Bella Nussbaum from Uman
By Daniel Nussbaum II
Related to: Uman (Town)
My mother, aleha hashalom, Bella
Yapha Teplitzky Nussbaum, was born in Ukrainia in the early part of
the last century. After living through the Russian revolution in Ukrainia,
which was considered the worst thing to ever happen to the Jewish people
until the Holocaust, she escaped with her parents and sisters by walking
across the Dniester River on the ice.
After many adventures, which
included spending a night in jail in Bucharest, Rumania, she came
to Brooklyn. There she worked in a sweat shop for a while. Then she
decided to go to nursing school. She applied to Mount Sinai Hospital,
but they did not take immigrant girls especially from Eastern Europe.
They recommended that she apply to Beth Israel. She did so, was accepted
and became a Registered Nurse.
For a long time it looked like
she was fated to be a spinster, until she was introduced to my father,
a Yekkey. At that time Yekkeys were known as "refugees." Within a month
they were married and stayed married until she died. Because my father
had been a cattle merchant, a common occupation among the Jews of southern
Germany, her brother in law, who managed a dairy farm in New Jersey
offered him a job. He took it and they moved to New Jersey where they
stayed. She did not cook much, but among her recipes was a "zhakoya," which
others have told me is a Ukrainian pot roast. (More about Bella's zhakoya,
and other recipes are here.)
My son, who is a Hollywood director, has videotaped my father, allow hashalom, telling his story. A copy of it is now in the Jewish museum in Berlin. Unfortunately my mother died before my son was on the scene. I was not as interested
in family history then nor technologically adept, so I never taped
my mother. I think her story would be as interesting as my father's.