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To Remember and To Shed a Tear (cont.)

Two daughters of Rachel and Berl Levitt (my mother's brother) from Dusiat married the Eizenstadt brothers from Utian [Utena]: Rabbi Avraham-Zvi Eizenstadt married Sarah-Leah, and his brother Rabbi Meir-David married Lesel.

This is the source of the relationship of my cousin Lesel Schwartz with the Eizenstadt family, in whose house in Utian her sons Dov and Avraham Schwarz tarried before continuing on their final journey to Dusiat. [see Masha Trotsky].

Commemoration of the cherished soul[1]

Our tears will fall like water

And our heartbreak will cry out to the heavens

On the tenth day of Tamuz 5672

Having reached the age of fifty four

Our beloved father ascended on high

Reb Dov son of Avraham Halevi, of blessed memory

Respected and important in his community

A good-hearted and generous man was he

And his death was hurried and quick

Leaving his home to return as a corpse

May his soul be tied up in the knot of life

Gravestone of Reb Dov, son of Reb Avraham Halevi, died 1912
In the old Jewish cemetery in Dusiat

(Courtesy Sara-Weiss Slep, 1991)

I am not familiar with my father Yosef Melamed's family tree. I'll try and trace my mother's.

Her father (my grandfather) was Avraham Halevi Levitt. He had two brothers: Yosef-Dov Ber (married Devora) and Lipman (married Feige-Reich).

Many of these families I knew very well, especially those who lived in Dusiat.

My grandfather Avraham Halevi Levitt and his wife (I don't know my grandmother's name) had ten children:

– Rachel married Israel-Shaul Zilber
– Michl married David Zilber, Israel-Shaul's brother
– Rivka married (-) Ailber. Their daughter Lesel married David Schwartz
– Henia, my mother, married Yosef Melamed
– Berl married Rachel
– Fruma (her relative Glazer lives in Tel Aviv)
– There were four sons, whose names I don't know.

What remains are the graves, somewhere in Lithuania. And fresh graves in my country, which is saturated with blood and tears, but here I can go to them, talk, shed tears and place flowers. And there? Who sheds a tear for you there, my loved ones?

My mother, my sisters and brother, my mother-in-law and her husband, my relatives and dear ones, you will remain in my heart forever. May your memory be blessed!

Tears for My Son Yossi

Today I met with many acquaintances, friends and relatives at your graveside. It is the first anniversary of your death, my dear son. You have gone from me, never to return, but in my hurting and crying heart lies a corner, a corner in which you are with me until my last day, you and also your father, may your memory be blessed.

I used to come see you in the hospital. You no longer spoke. Only your good eyes searched – I will never forget your searching eyes – as though you wanted to see Dad and your little son Ori. I used to give you a little tea on a teaspoon. “Drink a little tea Yossele, I am a father and a mother to you.” You looked at me and said “Dad?” And my eyes were red from tears and pain under my sunglasses, so that you wouldn't see that I was crying. You didn't know that your father was no longer alive. Could I add the sorrow of knowing that your father was gone to your suffering? Your father passed away alone at home. I returned from the hospital and found him already cold. He died after a hard struggle, after sleepless nights and days without rest. And so I used to sit at your bedside day and night, and return home late at night to the dark and empty house.

A year after your death I still see you alive and talking to everyone, with your polite laugh. I have been in Israel for more than forty years. I have already gone through many wars, and I know that there were many victims who left many widows and bereaved mothers. But who can understand and feel the heart of a mother and wife, who lost her loved ones in the same year, and remains alone and lonely?

Your adorable son remembers you and constantly mentions you. He is my consolation. Like his name, he is my light. When he comes to me he lights up my days and nights. “Savta [grandma], don't cry, I'll be your son, and I'll learn to say kaddish [prayer for the dead].” I am visiting you here, talking to the stones, and they answer me. Do you remember how during the war we used to sing “There are people with hearts of stone, and stones with the heart of a person”?

May your memory be blessed.

 

Among Dusiaters in Givat Hen

 
Elka and Chaim Slovo participating in the wedding of Naomi, daughter of
Leah Brinkman's (Visakolsky), 1955

From right to left: Yitzchak Orez, Avraham Slep, Yoel Zeif, Chaim and Elka Slovo,
and her sister Rivka Shoham (Melamed), Berke-Dov Zeligson

 

Footnote

  1. The rhyming text in Hebrew is an acrostic of the name of Dov Ber Halevi. Return

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