Archive | October, 2015

My Premonition Came True: It is a Royals – Mets World Series!

24 Oct

In August I had a premonition. I was visiting my sister in New Jersey. My sister is a rabid Mets fan. In fact, she and her children and some friends have held Mets season tickets for over 20 years.

I, on the other hand, although I love the Mets and also grew up in New Jersey, am now a citizen of the Kansas City metro area, and so am a Royals fan. Although I do not have season tickets, I do go at least once a year and watch games on television.

Baseball is actually my favorite team sport. Although people sometimes get hurt, usually it is unintentional …not counting that one nasty play that hurt the Mets player.   I like sitting and watching and cheering and eating peanuts and popcorn and fries and frozen lemonade.

We have a friend who has traveled to almost all the ballparks in the USA. He has stayed with us twice to go to Royals Stadium. First just to see it, then he came back to see our wonderful remodeled stadium.   Going to the game with him is always fun. He is a human computer of baseball facts.

But, I digress, back to the Worlds Series. My sister thought I was dreaming. But I felt secure in my vision. It would be a Royals/Mets World Series.   Slowly my vison came true. Both the Mets and the Royals won their division titles.  Step one accomplished.  People were not beginning to believe me.

There was a little drama in my life as the St. Louis Cardinals also won their division. My husband is from St. Louis. His family are ardent Cardinal fans. So while I was happy for them that they won the division, I knew they would not advance. My vision was set. The Mets and the Royals all the way.

Then the Cubs were in mix. I feel for the Cubs and for their fans. For over 100 years, they have not won a title. We have many family and friends who are also from Chicago and love their losing Cubs. Although I love them, I knew the Cubs would not win.  It would be Mets and Royals all the way!

I was sure.

As for the Toronto Blue Jays. well I like Canada. My daughter’s fiancé is Canadian. And I like the color blue. I did notice from the beginning that all four teams that advanced had blue in their team colors. So I knew it would be a blue series. Blue, my favorite color! But I knew it could not be the Blue Jays. I was sure.

I was so sure, I called my sister and said, “Send me a Mets shirt as soon as possible. I want to wear both shirts when I go to a World Series Game. Being the good sister that she is. She took my niece and purchased a Mets Division Winner t-shirt and sent it to me express mail.

Now I am set. I have my Mets shirt. I have my Royals gear.   For six games I will be rooting for both teams. I am pretty sure it will be a seven game series!

And I will go to at least one game. I have friends with season tickets. And one of my best friends in the world has promised to take me to a game. She and her husband will not let me down.

Game seven will be the difficult game. One of my t-shirts will have to come off. Mets? Royals? It is a difficult decision. But although the Mets have been a part of my life since I was a child, I made a commitment when I moved to Kansas. Go Royals!

Another Bialystok Treasure Investigated

21 Oct

The book's cover is not in great shape, but the book itself is wonderful.

The book’s cover is not in great shape, but the book itself is wonderful.

Among the items that became part of my custodial responsibility was the book: Bialystok Photo Album of a Renowned City and Its Jews The World Over. Compiled and Edited by David Sohn, in 1951. The book attempts to show life in Bialystok before World War II; information about the Holocaust and the 60,000 Jews from Bialystok who were murdered; and show that life continued for those who survived and who lived throughout the Disapora. One two-page spread is so emotional as it lists the horrible events that happened to the Jews of Bialystok during the Shoah.

Two important pages.

Two important pages.

My great grandparents, Louis Goldman (Baruck Lev Litwack) and his wife, Ray Goldman (nee Rachel Wolff) were extremely active in the Bialystok society in New York City and were part of the large number of landsmen from Bialystok who helped to create the Bialystok Home for the Aged in NYC.

Although my Great Grandfather died in 1941, my family was still active in the Bialystok organizations in NYC. And my Great Grandmother Ray continued in a leadership role after her husband’s death.

I had placed this book in a pile of other books about Europe, but had not really searched through it for a while. I know I looked at it when we cleaned out our parent’s apartment and kept it as something worth investigating. But it went to the side as I dealt with other issues.

This week I decided to really look at it and see what I could fine. Thanks to my Aunt Leona, who passed away just four years ago, I did not have to look far. There was a handwritten note from my Aunt, with page numbers and identifications. I loved my Aunt Leona.

My Great Great Grandfather, a leading baker.

My Great Great Grandfather, a leading baker.


My Great Great Grandmother.

My Great Great Grandmother.

Photos of one set of my paternal great great grandparents are in this book.   Jacob Zev Litwack and Rashe Goldman were the parents of my great grandfather Louis Goldman.   I was a little confused at first because I knew that in Europe my great great grandparents went by the names Yaacov and Rashe Litwack. But I realized that Rashe Goldman could be changed for two reasons. First her maiden name was Goldberg, so this could be a mistake. Also, since her son took the name Goldman when he came to the USA, the name on the photo could just reflect his new name.

Whatever, the case, my Aunt definitely identifies them as her grandfather’s parents.   It is also exciting to see that their occupation is also mentioned: leading bakers.   When my great grandfather came to the USA, he became a tailor.

There are many photos of my Great Grandma Ray. One by herself and several in group shots.   And then there are pages of the “Deceased Leaders of Our Landmanshaft.” On one of those pages is my Great Grandfather Louis. Right there it says, Chairman of Bikur Cholim and a co-founder of the Bialystoker Center and Home for the Aged.

It makes me so proud that my great grandparents were so active in tzedakah and good deeds.   It is a tradition that continues in our family. So many members of my family have been active in volunteer work for the Jewish community. My Dad was the president of his synagogue for 11 years, and served in many volunteer roles throughout his life. My parents were always supporters of the Bialystoker Home, as were my grandparents.

And I like to say that the tradition continues on in my daughter. I think her great great great grandparents would be proud to know that she lives in Israel and works for a non-profit that promotes peace, The Peres Center for Peace.

But there was a surprise. There is another Ray circled in the book. Ray Nosoff. I had not heard that name before. But my aunt’s notes came in handy. Ray Nosoff is the niece of Louis Goldman. Her maiden last name was Kramer and her mother was Louis’ sister. She lived in Brooklyn.   After googling her name on line, I found out that she was born in 1887 and died in 1966 and was buried in Washington Cemetary in New York. Which makes total sense as my great grandparents are also buried there!   I also found the names of her two of her children.

This was exciting, as Louis Goldman was the next great grandparent that I wanted to investigate.   I had already found out much about his wife, Ray Wolff Goldman. But had not much to go on for Louis.

I now know his parents were bakers. His sister also immigrated to the United States and their family was also active in the Bialystok organizations.

I have more investigating to do, but I have started on another genealogy journey thanks to another Bialystok treasure.

 

 

To view Ray Wolff Goldman’s family: https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/serendipity-wins-in-finding-a-family-connection/

Major Recycling Provides a Wonderful Feeling

18 Oct

Yesterday my husband and I were on a mission. I had read that the community was holding a major recycling event , the Recycling Extravaganza,” close to our home. This was not for the regular items that we recycle each week. Or for the glass that I take monthly to the recycling center near our home. No this was for electronics, paper that needed to be shredded, household items, fabric and home building items.

Phones recycled at a cousins's company in Israel.

Phones recycled at a cousins’s company in Israel.

I am a major recycler.  I hate when people throw things away needlessly.  In my world of doing good, recycling is one of the most important to keep the world clean and preserve resources. We even have cousins who own a recycling company in Israel!  It is one of the small things we all can do to practice Tikun Olam, repairing the world.  For me recycling is a form of ‘tzedakah,’ rightousness.

I was ready. I have been saving electronics for months. I had two old televisions, VHS players, old recorders and other sundry electronics ready to go. I also had the pedestal sink that was removed from a half bath during a remodeling.

I figured I had close to 90 pounds of items to go! And that was important because whenever they talk about recycling, the newspaper always says how many pounds was collected. We were doing our little part to help.

So first we loaded my little C-Max Hybrid with all the electronics and drove the three miles to the parking lot of a local business.   We just had to follow the signs and the cars. Soon we were directed by a volunteer to the right to join in a long line that led to the electronics recycling.ALl of these items will be recycled by Surplus Exchange. Every few minutes the line moved forward as four cars at a time were emptied by volunteers.

It made me so happy to see so many teens participating and helping to empty the cars. What a great service project to do on a weekend! You might hear about teens getting in trouble, but how often do you hear about teens doing community service! This added to my feeling of wellness.  Teens doing good deeds,  gemulat chasidim.

Within minutes our car was emptied. My husband just stood on the side and watched. He did not have to do anything. The teens were like busy carpenter ants just scurrying around and taking out the items from our car and the other cars lined up near us.

We then joined the line of cars leaving the parking lot.

Our drive home was fun. I said, “I feel as if the house is lighter with all that gone!” My husband was more excited about emptying out the garage.

“We need to go back with the sink. It just takes up too much room in the garage,” he said.

Of course we were going back! Recycling was my mission for the day.

He loaded the two heavy sink pieces into the trunk of my car. We drove back to the parking lot. This time we were directed to go left.

“They will be so happy to see you,” the woman directing traffic told us!

There was not a long line leading to the recycling trucks that took the fabric, household goods and other items. But we were soon stopped. A car in front of us was filled with 2 by 4s that needed to be emptied. We were two trucks away from the truck that was used for collecting our item.

Two young men who were working another truck came to help my husband. (I think the grey hair helped.) They removed the two heavy parts of the sink and carried them over to the ReStore truck. We were done! Recycling completed!

Mission accomplished. Our house was lighter. Our items were not in a land- fill but rather would be used by others or taken apart and recycled.

Tikun Olam, repair the world. I might not be able to control all the world’s crisis, but I can no my little part to keep the world a cleaner place. Recycling really does give me a wonderful feeling.

Why I will Keep Ranting Against Gun Violence

13 Oct
Dr. Archer presents at the

Dr. Archer presents at the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence Community Forum.

As I stated in an earlier blog, the death of Susan Choucroun, a friend who I met through the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Kansas City Section (NCJW), was my final straw in gun violence and needless deaths.

I made a promise to start advocating to work to stop gun violence. Yesterday, October 12, 2015, I continued that promised by going to the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence second community forum: “Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue.”

I belong to two organizations that helped to sponsor this event, NCJW and Grandparents Against Gun Violence. I felt that since Susan had been a member of NCJW, in fact had served with me on several committees, it was only right that I attend this event in my efforts.

Listening to Dr. Rex Archer, the Director of Health for Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, strengthened my resolve.   He spoke of violence as a contagious disease that causes not only physical injury but moral injury as well. He stated that we had to stop it as we reverse an epidemic. And he stressed the new models of dealing with violence by creating new norms.

He stressed also that gun violence is usually not an action by people who are diagnosed with mental illness. Instead people who are mentally ill are the least likely to do violence to others. He called it a “side-tracking issue, because without a gun you cannot do mass murder. Guns are the issue.” He continued by saying that weapons manufacturers fund the NRA. The NRA is a front for the gun industry to lobby.

The audience was told that easy access to guns is the major issue, not mental health.

I listened to lectures by Kansas and Missouri state legislators: Barbara Bollier and Judy Morgan; by a Children’s Mercy Emergency Room physician who has seen children die as a result of gun violence; a psychiatrist; members of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime (including Al Brooks), Aim4Peace and the Kansas City Missouri Police NoVa (No Violence Alliance).

All the speakers were excellent, explaining in detail what happens to those people touched by gun violence and those who suffer mental health issues. Sixty-one percent of all gun deaths are suicide; and gun suicides account for over 90 percent of people who commit suicide.

Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, parents of one of the 12 victims in the Colorado movie theater slaughter, was the most important presentation. I learned more about the PLCAA Law that was signed by George W. Bush on October 26, 2005, just ten years ago.   A Law that MUST be repealed!!!

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act makes it impossible for any American citizen to sue a firearms manufacturer and dealer, or ammunitions manufacturer or dealer, for negligence when a crime has been committed. That’s right, they cannot be sued.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips tried to sue the ammunitions dealer who sent the murderer of their daughter 4,000 ROUNDS, 4000!!! Of steel sided bullets; these same bullets that were shot six times into their daughter, Jessie. Killing her! They hit her legs, her abdomen, her clavicle and one to the head that blew off 4 inches of her face. Sorry. But is it true. When they tried to sue, not for money, but to get the dealer to have to do background checks, the case was dismissed because of the PLCAA Law and they are held liable to pay for the $200,000 in attorney fees for the ammunition dealer. This is insane!

I came home from the conference to see on the news that two Milwaukee police officers are suing a gun shop for negligence in selling the weapon as the man who shot them was only 18 at the time and not of legal age to buy a gun. This case is also pivots on the PLCAA Law. (Today, October 13,  the jury found the store liable and negligent! )

The other important information I learned is about the Kansas Law that will go into effect in July 2017 that allows guns on college campuses. Oh My God!!! Do you remember last year when Johnson County Community College was on lock down? My son was there. Locked in a room with his professor and other students. Hiding in a darkened room sitting quietly but texting. My son came home after that experience stressed and saddened.

I asked Barbara Bollier, a Kansas State Representative. What happens after the law goes into effect if the school security sees someone with a gun? Well there will be no lock down, and no effort to stop the person with the gun until the person fires the gun! That is right. It will be legal to carry that gun on Campus! Insanity!

But it is more than that. Dr. Archer told us that 40 percent of all guns sold are sold without a background check because they are sold through internet, gun shows or personal sales. FORTY PERCENT. The background check loophole must be changed!!!

IMG_6936

I learned that we must all take action. WE must repeal PLCAA. WE must repeal Kansas Law, The Personal and Family Protection Act!!! We must vote to get the background check loophole repealed!

Our Vote is our weapon against the public health issue of gun violence. We used our vote to stop smoking in public places. We used our vote to impact drunk driving.   Now we must use our voices and our vote to end gun violence.

Do not be silent!

As Lonnie Phillips said” “If you don’t vote, you are part of the problem.”

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/why-i-have-to-write-about-gun-control/

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/what-a-week-a-murder-and-a-campus-lock-down-impact-my-life/

12 Delancey Street and My Family

10 Oct

My Grandma Esther often talked about Delancey Street. Born in New York City in 1898, she would often regale me with stories about growing up in NYC before there were cars. I knew she had a strong connection to this one street in the Bowery, but I was not sure why.

I always loved the movie, “Crossing Delancey,” because I felt like I knew Delancey Street from my paternal grandmother’s stories. It shows a more modern Delancey Street, but the feel and atmosphere of this ethnic area remains strong in the movie.

Ad about my grandfather's tailor shop.

Ad about my grandfather’s tailor shop.

Then this summer I found a wonderful ad in an old Bialystoker Stimme, I found in my parent’s Catskills home. The ad is for my Grandfather’s tailor shop at 12 Delancey Street.  It says in the top right, formally of G & R. The G was for my great grandfather, Louis Goldman.   My Grandpa Harry worked with my great grandfather as a tailor, and eventually married Louis Goldman’s daughter, my Grandma Esther.

I love how the ad is in English and Yiddish.   My great grandparents were from the Bialystoker area of Poland/Russia.  They spoke only Yiddish at home.  In fact my Dad spoke Yiddish as his first language.  So it makes sense that my Grandfather would advertise his business in both languages, especially in this bi-lingual publication.

My Great Grandfather Louis and Great Grandmother Rae in 1894 around the time of their wedding.

My Great Grandfather Louis and Great Grandmother Rae in 1894 around the time of their wedding.


Grandpa Harry and Grandma Esther on their engagement in 1921.

Grandpa Harry and Grandma Esther on their engagement in 1921.

They not only worked together, my great grandparents, my grandparents and eventually my Dad and his siblings all lived together. With her Dad and her future husband working on Delancey Street, no wonder that my Grandmother had so many stories about being there and what it was like.

She would tell me about the horses, the peddlers and the crowds of people. She told me how you had to be so careful when you crossed the street.   She could even tell me about the first cars that went up and down Delancey and how it would frighten the horses.

Delancey Street was one of the main ‘drags’ in the Lower East Side; an area with shops, restaurants and so many people. To have a store on Delancey Street was wonderful. And the tailor shop was so close to Bowery Street! The street the Bowery Section was named after! I never knew that is where his tailor shop was located. By the time I arrived my Grandfather was long retired, and did most of his sewing in the spare room of their apartment.

I like how the ad mentions all the nearby sites. It is close to a subway stop. Still is. I checked on Google Maps. It was close to Christie Street, a misspelling as on Google Maps it is written as Chrystie Street, with a ‘y’ not an ‘I’. But who knows, back in the 1930s it was spelled with an ‘I.’

Google Maps also let me see that there is now a bar in the building where the tailor shop was located. The bar covers both 10 and 12 Delancey Street. I am not sure how my grandparents would feel about that. But I am sure it is still the same building!

Just a few doors from my Grandfather’s tailor shop was the Bowery Ballroom. This building was completed in 1929 and stood empty for some time, but eventually became a high quality store…so close to my grandfather’s tailor shop.

Further down Delancey Street was Ratner’s kosher dairy restaurant. I remember going to Ratner’s with my parents and grandparents. But perhaps we went to the one on Second Avenue, and not the one on Delancey Street. I cannot imagine we would have gone there and my Grandmother not pointing out where the tailor shop had been located.

The wonderful Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street is just off Delancey Street as well. It is just a few blocks from the tailor shop. I wonder if the people who lived there visited my great grandfather or grandfather and their shop? It is possible. My great grandfather was born probably in the early 1870s and married my great grandmother Rae in 1894. My grandfather was born in 1889. I am not sure when the store opened on Delancey Street, but it was there in the early part of the 20th Century.

My Grandpa Harry was a great tailor! When I studied sewing in high school, it was my Grandpa who taught me how to match plaids and how to make pockets perfectly. He taught me about French seams and other important sewing techniques.

When my grandparents moved from their three-bedroom apartment into a much smaller place in Co-op City, I was distressed to learn they had given away his old treadle sewing machine. But since I had no space for it, I guess it had to go. It should have gone to a museum. This was the last connection to the tailor shop.

In the end it does not matter. The most important information for me is the fact that the tailor shop was on Delancey Street! Now I can let my imagination run wild. I can watch “Crossing Delancey” with different eyes. Looking for the location of my family’s tailor shop. And thinking about Delancey Street and my family.

 

 

 

 

A blog about finding the Bialystoker Stimme magazines: https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/treasures-in-the-bookcase/

A Photo Triggers Driving Memories

7 Oct
AP parking lot photo from Cindy Bottcher

A&P Parking lot, photo from Cindy Bottcher on the Town of North Bergen Facebook group.

The photograph on the North Bergen Facebook group page brought a flood of memories. It showed the parking lot of the A & P grocery store, a store that has been closed for many years. The photo showed the somewhat empty parking lot and to the left, alone by itself, a single light pole. I know that light pole well!!

It was in 1972. I had recently received my driver’s license. Mom and I went to the grocery store together. At that time the parking lot at the A & P was packed. I easily parked the car in the only empty spot by the light pole. Later when we left the store, Mom once again let me be the driver. As I put the car in gear I made a slight error. I went into drive instead of reverse, and I hit the light pole. It made a dent in the front bumper. My first fender-bender.

I was so upset. I knew my Dad was not going to be very happy about this! I had already had a mishap with the garage door during the summer. My father had told me NOT to attempt to park in the garage when I went driving with my brother in the Catskills. When we return home, I decided to try. My brother did not stop me, so I always sort of blame him. In any case, I misjudged as I entered the garage and off came the car’s side view mirror.

Dad was not happy with me.

So now it was a few months later, and I hit the light pole. My Mom and I looked at the damage. It was not too bad. My Mom was calm. “Better the light pole than another car,” she told me. Then she offered to tell my Dad that she had hit the pole. We agreed that he would be much calmer that way.

So home we went, and my Mom took the responsibility for the accident. The parking lot was busy. She got distracted. She hit the pole. My guilty face probably gave me away. “Who really hit the pole?” My Dad demanded. My Mom kept up the pretense.

A few days later my Dad announced at dinner, that it did not bother him that I hit the pole (ha), but it did bother him that I let my Mom take the blame (This part is true). My Mom still stuck up for me. It was her idea. I just agreed. However, now as an adult I do agree that we should have been truthful…somewhat. My Dad was much calmer a few days later when he actually learned the truth, than he would have been when it happened.

However, I never liked to drive in New Jersey after that. Luckily we had wonderful mass transit. I took buses, trains, subways and taxies wherever I wanted to go.

The following year, when I was a senior in high school, my parents went to India for three weeks. I was in charge of my sister. And I had to drive. We needed groceries. We were invited to friends’ homes for dinner. We had to go to school in the cold winter. I was getting much better and began to lose my fear of driving.

My parents left us with many phone numbers of people who could help in an emergency. Friends and relatives were on call. One of my Mom’s friends called every morning as a back up alarm clock to make sure we got off to school on time. So many people called to invite us for dinner, we never used the meals my Mom had cooked and froze for us.

But for me the most important person was my Dad’s business colleague and friend, Normie P.   One night I took my sister to the movies. We came home, and I forgot to turn the lights off.   The next day the car was dead in the street. We had drained the battery. At the time I did not know that. Normie and his son came and fixed it for us. I will never forget them in their work suits, jump-starting the car. We had to drive to school immediately, but take the long way to recharge the battery.

When I moved to the Midwest for graduate school, I was extremely concerned about driving here. But it was a breeze. The traffic was nothing compared to the traffic in the New York City area and in New Jersey. I drove downtown with ease. I found the perfect place for me to drive. I met my husband, and he let me use his old Buick to do my school assignments. Driving is easy in his opinion.

However, he learned his lessons about New Jersey.  I remember the first time my husband drove in North Bergen and West New York. He continually got stuck behind double-parked cars. I kept telling him to move over.

“What do you mean they are double parked?!” He demanded. “That is illegal.”

“Not here,” I told him.

He thought people in New Jersey were crazy.

We also made him drive into New York City one time. It might have been a bit cruel. But he needed to see what we were talking about.   Growing up in St. Louis, he had never experienced REAL traffic.

For years, when I went home to Jersey, my Dad would drive. As he aged, I had to take over some driving for him. And after my parents passed away, the driving ended as well. My sister or brother do most of the driving for me. I am once again in the passenger seat. I usually do not mind.

To this day, I do not like to drive on the highways of New Jersey. I am fine in the lovely highways of Kansas and Missouri.   I am fine in the local driving of my daily life.

But occasionally I get the urge to drive when I am back East visiting. I decided that Catskill driving is the best for me.   And now I have no problems at all pulling into a garage. It is something I do multiple times a day.

It is amazing what one photo can do for memories. I will always remember that A& P parking lot and light pole.