block from my store. This place specialized in printing various shawls and kerchiefs. So he was there a night watchman, and since time, as I mentioned I had plenty and a listener I am a good one, so this man started to come in during the afternoons and we chatted. He told me fantastic stories of his experiences in the camps and later when he was in the woods as a partisan. It was fascinating to listen to these stories first hand from somebody who actually lived them through. He also told me of the life in Czechoslovakia before the war. It was interesting to listen to him. He lived in the Printex Building where he had a room. He was alone with no family here. He mentioned that he had someone in Israel. One day I am called to the Police Department. They have this man, Miklu, was his name, arrested on grand larceny. The first thing I did was to call Dittleman and asked him to arrange for bail. I did not want him to stay in jail. Later we shall see what we 143

can do. Harold Dittleman went immediately to the Police and arranged for bail. So this Miklu was out of jail. I started to question him what happened and this is what came out. It seems that he asked the boss for a raise. He thought that he deserved one and he was refused. It would appear that with all the experiences that he lived through his mind was not working perfectly. When he was refused the raise he figured out a way how to get it himself. He knew that there was a room where they kept old discarded samples which nobody used any more. They were just kept for records, so he made up a couple of bundles of these samples and sent them to his sister in Israel, but he did not let her know beforehand and also not being a professional crook, he put the return address to his place in Printex. So when she got the packages and had to pay a high tax on new silk material, she refused them and they went back to Printex. Now Printex started to check about these shipments and the story was pieced together and he was arrested. I called Printex to arrange for a meeting with the owner to talk it over, but they would not listen, so I asked Harold to call him and as a judge they did not refuse and they accepted this time a meeting and we met. There was the owner and the manager, their accountant and their lawyer. From our side there was just Harold Dittleman and I. Their lawyer was storming that he only wants to put this man behind bars in prison. The accountant was also very strong for punishment. Strangely, the owner did not have much to say. He allowed the hired help to talk for him. I spoke up and explained to them, "We do not deny this man's guilt, but we have to take this man's past and his present state of mind into consideration and that he will be made to pay for all claims and losses if the company sustained, but I beg of you not to press to put him in jail." Harold Dittleman explained that if the charge were reduced from grand larceny to petty larceny he could get off with a cash fine and this is the way it was settled. He paid up for all claims and naturally they would not keep him any longer. I was satisfied. I did not want to see this poor man who went through hell to be subjected to go to prison in this free country. The poor guy, he was left a little mentally disturbed. He left Ossining. He did not even say goodbye to me. Evidently, he was ashamed to face me, if I ever saw him since. For many years there was a family in town by the name of Jame. The wife had a ladies shop on Main Street in Ossining and the husband, Mr. Jame, was retired. He was collecting disability insurance on his heart. He was a very fine man and good to

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talk to, so since he had plenty of time, he was one of my steady visitors to the store and also he could always be counted on to come to the synagogue. He had two sons, one has a successful store in Croton, and the other, the younger one, had asthma when he was a boy and they had to send him away to Colorado or Arizona for five years and he grew out of it and he came back and married and is running a business in Portchester. Mrs. James, Sr. was a sister to Mrs. Shoulkin and they were always together. So we started to seriously talk about building a new synagogue and the search was on to buy a site for a building. Along came a parcel of land in Briarcliff which is just on the border of Ossining, an old estate called the Mead Farm almost ten acres land with an old four story mansion which was much neglected. The land was very desirable. The price was thirty-five thousand dollars, and what with prices going up all the time it appeared that this was a good buy. Anton Schnap, Irving Ornstein, Larry Schnell, who was a builder, and the Kavy brothers all were in agreement that we should buy the property. So we bought it. We held a ceremony to consecrate the land and it was given to me the honor as president to consecrate the land and plant a tree. The Rabbi recited appropriate prayers and we were off on the adventure of starting a building project which when through will run us approximately 100 to 125 thousand dollars and which by the way ran us to about 300 thousand by the time it was finished. For the record, when we started the project we had in our building fund in Waller Avenue $6,000 in cash and whatever we could realize for our building on Waller Avenue. From then on we had to start mobilizing all our efforts to provide funds for the new venture on hand. So, meetings upon meetings continued to take place in order to figure out the machinery how to provide the means to start building. We knew that we had to tax ourselves but, how was the question. The most popular idea was to hire a fund raising team who are experienced in the methods of raising funds. But, some said and I was one of them that to hire a professional fund raising company we would have to spend about six or seven thousand dollars and all they will do is to tell us how much money each of us should contribute. They will not bring in any money to us and they cannot enforce the collection. My argument was that they will skim off the cream of the potential givers, which could come through with their pledges anyway, and the bulk of the work will remain to us and I must say that this is just what happened. 145

We hired a fund raising team and they came out with all kinds of brochures and diagrams and we made up an original brochure and we held meetings and meetings and assigned various sum pledges to the members and this is where the fun began. The arguments by what right does the committee assign this amount to this one, how do they know how much this individual can contribute and so on and so on, endless arguments, but the fact remains, that only about 50 to 55 % of the membership contributed to the building of the new temple. Attempts were later made to tax everyone a minimum of three hundred dollars toward a building fund but it was not successful. It had to be abandoned. It was later instituted again but it is not working out and up to now there are members in the congregation who I am sorry to say did not participate in the building drive. The building committee, of which I was a member, consisted of nine people, but the executive committee consisted of five people who were builders and knew the building trade. They were Anton Schnap, Larry Schnell, Bert Kavy, Irving Ornstein and George Morgenstein, who was an engineer and contributed a lot to the project. Larry Schnell gave a lot of time supervising and advising. He was doing a lot of building in the county. The whole committee was as good a committee as anyone could hope to have. They had a lot of knowledge and experience and everyone had full faith in them. We traveled around to various communities to see designs of temples, new and old, to look and evaluate space for chapel, school rooms, meeting rooms, social hall and most important, kitchens for meat and for milk dishes. One can get lost in designs. I even brought a set of plans from Montreal, where Rae's nephews just completed a synagogue in St. Laurent, and we were measuring and figuring space. It is easy to add a few feet here and a few feet there, but the cost keeps mounting. But somehow we settled on a design and size and we started to build. After the fund raising committee was through and went away, I sat down with Rabbi Gelbart and we made up a very fine brochure to continue the drive, also by now to start selling memorials. Since I was chairman of the memorial committee, we sat down and priced all items in the temple which could be offered as memorials for people to purchase. After we priced everything we found that if we would have customers for all of our memorials we could have realized almost half a million dollars. The trouble is that we had no buyers for all the memorials but we did realize a lot of money on the memorials. Just at that time the senior John D. Rockefeller passed away, and since the Rockefeller's are our neighbors, living in Tarrytown, I sat down 146

and wrote a letter to Mr. John D. Rockefeller suggesting that it would be a nice gesture to memorialize his father in our new temple since he was a religious man. I even offered to say "kaddish" in his memory. I got an answer from his secretary that she is sorry but the family discontinued this type of practice and contributions to any religious denomination, so that was that. We went over one evening to visit Mr. Handler, Dr. Finkelstein, Mr. Phil Kleinman and I and after exchanging the customary remarks we told him what our purpose was, that we have to start selling memorials for the new temple, and that we would like him to be the first one to make a purchase and without any hesitation, he takes the brochure and points to the library and he says, "This is mine. I want this." The library, which also was scheduled to serve as the everyday chapel, was priced at ten thousand dollars. Well, no one had anything to say for a moment and then all of us wanted to talk. We thanked him properly and wished him many years to enjoy the chapel and library. We all felt good. Mrs. Dworkind served "lechayim" and we parted in very high spirits. I spoke to Mrs. Mendelovitz, whose husband recently passed away and left two sons. One is a doctor and the other took over his father's liquor business. They wanted to provide a memorial for their father. So the family Mendelovitz purchased the eternal light for five thousand dollars. Mrs. Perschetz bought a memorial in memory of her husband and many others. The Kavy family, who at that time lost their mother, donated a large memorial plaque, which covers a good part of a wall and where many names can be inscribed, for an income for the synagogue. Larry Schnell was supervising the actual building since his business was local. He was building Springvale on the way to Peekskill, so he was able to give much more of his time to the temple. There was a decision to make about a home for the Rabbi. We had to provide the Rabbi with a home near the new synagogue. Some were of the opinion, and I was one of them, that since we owned so much land and we are engaged in a building program, we should build on our land and save the price of the lot. But some others were of the opinion that to let the Rabbi live next to the temple, would add to his obligations since everyone having anything to do with the congregation would be calling on the Rabbi. Larry Schnell was the main opponent of building the Rabbi's home next to the synagogue. That faction won out and we bought a nice house for the Rabbi just across the road from our temple. My idea was that 147

since we owned the land, we should go and build a home for a Rabbi, for a cantor and for a caretaker, so we would have a good bargaining argument to get people whom we would care to have. It would take off a great burden of these people to look for living quarters, but the majority did not see it my way. A couple more people who played a big part in our congregation and whom I did not mention yet were Sam Puner and Harry Tane. Sam Puner was in the community for many years but was taken up with business and in the early years he could not give much time to the congregation. Later he started to take a very active part in the congregation. As an educated and level-headed person, he was a great asset to the congregation. He served on the board, on the Board of Education, and on the Religious Committee. He was also president and is still quite active even now. An incident happened while we still were on Waller Avenue. We were sitting in some board meeting in the meeting room which was in the house next to the synagogue. I was sitting in back of Puner. All of a sudden, he slips off the chair and falls to the floor. A couple more people and I got to him and picked him up. I took instruction during the war in first aid, so I tried to make him comfortable. We put him on a sofa. I loosened his tie and somebody called a doctor. Dr. Myers came immediately. Sam had suffered a light attack. Dr. Myers called an ambulance and he was taken to the hospital. Sam recuperated and never had any more trouble. Harry Tane was an interesting character. He also lived in the community quite a number of years and did not identify himself with our congregation. All of a sudden, he got an urge to get active in the congregation. He was a clever, forceful person, educated including quite a bit of Hebrew. So he was an asset to our congregation. He always had to have his way. He was a friend if one agreed with him. One dared not cross him. He died about a year ago. No one can deny that he did work hard for the temple, but he worked for Harry Tane mostly. He left his mark in the congregation. After Mr. Handler pledged the ten thousand dollars for the library, the following year he was made chairman of the memorial committee. Actually most of the people who were interested in purchasing memorials have already made their pledges. He is a man who believed in putting up plaques for all occasions, so he made plaques, one for the Building Committee, one for the Administration at the time of the building program, one for the past president and another one for all the members who pledged. Now one can look at the walls of the lobby and see who is who.

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Rabbi Gelbart coming in the new building realized that this would start a new era. In order to strengthen and solidify his position, he surrounded himself with the group in power and saw to it that they get his unqualified support. They in turn will be his backers. The people on the scene were Harry Tane, Paul Puner and Irving Ornstein and a more loyal group no Rabbi could ever ask for. They were on the board. Later Ornstein became president and Puner and Tane vice presidents. After Ornstein served three terms, Puner became president and the past president was given authority on the board. After Puner served two years, Irving Ornstein was again elected president. I don't say that it was done illegally, but it left a bad taste of dynasty for about ten years. They kept the ball in their backyard so to speak. I named them the "troika". I did not very much like the smell of things, the condition was not ideal. The new temple did not justify our expectation and things did not go in the direction of our hope. We did not, as a congregation, grow the way we had hoped. Not that we did not get any new members, but that we could not hold their interest. They would join the congregation and in a short while we would not have them any more. We did not have the appeal to hold people's interest in the congregation for long. From time to time, I criticized the condition of the congregation. Meetings were going on to arrange for all the activities of the congregation and arrangements for the payments and mortgage. Dr. Bill Schachter and Joyce were very much in the picture. Joyce is a very clever girl, likes to be heard, and a little domineering, but a hard worker. Her father and her husband and she were staunch, dedicated friends of Rabbi Gelbart. Thus, together with the "troika" and a couple more, he was in solid and all the opposition could not bring any results. Meetings and meetings were going on in private homes and in the synagogue. Ben Schneiderman was made building chairman and all efforts were geared to raise more money for the building and to get more people to contribute to the building fund. Mr. Henry Nelson came in that time with quite a substantial donation. This was a great event since he was not a synagogue man. A bazaar was held and the traditional journal and dinner was held which brought in a substantial sum. All in all, a lot of work was done by a lot of people who put their heart and soul into the project and a lot was accomplished. Pretty soon the time came to move to the new temple. The old one was not sold yet, but we set a time to move. Traditionally when "Torah's" are moved, there is a formal procession with candle lights, songs, dances and flags with people given

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honors. By next, they carry the "Torah" for a while or hold one end of the canopy. It was a very inspiring evening. Pictures were taken. Everything was done up town. The plans were being considered for an official consecration of the temple. "chanukas habayit", it is called. Therefore, one Sunday morning we were meeting in the office of the new synagogue and discussing plans for a suitable ceremony. Bill Goldstein spoke up and said it would be nice and proper if we consecrated the new temple with a new "Torah". I was across the room from Bill, so I said, "Sure it would be nice. Bill, just say the word and I will get you a new Torah." He says, "Alright, get it." Everyone was dumbfounded as it dawned upon them what is taking place. It isn't every day that a person donates a new "Torah". I immediately took him up and called out, "Who will go with me to New York this morning?" and Mr. Handler volunteered. After congratulating Bill, I called Rae and told her that I would not be coming home for lunch. Thus, with Mr. Handler, we went down to New York and bought a very fine "Torah" which with the ornaments cost Bill Goldstein $1,250. It was a great experience for me because buying a "Torah" is an honor and a "mitzvah" and also a great event which does not come very often. The "Torah" we picked out was a beautiful item. It was a full size with a very fine script. It was a pleasure to read from. We got the "Torah" and brought it back with us. It was a very satisfactory feeling for a job well done. Then came the time to officially consecrate the new Ark. The "Torah's" are placed in the ark. Up till then they were in the small chapel. It was done in a very fine ceremony. The "Torah's" were carried over under a canopy to the sounds of music and singing and appropriate prayers. I was given the honor to carry a "Torah". Honors were also given to Mr. Handler, Mr. Dworkind, Mr. Kleinman, Mr. Schneiderman, Mr. Brown, Mr. White, and all the older active members. As I write this, three from this group, Mr. White, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Dworkind are no longer with us. The newer crop, which came up as active members in the congregation, were Mr. Puner, Mr. Orenstein, Mr. Tane, Mr. Hassel, Mr. Morgenstein, Bill Schachter and Bert Kavy. These were the more active, younger men in the congregation. By now they are already the older members, since there is a new group of younger men who are active in the congregation. Mentioning Kavy, I cannot pass up an incident which happened to me with that family. Rosaly Kavy, Bert's wife, is a very charming woman, educated and clever. She served on the Board of Education of the congregation while I was president and it was 150

a pleasant experience to attend meetings with her. There were also Mrs. Hassel, Mrs. Devries and Mrs. Perschetz who were all highly intelligent ladies. The meetings were conducted on a high level, peaceful and educational. Aside from belonging together on the Board of Education, the Kavy family was a good customer in the store. Although they did not give me all their business, I appreciated what business I got from them. In general, we were quite friendly. Their older boy was "bar mitzvah" and I, as president of the Board of Education, gave him a charge and also mentioned the activities of his parents. They had the whole ceremony taped and in a couple of weeks they invited the officers, the choir, the Rabbi and the cantor to the dinner at their home. They played the whole tape for us and it sounded very nice and we had an enjoyable afternoon. I am mentioning all this to establish that the connection between us was very friendly. One day, Mrs. Kavy came into the store and asked me to do her a favor. It was Mrs. Kavy Senior's birthday, so she and her sister-in-law, Gilbert Kavy's wife, would like to buy her a High Holiday prayer book, and would I be good enough to get it for them, because I knew more about it and knew where to get it. I said, "Sure, I will be happy to get it." She tells me that the price is no problem but get something nice because they don't know what else to get her for her birthday. At that time, I had already visited Israel and over there I saw various religious books, Bibles, prayer books of various sizes bound in metal covers and some in silver. I thought this is what I shall get for her. On a Sunday morning I went downtown to New York, and if anyone knows what goes on downtown on a Sunday morning, it is impossible to get a parking place around Canal, Division or Rivington and Essex Streets and the weather was bad. Anyway, I went into half a dozen stores and all I could get was a finely bound set of two prayer books for the High Holidays, but nothing bound in metal like what I saw in Israel. Evidently, at that time, they still did not export them to this country. In the last of the six stores, I was too tired to drive around any more. I bought a set of books and brought them to Mrs. Kavy. I explained to her that a more elaborate book could not be found in New York. Well, I don't know of anything else, but from that time on, she stopped talking to me, and they stopped ordering. Somebody would think that G-D knows what I did to them. All because I offered to do them a favor, traveled down to New York, and had all kinds of trouble parking and running around to all the stores and at the end, lost a customer and a

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friend. Until this day I don't know what caused the break. She never came out openly to accuse me of anything and I did not feel like asking for any explanation. After a couple of years in the new synagogue we came to realize that our high expectations from the new temple were not being realized. We did not attract any new members the way that we expected. People started to criticize the Rabbi, since he is the figure head. He represents the congregation wherever the fault originated. Really no one knew, but certainly the finger pointed more toward the Rabbi. He was a strong character. I notice this through the years that he could not get along with the teachers. There were many teachers during the years that he made uncomfortable and they had to leave. Perhaps this attitude of his reflected also toward some of the members. Anyway, criticism was rampant throughout Dr. Wachtel's administration as president. This was just a couple of years after we moved into the new temple. It got so loud that he was forced to call a special membership meeting to discuss the Rabbi. For that everybody came and it was a very noisy meeting. Many people spoke their minds and naturally the Rabbi's staunch friends stood up for him, but quite a few brought out what criticism they had. I, myself, put it on the line. I spoke up and said that my estimation is that the reason why we are not growing is the Rabbi, because the Rabbi is the personification of the congregation. He represents it and if he does not carry any appeal to the new comers then that is why we do not get new members. I also stressed the point that people living in Ossining are joining up in Tarrytown and Croton, so there must be some reason for that. From my own observations I noticed since I attended services every Saturday that new comers would show up for weeks or some for a few months and then we did not see them any more. There must be some reason. Well, the next morning the Rabbi accused me of attempting to destroy his reputation, and put him out of a job. I told him that as a member of the congregation, it is my duty to express my opinions for the good of the congregation and that there was not any personal animosity involved.

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Chapter 15 - Ossining, Part IV A young lawyer and judge from Croton, Steve Mishkin, was honored at a Bond Drive. Then for the next Bond Drive we honored a Croton man who is also a member of our congregation, Ted Stone, who was at the time the past president of the Croton temple, so we had the Bond Drive in cooperation with the Croton temple, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester. This was the first time for the Croton Jewish Community to participate in a Bond For Israel Drive. Rabbi Michael Robinson, Rabbi of the Temple Israel, and Mitchell Schwartz, our secretary of the Tri-Community Lodge, were chairmen for the drive. It turned out to be a very nice affair and we got the satisfaction of being instrumental in initiating it, and so we continued to find ways to be useful to the community and to Israel. There is one more project which I cannot pass up without mentioning. There was an Italian man in town, Joe Alaimo. He, himself, was a poor man, but very charitable. He, on his own, created a Catholic charity organization called the Sons of Joseph. He was employed in the City in the court house, so he knew all the judges and lawyers and various politicians. It was easy for him to contact those people to contribute to his charity, either financially of by personal appearances to his once a year affair which he held every year. He also solicited most local businessmen and he was not refused. At his dinner or breakfast he used to provide a kosher table for his Jewish friends. I, myself, attended a couple of his affairs. It was done in good spirit and with a minimum of organization. Joe was doing all the work, soliciting, collecting and arranging everything. One day he asked me to cater a breakfast for his organization. It seems that he was holding the affair in our congregation on a Sunday morning, right after church services and this was the only place where he could house all the people so it had to be a kosher meal. I told him that I well serve kosher bacon with eggs. The guest speaker was Lieutenant Governor Wilson and there were about 125 guests. It came to be that the 125 good Catholics, just leaving the church from a Holy Communion, came to the synagogue to partake in a meal of kosher bacon and eggs. At one of our executive meetings I suggested to have a Bonds For Israel Drive and have Joe Alaimo as the honored guest. The idea was so foreign and novel among us that it created a heated discussion. I tried to prove to the committee that this was a very fine gesture to a non-Jew and that this will also be an added attraction to our Jewish members and here is a Christian Catholic who is interested enough and willing 153

to help Israel. It was accepted. Here I encountered some difficulty. Joe did not refuse to lend a hand for Israel, but he was such a humble man that he did not want any publicity for himself. Finally, I convinced him and we set the thing in motion. Now one has to understand that a project of this sort must be conceived and arranged months ahead. Since it takes time for preparation and publicity, this project was postponed for a few months. From the Bond office in New York I was in contact with Mr. Mortokin, who was preparing all the publicity. All the machinery was in motion when all of a sudden Mr. Alaimo gets sick and in a matter of days he died. It came so unexpectedly that it bewildered everyone. It came as such a shock to all of us especially to me because I was so much in contact with him lately and I knew him from my first days in Ossining. Thus, we were left in the middle. I did not feel that we should drop the project. I suggested that since we were going to honor Joe while he was alive, so let us do it now in his memory, since he well deserved it. He was a pious and charitable man, and so it was decided. It was tragic that his wife did not want to participate. It was too painful for her. We had the Mayor, Mr. Donazella, and a couple of close friends of his come and pay their respects to the memory of this plain pious man. I mentioned previously that one Friday evening we gave out awards for a poster contest. I should like to elaborate on this a little. We ran two contests through the elementary and high schools. Once the subject was on brotherhood and the second time it was on citizenship. It is surprising to see how children can express themselves and reveal their thoughts so beautifully in a little drawing or picture and to see their art work. We got a vacant store and we displayed them. Mitchell Schwartz gave me a wonderful hand in displaying the drawings. It is surprising to see how much work and details each project takes, if one wants to see it done well to perfection. I got Judge Smyte and the president of the N.A.A. C.P. and myself to judge the entries in the various categories. They were very hard decisions to make since so many of the drawings expressed themselves so beautifully. We gave out modest prizes to the winners. The second time for our contest, Ben Bryton was president of our lodge, a very capable person. He and Mitchell Schwartz devoted a lot of their time to it. We got a large corner store which was just vacated. We had a lot of cleaning to do but it was worth it. We had lots of space, many windows and walls, and we needed them. This contest was on two levels, Grade School and High School. The theme was 154

Americanism. The judges were Mr. Bryton, Mr. Donsky, Editor of the "Citizen Register", and Mrs. Jaffe, President of the Board of Education. The winning entries were later displayed in the Victoria Theater and in the Library. The awards were given out on Friday evening in the Congregation Sons of Israel, where the evening was dedicated to Bnai Brith and they were very impressed. The parents of the participants and friends came out and got some of our non-Jewish friends to come and witness a Friday evening service and hear something about the holiness of the Sabbath. The whole program was very gratifying. It was worth all the hard work to see what ideas children can express in pictures. I brought out the activities of the Bnai Brith for one reason; I had quite a bit to do with it. Another reason was to prove that although we were only a small organization, we were quite active and we received a lot of publicity. I put in; many hours and many evenings into the work of Bnai Brith. I served as president of our Tri-Community Lodge for two years and took part in the work of the council and had to attend many meetings in White Plains and in New York. For that matter, I still do to this day. We also give out a yearly civic award to organizations and individuals such as the Sisters of the Sick and Poor, the Visiting Nurses, the Ambulance Corp., to a local editor, to the retiring director of the Recreation Department, and to Mayor Jesse Collyer. All these were nice functions and added to cement relations in the community. I bring out all these activities because through all this I still had time to attend to business and make a living. Also through a stretch of years one acquires friends. One also finds opposition and enemies especially if you take part in organization work. On the whole, I know that we made many friends and received the respect from the old timers and also from the new generation that cam up in the last few years. From the old timers there are Barbara and Eddie Grossman, who are good friends, Sidney and Jean White, Harry and Hilda Cohen, Ruth and Phil Kleinman, the Sol Lillian's, the Dittleman's and the Nissenson's. All these people were and still are very good friends and have been customers in the store from the very first day to the last day when I gave up the business. Later there came up a new group of friends like the Hirshhorn's, the Schachter's and so many more as the years rolled on. Then there were many nonJewish friends that we got either through business association or organization or general acquaintance. The family Colangelo, father and later the son, are both dead now. Nick, the shoemaker, who lived on Croton Street and who was a jolly character, knew everyone and everybody knew him, Postmaster Hannigan, Judge Green, Judge 155

Smyth and Mr. Hugh Lavery, who served as Town Supervisor and then in Albany in the Assembly. I mentioned the Goldfarb family. Before I came in contact with Mr. Goldfarb, once more, we were building the new synagogue temple. As chairman of the memorial committee I called up Mr. Goldfarb and asked for an appointment to see him and he was nice enough to invite me for an evening. I took Dr. Bill Schachter with me and we went over. I asked Bill to let me do the talking. We found in the house a little girl of about 9-10, the daughter of his first wife, whom I knew. She died when she was very young. Now he was married to another very nice young woman, also not Jewish, and in the house was a little boy of about 2 1/2 years playing on the floor. So we spoke to him for a few minutes. Then Mr. Goldfarb asked me the purpose of my visit. I told him, starting with our plans of our building program and the progress of the program and the need which we have to round up support for the project. Then I went on to talk about his mother and what a fine woman she was and that probably his father must have been a fine person and that it would be very proper to memorialize them in our new temple. I suggested several items in the temple which would make nice memorials, but he stopped me. He says that the memory of his parents he carries in his heart. As for the synagogue, he is not a religious person. At this, I pointed to the little boy on the floor and said. "Alright, how about him? Would not it be nice that when he grows up and some day walks into the synagogue and see a memorial for his grandparents?" Then he tells me that the boy is raised as a Catholic and will probably never set foot in a Jewish synagogue, so I was beaten. We stayed for a while, and I thanked him for giving us his time and we left. A few months later he called up and told me that he pledges $300 for our temple. It seems that his wife donated $300 to some Catholic charity, so he likewise wanted to donate the same amount to our synagogue. I thanked him and he later sent in the check, so go and know where help will come from. Police Chief Murray, Judge Beisham, Supervisor Bryant, Mayor Donezello, Chris Mitchell, whom I already mentioned, our neighbors on Forest Avenue, the Turners, the Carpenters, the Juliano's, who built a house next to ours when they first married and now have their twin boys in first year college. He has a gas station on Croton Avenue and we fight and "kibbetz" all the time. We could not wish for better neighbors. Then, of course, the Siegels, who came in with small children who are now married and have families of their own now and still we are in the best contact with 156

them. Mr. Siegel is the art teacher and supervisor in the Ossining School system. He is one busy man, if he is not painting, he is sculpting. He is never idle. From my early days in Ossining, there were a couple of characters whom I remember well. It was yet Prohibition and a poor Negro used to come into the Eagle Market and he would pick out bones and fat trimmings from the fat cans. He was really poor, but he smelled so strong of home brew that he smelled away the whole store. Thus, I used to tell him, "You will get sick, Mr. Ford. Cut out the drinking." His pet phrase in answer was, "I ain't touch that stuff." Then there was Reverend Durr, an old man of over 80, always walking around in a frock coat, neat and clean. When he came around, I asked him, "How are you doing, Reverend?" His stock answer was, "Kicking, but not high." The Jenkins family, also Colored, in whose house we lived two years in Croton Street, were very fine people with the children. We are still friends to this day. There still are old timers around whom I sold meat in the old Eagle Market, and also some people from the countryside where I bought chickens for my early days in the kosher store. There is a family Segelbaum in Tarrytown whom I got to know from my first days in Tarrytown who are fine people. They have a son and daughter both married now. The boy just got to be "bar mitzvah" when I first got to know them. Now he is a well known attorney in Ossining. They were good customers from the first day until the last day when I closed up the shop. It is interesting to see youngsters whom you knew as children grow up to become useful, upright citizens. There was the family Mendelowitz who moved into town and had two small boys. The older one was about 11 and he had made up his mind to be a doctor. His father bought a liquor store on Spring Street facing Maple Place. On Maple Place lived Dr. Sweet. He was an old man, an excellent doctor. He had his office in his house, so Stanley Mendelowitz started to visit Dr. Sweet at his home and the doctor took a liking to Stanley. He took him around on his visits and to the hospital. He was a brilliant surgeon and evidently Stanley learned from him. Now he is a well-known gynecologist in Ossining and Tarrytown. The family Mendelowitz bought the eternal light as a memorial for their father for $500. Thus, you see people grow up and also through the years you see people pass away. One especially misses those you knew well and with whom you worked. Having had to do with congregation affairs for many years and having had a religious background, I sometimes came in conflict with the Rabbi. The trouble is that a Rabbi, being dependent on the good will of the congregation members, will many times 157

overlook things which are important and of basic religious value. He is only human and must look for his job and livelihood. With Rabbi Gelbart, whom I respected as a Rabbi, we had many differences of opinions. I criticized some of his doings. People came to me with various complaints on his behavior and many of which I noticed myself. But he felt himself so entrenched that he did not listen to any criticism. He got the support of Irving Ornstein, Harry Tane and Sam Puner. These three were his main supporters. I called them the "troika" to this day. I don't know if that was true love on their part for the man or just the sense of being in, or both. But those three just could not see anything wrong in what he did or did not do just blind idolizing. My criticism of Rabbi Gelbart did not bring any other results except that he started to bring pressure on me when ever he could. Being protected by the "troika", he did not try to correct his behavior. Instead, he was out to make me feel his power. I started to do a little catering to various official functions, such as the Men's Club, or the U.J.A. affairs, so 'Rabbi Gelbart proposed that he will do it gratis rather than have me handling it on a business basis and in many other ways he used himself, exercising his prerogative as a Rabbi. Using his prestige and his office, he did not care whom he stepped on or how. He even stopped buying meat from me and if I had not served the community for so long and my reputation was not well-established, my business would have suffered with the Rabbi not patronizing me. As it turned out, I did not even feel it. That is the type of person he was, strong willed, stubborn, and small. Later he proved himself very small towards Passover for the Community "Seder". For years they ordered meat or chickens from me. Since this was not more than natural, he advised the committee to buy it from his butcher from whom he was now buying meat. This really got me mad. It is one thing if he personally does not patronize me, wrong as that is too, since he is a public figure. If there is a local kosher butcher who is a member of the congregation whose dues help to pay his salary, then the Rabbi should patronize him. I would overlook that, but officially instructing the committee to bypass me and shop elsewhere in a public community project, I could not overlook. At this point he overstepped his authority and I let it be known to the president of the Congregation, the Sisterhood president, the chairman of the Religious Committee and to Mr. Tane. I told them all that I shall call the Rabbi to a "Din Torah". This is a court of Rabbis for the defamation of character on my person and what is more by him advocating openly not to buy from me, he indirectly questions my standing as a kosher merchant and this is serious. I can also bring him up on charges of defamation 158

of character I the civil court, as well. This started something and Harry Tane called me on a Friday morning from New York begging me not to go on with my threat. He kept me on the phone for half an hour. I did not promise him anything since by now I really was mad. Here was an intelligent, learned, educated man who stands up and preached morals to a congregation, deliberately going out using his full power of his person and office to hurt my reputation and my standing in the community which I earned by 35 years of hard work. He also deprived me of my livelihood since I depended solely on my trade for the Jewish community. We were getting ready to leave for Israel for the following Sunday evening so I told Harry Tane that I shall make an announcement in the synagogue Saturday morning. Evidently, Harry let Rabbi Gelbart know of my decision because he came into my store about noon time when there was nobody in the store and started begging my forgiveness, that he is sorry and that this was a wrong thing to do. I was so sore that I could not talk to him. I just asked him if he thought that I would just keep quiet about it and let him assassinate my character and to deprive me of a livelihood. He hung around for a while and left. He brought me a peace offering, a bottle of home-mad wine and a book for Paul to bring to Israel. I refused both of them. I was particularly hurt since for about a whole year I took over and carried on the Saturday reading of the "Torah", and also delivered a short sermon on the portion of the week. Just about a year before he had some sort of an attack and was I bed for weeks and had to go away for a month and after that he was unable to exert himself so I took over the function of reading the "Torah" on Saturdays, holidays and also on Mondays and Thursdays when the "Torah" is read. It so happened that there were many "bar mitzvahs" that year so we instituted that Irving Ornstein gave a charge to "bar mitzvah" and I would read the "Torah" It worked out and went over perfect since Irving can get up and talk on any subject any time. Thus, the absence of the Rabbi was hardly felt. That is why I felt so bad that after the assistance which I gave him he repaid me in such a dirty way. On Saturday morning before I started to read the "Torah", I made an announcement that a grave, nasty and terrible thing was perpetrated in the community and that I have all intentions to bring it to a "Din Torah". Since my friend, Harry Tane, implored me no to pursue it and also since we are leaving tomorrow for Israel, I shall reserve my decision until after we return from Israel. The Rabbi came down from the pulpit and officially asked my forgiveness admitting that a great wrong was done to me. We went to Israel and when we came back I just sent in a detailed letter to the Board of 159

Governors about the whole matter, just to have it on record. I did not pursue it any further. For the last years my; business was going downhill. There were many reasons, partly because the younger element of Jewish couples do no observe "Kashrus" and partly because of the price difference. Perhaps, I took too much time out for my organization work and my properties. Above all I probably spent too much time in it. Anyway to sell I could not interest anyone since nowadays any good butcher demands a good salary for an eight hour day and does not have to assume the obligations and headaches of a small business. Thus, a year after my 65 th birthday, I decided to call it quits. On December 19, 1969 I closed my store officially and became a free man after working in stores and cutting meat for 46 1/2 years. Now I am retired and people ask me how do you enjoy your retirement. I cannot truthfully answer since between my properties and organization work, I find myself quite involved and do not find much time to brood. Evidently, there is a new era even in our congregation. People really started to criticize the Rabbi in earnest, especially those mostly from the young new element. Then talk started about not renewing his contract. The contract, I believe, was from July 1st and notice to be given three months before. We went to Israel for that Passover, 1970. When we came back I was invited to a meeting in a private home where the deal with Rabbi Gelbart was unveiled. He was to get $20,500 severance pay, six months Sabbatical up to the end of the year with limited functions, and also would receive the title of Rabbi Emeritus. I could see the guiding hand who dictated this agreement, the hands of Sam Puner, and Irving Ornstein. I was very much upset and I said so. I did not mind the amount of money as much, although this was outrageous, but the title, Emeritus, this to my estimation, he did not deserve. It seems that already the president had agreed to the deal and the vote was to be on; the whole package deal so nothing could be done. Finally, the Rabbi was out after 16 years. He settled in Duluth, Minnesota. A friend of mine from a neighborhood community came to ask me about him. For the life of me I could not recommend him as perfect candidate for a Rabbi, so he was not invited there for an interview. For ourselves, we were fortunate to engage as a Rabbi a very personable man, a good speaker, well recommended, and with a fine personality. The whole congregation strained themselves and accepted him. On the deal we undertook a great obligation in finances, both with the settlement to Rabbi Gelbart 160

and a substantial raise for the new Rabbi and also buying a new house. It was quite an undertaking. Everybody's hope was for a new start towards a better communal life within the congregation where everybody will work together. As for ourselves, Rae and I feel that we will still have quite an interest in the congregation as well as in the other organizations in which we have been active for many years and our personal interest in Israel. I mentioned before that we went to Israel for Passover. This was in 1969. Then in the summer of that year Paul wrote to us that he decided to get married and this will take place after the first of the year, so we made another trip to Israel in the winter of 1970 to attend his wedding. This took place in his "kibbutz" Tirat Zvi, which is a religious "kibbutz" and the wedding was something to see. Everything was done according to custom and tradition. It was a community affair. Everyone in the "kibbutz" attended. The ceremony took place by the synagogue under the stars in the evening. Lights were strung out all over the "kibbutz" walks since they have no streets. Music was playing, people dancing and singing in the walks, children running around all over the place, little children mounted on their father's shoulders, and the fathers dancing and singing. It was some beautiful picture. The "kibbutz" is situated right on the Jordan, and I'll bet anything that the "El Fatah" were watching from Jordan. The "kibbutz" people did not even give it a thought. They went on with the celebrations which were followed by a real party dinner in the communal dining room until late morning hours. Since then we went to Israel once more last October, when twins were born to Paul and Rina, a boy named Amos and a girl named Efrat. This was our fifth trip to Israel. Now we will have to go more to visit our grandchildren, the "sabras".

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Chapter 16 – Jerry As I mentioned, Jerry went to Israel for a summer and came home very impressed with Israel and the friendly reception by the Israelis. After he came home he started his studies in Columbia College in New York. He preferred to live in New York rather than commuting back and forth to Ossining, but he would visit home often. One Saturday evening when he was home we were sitting up quite late. Rae went to bed, and Jerry says to me that he wants to talk to me. I said, "Alright, talk." I had no idea what he was going to say but I was ready to listen. He tells me that he wants to go to Israel. This came so sudden that for the moment I did not know how to answer him. One has to take in consideration that all our life we were working for the Zionist ideal and for Israel. We also brought up the children in the same spirit. Jerry was an active Young Judaean, but on the other hand it took some effort to get into Columbia and it would be very nice when he finishes his education. He would be more prepared to meet life. So I answered him in this spirit. I said, "Jerry, Let it be understood, if you want to go to Israel, Mother and I will not stop you. As for the advisability of going now, I want you to think about it. Ditch diggers and potato peelers and stone cutters they have plenty coming from the Arabian lands. If you really want to help Israel, why don't you wait until you finish your education and go to Israel as an accomplished product? Then you will really be in a position to make use of your capabilities to the full extent of your knowledge." I must have sounded convincing because he never mentioned it any more. He was in Israel several times, but did not go to settle there. His brother did. Working for Young Judaea, Jerry got to know many young people, so we started to hear the name Sandy Stitzer. Both of them were co-editors of the monthly publication of Young Judaea. She was going to Long Island University and was a brilliant little girl. She graduated first in her high school. Her parents turned out to be very fine plain people. Her mother was crippled for many years with multiple sclerosis and was in a wheel chair for as long as Sandy was born. Stan, her husband, carried on all these years helping with the housework and transporting her and the wheelchair wherever they went. After we met them we became good friends with them and their family which was quite large. We liked Sandy tremendously. She was such a fine child. They went out for a couple of years and then in their senior year they decided to get married. When they told us they expected an argument, but neither the Stitzer's nor we saw anything wrong with it. We wished them luck and made preparations for the 162

wedding. The wedding was a beautiful affair in the Midwood Jewish Center. We had our Rabbi and the Rabbi of the Center participating in the ceremony. They got a modest apartment in Queens. The Stitzer's and we helped them furnish it and everything settled down nicely. Then Jerry graduated and he was offered a very handsome scholarship towards his post graduate work from Columbia. They then moved to a better apartment in Manhattan, 104th St. and Riverside and when Sandy graduated she took a teaching position in Manhattan. She only taught one year because she also applied for post graduate work in Columbia, figuring on going to night classes. Thus with strength of her records, she was offered a very handsome scholarship and also a full tuition so that she did not have to teach and they both could give their full time to learning. We were visiting them and the Stitzer's quite often. They used to come out to us and so the time passed on and they both got their Ph.D.'s, Jerry in Economics and Sandy in Child Psychology. One summer they made a trip to Israel and Jerry visited places known to him. They took movies and they compiled an excellent travelogue movie of about 20 minutes which was very excellent. We all enjoyed it very much. That year for "Chanukah", they surprised us by presenting us with a pair of tickets to Israel. This was such a beautiful gesture that it left us speechless since certainly they had no money to spend on us. They both knew how much we worked for Israel and how interested we were in what goes on in Israel and they decided to treat us with that trip. Also Paul was already in Israel so it would make a nice visit. The story with Paul was that he graduated from High School and he made arrangements to enter Yeshiva University in New York. As I mentioned before he was an ardent Young Judaean. He insisted on going for a year to Israel. He got a year's leave of absence from Yehiva University, and he also got a part scholarship from the Z.O.A. for the trip. Thus, he went away for one year to Israel. Naturally, we were very excited with our trip. Here we will be in Israel and could also visit Paul. By the way, in Israel his name is officially Zvi Peretz. Paul left between "Rosh Hashanah" and "Yom Kippur" in the year 1963. We went the following April. The weather in Israel at that time is ideal. We went on a supervised trip about 16 days in Israel and 4 days in Paris. The trip to Israel was indescribable. We saw all the most important places to which the official guide takes the group. Most of the places Paul went along with us and gave us his version of the places and the history around it. 163

Then he took us around on walks in Jerusalem which were not included in the trip schedule. All in all we had a wonderful visit. The Young Judaeans on their Year Course have to spend about four months on a "kibbutz" of their choice. Naturally, Paul, being religious minded, became very religious in his last two years in High School. He was walking around in Ossining with a "yarmulke" on his head. The "kibbutz" he chose was named Tirat Zvi and it is located right on the Jordan River. When we visited the "kibbutz", we walked up to edge of the Jordan and we watched Arabs walking around and working on the other side of the Jordan. The river was very shallow and narrow at that time of the year. The "kibbutz" had wheat planted to the line of the Jordan. It is a bit different now. On the Jordanian side there are no Arabs now, it is a war zone. The system is that a family adopts a visiting student or Young Judaean and they are responsible for him. Paul was fortunate to be accepted by the Gross family. Father Yaacov, a hard working man, from the original settlers of this "kibbutz" was a very fine and understanding person. Devorah, his wife, is an English teacher in their school and a wonderful person. They have two sons, Shlomo, the older, was at that time about twelve and Moshe. Shlomo grew up big and strong and is in the army now. Moshe is also a very fine boy of about 15. We visited Israel again and stayed in the "kibbutz" over night. That was for Passover. The Arabs were shooting towards Tirat Zvi both nights. The second night we had to go into the shelters. Some mortar hit a couple of trees right outside of the "kibbutz" and the road. When we took a walk Saturday after the meal to inspect where the tree was hit, Moshe picked up some shrapnel pieces and gave them to me in a match box as a souvenir to bring home. I displayed them to our next Bond Drive and this made quite an impression. Paul studied in the Hebrew University three years and on his vacations he worked on the "kibbutz" in various capacities after he graduated. He went to Teachers College in Haifa for a year and got his teachers license, afterwhich he taught for a year in the "kibbutz" high school. At that time, he also decided to settle in Israel so he volunteered for the army where he served for three years in the Engineering Corps. He graduated as a staff sergeant, his specialty was demolition and his group worked on the Bar Lev Line. He also took part in active duty on the Jordan Front. When he worked on the Bar Lev Line, he wrote to us about the work which they were engaged in. It was so important that the Rabbinate allowed them to work on the Sabbath. Later 164

it came out what the work was and they did a good job. On the Jordan Front he got an El Fatah prisoner and he says that it was very hard to convince the Arab to surrender. He put a hand grenade near him and sat down and threatened to blow himself up since they believed that the Israeli Army did not take prisoners, and that they kill any Arab who falls in their hands. By the fair treatment which he got from the Israeli soldiers, he was later the most surprised Arab. As I mentioned, Paul, as all members of the "kibbutz" worked on everything which was needed. He worked on the irrigation pipes drawing water from the Jordan, in the dining room and the kitchen. They have in Tirat Zvi a salami factory which supplies probably half of Israel with salami and franks. It is quite a modern plant so it was interesting. When the '67 War started and the Jordanian Army started shooting across the Jordan into Tirat Zvi, everyone had to go into the shelters. Paul wrote us that the war got him between the salami and the frankfurters, meaning that he just finished the salami and was going to start on frankfurters when the siren blew driving everyone to the shelters. He was accepted in the "kibbutz" as a full fledged member, when he was married. After he came out from the army he decided to get out from the "kibbutz". He settled in Kiryat Ata near Haifa, the village where Rina was born. By now they already have twins, a boy and a girl, two "sabras" and they are quite busy bringing them up. Jerry, after receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia got a position with the Federal Reserve Bank in New York where he worked close to two years and he was very well received and made a big name for himself. It seems that he specialized in foreign loans and at one time he submitted a plan to his superiors whereby it would bring our government big money. The Bank thought well of it and submitted it to the Treasury Department. At that time, Mr. Dillon was the Secretary of the Treasury. They went with it to the Congressional Committee and Jerry was called in to explain his proposition. He told us later his impressions of the proceedings. First thing everyone referred to it as Cohen's Plan. The proceedings were reported in detail in the New York Times and Herald Tribune. What impressed him most was the way Mr. Dillon, as Secretary of the Treasury, himself a multi-millionaire, was questioned and interrogated by some of the committee members, and made to feel at times in need of defending himself as if he was robbing the Treasury. At the time when in his post as Treasury Secretary he gave up a great fortune in personal income to serve his country. But this is America where there are no holy cows and every public official can be questioned and 165

analyzed. So he was very much impressed with the American system. Anyway, after close to two years he resigned from the Federal Reserve Ban, although he stood to have a very promising future there. He, however, retained some contact with them. He said that what he wanted was to teach since the only was one can be abreast with the latest ideas is when one has to present it to students. Then one tries to brush up on the latest ideas and methods. He got offers from several of the best universities in the country and he settled for Princeton where he was appointed assistant professor of economics. Sandy by now also graduated and received her Ph.D. in psychology and she, too, got a position in the Research Department at Princeton. We visited them occasionally ourselves and some times with the Stitzer's. They came out to us occasionally also. Then after about one year, they got an offer to go together with two other couples also professors to take 20 students, picked from various colleges, for a year's travel to stop in ten countries and learn on the spot the customs and laws of each particular land. This was a semi-official venture and it was called the International Business College. It was very inviting and in as much as Princeton gave him a sabbatical and they accepted it. This is where Jerry's contact with the Federal Reserve showed up. He was received in the highest circles in countries like Japan and in Poland where he had a limousine and a uniformed chauffeur at his service. They visited East Germany, Poland, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Lebanon, Turkey, France and England. Sandy got sick in Hong Kong. She got some kind of fever and had to come back, and it was a good thing since the conditions in India were so miserable that she certainly would have gotten much worse. However, she suffered with it for years after. Jerry's impressions for the various countries were very interesting, especially from India where the poverty and misery were indescribable. The sight of the people actually living outside, children with their bodies covered with sores and flies, whole families, hungry and dirty, cows marching around free all over the city, even in front of the Hilton Hotel in Karachi, and he could not get over this. In Poland, a Communist country, they went out of their way to make a good impression on the representative of the Capitalistic Federal Reserve Bank, supplying him with a chauffeur-driven limousine. Also in Japan, where he was officially invited to the home of the counterpart Bank of Japan, and in connection with that he told us a funny incident that he experienced. From his early childhood he disliked fish. He always had a mortal fear for little bones so he did not want to be bothered with any fish and ate it only on 166

special occasions when he could not help himself. Well, it is a known fact that the Japanese are fish lovers and also serve raw fish as a delicacy. So when Jerry was invited with Sandy to this high Japanese official's house for dinner, he had to endure beside the custom of sitting down to the low table with outstretched legs under it and the pleasure or partaking in eating raw fish. Knowing his aversion to fish, I can fully sympathize with him. Lebanon was one of the countries which was on their program to stop over for a month. Knowing that with a name like Cohen, he might have some hardship traveling through Arabian countries, he prepared himself with a certificate of some Baptist Church in Iowa stating that he was a member of that church, figuring that as a Christian he will not be questioned. He expected to visit other Arab countries so one day he hired a car and together with five of his students he set out for a ride to Jordan, wanting to visit Old Jerusalem. They passed through Syria without trouble, but when they came to the Jordanian border, the border police refused to let him in. It did not help that he was with a group of students on an educational trip. A Jew with the name Cohen they will not let in. His American passport and also his Baptist certificate were of no help either. They joked about a Christian by the name of Cohen. They would pass the students but not him, so he got sore and told them that he is responsible for the group and that they travel together. He wanted very much to be in Old Jerusalem, which was then under the Jordanian rule. He made a call to the American Embassy and in 15 minutes the order came to let him pass, so in they went to Jerusalem. He visited the Wailing Wall and had a picture taken of him standing by the Wall, one lonesome Jew. What a contrast to the thousands of Jews and non-Jews which are at the Wall these days. This is what life is. While standing by the Wall where he was but one mile from where his brother, Paul, lived in Jerusalem. He could not visit him because if he would cross over to Israel he could not get back to Lebanon, so all he could do was just look over to the Israeli Jerusalem. His next stop after Lebanon was Turkey, so from Turkey he flew into Israel to visit his brother. Two interesting things happened from his experiences in Lebanon. Jacob Malik was the representative from Lebanon to the United Nations. He was a highly educated man and an excellent speaker. He was an avowed enemy of Israel and on every occasion was tearing Israel apart accusing it for anything and everything. Being the eloquent speaker that he was, people listened to him even though they did not agree with him. He came to visit Jerry in his hotel and openly apologized to Jerry for his stand in the 167

United Nations. Stating his reason that he represented his government and he has to follow the policy of his government and that of the Arab League. The other incident was that the Arab chauffeur was Christian and when he heard during the border discussion that Jerry was a Baptist minister, he insisted on kissing his hand when they parted. When Jerry came to Israel he told his story of his experiences on the Jordanian border and in the afternoon paper, "Maariv", he was interviewed and his story and picture were published.

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An Abridged Autobiography, authored after 1983 My father, Eliyahu Hirsh (Eliyahu Zvi) Kagan became and orphan at the age of 8. H had a sister by the name Mere Kagan, age 7. They lost there parents and they came to live with their grandparents. Father evidently was a good student. He became a "shochet" and married into a nice family. He was an excellent swimmer. His sister, Mere, married a young man from Bobruisk. He was manufacturing ink and also paper bags for stores. At one time I tried to learn how to cut paper to make bags. They had one child who died early. They settled in Borisov. I used to visit them on my trips there smuggling. Hitler finished them with the rest of the Jews. My father, after an unsuccessful business venture manufacturing pottery, where he lost his "nadan", became a "shochet" in the town of Bushavitz, which was 20 vyorst from Berezin, where my mother was born and her parents lived. This town was on the banks of the River Berezina. My grandmother used to tell me that this is the river where Napoleon lost the war and many Frenchmen were drowned there. I was one year old when my grandfather died. His name was Yeshayahu Yitzhok Bobrov. He was a "rosh yeshiva". I was told that his students grew up to become Rabbis and writers nationally known. So when he died my grandmother, Chane Reshe Bobrov, came to live with my father and mother. With her, came Uncle Jacob Bobrov, Uncle Shmuel (Sam) Bobrov and Aunt Shprintze Bobrov. Two other uncles were already in America, Eliezer Chayim Bobrov and Avrohom Bobrov. One other aunt, Geshe, from a previous marriage lived in Borisov. She was the black sheep of the family. She married a shoemaker. She and one daughter remained after Hitler Uncle Jacob Bobrov was not accepted in the army, but when Uncle Sam's time came, he was a healthy young man and he surely would be taken. So he and Uncle Jacob left for America. Aunt Shprintze bought a machine to make ladies stockings, but evidently she could not make out, so she too left for America. Uncle Eliezer Chayim Bobrov was a "shochet" and he got a job out west in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in a large packing house. So when Uncle Jacob came over he also got him a job there. Uncle Sam and Aunt Shprintze remained in New York. My grandmother died in 1914. She was a learned woman. She was reading for a group of women the "Techina" and "Tzena Urena" and all she worried was that she shall have "tachrichim" ready when she will die. So she had cloth ready in her closet, and I remember that several times people died and there was no "tachrichim" in town, so grandmother loaned her cloth to the family to be replaced as soon as possible. Uncle Eliezar Chayim later settled in Kansas City and he brought his family over and 169

opened the first kosher butcher shop there. He also was a "shochet", a "mohel" and a "chazzan" there. He brought over Aunt Shprintze there and she married a man by the name of Baru. She had two sons. I got the information from Ruth Bobrov Glater that they both are lawyers and live in St. Louis. Aunt Shprintze had a rough life. Her husband did not make a decent living. Uncle Sam lived in New York and worked in the garment industry. Later he, too, moved to Kansas City. He had one daughter. In 1930 after me being in America for seven years, and already owning a car, I thought that it was time for me to meet my "mishpocho", so I set out with my friend Eli to travel to Kansas City. It was an interesting trip; it was good to get to know the country and to meet my folks. On a late afternoon we walked into the butcher store and there were two bearded Jews in "yarmulkes" cutting meat and waiting on customers. Only because at home we had pictures of Uncle Eliezar Chayim, I recognized him. He was glad to see me. He took us home and we were received very nice and we stayed with 10 days. They had a very nice home. They had two girls at home, Annie and Pauline, the oldest daughter, Sophie was married and one son, the oldest, Sam, lived in Gary, Indiana where he was employed in the U.S. Steel industry. He was an interesting young man, very inventive. I was told that he invented various patents, but he did not cash in on them. They all went to the company. They had another son, Sam, a musician. But he was not home then. It was good to meet and get to know my "mishpoche". When I first walked in to Sophie's house, I got a shock. There was my mother, so alike was she to my mother. Uncle Jacob settled in New York, where he was a kosher butcher, "shochet". He had one son, Sol, named in Hebrew after our grandfather Yeshayahu Yitzhok, and a daughter, Ruth, named in Hebrew after "bobe" Chanah Reshe. When I came over to America, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Jacob's wife, although she was an aunt by marriage, she was like a mother to me. Their son Sol was a good student and graduated a dentist. When he started to look where to locate I talked him in to move to Ossining, since one would have to start new anywhere he would go, and this was a nice town, so he settled in Ossining and opened an office. He was a restless young man. At one time he was interested to go on an expedition to Africa. When the war broke out, he rushed and enlisted in the Air Corps. He was killed in the Philippines. He left one daughter. Ruth also enlisted in the Navy and me a young man also a dentist who came from Los Angeles. By then Uncle Jacob was retired and after the loss of Sol, they also moved to Los Angeles. I visited with them twice there. Ruth has two daughters and was divorced. The younger daughter went 170

with her father and the older one is with Ruth. She is a gifted musician. Ruth is a professor in U.C.L.A. I can't pass this up not mentioning it. When I was 11 years old Uncle Eliezar Chayim and Jacob wrote to my mother and father that they should send me over to America and they would put me up in "Yeshivas Yitzhok Elchonan". But mother would not hear of it, first, because I was too young, and second, from what they heard America was not Jewish enough, although her two brothers were "shochtim" there. Who knows what I would have become. It is fate. I was not scheduled to go to that "yeshivah" and neither did our son Paul. After being accepted there he went to Israel and went through the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. My mother died in 1918 from the Spanish Influenza. It went through the town like a hurricane and there was not a house which did no lose one or more members. We were left 5 boys and 2 girls. Father got somebody to carry on with the house work. I was the oldest, about 15 years old and Tzipa, my sister, next to me was about 13 years old. She was the mother for the other kids. Not long after my father married an old maid who lived in a town not far from us. I did not object, but Tzipa felt very bad and I had to explain to her that this was best since father had to have somebody to run the house and to take care of the children. After I left for America his wife gave birth to a boy named Chayim and a girl named Leah, and then she died. She had in America a father, brother and sister whom I used to visit in Brooklyn from time to time. But after I moved to Peekskill, I lost track of them. In 1923, when I was ready to go to the army, we got affidavits from Uncle Jacob for me and for Tzipa to come to America. I was ready but Tzipa did not want to part with the kids. She decided to stay home. I had to steal the border and I arrived to this country. Tzipa married, after I left, with some big commissar. He had a very high position and they lived very well, even with help in the house. They had a little boy and from the picture he was dressed very nice. Tzipa's husband was an ardent Communist and when their son was born, he did not allow my father to make a "bris", so when he was away on one of his trips father performed the "bris". When Tzipa's husband returned and found out what father did he wanted to report him. He was very angry. It took Tzipa much crying and begging to change his mind. The bitter irony is that he and father were arrested the same night. His name was Levine and he was never heard from. Father was sent to a lumber camp in Siberia to cut trees. He was not a strong man and he would no eat non-kosher food. He lasted about 5-6 months. I sent some kosher canned food home and they sent it to him. Then the family received a small piece of paper from another Jew there that this 171

man died and gave the date, so they sent me that paper so I know the "yahrzeit" date. At home, remained the third wife and the children. I was the oldest. Then came Tzipa, then Yishayahu Yitzhok, then Chaya Beile, then Yirmiyahu, then Benyamin, then Moshe. Then from the second wife came a boy Chayim and a girl Leah. Yishayahu Yitzhok went to a military school. So I sent him a gift of 10 dollars and this brought him much trouble for a candidate for a communist officer to receive money from a capitalist. He was almost kicked out. He never forgave me. Father wrote me about it. After Tzipa's husband was arrested they confiscated everything from her house and she had to wash dishes to support herself and her son. They were all wiped out by Hitler. I never heard from any of them, except from Aunt Geshe. Uncle Avrom who had gone to America before I was born, died before I came over to this country. My father's grandfather, Binyamin Kagan, married a second time when he was about 80 years old. He married and old maid and they had four children. So after the First World War, about 1919, a young man, a soldier, come to us returning from the army, and he was one of the children. He was about 15 years younger than my father, and he was my father's uncle. I am Abraham Zalman Cohen (Kagan from home). I came over to this country July 1, 1923. I worked in New York and tried some business ventures without success. Then I got a job in Peekskill, New York in a meat market, and after being there one year and a half they opened another store in Ossining, New York and they put me up to manage it. I stayed on that job for 10 years. I married Rachel Grossman from Montreal. We have three children. The oldest, Sara Lee, has one son, Larry, and one daughter, Sharon. Next is Benjamin Jerry who is an economics professor in Tufts University. Next is Harold Paul, now in Israel, Zvi Peretz Cohen. He left for Israel after high school. He married there Rina Ehrlich. They live in Kiryat Ata and have six children. He has a position in a government refinery near Haifa.

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91, 128, 130.........................................................................................................Abraitis 28, 34....................................................................................................................Aharon 28..............................................................................................................Aharon Levine 153, 154................................................................................................................Alaimo 42, 45, 53..................................................................................................................Alex 161..........................................................................................................................Amos 60, 66, 67.................................................................................................................Anna 140............................................................................................................................Apel 10.....................................................................................................Arye, the shoemaker 10........................................................................................................................Avremel 9, 97......................................................................................................................Balfour 8, 9................................................................................................................Baranovitch 55, 130..................................................................................................................Barlow 90, 117..............................................................................................................Barryville 170............................................................................................................................Baru 87...........................................................................................................................Bassac 121........................................................................................................................Bayden 78..........................................................................................................................Beacon 156......................................................................................................................Beisham 9, 55, 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 78, 99, 100, 102, 111, 117..................................................Ben 59, 60, 64, 66, 76.........................................................................................Ben Poritzky 55..................................................................................................................Ben Shapiro 89, 122, 140.............................................................................................................Bentz 33, 34, 172.......................................................................................................Benyamin 4, 169...................................................................................................................Berezin 88, 125.............................................................................................................Berkowitz 94.......................................................................................................................Bernstein 89....................................................................................................................Birenbaum 118....................................................................................................................Birnbaum 107.........................................................................................................................Blitzer 33...........................................................................................................................Bluma 40, 169..................................................................................................................Bobrov 9, 21, 169...........................................................................................................Bobruisk 2, 3, 4..........................................................................................................Bogushevichi 2, 4, 14..........................................................................................................Bogushevici 21, 23, 27, 28, 33, 169.........................................................................................Borisov 36, 41, 43...............................................................................................................Boston 135..............................................................................................................Bound Brook 81, 115, 133, 140, 142, 143, 145.......................................................................Briarcliff 111.......................................................................................................................Brodsky 36, 44, 55, 62, 64, 88, 132......................................................................................Bronx 45, 51, 52, 55, 62, 63, 64, 77, 125, 171.............................................................Brooklyn 73, 122, 125, 134, 150...........................................................................................Brown 156.........................................................................................................................Bryant 154.........................................................................................................................Bryton 33..........................................................................................................................Busche 4, 14, 61, 62, 169..............................................................................................Bushavitz 11, 12, 33..........................................................................................................Bushevitz 36, 63, 65, 72, 103................................................................................................Canada 156...................................................................................................................Carpenters

173

125.......................................................................................................................Cartoon 169..............................................................................................................Cedar Rapids 33..............................................................................................................Chana Dnorem 63, 65...................................................................................................................Charley 82.................................................................................................Charley, a colored man 172................................................................................................................Chaya Beile 33, 34...........................................................................................................Chaya Beyle 21, 23, 28, 33, 61, 73, 110, 169...........................................................................Chayim 21, 23, 33......................................................................................................Chayim Elia 28...............................................................................................................Chayim Hirsh 73, 121................................................................................................................Chernoff 86.................................................................................................................Chevy Chase 1, 2, 3, 4, 29, 84, 86, 133, 155, 165, 167, 172.......................................................Cohen 155...................................................................................................................Colangelo 155........................................................................................................................Collyer 50, 52, 63, 87...............................................................................................Coney Island 115..........................................................................................................................Corey 42.............................................................................................................................Cuba 103.......................................................................................................................Cynthia 31...........................................................................................................................Dagoa 70, 71, 130.............................................................................................................Daitch 103.........................................................................................................................Debby 151.......................................................................................................................Devries 165..........................................................................................................................Dillon 89, 131, 134, 142, 143, 144, 155......................................................................Dittleman 154....................................................................................................................Donazella 156...................................................................................................................Donezello 155.......................................................................................................................Donsky 49..............................................................................................................................Dora 160.........................................................................................................................Duluth 157............................................................................................................................Durr 114, 134, 147, 150............................................................................................Dworkind 161............................................................................................................................Efrat 59, 60, 64, 66, 67, 75, 77, 78, 99, 100, 102, 117, 170.................................................Eli 59.............................................................................................................Eli Gleiberman 4......................................................................................................Eliyahu Hirsh Kagan 86, 87, 140...............................................................................................................Fader 91...............................................................................................................................Fath 65................................................................................................................................Fay 118.........................................................................................................................Feigen 81.....................................................................................................................Findenque 94, 120, 121, 140, 141, 142, 147....................................................................Finkelstein 87, 94.............................................................................................................Finkelstein, 127..........................................................................................................................Fiscus 42, 86, 107, 120, 123, 124....................................................................................Florida 45, 157......................................................................................................................Ford 132.....................................................................................................................Freidman 113, 114, 142.........................................................................................................Freund 103, 110, 118.....................................................................................................Friedman 142, 146, 149, 158, 159, 160................................................................................Gelbart

174

33, 169, 172............................................................................................................Geshe 95, 118......................................................................................................................Gitty 170..........................................................................................................................Glater 108, 109, 156.....................................................................................................Goldfarb 71, 106, 107, 110, 130, 131...............................................................................Goldman 150....................................................................................................................Goldstein 33............................................................................................................................Goote 83, 84, 122............................................................................................................Gordon 42, 45, 51, 61, 117..............................................................................................Gorelick 155..........................................................................................................................Green 97.......................................................................................................................Gromyko 164...........................................................................................................................Gross 63, 65, 103, 121, 155, 172................................................................................Grossman 103.......................................................................................................................Grotsky 164, 165, 172...........................................................................................................Haifa 36, 41, 48...........................................................................................................Hamburg 114, 134, 142, 147, 148, 150...............................................................................Handler 155....................................................................................................................Hannigan 47, 51, 54, 56, 59, 100, 113.....................................................................................Harry 59..............................................................................................................Harry Weinger 125.....................................................................................................................Harwood 150, 151.................................................................................................................Hassel 108.......................................................................................................................Helman 30..............................................................................................................................Hilie 27..............................................................................................................Hillel Zacharin 33.............................................................................................................................Hillia 4, 99, 111, 112, 169.................................................................................................Hirsh 95......................................................................................................................Hirshfield 155....................................................................................................................Hirshhorn 33, 34, 169, 172.......................................................................................................Hitler 101......................................................................................................................Hoffman 36, 63....................................................................................................................Hoover 125......................................................................................................................Horovitz 103, 117.......................................................................................................................Ida 19..........................................................................................................................Ihuman 33..............................................................................................................................Itche 99...............................................................................................................................Jack 31, 33, 169..................................................................................................Jacob Bobrov 46....................................................................................................................Jacob Katz 155............................................................................................................................Jaffe 37, 40, 48, 50, 55, 60.................................................................................................Jake 144............................................................................................................................Jame 157........................................................................................................................Jenkins 36, 37, 38, 44, 55....................................................................................................Jennie 3, 37, 53, 69, 72, 78, 87, 90, 99, 100, 101, 103, 106, 115, 116, 117, 139, 162,.......Jerry 163, 165, 166, 167, 172 164, 167, 171....................................................................................................Jerusalem 142.........................................................................................................................Jessup 59, 65, 98...............................................................................................................Jimmy 42, 45, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 63, 65, 66...........................................................................Joe

175

156........................................................................................................................Juliano 88..................................................................................................................Julius Levin 169, 172.................................................................................................................Kagan 126, 127...................................................................................................................Kahn 107.........................................................................................................................Kamm 60, 66, 169....................................................................................................Kansas City 102.....................................................................................................................Karpman 59, 65, 66.............................................................................................................Kasnetz 124, 131....................................................................................................................Katz 141, 145, 146, 147, 150, 151...................................................................................Kavy 60, 102.................................................................................................................Kaznetz 123.......................................................................................................................Kelman 12, 14.................................................................................................................Kerensky 165, 172...........................................................................................................Kiryat Ata 123.......................................................................................................................Klapper 71, 123, 142, 147, 150, 155..............................................................................Kleinman 56, 89..........................................................................................................................Kol 21, 33....................................................................................................................Koppel 125, 131...........................................................................................................Kravetzky 64........................................................................................................................Kuritzky 62.........................................................................................................................Kurnick 86.......................................................................................................................L. Cohen 118.....................................................................................................................Lagunoff 39.........................................................................................................landsmanschaften 6............................................................................................................................Lapitch 137, 138, 139, 172...................................................................................................Larry 71, 73, 89........................................................................................................Lauterbach 156.........................................................................................................................Lavery 33, 171......................................................................................................................Leah 166, 167..............................................................................................................Lebanon 12.......................................................................................................................Leibfried 42, 45.......................................................................................................................Levin 7...............................................................................................................................Liebe 120, 123, 155.........................................................................................................Lillian 118...................................................................................................................Lukasheck 77...........................................................................................................................Lupian 34.............................................................................................................................Lyiov 89........................................................................................................................Macabbi 120...........................................................................................................................Macy 167..........................................................................................................................Malik 50, 55, 112, 137, 163.......................................................................................Manhattan 108, 112, 135..................................................................................................Manheimer 37...........................................................................................................................Manila 132........................................................................................................................Marino 131, 132..............................................................................................................Martines 84, 96...............................................................................................................Maryknoll 37, 97................................................................................................................McArthur 110, 136, 137, 138, 139..............................................................................................Mel 72, 112..................................................................................................................Mendel 72..................................................................................................................Mendel the \

176

157...............................................................................................................Mendelowitz 23, 169.....................................................................................................................Mere 86...........................................................................................................................Miami 163....................................................................................................................Midwood 143..........................................................................................................................Miklu 65................................................................................................................Milton Smith 4, 18, 21..................................................................................................................Minsk 153.......................................................................................................................Mishkin 96, 126, 156........................................................................................................Mitchell 96...............................................................................................................Mitchell Field 54, 61, 66, 67, 99, 100.......................................................................................Mohegan 19, 33, 34..............................................................................................................Moishe 60, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 103, 117, 146, 172.........................................................Montreal 103....................................................................................................................Montreal. 146, 150........................................................................................................Morgenstein 154.....................................................................................................................Mortokin 103......................................................................................................................Moscow 164, 172.................................................................................................................Moshe 59, 61..........................................................................................................Mrs. Poritzky 135.......................................................................................................................Murphy 156........................................................................................................................Murray 73, 88, 89, 94, 109, 119, 120, 123, 127, 128, 134, 141, 143, 148..........................Myers 137, 138..................................................................................................................Nadel 136.........................................................................................................................Nadell 42, 89....................................................................................................................Nathan 133, 134, 149.........................................................................................................Nelson 86.....................................................................................................................Newburgh 155...................................................................................................Nick, the shoemaker 131, 155...........................................................................................................Nissenson 57, 58..................................................................................................................O' Hearn 87......................................................................................................................Ogransky 124, 140, 142, 145, 146, 149, 158, 159, 160......................................................Ornstein 99, 100, 101, 117.....................................................................................................Oscar 2, 3, 36, 60, 67, 70, 71, 77, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 96,...Ossining 97, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 111, 114, 116, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 152, 154, 157, 162, 164, 170, 172 12............................................................................................................................Paisie 79, 86, 90, 99, 106, 108, 110, 115, 133, 136, 139, 159, 161, 163, 164, 165, 167,....Paul 171, 172 42, 52.......................................................................................................................Paula 3, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 67, 71, 75, 76, 84, 88, 96, 98, 99, 102, 105,. .Peekskill 107, 111, 121, 147, 171, 172 117, 118...................................................................................................................Peltin 95, 122, 123, 134, 147, 151...............................................................................Perschetz 59, 60, 117..................................................................................................................Phil 37.........................................................................................................Philippine Islands 91, 120...............................................................................................................Philipson 102, 103, 117.........................................................................................................Phillip 45, 63, 65, 66...........................................................................................................Polly

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107.............................................................................................................................Pool 53, 59, 60, 61, 65, 69, 70, 78, 87, 111.................................................................Poritzky 145..................................................................................................................Portchester 93, 116, 125, 135....................................................................................................Prince 103, 115, 166.....................................................................................................Princeton 148, 149, 150, 158, 160...........................................................................................Puner 70, 72, 86, 87..........................................................................................Rabbi Goldman 104...............................................................................................................Rabbi Siegel 125......................................................................................................................Rabinov 42, 45, 52, 117.......................................................................................................Rabkin 36, 38, 44, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 71, 72, 73, 80, 89, 92, 97, 99, 102, 103, 104,. Rae 114, 115, 117, 118, 126, 127, 129, 130, 135, 136, 138, 140, 142, 146, 150, 161, 162 61..................................................................................................................Reb Chayim 28, 31, 32..............................................................................................................Reuven 130..........................................................................................................................Ricky 32, 36, 40, 42, 118.....................................................................................................Riga 139, 161, 165, 172....................................................................................................Rina 153.....................................................................................................................Robinson 146.................................................................................................................Rockefeller 80, 89, 90...............................................................................................................Rogers 96......................................................................................................................Roosevelt 73, 121....................................................................................................................Rosen 135...................................................................................................................Rosenberg 92, 97, 116, 123, 132, 133, 134..............................................................................Rubin 38, 66, 170................................................................................................................Ruth 44...........................................................................................................................Ruthie 84............................................................................................................................Ryder 53.............................................................................................................................Sadie 36, 44, 50, 59, 60, 61, 65, 111, 169...........................................................................Sam 36, 44.....................................................................................................Sam Friedlander 59, 60..........................................................................................................Sam Poritzky 25, 26....................................................................................................................Samara 110.......................................................................................................................Samuels 103.........................................................................................................................Sandra 78, 162, 163, 166, 167............................................................................................Sandy 64, 65, 102, 103.........................................................................................................Sara 37, 67, 69, 72, 87, 90, 99, 100, 102, 106, 110, 115, 116, 117, 125, 132, 133,. . .Sara Lee 136, 137, 138, 139, 172 46, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 57....................................................................................Savitzky 123, 142, 149, 150, 155, 156............................................................................Schachter 87, 121...............................................................................................................Schleifer 140, 142, 145, 146................................................................................................Schnap 123, 127, 134, 140, 141, 149, 150.............................................................Schneiderman 145, 146, 147........................................................................................................Schnell 106, 153, 154.....................................................................................................Schwartz 157..................................................................................................................Segelbaum 111.........................................................................................................................Seltzer 103, 110................................................................................................................Shapiro 137, 138, 139, 172.................................................................................................Sharon 19, 33, 34...................................................................................................Shaye Itzchok

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15........................................................................................................................Shelibah 33.........................................................................................................................Shepsel 118, 119, 145......................................................................................................Shoulkin 33.......................................................................................................................Shulamis 78........................................................................................................................Shulman 21, 24, 26, 28, 33, 34, 35, 96, 171.........................................................................Siberia 92, 157....................................................................................................................Siegel 89............................................................................................................................Silver 128, 129.................................................................................................................Simon 89, 124.............................................................................................................Slomovitz 141...................................................................................................................Slomowitz 58, 77, 115...............................................................................................................Smith 77, 98....................................................................................................................Smithy 27......................................................................................................................Smolensk 154..........................................................................................................................Smyte 114, 115, 140...........................................................................................................Sobel 36, 38, 42, 44, 51, 52, 54, 61, 124, 170.......................................................................Sol 42.........................................................................................................................Sorokin 69, 70.......................................................................................................................Spatz 146..................................................................................................................St. Laurent 34.............................................................................................................................Stalin 162, 163, 166.........................................................................................................Stitzer 153...........................................................................................................................Stone 37...............................................................................................................................Suki 148, 149, 150, 158, 159............................................................................................Tane 103........................................................................................................................Tappan 3, 78, 80, 84, 96, 104, 105, 111, 125, 132, 135, 146, 152, 157........................Tarrytown 24........................................................................................................................Tashkent 90..................................................................................................................Tel Yehudah 59, 65, 102.....................................................................................................Tenenbaum 136, 161, 164, 165..............................................................................................Tirat Zvi 97.........................................................................................................................Truman 156........................................................................................................................Turners 11, 19, 30, 31, 33, 34, 61, 171, 172.........................................................................Tzipa 95, 119, 124, 142, 152.........................................................................................Wachtel 118......................................................................................................................Wachtell 88............................................................................................................................Walsh 118.........................................................................................................................Weiner 53, 59, 69, 70, 87, 111.........................................................................................Weinger 103............................................................................................................................Weis 4.....................................................................................................................Welitowsky 53, 60, 74, 79, 89, 90, 100, 117, 118, 133, 153.............................................Westchester 4, 6, 95, 134, 150, 155............................................................................................White 75, 82, 98, 101, 102, 123, 155.....................................................................White Plains 115..................................................................................................................Worchester 61......................................................................................................Yaakov, the butcher 14......................................................................................................................Yackshitz 33, 34......................................................................................................................Yirme 172...................................................................................................................Yirmiyahu 172......................................................................................................Yishayahu Yitzhok

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75, 98................................................................................................................Yorktown 79, 117, 118, 119, 124, 125, 142............................................................................Young 2, 90, 99, 163, 169, 172..............................................................................................Zvi

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