for fifty years is an accomplishment to which we can, of course, point with pride,
But what is the true secret of our success? No one in the early days could have reasonably expected that our cousin's club would last more than a year or two. Other such family clubs had tried and failed, We were a diverse organization, consisting of all age groups, old, young and middle aged, each with varying interests, different synagogue and temple affiliations, and different economic stations. Many of us were second and third cousins who hardly knew of each other's existence. So where do we look to find that magic different which has blessed us with vigor, endurance and family unity?
For this we must go back more than the fifty years of our existence. We must return to the early days of this century, when a slow but steady exodus began from a small ,"shtetel" in southern Russia. We will there discover and marvel at the spirit and courage of our ancestor-parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins-who ventured fourth from their humble homes to immigrate to an unknown land with a language and customs totally foreign to them. They were impoverished and had nothing but hopes and dreams of finding a new life and opportunity in a land ten thousand n-miles away.
And so in tiny groups and sometimes alone, they endured difficult journeys over land and sea, journeys which would bring them one by one to the shores of a new country, a land of religious freedom and opportunity for all. We wonder today whether we would have had the courage, strength and faith to undertake such an awesome voyage into the unknown.
Perhaps what gave them that courage, strength and faith was their utter devotion to their family. For unlike many immigrants who upon their arrival in America settled on the lower east side of New York, our ancestors pushed
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