Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Arrival in Eretz Israel
On September 16 in the morning, I was sick in bed with a pain in my heart. Nobody paid attention that I was sick, including those I knew from Stanislau. A non-Jew found me lying on my bed and called the nurse who gave me some medicine. The man came to visit and brought me tea. On September 19 the ship anchored in Tel Aviv. I left the ship at ten o’clock but no one was there to meet me.
I parted from the other passengers and this time there was no quarantine. I did not know the reason why this primitive, barbaric rule was canceled or if it was just in Tel Aviv. As I left, my luggage was examined and I was out in a half hour. In Jaffa and Haifa it takes hours for the same number of passengers to leave the ship. I was lucky to have Jews in charge. It bodes well for the future.
At home I found my wife and my son Jacob who had returned a month earlier from Poland. Unfortunately my son was still unemployed.
I was in the Beit HaKnesset Yeshurim for Yom Kippur and the fast passed with ease.
My son and I put up the Succah in Evan-Tov, my neighbor’s back yard. This obligated me to receive him in the Succah for the seven days. The obligation of joy of this holiday was to my sorrow, clouded by these days of emergency.
The situation in the country, with the end of the Arab riots, was better, the killings had stopped. Due to the war, business with Europe ceased and making a living was difficult. I had hoped that when I returned from Poland, the money I had left in the bank would enable me to start some kind of business. About a month after I left Eretz Israel, my son David took out all of the 300 lei from the bank. He was afraid that the bank would fail and the money would be lost. He invested in gold. If I exchanged the gold now, I think the lei will go down. It is not possible to do business only with gold. When I formed the partnership with Pecker in the grocery store, I had taken out a high interest loan which I now stood to lose. I am in a no-win situation. It has become very expensive to survive and the thought depresses me.
Thank God that East Galicia has been occupied by the Russians. The Jews, including my son Aaron and my daughter Taube and their families, were saved from capture by the murdering German Nazis. None of us knows what this storm carries and what is waiting for them? One thing is clear, the important Jewish industries and firms are being destroyed including Glasinger. I earned a full income for ten years and bought from them about a half a million orange crates a year.
According to rumors, the Russians are destroying Jewish communities, centers of Jewish studies and means of earning a living. My son’s hopes died from the time I left.
In these terrible days where a drop of joy was a miracle, my daughter-in-law Rachel, wife of my son David, gave birth to a son on Saturday November 4, 1939 (כב חשבן תש'),
in Beilinson Hospital, with Mazal Tov. The birth was difficult and the doctors took the baby with forceps and he was injured. The mother and son needed medical care and the Brith was postponed. On November 26, the doctors gave permission for the Brith and that same day, he entered the covenant of our father Abraham. I was given the honor of being the “Sandak” (godfather). Friends and family came to the celebration. The baby was called “Yair”. He was called Yair because of a portion in the Talmud that describes the light that shines from the eyes of wise men.
The Mohel from Beilinson Hospital was R’Yichiel Levy, one of those who prayed with me in the Yeshurim Beit HaKnesset. He just started to circumcise the child after blessing my son David and something unforeseen happened. The child screamed in pain with a cry that was heartbreaking and his father, my son David, fainted. His friends and the doctor from the hospital took care of him and he recovered shortly. After the mohel finished the blessing, his name went into the covenant, into the Torah, Chupah and good deeds. We sat at the table with wine and delicacies. The mohel blessed the mother and father and child with the blessing “HaRachman” (God the merciful one) may it reach the heavens. I blessed everyone with life and peace.
I received sad news from my younger brother David in New York about the death of my brother Gershon זל who was younger than me by three years. He was born in Zablotov about the year 1869 (תרכט). He grew up and was educated as most of the Jewish youngsters in the small towns of East Galicia, Torah learning and writing Yiddish. Most of the teachers had no higher education or secular education. Some studied under private teachers where the parents did not allow general education. When he left the Cheder he went to help Grandfather Nathan זל in the leather business.
When Grandfather died, the business was inherited by my parents and my brother Gershon became the manager with the help of our mother. Our parents business failed in the summer of 1896 (תרנו) Gershon was engaged with the daughter of R’Isaac Nagler from the town of Petchenishin close to Kolomyea. After the marriage, he went into partnership with his father-in-law, first in forests and then in land. The two of them did not succeed and he lost the money he had and there were no prospects to make a living. As with many Jews in that period he went to America. After several years, he returned from New York and from the little money he saved from his hard work, he bought a small house in the town of Yoblonov and did business from his house. He did not succeed and again went to America, this time taking his wife and his sons. In New York he found work dealing with cosmetics. His sons had a sympathetic father who educated them in the modern way which allowed them to find their place in life. After ten years in America, his beloved wife Bila זל died. He did not remarry and he lived with one of his two sons, a pharmacist, Aaron or Tzvi(Harry). Our relationship from the time I left Zablotov in 1891 (תרנא) was cold, due the complications of our youth and dealing with the partnership in our parents business. When he came from America, I helped him get a job in the tree warehouse. I bought the warehouse in partnership with R’Leib Hecht from Langenhahn in the government warehouse in Pisteen. He made a living there for a short time and I lost money. When he left Galicia for the last time, Gershon borrowed a large amount of money, 500 crowns, from me. During the war of 1914, I asked him to return the loan, he did not answer me and again our relationship cooled.
Several years ago he made an effort to renew the sparks of brotherly love that still whispered in the ashes of his soul. He sent me a long letter asking forgiveness for the past. The feeling of brotherly love was reignited and I forgave him with all my heart and soul for all the sins. From that time we remained in contact by writing letters. He yearned to make Aliyah. I, on my side, tried to help him come to Eretz Israel but I didn’t have enough money. I am depressed and angry at his death in the non-Jewish world of the United States and New York. On the first day of Pesach 1937 he left two daughters and three sons. I was unaware of their cultural, spiritual and financial situation. The memory of my brother Gershon will not leave my heart. תנצבה' May his soul be written in the book of life.
One of the daughters of my brother Gershon זל, married Baruch Grief. He and his father, Moshe Zvi, were neighbors of my parents and their relationship was not good. Baruch went to America and brought his father there in his old age. Gershon‘s son Tzvi was educated and supported his father all his life.
On July 1, 1940 I moved from the Pecker apartment at 72 King George St. to the apartment of I. Strich at 23 Feierberg St. to live together with my son David and his family. There were three rooms and all the conveniences in a new building. If I didn’t make a mistake, the generations will live in peace, daughter-in-law and father-in-law in one house with a joint kitchen. If my hopes and visions will be realized, my son David will move to my way of observance. Only time will tell.
Content last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM Mountain Daylight Time