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The Cooks: Bella TEPLITZKY NUSSBAUM

By Daniel Nussbaum II

Related to: General UkrainePeople

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.

My son, who is a Hollywood director, has videotaped my father, allow hashalom, telling his story. A copy of it now sits 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.

Her recipes

  • Zakoya
  • Last Modified: 06-08-2012
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