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This site is created as a way to further research and publication of materials on the history of Lyakhovichi.If you have been aided in your research and wish to contribute materials and resources to further our knowledge, contact Gary Palgon and ask how you can help.

This site is hosted at no cost by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in your research by this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly appreciated.

Photos of Lyakhovichi and Lechovichers:
The Images "key page" of Lyakhovichi Shtetl Website

This page serves as a key page for all pages of Photographs related to Lyakhovichi and to Lechovichers - individuals who have a personal connection to Lyakhovichi, having resided here at some point in their lives. Among the pages of photographs linked here are travelogues - reports by people who have traveled to Lyakhovichi and the surrounding areas and their comments, photographs, and sometime in 2009, their short movies and slide shows related to the area. The page you are on also has articles and photos in its own right, so move across this page before moving on. November 2008 - There are both new pages and a great deal of new images on established pages, please look again at all the pages you have looked at before.

Here is the list of photographic links across our site:
Nineteeth Century Lechovichers in 20th Century Photos You are Here
Photos -Lyakhovichi Families
Photos - Lechovichers Abroad
The Rachil Sztejn Palgon Collection
Historic Sites of Lyakhovichi
Workman's Circle NYC 1923
Mourners at Lyakhovichi Zionist Funeral 1910
Face Index A- E
Face Index F-K
Face Index - L-R
Face Index - S-Z
Photos in Lyakhovichi Cemeteries
Readers' Visual Archive -Documents and Artifacts
Lechovich Virtual Library - Images of Lechovicher-owned books
BACK TO BARANOVICH by Mitch Kotler, part 1

BACK TO BARANOVICH by Mitch Kotler, part 2

Photograph and Caption Index to Lyakhovichi Site
Photo Headlines of Lyakhovichi Website 2010
Archived Photo Headlines of Lyakhovichi Website 2008

These next pages appear in our Documents section and are also linked at Lechovicher Emigrant Associations and Lechovicher Settlements around the World but because of their heavy photographic content they are repeated here.
Lechovichers in the Lower East Side of NYC 1880s-1920s
Lechovichers in Baranovichi, Nesvizh, and Kletsk



Photos of Lyakhovichi Residents and their Families
by Deborah G. Glassman, copyright 2005
Copyrights of images retained by their owners, this is a protected publication not a release to the public domain. The Webmaster takes this opportunity to thank again all of the generous members of the Lyakhovichi Research Community who shared these valuable treasures!

Family Pictures from the Twentieth Century:
Nineteeth Century Lechovichers in 20th Century Photos

Deborah Glassman, copyright 2005

There were several kinds of family pictures taken in this time period and they flowed across the ocean in two different directions. The ones that showed complete two-generation families (husband, wife, and children) were meant to be sent home to the parents of the emigrants. It was small recompense for possibly never seeing the small children in these pictures grow, but they were cherished nevertheless. Families leaving the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s often still had these photos that had been held by their grandparents and an address last used in the 1920s, as their only clues to relatives in the United States.

There was another group of images, that were designed to tug at the heart strings of husbands "gone ahead" from Russia to the United States. In addition to love and sentiment, the pictures were designed to make it hard for the husband to forget the families waiting patiently for their tickets to join him. The "bintel brief" letters in the "Forwart," as well as the posting of stern warnings by the rabbis of every community, demonstrate that while such abandonments were statistically at a low rate, they were real enough to strike fear into a waiting wife's heart. All of the pictures that do not include a husband in the grouping were of this second type.

A third kind has a different grouping. Here you see the multi-generational family, grandparents past middle age, young married couples, young children. These photos had still another purpose. Many were taken during short visits and family reunions. Before the visitor would leave again, perhaps forever, a picture would be sent home with them.

Some of the pictures in our other linked pages also date from the end of the Nineteenth Century but the majority are early Twentieth. We are seeking all pictures from all dates and would love to have early images taken in Lyakhovichi and its little villages, including the new start-up town of Baranovichi which was originally seen as a village near Lyakhovichi. Photographers from Lyakhovichi, Baranovichi, Mush, etc, will be the subject of an article in the part of our home page titled "Our Research Community." So far the earliest Lyakhovichi photographer that we know is A. Brevda who photographed the Lifschitz family in Lyakhovichi in 1901. Turn your pictures over and send us a copy of the photographer's mark!

This page was designed to show types of photos, but we have received many more family photos since it was first set up. Please go to our page Family Photos of Lyakhovichi to see our collection, and the index of names included in the pictures.

Another kind of portrait discussed in our article on this page on pre-1900 photos, is the individual portrait of a patrifamilias or matrifamilias - the male and female heads/center of the family. Taken so that a grandfather and grandmother would be as present in the households of their overseas children as the ones who remained nearby. Passed on with remonstrances about writing the yahrtzeit information on the picture at the appropriate time. A poor man's alternative to the oil paintings of the wealthy, they are pictured below as well.

Reunion Photos The 1920s saw families who had emigrated making trips home to visit, where financial resources allowed. Travel restrictions were much less under the Poles than they had been under Imperial Russia, and those visiting home were not going to find themselves jailed for emigrating, as they might have under the Russians. In 1923, Annie Deckston, a woman who had a vital role in the burgeoning Jewish community of Wellington New Zealand, came home to visit her family, including her brother Isaac Joseph Beder and his children. (Later, she would help her family and other Jewish children get out of Poland to New Zealand through the 1930s, right up until World War II.) Annie Deckston had probably come the farthest distance, but trips from the US to Lyakhovichi were not uncommon in this time period. This picture and others that would show the already emigrated sitting next to relatives who had stayed behind, were sadder feeling than others. There was always a strong sense that this would be the last time the family would be together. But start to consider the context of any photograph where you know that some of those included did not live nearby. Is there a school uniform present, a military uniform, a relative who has his town of settlement hyphenated in family conversation "that is Mendel-from-Minsk", that is "the Mishkin cousin from Kentucky."

Not included in this article but included in the table of photographs The last kind of picture shown in this table is not included in the subject matter of this article. They are the candids and studio portraits of "modern" professionals. Whether the subject was young lawyers in the 1910s or Polish soldiers in the 1930s, this group of photos shows a confidence in the country's progress. It seemed a good time to be a Jewish lawyer in a Russia newly electing national parliaments (1912), and it seemed a good time to take pride in one's service to Poland in the 1930s. Pictures you can find elsewhere on our site of Jewish bank directors in the late 1920s, graduation pictures of eighteen year olds in the mid 1920s, et al, echo the same theme.

On each of these pictures, click on the picture itself, to go to a larger image.

Pictures for Emigrants to take from the Old Country

 The Lifschitz family of Lyakhovichi
The Lifschitz Family
Chava LIFSCHITZ (Eva Lipshitz, died 1906) and her children in Lyakhovichi in 1901: Sorka (Esther), Joseph, Yankel(Jacob) and David.
by first photographer in Lyakhovichi Alter Brevda. The next year the family joined husband and father Aron Shmuel (A. Samuel Lipshitz, died 1911) and several of his older children in the US. Thanks to Chava's grandson Arthur Lowell for photo and info!.

  The Mandel family of Lyakhovichi and Baranovichi
Itzko b Samuel Mandel family of Baranovichi
Itzko b1840s and his wife Sheina Chaya and their son Moshe Mandel b 1871. Itzko's father Shmuel was born in Lyakhovichi in 1825, Itsko's residences included Lyakhovichi and Siniavka where his son was born, and eventually Baranovichi. The picture was taken in 1905 in Baranovichi by Baron Studios. Courtesy of Moshe's grandson, Moshe Mandel, Kibbutz Afeq, Israel, via Dr. Neville Lamdan, Jerusalem.

 The Abraham Mandel family of Baranovichi
The Abraham Mandel family of Lyakhovichi
Beila Strelovsky MANDEL, with younger sibs Bashe and Moshe Yosef STRELOVSKY. In front row: Beila's sons Yankel and Feivel MANDEL, ages c6 and 2. Abraham Mandel, b Lyakhovichi 1875 had already left for the UK. Bella and her sibs came from a village called Mali Luki, between Lyakhovichi and Slonim. Moshe wears the uniform of his Russian "Gymnasium" [high school] in Slonim, but obviously spends time at his sister's home in Baranovichi. Photo by Baron Studios Baranovichi 1907. Courtesy of Dr. Neville Lamdan, grandson of Abraham and Bella Mandel.

  siblings Rachel Beder and Shmuel Shaya Beder 1908
Rachel Bederwith brother Shmuel Shaya Beder, 1908 Emigration created a new market for photograph ownership. Parents had always wanted photos of their children who were away from home and children had always wanted keepsakes of their parents. But now, there was a demand for pictures of one's siblings in less formal settings. Studio pictures start becoming more casual! Rachel Beder is dressed as a modern woman ready for university or a profession. Shmuel Shaya Beder conveys elegant insouciance with crossed legs and cane. This picture supplied by their nephew, Joseph Beder

Pictures that Emigrants sent back to Lyakhovichi

 Osher Gavzy of Lyakovichi in Bialystok wearing woven sash
Osher Gavzy, 1890s
living with his parents in Bialystok in the 1890s, had this picture taken that could be sent home to Lyakhovichi grandparents. There are always meta messages in photographs. Young Mr. Gavzy not only looks bright and well, but he is dressed in a Russian fashion. More concretely, his neckline and cuffs are adorned with a special kind of weaving which was much admired in the region and it was at fine-weaving at which his own family in Lyakhovichi, Bialystok, and eventually in Paterson New Jersey's silk mills, excelled. Supplied by the generosity of Maris Gavzy Rabolini.

Max and Annie (Beder) Deckston, 1896
Annie (nee Chaya Toiba Beder) was born Lyakhovichi 1873 to Hirsh and Zlata Beder. She and Max (ne Menachem Darevsky of Mogilev) em to New Zealand around 1896. Real estate investors who became wealthy, they began large philanthropic endeavors. Despite New Zealand's immigration restrictions, they brought Polish Jewish children to safety before World War II. With no children of their own, they left estates to care for the Jewish community and a Jewish Home for the Aged in Wellington at their deaths in 1939. Photo is thanks to by Max Deckston's relative Dr. Solly Faine. Info is from Annie Deckston's great-nephew, Joseph Beder.

 Abram Pilnick of Lyakhovichi in Philadelphia and Media PA
The family of Abram Pilnick of Lyakhovichi In Media PA (near Philadelphia) c.1906 with wife Chaya Ruchel Hefter Pilnick and children from left to right, Lifsche (Lillian), Hersh (Harry), Zipe Ratzi (Rose), and Chava (Evelyn). This Lyakhovichi shoemaker shows up in the draft records of Lyakhovichi, in Slutsk tax records, in Minsk Vedemosti notices, and in the migration records of Hamburg, NY, Philadelphia, and Antwerp, as he went back and forth from the United States to Lyakhovichi and Slutsk at least five times between 1896 and 1913. This picture of the family of her maternal grandparents was provided to the webmaster by, Irene Kleiman Solomon Nudelman, my mother, may her memory be for a blessing.

Reunion Souvenirs

Shmuel Yosef Mandel and wife Chana, Jerusalem,c1910
At first glance this picture of the former Crown Rabbi of Lyakhovichi of the 1890s, seems in the wrong category, the old couple should be waiting at home, while their children venture abroad. But the Mandels' destination was Jerusalem, which has always called to Jews of all ages. The picture may have been sent back to Lyakhovichi but also went to their children who had settled in the US. It may also meet the definition of a "reunion picture," as the it mayhave been taken when their son Israel came from the US to make sure the old folks were comfortable in the moshav zekenim in which they lived. The picture was generously shared by the Mandels' grandson George Mandel of NY via Neville Lamdan of Jerusalem.

 Beder Family  1923 with aunt Annie Deckston of New Zealand
Several generations of the Beder Family of Lyakhovichi, 1923
Left to right: Mary Beder, Israel Beder, Chaya Toibe Deckston nee Beder aka Annie Deckston of New Zealand (sister to Isaac Joseph Beder),Isaac Joseph Beder, Bracha Esther (nee Gavza) Beder, Feigel Beder (nee Berman), Newach Beder aka Noel Beder, Zelig Beder (the baby) and Yeshua Beder. This picture was shared by Joseph Beder, thanks!

Portraits of Individuals

 Yitzhak Molczadski, President of the Kalte Shul of Lyakhovichi
Yitzhak Molczadski
Individual portraits of husband and wife sometimes reflect a more conservative religious sensibility. Yitzhak Molczadski was president of the Kalte Shul, father to children born in the 1860s and 70s and probably born around 1840s. Though he was prosperous and well connected in the community, he moved away from Lyakhovichi to get a daughter into pharmacy college and a son into law practice, and he lived in Slonim around 1900. He is said to have returned to Lyakhovichi in his old age, but he is also said to have resided in Baranovichi at that time.

 Rifka Molczadski, wife of Yitzhak, president of the Kalte Shul of Lyakhovichi
Rifka Molczadski
Rifka and Yitzhak each came from Lyakhovichi originally, but they didn't hesitate to move to get their children education and buisness opportunities. Among their children and children-in-law were pharmacists and lawyers. At the turn of the century Yitzhak and Rifka lived in Slonim and at least some of their children had moved to Baranovichi to open professional practices. Rifka had many grandchildren, and Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Lyakhovichi and Philadelphia was among her youngest grandchildren.

 Yitzhak Yosef Beder of Lyakhovichi
Yitzhak Yosef Beder
and his wife Broche Esther Gavza (Gavza) had separate pictures taken around 8 years apart. His photo taken in the early 1920s was not matched by hers until the late 1920s when he had already died. Joseph Beder generously allowed us to post the pictures of Yizhak Yosef and Broche Esther.

 Broche Esther (Gavza) Beder of Lyakhovichi
Broche Ester (Gavza) Beder had this picture taken at the end of the 1920s for children living as far away as New Zealand. These pictures were shared by her grandson Joseph Beder of Australia.

 Simeon and Mina Ruchel (Sofer) Rabinowitz of Lyakhovichi, Belarus
Simeon and Mina Ruchel Rabinowitz
With Simeon's 23 children from three marriages (two of long duration) and the great age he attained (c.1838-1938), Simeon and Mina Ruchel Rabinowitz may have fairly epitomized the Zayde and Bubbe left behind. Simeon lived to a great age and Mina Ruchel survived him only to be murdered in the Holocaust.
Picture sent by Ben Robinson.

Beryl Golemba born in the 1830s. His great-grandparents appeared in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Lyakhovichi poll-tax of 1784 and his great-grandson Stan Golembe shared this photo!

Young Professionals

 Lyakhovichi Jews in Polish Army
Stop thinking of military service as something Jews went out of their way to avoid, as they had in mid-nineteenth century Russia. By the end of the nineteenth century, the limited term of service and pervasiveness of the Russian draft, put over a quarter of a million Russian Jews in the Czar's service. There are many pictures of our relatives in Russian uniform. Twentieth century service in the Polish Army remained a subject of worry for parents, but the young men didn't patricularly dread it, according to many reports from the time. Pictures of young men in uniform decorated many Jewish households in Poland in the 1930s.

 Lyakhovichi lawyers 1912
Lawyers, bankers, and teachers, often had collegial pictures taken together as in this photo of Jewish lawyers of Lyakhovichi taken in 1912
Samuel Leiman sits in the center of colleagues Haim Zeitman and Joseph Konishevsky on either side. Eliezer Feinstein stands behind him. They did not share a practice, but they shared a common law library, where they frequently met and conferred.

Important Notes about This Page

All names on this page were included in Surname Index Nov 2009

Find any name on this page by hitting "control F" on your keyboard and typing in the name.

Find any name anywhere on this website by going to the Google search bar and typing the name immediately before this phrase

from the word "site" to the slash after lyakhovichi (just cut and paste it into your browser)

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Rabbi Israel Shlomo Zalman Alexandrovsky
Rabbi Israel Shlomo Zalman Alexandrovsky

He lived in Lyakhovichi for at least twelve years and visited frequently thereafter.
He studied under Rabbi Noah of Lyakhovichi, the son of Rabbi Mordechai, the holy Elder of Lyakovichi.The names of books he wrote are on the book he holds. We thank Jay Lenefsky for the beautiful portrait of his ancestor,currently the oldest on this website.

Learning your Lyakhovichi History from Family Pictures

Deborah Glassman, copyright 2005

Part One- to 1900

This is a research report, created in the effort to learn more about resources that would be valuable to Lyakhovichi researchers. I am not an authority on photography, nor on photographic technique. What I did, was two-part. I looked at materials from the time period offered to Russian Empire photographers, advertising by the photographers of the time and place, and catalogs and advertising material directed at those photographers. I further had the opportunity to examine hundreds of photographs taken of Jewish subjects in many Russian cities, with a small percentage of those actually from Lyakhovichi. The author is not a photographer nor any kind of expert on photographic techniques, simply a researcher who hopes you can profit from her studies. - DGG, 2007

Between 1880 and 1920, thousands of Lyakhovichi Jews left the town. A move to even a nearby town, could mean that an older relative might not be seen again before they died. The result of this viewpoint, was that many older people went and "sat for portraits" so that the young ones would have a picture to take along. Pictures were given before the young folk moved away and others were mailed to them soon after departure with heart-rending instructions like- "and when its time, k'aynhora, write the yahrzeit right on the picture so you remember."

This is not the first generation that took pictures in our portion of Eastern Europe. Many pictures in museum and archival collections, evidence the common practice of redoing old photographs taken decades earlier, and the copying of portraits taken with earlier technologies onto the latest card stocks. Images, originally on tintype and from all the 1840-1870 photographic technologies (ambrotypes and the even earlier daguerrotypes), were transferred in the 1860s and 70s to cartes de visite, a small photograph mounted on paper backings, and in the 1880s and 1890s, to cabinet cards, which were also the most popular for new pictures, dominating right into the 1920s. The cabinet cards were a great way to move pictures that one had only in limited numbers, or in antique forms, you could take a wet-plate negative and suddenly have multiple copies of what had been one-of-a-kind heirlooms.In the days when Jewish families rarely had less than six children grow to adulthood, the ability to duplicate these pictures must have been greatly valued. Cabinet cards also had less flaking than the earlier cartes de visite and the thicker card stocks with a high rag content meant they had longer endurance. The average buyer also appreciate the larger size of the cabinet cards, cartes de visite were named for the small cards that visitors would leave in a basket at your door, they reminded one of calling cards of diminutive size, rather than something reminiscent of a rich man's large oil portrait. Portrait photographers in Minsk Gubernia, announced in their advertising and on the backs of photos themselves, that they would happily make duplicates of your family heirlooms or make additional photos of the image your son sent from his far away school.

If pictures could be taken in any time period and moved to a long-lasting medium, how can you tell when they were taken? There are two ways to date photographs, from their content and from their characteristics. Content addresses issues like: the clothing worn; the attitudes assumed for the portrait; and what was the intent of the portrait. Characteristics speak of: the card stock on which the photo is mounted, the photographers imprint, and the specific info of the photographic method. Even the earliest pictures preserved in wooden cases have distinctive traits. Is it reflective, does it float like a hologram? Then you are probably looking at a daguerrotype. Is it in a wooden case with a white grey photo background, but you can see it clearly from all angles? - then you may have an ambrotype. Does it appear as the description for an ambrotype, but it is magnetic? Then you have a tintype. Is it a modern looking photo on a white background under 3 inches in size, then it may be a carte de visite. These all have dates of common usage that can help you, just as discerning whether a picture was taken on a 1930s Brownie or a 1950s Polaroid will tell you information you need. When there is a conflict between content and characteristics – i.e. a person in clothing of the 1860s and a photographic technique of a later time, what we are probably looking at is a re-photographed image. Sometimes you can get a hint from the photo itself. You can see the outline of the brass daguerrotype frames in some of the re-copies of this time period. Or if you have evidence that the subject died in the 1880s and there is a 1902 date on the photograph, that was the year that more of the family wanted pictures of the deceased, clearly not the year the picture was taken. Pictures of an already deceased member of the family were popular for a kind of image called a “Crayon Portraits.” They look like pencil (in French, crayon) on canvas, but were actually photographic images. I have seen many from the Ukrainian guberniyas and almost always the "new portrait" was created for a yahrtzeit of the deceased. I have two for my great-great-grandparents Forman of Cherkassy and Chigirin. They are large images on canvas, a quick photographic way to have a family heirloom of the zayda's picture.

The distinguishing feature of the cabinet cards, which eventually drove out the little cartes de visite as competition, was their larger size, on heavier card stock, and they were even less expensive and less difficult to produce than the carte de visites, which in turn had bested their earlier competition with their relative inexpense of production. It is card stock that makes the task of a historian working in the Russian Empire, easier. Russian photographers bought their card stock from English merchants, almost exclusively, in an industry which replenished card stock every six months. The card was usually ornamented distinctively and can be dated by catalogue or by manufacturer’s date printed on the card. I examined a large number of scanned photos for another project and found that of over 200 randomly selected images of Jews in the Russian Empire’s gubernias of today’s Ukraina, more than two thirds showed English company information on the backing papers. In the larger cities of Ukraina (Kharkov, Ekaterinoslav, et al), the material was frequently "current stock," that is the dates of the paper and the date of usage was within 6 months of each other, though I would have expected that Russian photographers and merchants could reasonably have been sold stock from previous years, or not used it quickly. England dominated the market but did not own it exclusively. Materials were also shipped from the Netherlands and Germany.

Russian Jewish Soldier wearing cap badge that shows regiment and division
A Russian Jewish Soldier
This is not a Lyakhovichi resident. It is a good example of learning how to identify regiments and divisions from photos of men in Russian military uniforms, and secondarily an example of the card stock, "The photo itself is about 4” x 5½”. The card that it is mounted on is 4¼” x 6½”. The photo is mounted on the upper portion of the card, revealing the words “Cabinet Portrait” below along with some decorative scrollwork. The reverse is absolutely blank. I refer to this as a “placard” because of its thickness, it is a stiff cardboard about 1/16th inch thick, you can rap on it with your knuckles if so inclined." as shared in a letter by the image's owner Mike Kraft, to the webmaster. The card stock, with its English language caption, had initially surprised me, until further research showed that English paper suppliers were the backbone of the photographer supply market of Russia.

With space constraints, this is the only place I am going to get to talk about identifying Russian uniforms in this update, so here is the major point. Click on the title to go to an enlarged version of this photo (and hover in the right corner to get the expander icon that will let you enlarge it further) and note that the "enlisted man's badge" on the cap is numbered, as are the shoulder boards. The cap number refers to the regiment and the shoulder boards announce the division. In this case, the 91st Dvinsk Infantry Regiment, which was part of the “23rd Infantry Division, and though titled "of Dvinsk," was stationed in Tallinn, Estonia.- while I suggested that Mike check out the cap and epaullette numbers, it was Mike that did the legwork.

Pictures taken in the earlier times were taken for the same reasons as those in the 1880s to the first decade of the 1900s - to preserve an image of an elderly relative for children moving away; to keep the portrait of an adult child embarking on a dangerous venture; and to aid in making matches for children no longer resident at home but whose parents wanted to arrange a match there. The first group, the pictures of venerated parents and grandparents, was packed up and taken to towns like Slutsk, Bialystok, Riga, Minsk, to accompany Lechovichers who settled in Russia's big cities. The second group, viewed nervously by the parents who received them, were of their newly adult children in Russian military uniforms; of their more fortunate children in far-away schools, and of their daring children who had reached a settlement in a foreign European country. The third, portraits of young women or young men, were often carried back to the party who had sent them, when they arrived to meet their potential marriage partner for the first time. The author has a tintype of her great-grandmother (not a Lyakhovichi family) which was carried by the man who came to marry the young widow in Philadelphia and which he had received from her parents in Vilna.

Photography was a studio event in both of those time periods 1840s-1870s and 1880s-1920s but costs dropped considerably between the two time periods. As the expense associated with photography came down, people who were only sufficiently monied to pay taxes, could now afford to buy photographs of their aged parents/grandparents, instead of such a purchase being the gift from well-established heads of families in their fifties and sixties. Anecdotal stories abound in this time period of older couples making the commitment to "sit for their portrait" after long importuning by their grown children. Lowered portrait costs meant that more people were photographed and lowered duplication costs meant that more photographs could be distributed among the typical households of eight or more grown children. Even in 1900, you see advertisements for photographers offering to convert and duplicate old pictures and to make more copies of pictures you had taken elsewhere!

The portrait that heads this column was taken in the 1870s not for, or by, loving grandchildren but rather for the students and scholarly admirers of a well known rabbi who had infused even the detailed instructions of his book on schechita (kosher slaughtering) with his sense of awe for G-d's handiwork. This is the type of portrait that created a livelihood for itinerant photographers and booksellers in the first half of the nineteenth century - if the customer couldn't pay well, then take a picture of a subject that a lot of people will want to honor. If you sell books associated with famous rabbis, see if you can't also place a chromograph or lithograph or inexpensive reprint of an early photo. But this one was handed down in the family of the rabbi and it was used as the family's focus for all kinds of family gatherings and charitable events, as evidenced by its appearance on a 1920s pamphlet calling on the family to donate to a community cause in the name of their ancestor. (See the pamphlet on another part of our webpage.) It is also a good example of the kind of picture taken with the technology of one time period that was modified in the next twenty years to make it more accessible to the subsequent generation. The portrait was made in the in the 1860s or 1870s, Rabbi Alexandrovsky died in 1877. It was put onto canvas in the 1880s and real card stock probably before the turn of the century.

Lyakhovichi Jews began taking pictures outside the studio, somewherre before the year 1905. Candids include picnic scenes, political activists, book discussion grooups and community theater participants. They show co-workers gathered around new machinery, or in a law library, or just taking advantage of a pretty day and a camera. That last type mentioned, was frequently turned into homemade picture postcards. Mr. Brevda, the photographer who had been taking Lyakhovichi pictures for a quarter century, wasted no time remonstrating with people who took their own. He advertised that he would mount their pictures on mailable cardstock and soon photos left Lyakhovichi with these scenes enclosed.

Little Garden Pond in Lyakhovichi

Probably on one of the residential streets with orchards and small ponds like Sanitorium or the Rampart.

One of 8 windmills in Lyakhovichi in 1908
The windmills were also sites of picnics and trysts. It was hard to decide which it was better to tell your parents, you were at a meeting for young Zionists, or you were taking an unsupervised stroll with a party to whom you were not engaged. A windmill picture sent to a friend overseas could remind them of whichever you chose.

Ice being taken from the Vedma
One of the photos that Alter Brevda took himself, for the burgeoning postcard market.

Photo Mysteries

The picture below's mystery is not who is it. We know that it is a young man named Todros Zalman Kirschner. His last name was said Kushner, Kishner, Kershner, and spelled Kershner and Kerzner in surviving records. We know that Todros moved from Lyakhovichi to Nesvizh and then to the United States, and while he stayed in close touch with his wife and children in Nesvizh, only one daughter joined him in the United States. We know that his father who was past sixty came to America and was still living fifteen years later when Todross applied for a passport. But for all of that, the picture contains mysteries. Was it taken in Lyakhovichi to court a bride in Nesvizh? Was it taken in Nesvizh to send to his parents in Lyakhovichi? Was it taken in the United States to send to his "American wife," the term for women with husbands in the US?

Todres Kirzner as a young man
The photo was sent by Tina Levine who would appreciate your sharing knowledge on the Kirshners and Kushners of Lyakhovichi.