of Kalarash

by Helene Kenvin

Great-granddaughter of Jacob Waxman, Beyla Cohen, and Joseph Einbinder

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Jacob Waxman

Jacob Waxman

Yussel (Yosef) Waxman and his wife Zlottie Cohen had a son Yankel (Yakov ben Yosef, known in America as Jacob) who was born in Kalarash around 1859. Records indicate that Yussel and Zlottie also had a son named Shlomo, who still was living in Kalarash in 1907; but nothing further is known about him or his family.

As often was the custom of the time, Yankel’s marriage to Beyla Cohen was arranged. Beyla (Ita Beyla bat Yosef), the daughter of Tsvi Zev Cohen and his wife Riva, was born in Kalarash around 1872. Tsvi Zev Cohen was the president of the synagogue in Kalarash, while Riva led the synagogue’s women’s group and was responsible for setting up the post-service kiddush each shabbat.

Beyla and Jacob had two children, both of whom were born in Kalarash. Their son Iser (Yitzchak ben Ya’akov, known as Izzie) was born 1888. Their daughter Chaika (Chaya Zlata bat Ya’akov, known as Ida) was born in 1892.

Joseph and Beyla Einbinder

Jacob was a joiner [carpenter] who made fine furniture and had his own business that employed several people in Kalarash. He was not comfortable with life in a small Bessarabian town and, as a free-thinker, he was especially disturbed by the need to conform to Jewish rituals that was an essential part of life in a shtetl. He tried to convince Beyla to emigrate to America, but she did not want to leave Kalarash, so they divorced. Theirs was an amicable separation. Jacob faithfully sent money to his ex-wife and children and untimately paid for their tickets when they joined him in New York.

Joseph and Beyla Einbinder

Between 1902 and 1905, Jacob travelled twice to America. He returned to Kalarash after a short time in New York; but not long thereafter, he realized that he had made a mistake and had forgotten how much he disliked life in the shtetl. He made a second trip to America in 1905 and settled permanently in New York. During the period between his two voyages to America, Jacob had met a woman in Bessarabia who convinced him to marry her and take her with him to New York. He died in New York in 1910 at the age of 50. According to his death certificate, he had been working as a cutter in the ladies’ hat industry.

Beyla supplemented the money provided by her ex-husband for herself and her children in Kalarash by running an inn. Their daughter Ida proudly reported that unlike most of the other houses in Kalarash, their home had a wooden rather than a dirt floor, which was likely to have been installed by her father, Jacob, the joiner.

Fannie and Izzie Waxman

After the 1905 Kalarash pogrom, Jacob convinced Beyla to allow their son Iser to come to America. Beyla reluctantly agreed because she was afraid that her adventurous son either would run away with the local Cossacks or be abducted into the tsar's army. Iser emigrated in 1906 and continued his boisterous behavior. When his mother arrived three years later, all he talked about was going out West to be a cowboy. Determined to thwart his plans, his mother introduced him to Fannie Schwartz, an emigree from Grodno, Byelorus who was said to be so beautiful that Izzie forgot any thought of being a cowboy. Izzie and Fannie were married in 1911. They had six children: Hyman (born 1912), Lillie (born 1914), Jacob (born 1916), Ruth (born 1918), David (born 1922), and Edward (born 1930). Izzie, who was active in the Kalarash landsleit society, ran a laundry on Lee Avenue in Williamsburgh. He died in Brooklyn in 1962 and is buried in the Kalarash plot in Mt. Hebron cemetery.

Fannie, Hyman, and Izzie Waxman

Jacob, Ida, Martin, and Ethel Wiesenthal

The Wiesenthals

Beyla married again in Kalarash, to Yossel Einbinder (Yosef ben Shimon Kahat, known as Joseph), who was born in Rodvil, Ukraine in 1871. After continued importuning by Jacob, Beyla finally agreed that their daughter Chaika could emigrate to New York. Jacob also sent a ticket for Joe Einbinder, who accompanied his 15-year-old stepdaughter on the voyage in 1908.

A year later, Beyla sold the inn and joined the rest of the family in New York. The Einbinders lived on Rivington Street in the Lower East side, in an apartment that her daughter Ida said Beyla decorated "like a palace. She fixed up the house, she bought velvet portieres [drapes] for $125 in those years. Now you gotta pay a thousand dollars for something like that. And she fixed up a beautiful home and I said, Ma, what are you spending so much money. So she said, if a fella comes up and he sees such a home, then he knows that you come from a rich, fine family." Joe Einbinder made a good living as a presser in the garment industry. A much-loved and charitable man, he became the founding president of the Kalarasher Bessarabier Progressive Association. He died in Brooklyn, in 1943. Beyla Einbinder, who always carried a knippel [money tied in a knotted handkerchief] with money for the poor, died in Brooklyn in 1952. They both are buried in the Kalarash plot in Mt. Hebron cemetery.

The Singers

Willie and Ida Singer

Beyla and Jacob's daughter Ida Waxman-Einbinder married Jacob Wiesenthal in 1917 and had two children: a daughter Ethel (born 1918) and a son Martin Barry (born 1922). Jacob was in the butter and egg business and was a member of the New York Mercantile Exchange. He was president of the Skala landsleit society and was active in the Kalarash landsmanshaftn. Ida served as president of the ladies auxiliaries of both the Kalarash and the Skala societies. Ida and Jacob died in Miami Beach in 1980 and 1982. They are buried in the Skala landsmanshaftn plot in Mt. Hebron cemetery.

Beyla Cohen Waxman-Einbinder had a sister Malka Cohen, who married Laiser (Eliezer) Shikerman. Their daughter Chaika (Ida) was born in Kalarash in 1893. After her mother’s death, Chaika was raised by her aunt Beyla. When Beyla came to America in 1909, she left her niece Chaika with her Cohen grandparents. After they were fully settled, the Einbinders sent Chaika a ship’s ticket and she left Kalarash in 1910. Ida Shikerman married Willie Singer in 1917. They had four children: Mollie (Malka; born 1918), Harry (born 1919), Sam (born 1922), and Leo (born 1927). Ida Singer died in 1966 and is buried in the Kalarash plot in Mt. Hebron cemetery.

Credits: Text, photographs, and page design copyrighted © 2007 by Helene Kenvin. Page created by Helene Kenvin. All rights reserved.