Am Yisrael

Helsinki: The Jewish Community

So here’s what happened.

Another series of “accidents”?

After my flight from Bangkok to Helsinki, I take the bus to the downtown station and walk towards my hotel.  I finally arrive at the proper street but do I turn right or left?  I stop a man and ask directions and he points to the right.  I notice he is wearing a Star of David so we chat a bit and he points out that the Helsinki Synagogue stands just down the street to the left. **

Tartu: Jewish Cemetery

Tartu

Estonia

August 20, 2014

Jewish Cemetery, Roosi Street, Tartu

Herr Schapiro buried his young daughter here (1898-1922) and then his wife Hinde Simon (1923).

The Bakst Family is here.  Slomo (1872-1940).  Liuba (1868-1949).  Boris (1901-1941).

Kune Lea Kaplan (1876-1926)

Aisik Grinson (1847-1924)

Ernestine Flachs (1868-1910)

Aron Liebermann (1879-1925)

Samuel Blum (1860-1913)

A.J. Sois (1886-1913)

Abram Pasternak (1864-1928) was buried here by his wife.

Salaspils Memorial: Saying Kaddish

Salaspils

Latvia

August 25, 2014

Dear Rabbi Kantor, **

cc: Family and Friends

Rabbi, I have a question:  “Is it a mitzvah to recite the Kaddish?”

Here’s why I ask: 

Twenty kilometers southeast of Riga, off the main highway, at the end of a narrow road, I park my car in an empty lot.

A dense forest of tall silent trees lines both sides of a broad gravel walkway.  Except for an elderly couple off in the woods gathering mushrooms, I am alone as I make my way down the long path to the distant monument. 

Grodno: The Lifschitz Family

Grodno (Hrodna, Гродно, גראדנ)

Grodno Region

The Republic of Belarus (Белару́сь)

September 10, 2014

 

The Family Lifschitz: “Ich Baink Noch Grodno”

In 1902, Jehoshua Lifschitz bought a one-way ticket.  All the Lifschitz Family purchased travel tickets.  “One-way!”  Jehoshua’s brother Schmuel bought a one-way ticket as did his brother Yitzchak, his sister Lena and Jehoshua’s wife Pesha Tziril. Lifschitz nee Lubitsch.  I think she was a relative of Ernst Lubitsch, the German motion picure director who was born in Grodno.

They left Grodno, their home town, traveled overland   across the Russian Empire (horseback? cart? train?) to the Baltic Sea where they boarded a ship (more than one?) bound for the dangerous, often disease-ridden “steerage” crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to the New World.   The Atlantic crossing took at least eleven days.

The Lifschitz Family was not alone.  Between 1900 and 1914, eleven million immigrants from Europe made the crossing, 85 percent of them in steerage.  Steerage was the lowest fare and passengers sometimes were housed below the main decks of the ship.

Immigrants landed in New York, or Boston.  If they were sick, they may have been refused entry.  So some stayed aboard the ship and traveled to Galveston, Texas.

They arrived.  Most stayed.  They never looked back.

Jewish Salta

Salta

Argentina

May 21, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

The plaque on the wall reads “Estudio Contable, Ema Jaffi de Kohan, Contadora Publica National.

 After almost two weeks in the “deep freeze” of Patagonia, I wander about this lovely city with its spring-like weather (actually, right now it’s late fall). This city of about 500,000 is known as “Salta la Linda” – Salta the Beautiful.

I find the Cathedral, the Church of Saint Francis, and the Monastery.  Orange trees line the residential streets. I photograph the preserved colonial homes and offices with their ornaments and pastel walls.  I stroll through the Plaza of the Ninth of July where the kids are enjoying the mild temperatures. And by accident, I find that brass plaque affixed to the wall of a narrow street. 

I normally think of the surname Jaffe as a possible Jewish name.  But, Kohan? A possibility.

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