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Chapter 3 The Family Tree At the turn of the 20th century only two of the candlemaker's seven children were known to be still living. They were Beryl, the second eldest, and Itzik-Yoel, the youngest. The fitst-born, a son Yossel, had died some 25 years earlier. These three were the progenitors of the B'nai Khaim in America. We know nothing about the other four, beyond their names, the names of the spouses of two of them, and their presumed order of birth. The eldest of these four was a son named Shmuel-Abba who came right next to Beryl. Then came three daughters- Nessie, Perl and Khaya-in that order. Shmuel-Abba married in the village of Kenelski and made his home there. Nessie made her home in Vman. Perl, too, married away from Yustingrad and is known to have had at least two sons, Naftali and Yankel. Khaya "died young." Nessie married a man named Gedaliah; Perl's husband's name was Shemariah. This is all my uncle Avrom, youngest of Beryl's eight children, remembered of these original B'nai Khaim when I talked with him in 1946. Since he was then the oldest of the "ancients" in the mishpokhah, his death a year later precluded any further knowledge of them. Perhaps this book will find some of their offspring. Perhaps most of what was left of them after the pogroms of 1918-20, the Hitlerites obliterated in 1941-45. The fact is that after the Hitler slaughter only about half of the known B'nai Khaim were left to emigrate from the Ukraine and be accounted for elsewhere. Our family tree thus shows the descendants of only three of the candlemaker's seven children-of his sons Yossel, Beryl and Itzik-Yoel. We know that Zeide Khaim had at least two brothers, "Simkha the glazier" and Eli who kept a tobacco shop. A number of descendants of these two brothers live in this country. Zeide Khaim also had a stepson, Isruel Dovid, son of his second wife Edassy, but we do not trace their geneologies here. This is strictly a "B'nai Khaim" story. A word, however, about this Isruel Dovid. He was known in Yustingrad as "Isruel Khaim's." Family gossip has it that Zeide Khaim loved his Edassy so much that he left all his worldly goods, including his candlemaking establishment; to her son. This is one reason, it is explained, why Isruel Khaim's was never known to have worked for a living-he lived on his yerisha, his inheritance, though some say he was also a part-time shokhet. Others say he was never seen working because he tended to his caldrons at night to keep the candlemaking craft secret. More likely, paraffin candles and, before long, the kerosene lamp replaced the tallow candle and Isruel Khaim's caldrons. Chart 1 shows Zeide Khaim's fIrst line of descent, the "A" generation. The second line of descent will be designated as the "B" generation; the third line as "C," and so on. Names and years of birth and death are enclosed in rectangles. All B'nai Khaim who never came to America are enclosed in rectangles. Two horizontal bars connect Zeide Khaim with his first wife, Osna; two horizontal half-bars with his second wife, Edassy. In all cases the horizontal half-bars read "married to" other than first wife. Vertical lines connect progenitors with their imme≠ diate descendants, A's with B's, B's with C's, etc. Those letters with numerical subscripts form the "family codes." In this first chart the upper-row descent shows the three progenitors of the American B'nai Khaim. The lower row shows the four "lost" A's. (All "lost" B'nai Khaim are shown in dropped lines.) In both rows the A's are listed in sequence of birth-A1, A2, ... A7. Establishing the life-spans of these early B'nai Khaim presented a problem. In only one case did we have recorded data. For the others I had to resort to various methods of interpolation to establish tolerable approximations. A c (circa) marks these approximations. The keys to these estimates were the known life-span of my grandfather Beryl (A2) and years of birth of namesakes. My grandfather Beryl (A2), according to entries in a family prayerbook, was born in 1824 and died in 1908. We know from contemporary evidence that, in the 19th century and even later, children among the B'nai Khaim were born two to three years apart. (Lactation up to two years may have had something to do with this interval of births.) My mother (A2-B2), for example, bore nine children within a period of 18-20 years. Assuming that this held true for the A's as for the B's and C's, Zeide Khaim's eldest child Yossel (A1) can be said to have been born c. 1821-22, two or three years before his next sibling. We know also that people in those years married at an early age, about 20 for males. Assuming that Zeide Khaim was no more than 21 when his first child Yossel was born, we can place Zeide Khaim's birth at c. 1800. The first B'nai Khaim known to have been named after Fetter (uncle) Yossel was Yossel Trachtman (A2 B4 CS), born in 1884. Since naming after living persons is prohibited, Fetter Yossel must have died before Yossel Trachtman was born. Fetter Yossel, therefore, must have died not later than c. 1883, a year before his first namesake was born, and must have then been only about 62. The next namesake, Yossel Dudnik (A1 B1 C2 D2), was born in 1885. I also was named for him. But I was born in 1888, at least five years after the death of Fetter Yossel. As for the patriarch himself, he seems to have lived until about 1869; that is, he was close to 70 when he died. The first child known to have been named for him, Khaim Dudnik (A1 B1 C3), was born in 1870. His mother Rifka (A1 B1), the old man's second grandchild, bore two sons before her son Khaim was born and would have named one of them for her grandfather had he been dead by then. Accordingly, we enter his life-span as c. 1800-1869. Following the assumption of a two- to three-year spread between births of these early B'nai Khaim, we enter the birth years for all the A's alternately two and three years apart, down to Itzik-Yoel (A7), except for Beryl for whom we have the exact dates. For their years of death we have the first namesakes for Nessie (A4) and Perl (A5). The first of Nessie's namesakes (A2 B7 C2) was born in 1883. Accordingly, we say the original Nessie lived c. 1829-1882. The first namesake for Perl (A1 B3 C1 D1) was born in 1885. Therefore, we place the first Perl's life-span as c. 1831-1884. We have no way of making similar estimates either for A3 or A6. I estimate the year of birth for Itzik-Yoel (A7) as 1838. The year of his death has been placed between 1903 and 1905. I remember Fetter Itzik-Yoel quite well. In fact, I remember seeing him just before I left Yustingrad for Uman in early 1902. He was a smallish man (most B'nai Khaim have been of small stature), begrimed with axle grease (birchwood tar[?]) which he sold to peasants from sticky barrels in his store shack. (He smelled of this axle grease even on the Sabbath despite his weekly steam bath the afternoon before.) His house stood right behind my grandfather Beryl's. Both stood on the grounds which had belonged to their candlemaker father. It is there that, early in the preceding century, "Sokolievker" Jews squatted the summer they were expelled from the village. Fetter Yossel,of course, I do not remember: I was named after him! He was always held up to me by my mother as a model of a learned man to emulate, and was spoken of with utmost reverence. Many saintly virtues and arcane powers were attributed to him in the family lore. It was this first of Khaim Kaprov's sons who was said to have possessed the power to create a golem to service him on the Sabbath day. Every Friday just before sunset, the legend went, Fetter Yossel would place the Holy Word on the nape of the neck of a clay figure which he had fashioned, infusing the breath of life into him and instructing him of the Sabbath chores he was to perform in the ensuing 24 hours. On Saturday evening, just after sunset, he would ask the golem to bend forward to perform the final Sabbath task by taking off his master's boots. Whereupon the worthy man would snip off the magic word and the golem would fall lifeless. This, according to the legend, went on for years, until one Saturday evening Fetter Yossel removed the Word while the boot was not yet fully off his right foot. The figure of clay fell lifeless, almost pulling the old man's leg with him. This was for Fetter Yossel the signal that he no longer commanded the confidence of Him Above, and he never again made a golem! This part of the legend was used to explain why Fetter Yossel limped in his old age. In the course of time, this oft-repeated legend was received with increasing incredulity. In the end, it intrigued a B'nai Khaim boy of ten to make his own tests. A Jew was forbidden to touch a lamp or candlestick on Sabbath day if they had had light in them. To do so might bring on condign punishment. "If I touch this lamp or this candlestick," the child often mused with agitation, as he listened to the golem story, "the Almighty would strike me dead." But late one Sabbath afternoon, when no one was around, the boy did just that! He touched a candlestick which had had a lighted candle in it the night before; To his great surprise and excitement nothing at all happened to him. That night, however, he suffered an attack of diarrhea. This scared him. But it also made him think. The next day he went to kheder with an unaccustomed swagger. Five years later he became the first of the "Sokolievker" B'nai Khaim to shave, forbidden to Orthodox Jews. I do not know what Fetter Yossel did for a living. He probably just kept to his sacred tomes while his wife Perl tended to whatever business sustained the family. That kind of living was true also of his brother Beryl, my grandfather. I do not remember ever seeing him work, except on Mondays, the market day. On that day he would putter around helping my grandmother in the store. During the other days of the week Grandmother tended the store alone, selling small grains-poppyseed, sunflower seed, millet, maize, lentils, dried peas and beans, and tallow candles and, in winter, salt herring. In the winter she wore a padded jacket and a long cotton-wool skirt, warming herself over an earthen pot of glowing charcoal. Zeide Beryl was probably as well learned in the sacred lore of the Jewish people as was his elder brother, but was less revered. Perhaps he lived too long into senility to inspire continued awe. Perhaps the generation that lived after Fetter Yossel had become oifgeklert, enlightened. At home we always found Zeide Beryl poring over a volume of the Talmud or other Biblical exegeses. On Sabbath afternoons he would be seen engrossed in the Zohar, a tome of mystic lore. When we, small fry, called on him those afternoons, he would give us each a fistful of sweet currants or, in winter, steamed "bub" (chickpeas). Grandmother Dvossie had come from a wealthy family of Vosnosensk. Her large naden, or dowry, entitled her to marry into a "learned" family. Her father, family name Brodsky, was the proprietor of a beet-sugar refinery. One of his sons was an "advocat," a lawyer, the other a doctor. We had a photograph of the three of them, the sons' beards trimmed(!). For the son of a Jew to "become a doctor" in 19th century Russia was no mean achievement. It signified that the family had both affluence and influence, and that the son had graduated from the gymnasia with highest grades and a gold medal. Only three Jews in an enrollment of 100 students were then admitted to the University. Pessie, my mother, was the second of Zeide Beryl's eight children. She was exceptional in that she was one of the few women in Yustingrad who could read. This made her the center of a circle of neighborhood women who would congregate around her in shule or at home to hear her. I well remember the eve of Tishah B'av, the ninth day of Av, when year after year women would foregather in our home at twilight and, in stocking feet (a symbol of mourning), would sit around her on the earthen floor to hear the story of the destruction of the Temple by the Romans. With dripping tallow candles in their hands to light the printed page, they would sway, weeping and wailing, as my mother recited the calamities that had befallen the Chosen People at the hands of the Roman tyrant Titus. It was my chore in the days that followed to scrape the tallow drippings from the yellowed pages. It is a long time since my mother died in 1901, and although I was already 13 then, I do not remember her looks, except that she was a small woman, deeply wrinkled and gray-haired. When she was 20, her father married her off to a man she did not love. She refused herself to him and got him to divorce her at the end of a month. Now that she was a "married woman" she was free of her father's authority and could select her own mate. Two years passed, until, one day, a fetching young man of 21, named Moishe Gillman (See note #1) came to Yustingrad from the "big city" Gaicin to "look over" a prospective bride, my mother's elder sister. It so happened that when he got there it was my future mother he saw first. Within a month the two were married; they lived together 33 years until, at age 56, she died of pneumonia. The tragic irony for my father was that the town was then doctor≠ less, and he was about to depart in search of a new recruit. Father was a seidener yingermonschik, a "silk-gloved gentle≠man." For the first 20 or 25 years of his married life with Mother he eschewed soiling his hands in daily toil. Mother was the breadwinner. She tended the store, did all the housework, the cooking and baking, and bore nine children. It was not until they had gone bankrupt and had to sell their store that Father bestirred himself in the way of earning a living. Twice he worked summers as a laborer, "treading grapes" in vineyards near the Black Sea, saving money to buy a new store, which they did some three years later. Meanwhile, they eked out an existence by selling small grains and flour from an open stand in summer, and dried and smoked fish from a wagon and salt herring from a barrel in winter. I remember well the occasion when we sold the old store. It was a drizzly autumn twilight. My sister Alta (A2 B2 C3) and I were sitting at the window looking into the growing darkness. Across the street a lamp was lit and I began to sing. My sister, five years wiser, turned to me. "Hush!" she warned. "Here we are losing our store and you are singing; always singing!" and began to sob. During that winter, on one Sabbath we had to eat black bread instead of the traditional white khalah. This may have been due in part to a scarcity of wheat flour that year. One of the frequent Russian famines was then raging. Or it may have been due to our poverty. Whatever the cause, I still feel sad whenever I think of that Sabbath. Before his second trip to the vineyards Father taught me to read and write Yiddish so that I could read his letters home and could write to him for the family. I was seven or eight years old then. None of my elder siblings could read or write Yiddish or any other language, for that matter, and my mother could read only print. Winter nights, those last years of my mother's life, while waiting for Father to return from the market in a near-by town, Mother, my sister and I would sit on the hard sofa, backs to the heated wall, stripping feathers for pillows and perinas. Always we would intone sad songs. One of these, a lament over fleeting youth, my sister and I recalled, melody and all, when I visited her in Buffalo in the summer of 1963. These, then, are the roots of present-day B'nai Khaim. Branches reach out into many lands but mostly into the United States of America. The charts 2a, 2b, 2c show how these branches emerged from these roots. A fourth chart traces one of these branches to its most recent sprig. These charts were used by my "lieutenants" as samples for the construction of all family charts which serVed me in this study. Charts 2a, 2b, 2c shows the second, the "B" generation B'nai Khaim descending respectively from A1, A2 and A7. The B's who immigrated to America are placed in squares. All B'nai Khaim who came to America and made their home here are placed in squares; those who did not are placed in rectangles. In the squares, besides the name and the family-code sequence, the year of arrival and the age at arrival are given. These are basic data for much of our later analyses. We also enter the year of death. The year of birth can be calculated from these data. Chart 2a shows the "B" generation descendant from A1. It shows that Fetter Yossel had six children, all female. It also shows that we can trace B'nai Khaim descent to only three of them, to B1, B2 and B3. The other three, B4, B5 and B6, are "lost" to us. None of the six came to America. Rivka (B1) and Genendi (B2) were the progenitors of B'nai Khaim who were raised in Knyazhe and Uman and surrounding villages. Most of these came to America. Leah (B3) married into Okhmatova. Several of her children emigrated to Canada. A grandson and his two children later came to live in the United States. Chart 2b shows the "B" generation descent from A2, from Zeide Beryl. He had eight children, three sons and five daughters. Two of the sons, A2 B3 and A2 B6, are "lost" to us. His other six children and most of their offspring are accounted for in our study. Three of the eight, A2 B4, A2 B7 and A2 B8, emigrated to this country. The A2 branch accounts for the largest segment of the B'nai Khaim in America. Chart 2c shows the B descent from A7. Here, again, only three of six B's can be accounted for in our study. A7 B1 and A7 B2, I am told, had come to Yustingrad to attend their father's funeral, returned to Odessa where they made their home and were never heard from again. A7 B6 died in childhood. Chart 3 is an example of B'nai Khaim descent into the generations beyond A and B-into C, D, E, etc. Here we soon come upon B'nai Khaim who we're born in America. These we place in ovals, to contrast with the previous rectangles and squares. All B'nai Khaim born in America are placed in ovals. This applies as well to American-born spouses of B'nai Khaim, whether these were native- or foreign-born. In the ovals, besides names and family codes, the years of birth and death are entered. The chart illustrates the sequence of descent from rectangles through squares to ovals for a descendant in one branch of the family, through A2 B8, Rabbi Avrom Kaprov, and his eldest son. In all cases each entry is identified by the family-code sequence. The code shows at one and the same time the vertical and horizontal lines of relationship within the greater mishpokhah, denoting each individual's relation to his progenitors and to his descendants as well as his "cousins." At the same time, the ovals, the squares and the rectangles show at a glance each individual's national origin, whether foreign- or American-born and whether he had emigrated to America or remained in the home country. They also show the sex and age of individual B'nai Khaim and spouses. All these "vital statistics" are basic to our later analysis of the cultural changes of the B'nai Khaim classified by country of birth, by sex, by marital status, and by date of arrival in the United States. (See note #2) The data given in these charts made possible our primary counts. They show that, by early 1964, 93 B'nai Khaim had come to America and made their home here. Thirty-two came before World War I; 55 came between the two World Wars; and six came since the end of World War II. They show that 289 were born here, making a total of 382 B'nai Khaim in America. In addition, the charts show 81 spouses of immigrant B'nai Khaim and 88 spouses of the native-born. In the rest of the book we seek to learn what "America" has meant to these people. We begin with the 93 immigrants. Notes to Chapter 3 (1) Two other of Beryl's daughters each married a "Gilman" apparently of no immediate relation to this Gillman, although they may have been related in an earlier generation. Our own name goes only as far back as my father's grandfather. As my father told it to me, his grandfather's name when a child of eight years was Shestunov. As one in a family of four boys he was subject to conscription for 25 years into a military "cantonement" under the "military colony" regime of Tsar Nicholas I. The boy would evidently be lost to Jewry. As a way out, the family bribed the town clerk to record the death of a boy named Gillman as that of the Shestunov boy. The Shestunov boy thereupon became a Gillman, and so his only son and his son's only son, my father. (2) This is the form which my "lieutenants" filled out for every B'nai Khaim family. These numerous charts are not reproduced here: they would take up too much space. Instead, we constructed one B'nai Khaim tree.