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[Page 123]

Residents of Our Town
in the Land of Israel


The Aliyah of Families

by Yerachmiel Moorstein

After the Balfour Declaration, loyal and idealistic Zionists began to dream of the realization of Zionism: to go to the Land of Israel! These were young people, like Ezekiel Halperin, Menahem Levine, Rachel Barkleid (may she rest in peace), and Eliezer (Futritzky) Ritz, may he rest in peace. Every one of them invested considerable effort before they were able to reach the land to which they aspired. It took Menahem Levine nearly two years to reach the Holy Land.

My uncle, a Zionist sympathizer, was on the staff of the newspaper, Tzefira, and nonetheless, considered me something of an idler for my aspirations to make aliyah. His argument was: “What will you do there in the desert, where there is no rain? “What will you accomplish? Look, there are no gentiles there..”.

We were surprised to hear that one of those who decided to make aliyah was a member of the Poalei Zion of the “Borochov” school, the carpenter, the elder Yisroel Grunberg, who also a head of a family.

It was our pleasure to see this fortunate family off: Yisroel, Hannah, the talented and charitable daughters: Tzipporah, Zahavah, Baba, and Havivah, and with all our hearts, we prayed for their well-being during the severe depression that gripped the Holy Land at that point in time.

The second family that made aliyah was the Pomerantz family: Tuvia, his wife, and their three sons, Mordechai, Samuel, and Ze'ev, who helped found kibbutzim, Mordechai - at Giveat Shelosha, and Samuel - at Giveat Chaim.

An additional family was able to make aliyah because of the efforts of their oldest son, Chaim Jonah Freidin (today called Chaim Gilony, a lawyer). Chaim attempted to reach the Holy Land the first time illegally, and was seized in Lebanon, and returned with his entire group to Poland. The second time, he succeeded in reaching the Holy Land while still less than 18 years of age. Because of his efforts, and thanks to his stubbornness, he succeeded by various means to cause his parents and the rest of his family to come to the Holy Land as well: the parents, Malka and Yitzhak (Itchkeh) Freidin, and the children: Aharon, Miriam, Yehoshua and Moshe.

We Feel a Pain in Our Hearts for Those That Never Made it !!!

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The Kibbutzniks

by Yerachmiel Moorstein

We are approaching the Jubilee Year of the time when members of our town were among those who laid a foundation for the growing kibbutzim, and on them is the pride of the entire nation.

These people accomplished the great miracle: the transformation of rocky mountains, full of thorns and pricklers for over two thousand years, into flowering and open settlements.

There is no financial substitute that can do all of this. Only the pioneering spirit, the strength of will, and the ideal concept of redemption of the land of the people, made it possible to withstand all the difficult tribulations involved. The pioneers literally took hold of the land with their very fingernails, they removed the stones, they plowed, sowed, planted, and the result: settlements that derive their sustenance from manual labor for over three generations, to the everlasting glory of the people of Israel and to the wonderment of the other nations of the earth.

They were not angels, but ordinary human beings, but their way of life was based on the notion of equality of means, and the creation of a just community which would serve as an example to those that would come after us.

In Zelva, they lived and grew up just like their brethren, until the time that the Nazi Destroyer and his accomplices descended upon them, uprooting them, and annihilating the residents of the town in the extermination camps that are known and held up to obloquy.

Most of the families in Zelva were blessed with children, but lacking in the means needed to finance the trip. Making aliyah to Israel was a difficult undertaking, and in addition, the British, who at that time ruled the land, did not give permission to immigrate. The few who managed to reach the Holy Land were fortunate indeed.

They came to a desert, a land not worked, and with their hands they created something out of nothing. At the beginning, they lived on a little bread and measured amounts of water, but in the end they realized their dream: the establishment of fertile settlements.

We are proud of their work, and in the name of our townspeople, I convey the list of pioneers and warriors who have left us a legacy of symbol and example.

Let us remember these who follow, that came out from among us:

Shmuel Bar-Am and Anshel Bar-Tov (may they rest in peace) - among the founders of Kibbutz Ramat-Hashofet.

David Lantzevitzky (may he rest in peace) - among the founders of Kibbutz Naan.

Aharon Merill (may he rest in peace) - among the founders of Kibbutz Giveat HaShelosha.

Let us convey our sympathy to their families.

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And blessings and good things to those who carry on after them:

Rivkah Wasserman (Ravitz) - Kibbutz Efek
Mordechai Pomerantz - Giveat HaShelosha
Shmuel Pomerantz-Hadari - Giveat Chaim
Ze'ev Pomerantz-Hadari - Be'er Sheva
The Rogosin Family, Grandson
Abraham Shapiro from Canada - Giveat Chaim
Chaim Slutsky - Ramat Hashofet


Those Who Died In The Kibbutzim

At Ramat HaShofet - Anshel and Shmuel
At Naan - David
At Giveat HaShelosha - Aharon Merill

They Built for the Future of the Nation!


The Hills of Ephraim,
Received a fighting pioneer,
Who with the sweat of his brow,
Tore up deep-sunk roots.

Dedicated to the task,
To master the wilderness,
To revitalize the land,
For the sake of the nation.

The prickles and thorns,
From the valley and hills,
The pioneer uprooted,
And in their place - a marvelous settlement.

  He smoothed the roads,
He worked with blood and sweat.
Planting greenery amidst rock, that would grow in the future.

To this laboring people, they gave fruit, a resting place and shade. The pioneers, Anshel and Shmuel wrought miracles in Israel.

And also David and Aharon,
On the Land of Zion.
I raise to you a memorial.
We will carry you in our hearts with pride!!!

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The Heroism of Eliezer

by Yerachmiel Moorstein

Only after the fourth day of the Yom Kippur war, after he was wounded, and Eliezer lost his memory, did substantial Egyptian forces capture the forward post under his command amid a tank battle. This command post was defended only by Eliezer and five other soldiers, but the Egyptians thought that they were facing a very substantial force.

After being captured, Eliezer received medical attention, and many blood transfusions. The Egyptian doctors performed a series of very difficult operations on him. He went for two weeks without his memory. However, with the passage of time, he began to heal, and he even helped out with other hospitalized wounded.

Among the last of the liberated wounded from Egypt, 17 soldiers, was Eliezer. His family and friends all received him with great honor.

Eliezer's father, a scion of our town, Emanuel Vishnitzky, was a watchman in the days of the bloody guerilla fighting with the Arabs during the time of the British Mandate. His mother, Zhenya (may she rest in peace), was a Holocaust survivor. His sisters are - Dvorah and Shafrirah.

* * *

Well, the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree... also Eliezer's grandfather, Reb Mordechai, a son of Zelva of course, was a good-hearted man, and also proved the strength of his arm, when large rabbles of gentile farmers were pressed into wreaking havoc on the Jews of Zelva, after they had gotten themselves drunk on vodka. He beat them forcefully, left and right, and this immediately caused other brave-hearted Jews to come to his side, and they smote the rioting mobsters “hip and thigh” and routed them in all directions...


The Lady Pioneer and Her Son The Palmach Man

by Yerachmiel Moorstein

Rachel Barkleid
(May She Rest in Peace)

Rachel made aliyah to Israel in 1926. With her first steps in the Holy Land, she became an active participant in the capture of Ra'anana and its settlements. She married Zevulun Ben-Zvi, and had three sons: Zvi, Yisrael and Shmuel.

In the War of Independence, her oldest son, Zvi participated actively, and he was wounded, and has remained disabled for all his life. While he did not lose his legs, they have been paralyzed.

Zvi undertook a program of physical therapy for the upper body, and continued with this for several years. In this manner, he succeeded in rehabilitating himself. He drives a car, and participates in the Olympics for the handicapped in all parts of the world, and wins medals. He also extends support to young handicapped people who have the same infirmity as he does.

Rachel's parents, Moshe and Sarah, and her brothers and sister, Dov, David and Hannah, emigrated from Zelva to Argentina with the help of Baron Hirsch, along with about ten additional families.

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The Freidins of Zelva

by Jacob Solomon Berger

The present history of the Freidin family of Zelva extends back to the late 18th century. Much of this history has been constructed from the family's own process of oral transmission from one generation to another. Written evidence of the family's existence is rarer, being restricted to a handful of published scholarly works.


I. Basic Family Genealogy

The earliest verifiable ancestor of the Freidin family is Tanhum Yitzhak Freidin. To the best of our knowledge, he had only two sons, Aharon and Yehoshua. All of these ancestors were long-lived, having survived well into their nineties, as shown in the figure below:


תנחום יצחק פריידין
(1780 - 1875)
אהרון פריידון
(c.1820 - 1916)
יהושע פריידין
(c.1827 - 1919)


II. Tanhum Yitzhak Freidin

Our earliest verifiable ancestor was also known by his Yiddish nickname, Tanneh Itcheh. Close questioning of our older relatives revealed that the name of Tanneh Itcheh's father may have been Jekuthiel, but we have no source at our disposal by which to verify this. Tanneh Itcheh was a butcher and shochet (ritual slaughterer) in the town of Zelva. We also were told that he was a Menaker. This specialty involved the proper removal of blood vessels from the hindquarters of a slaughtered animal, so that the meat from the hindquarters would be rendered kosher for consumption by observant Jews. It is said of Tanhum Yitzhak Freidin that his knowledge of kashrut ritual was so thorough and respected, that his opinion on the status of the kashrut of a slaughtered animal was always accepted without recourse to higher rabbinical authority.

We date Tanhum Yitzhak's age from the telling of his grandson, Benjamin Freed. In these telling, Benjamin would often refer to the fact that Tanhum Yitzhak lived to be ninety five. More remarkably, Benjamin recalled hearing from his grandfather that he, Tanhum Yitzhak, remembered seeing Napoleon's Grande Armée on its march to and from Moscow. The influence of this grand old man is seen by the perpetuation of his name down through the seven generations of the family that is descended from him. Descendants named after Tanhum Yitzhak have been called Isidore, Isidor, Izz and Ian in English; Itzel and Itchkeh in Yiddish, and various names in combination with Yitzhak in Hebrew.

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III. The Family of Aharon Freidin

The older son, Aharon, carried on his father's occupation as a butcher. Times were hard, and within the memory of our family elders, Aharon Freidin had difficulty making a living. Zaydeh Ahareh, as he was known, also had a large garden in which vegetables were grown for sustenance. My great-uncle Isidore Freed recalled plucking vegetables from this garden. My great-uncle Morris Freed recalled that if a calf a day was slaughtered, he was fortunate. Aharon Freidin begat eight children, five sons and three daughters. We do not know the name of his wife, but the pattern of names among his female grandchildren suggests strongly that she may have been named Hannah. The eight children of Aharon Freidin were:


1. Jonah   5. Zvi Hirsch (Hirschkeh)
2. Boruch   6. Liebeh (Liebetcheh)
3. Abraham (Avromcheh)   7. Haya Beileh
4. Etta (Etchinkeh)   8. Benjamin ('Niomkeh)


Except for Etchinkeh, the daughters of the family were known to be married, however, their married names are lost to us. All known surviving generations descended from Aharon Freidin are descended from the three sons, Jonah, Boruch, and Benjamin. My grandmother, Anna Freed, told me, that the families of Abraham (Avromcheh) and Zvi Hirsch (Hirschkeh) were destroyed in the Holocaust, though how she came by this knowledge is uncertain. Aharon's wife died in post-natal confinement after bearing her youngest son. This child was named Benjamin in keeping with the biblical tradition started by the Patriarch Jacob, when his favored wife Rachel died in childbirth (Genesis, 35:16-19). Family lore has it that divine intervention was sought to pass the sentence of death from mother to child with no avail. The migration of Aharon Freidin's descendants truly begins with his grandchildren, although his youngest son, Benjamin Freed, came to the United States in mid-life. There are two separate parts to this migration. The first, beginning shortly after the turn of the century, brought the majority of this branch of the family to the United States. The second, which took place in 1932-3, brought the family of Itchkeh Freidin to the Holy Land. Descendants named for Aharon Freidin have been called Arnold, Harold and Aaron.


III. A. The Family of Jonah Freidin

Jonah Freidin followed in his father's occupation, and also was a butcher. He married Laskeh Helig from Slonim, and they had six children of which five survived to adulthood. Of these children, all but one, and their families emigrated from Zelva. Laskeh Helig was the sister of Simon Helig who was the founder of the Alliance Colony in Vineland, New Jersey. Simon Helig brought his mother, Hannah Rachel, and his sister Malka, as well as his own wife Hannah Sarah and their two children to the U.S. Many descendants of this family continue to reside in the Vineland area. Jonah Freidin died early in life, as a result of a mishap at the communal bath. His wife, vividly remembered by her grandchildren as Bubbeh Laskeh lived to age 88 but is reported to have died of hunger at the onset of the Second World War. The five children of Jonah Freidin were:


III. A.1. Hannah Sarah Bublecki

This oldest daughter married Reuben Bublecki by whom she had three children, Jejna, Katriel (Kattel), and a daughter, Chaya. Reuben died as a young man, however, the family was relatively well off, and

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resisted pleas to leave Zelva in the mid-1930's when evidence of serious trouble for Jews became more pronounced. They fell victim to the passions of anti-Semitic townspeople, who, sensing the tide turning against the Jews, killed them in a pogrom. Evidence from the testimony in the Zelva Memorial Book suggests that Chaya was captured, tortured, and then killed by the Nazis subsequent to the German invasion of Russia in June 1941.


III.A.2. Charles Fried (Bezalel)

Tzalkeh or Tchalyeh, as he was affectionately called, was the first member of the Freidin family to emigrate from Zelva, and he chose to come the U.S. Charles Fried married Shushka Novick. He arrived in New York after having served in the Czar's Army during the Russo-Japanese War. Family lore suggests that he had either fallen asleep at an army watch post, or otherwise not fulfilled his duty properly, and sought to escape punishment. After arriving in the U.S. in 1905 he sent for his wife, and daughter Rose. The family settled on the Lower East Side, where members of his family live to this day. The children of Charles and Shushka Fried are:

  1. Jacob (Jack) Fried, unmarried, and currently residing in Lower Manhattan. Named in Hebrew for Jonah Freidin.
  2. Ben Fried, married to Esther Camhi, retired luncheonette operator, residing in Brooklyn. Three children, Donna Calcaterra, Alan and Wayne.
  3. Rose, married to Nat Danenberg, both deceased; two children, Melvin, and Arline Ackerman.
  4. Sarah, married to Henry Kasen (deceased), retired from trucking business, living in Lower Manhattan. Four children: Martin, a retired New York City policeman living in Florida; Zachary (deceased); Andrea Grunberger, living in Wayne, New Jersey; and Charles, living in New Hope, Minnesota.

III.A.3. Ida Dinnes (Chaya Laskeh's)

Ida Freidin came to the U.S. very shortly after her brother Charles, as a result of the efforts of her uncle, Simon Helig. She met and married Samuel Joseph (Joe) Dinnes, and they lived their entire lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. They had three children:


1. Abe (“Red”) Dinnes
2. John Dinnes
3. Molly Moskowitz


Joe and Ida Dinnes are deceased. Their son, “Red”, nicknamed for his distinctive hair color, was a fighter pilot, who was shot down and killed in the Second World War. John Dinnes, now deceased, was a dentist, who had two children, Martin, a renown veterinarian in the entertainment community, and Marjorie Cohen, who both live with their families in California. Molly and Irving Moskowitz live in Brooklyn. Irving is a retired window shade and Venetian blind manufacturer. The Moskowitzes have three children, Donald, Philip and Amy Schoenfeld, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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III.A.4. The Family of Fanny Shapiro (Frumkeh)

Fanny came to the U.S. shortly after her brother and sister. She is a surviving twin, her sister, Shushka, having died as a young girl from influenza (perhaps during the great epidemic of 1918-9). She met and married Isadore Shapiro, and the couple resided in Brooklyn. They had one son, John Shapiro, who today lives in Shaftsbury Vermont where he is engaged in an antique business. John married Bea Silverman, and they have three children, Paul, Tandy Fixell, and Lawrence, and four grandchildren.


III.A.5. Tanhum Yitzhak Freidin (Itchkeh)

When Charles Fried left Zelva, he also gave up the trade of butcher, which he had undertaken when his father Jonah died. Though he briefly considered this trade when he came to New York, Charles Fried ultimately entered the garment trades like so many millions of other immigrants of that era. Back in Zelva, the youngest son, Itchkeh, was considering work as a milliner. With his older brother gone, however, it fell to him to take over the family business, and so he became the fourth generation Freidin to be a butcher. Itchkeh Freidin married Malka Gelman, daughter of Avraham and granddaughter of Yosheh Gelman the Maggid, and continued to live in Zelva, where he prospered as a butcher and cattle merchant. Itchkeh and Malka Freidin had six children. One daughter died in early infancy. The surviving five children are:


1. Chaim Jonah Gilony   3. Miriam Sabarov
2. Aharon Freidin   4. Yehoshua Freidin
5. Moshe Freidin


This family is the foundation of the Freidin presence in the Holy Land. It was Chaim who first emigrated to the Holy Land in 1933, motivated by the intense Zionism that he had acquired as a member of the Betar movement, and his direct contact with the charismatic Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Chaim was perceptive enough to sense the impending disaster that was beginning to descend on Eastern European Jewry. Although conditions were far from good in the Holy Land, he portrayed the situation optimistically to his father back in Zelva. Eventually he persuaded his father to emigrate, and in 1935, Itchkeh Freidin brought his entire family to Tel Aviv, thus sparing them the terrible fate that overtook those who stayed behind. Times were quite difficult, and Itchkeh experienced sufficient setbacks in livelihood to tempt him to return to Zelva. However, he eventually opened a butcher store (Itliz) and continued this business for his entire life. In time, he turned this business over to his youngest son, Moshe, who is the fifth generation in the Freidin family to operate a butcher business. This business runs today at 174 Dizengoff Street in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel.


III.B. The Family of Boruch Freidin

Boruch Freidin married Genendel Rubinstein, daughter of Zalman and Pearl Rubinstein. Three children were born from this marriage:


1. Anna Freed (Channeh)   2. Isidore Freed (Itzel)
3. Morris Freed (Moisheh)


The “Tarbut” Literary Committee
On the day that aliyah was being made by Y. Halpern, V. Ratni, Moshe Salutsky,
Z. Novick, M. Perlmutter, S. B. Freidin, Kh. Rosenblum, Kh. Pocziczvi,
M. Rafilovitz, Y. Moorsteirn


The 5786 Keren Kayemet Committee
M. Rafilovitz, H. Kaplan, N. Gelman, A. Futritzky (Ritz) M. Perlmutter,
Sh. Jarniewsky, P. Greenberg, A. Szturmkewitz, Y. Moorstein, D. Lantzevitzky,
R. Buchhalter, Sh. Kaplan, Kh. Lifschitz

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Boruch Freidin contracted an incurable disease as a young man, and passed away, leaving Genendel widowed with three very young children. To ease her situation, Genendel sent Anna and Isidore, then aged six and four, to live at the home of Rabbi Yehoshua Freidin in Ozernitsa, keeping two year old Morris with her. Anna would not stand being separated from her mother, and returned within six months. Isidore would not return to her for fifteen years.

Genendel remarried, to Simcha Mavshovich, and moved to Bialystok. By this marriage, she had two daughters:


1. Rachel Freedman   2. Fagel Krugman


Anna Freed would eventually marry her uncle, Benjamin Freed, her father's youngest brother. It was Isidore Freed who was the catalyst for bringing this segment of the family out of Zelva to the U.S. He returned to his mother's home in Bialystok facing the threat of conscription into the Czar's Army. Family lore has it that Genendel was offered an option by a doctor to inflict a deformity on Isidore, thereby disqualifying him from military service. This she refused, preferring to send him to the risks of the New World. At this point, Isidore did not have the money to buy passage on a ship. Family lore further tells us that he had purchased a lottery ticket which he had been carrying around for some time. One day, a man came up to him and identified himself to Isidore as the seller of the lottery ticket. He then told Isidore that he held the winning ticket, and gave him the proceeds. It was these proceeds that Isidore used to buy his passage to the United States.

Isidore Freed came to New York in 1907. In order to prevent the headstrong Anna from joining her brother, Genendel insisted she marry her uncle, Benjamin Freed, and thereby establish a stable family base in Zelva. This took place shortly after Isidore's departure. Under similar compulsions as his brother, Morris Freed arrived in New York in 1910. In the following decade, Isidore Freed met and married Sarah Kirschner, and established himself as a dry goods merchant on the Lower East Side, with a store on Allen Street near Canal Street.

Beginning after the First World War, Isidore Freed undertook initiatives to bring the remainder of his family to the U.S. In 1921, he brought Benjamin and Anna Freed to the U.S., along with their sole surviving daughter, Sarah. In 1923, he brought his mother, Genendel, and his two sisters, Ray and Fagel to the U.S. Genendel, a strong-willed woman, would live the rest of her life in comfort and dignity in the home of her son, whom she was forced to send away from home as a child. She would live to see the birth of her first great-grandchild, Jack Berger, before she would pass away at the age of 77.


III.B.1. Isidore Freed

Isidore and Sarah Freed settled in Brooklyn where they had three children:

  1. Leonard Freed, who became a physician and radiologist, and served as a medical officer in the Second World War. He has two sons by his second marriage, Leonard, Jr. and Frederick. He is currently employed at the U.S. Army hospital in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
  2. Beatrice Melnick, who was trained as a social worker, and married Dr. Jacob (“George”) Melnick. The Melnicks reside in Brooklyn, and have three children: Arthur, Laurence (“Larry”), and Judy Brickman.


The remains of the Great Synagogue


Shmuel Kaninovitz and his wife Olga beside the remains of the gravestones

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  1. Arnold Freed, who is a microbiologist. He married Pauline Adelman and they have three children: Dr. Jeffrey, Valerie (“Laurie”) Brown, and Debra. The Arnold Freeds lived in the Midwest United States for a number of years, returning to Vineland New Jersey, where they discovered the Helig kinsmen of the Jonah Freidin family.
  2. In 1950, Isidore Freed closed his business in New York, and moved to Florida, where his son, Leonard was practicing medicine. During his later years, he operated a small motel, and then retired. His wife, Sarah passed away in 1975, and he passed away in 1977 at age 87.


III.B.2. Morris Freed

Morris Freed married Goldie (“Gussie”) Gindin. He also entered the garment trades, and worked his entire life as a milliner. Morris and Goldie Freed lived in Brooklyn, and had three children:

  1. Bernard Freed, married to Pauline Goldwasser. Bernard Freed had his own costume jewelry business. He and his family have always lived in Brooklyn, and he has two daughters, Gloria Jackelow and Evelyn Nebel.
  2. Toby Forman, married to Sol Forman (deceased) who worked in supermarket management on Long Island prior to retirement in Florida. The Formans have two sons, Steven and Joel.
  3. Jeanette Socks, married to Lee Socks (deceased), residing in Boca Raton, Florida. Jeanette has three children by her former marriage to Howard Itzkowitz: Gary, Kenneth, and Randi Weidhorn.

Morris Freed passed away in 1977 at age 85. Gussie Freed passed away in 1989 at the age of 90. She was the last survivor of the original immigrant families that came to the New York area.


III.B.3 Ray Freedman

Ray married Jacob Freedman and they had two daughters. Jake, who was a bagel baker, died from pneumonia in 1936. The oldest daughter, Millicent (Mollie) married Al Smith and had one son, Brian. Subsquent to a divorce, she married Sylvan Kippe, and they are retired in Tucson, Arizona. Her sister Sylvia (Selma) married Nathan Goldstein, and has one daughter, Jacqueline Resch, both living in Brooklyn.


III.B.4 Fagel Krugman

Fagel married Benny (Bereleh) Krugman, and they had three children. Fagel tragically died very young of cancer in 1932. Benny and the young children suffered some of the worst adversities of the Depression years, but in the fullness of time overcame those troubled times in fine fashion. The oldest son, Sam was born in Europe. He married Sylvia Bernstein and they recently retired after many years of working for the postal service. They have two children, Fran, married to Allan Rosenblatt (their children are Hugh and Joanna), and Mark, married to Marian Schnall (their children are Lindsay Robyn and Jason Seth). David, (the second son) and his wife Anita have one son, Paul Krugman. David is retired after a career as a lawyer in the insurance industry, and Paul is a distinguished economist, teaching at MIT. Mildred married Isaac (Ike) Pitchon, and ran a furniture business for many years in Brooklyn. Their children are Francine and Joel.

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III.C. The Family of Zvi Hirsch Freidin (Hirschkeh)

Zvi Hirsch (Hirschkeh) Freidin was one of the several family members who was a butcher by trade. Our knowledge of this family is fragmentary, and is reconstructed from the memories of Chaim Gilony, and Ephraim (Foyka) Gelman. Hirschkeh Freidin was married to Atara (Kreineh) Bereshkovsky. They had four children. Hirschkeh passed away in 1915, and his wife in 1922. The four children were:

  1. Yitzhak Jonah (Itcheh Yona) who was also a butcher. He was married, and had two children.
  2. Samuel Boruch (Shmuel Boruch) who was one of the prominent teachers at the Tarbut School in Zelva. He was married to Hannah Lifshitz from Zelva, but had no children.
  3. Elijah Zebulun (Elie Zavel) who was also a butcher. Elie Zavel married his first cousin, Hannah Freidin, daughter of Abraham Freidin. Elie Zavel was a business partner both with Itchkeh Freidin and Yedidkeh Freidin who were butchers, and all first cousins. He is known to have had two children.
  4. Joseph Freidin, who was married to Esther Moorstein, the sister of Yerachmiel Moorstein who edited the Zelva Memorial Book. They had two children, one of which was a son, named Yitzhak. Joseph Freidin was a manufacturer of leather shoe tops.

This entire family is known to have perished in the Holocaust. Samuel Boruch Freidin was among the early victims, when the Gestapo entered the town of Zelva and rounded up the intelligentsia who were immediately executed by firing squad in the Bereshko Forest. The remaining family members were eventually taken to the Treblinka concentration camp where they met their untimely end.


III.D. The Family of Abraham Freidin

The details of the family of Avromcheh Freidin come from the recollections of Foyka Gelman. Avromcheh Freidin was also a butcher. He was married twice, but the names of his wives are not now known to us.

Three children were born to his first wife:

  1. Tanhum Yitzhak, called Tanhum was a butcher, and married a woman from Bialystok. They had one child.
  2. Jedediah (Yedidkeh) was a butcher as well, and a partner with his cousin, Elie Zavel Freidin. He married Leah Zlotnitsky, daughter of Mich'l Mendel the Cooper, and they had one son and one daughter.
  3. Hannah Freidin, who married her first cousin Elie Zavel Freidin.

There was one son born of Abraham Freidin's second marriage, and this was Chaim Freidin, who also became a butcher. He was known to be married, but apparently had no children. Abraham Freidin

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is purported to have died before the onset of the Second World War


Benjamin Freed was a scholar and a teacher of religious studies. He married his niece, Anna Freed and begat three children in Zelva: Boruch, Sarah and Mindel. An epidemic struck Zelva about 1914 [very likely typhus] which took the life of Boruch, and deprived Sarah of her hearing, leaving her deaf for the rest of her life. Mindel, named for Genendel's sister, was to die tragically of appendicitis in her father's arms, on the eve of their departure for the U.S., for lack of medical care. The family arrived in New York in January 1921 with Anna eight months pregnant. One month later, she gave birth to Harold Freed. Four years later, she gave birth to her youngest son, Joshua Freed.

The family first settled on Orchard Street, but shortly thereafter moved to Brooklyn where they eventually settled in the Borough Park section. Benjamin Freed continued to practice as a Hebrew teacher, and lived to be 90, and Anna live to be 80. The children of Benjamin and Anna Freed are:


III.E.1. Sarah Berger

Sarah Freed, married Louis Berger. The marriage was ill-fated, and Sarah returned to live with her parents, where she gave birth to her only son, Jack Berger. Jack was raised in his grandparents home, and went on to become an engineer and a banker. He married Carol Lynn Kleinberg, and they have six children: Sharon Ann (married to Dennis Javer), Daniel, David, Judyth, Rachel, and Robert Ian. The Bergers live in Mahwah, New Jersey. Sarah Berger lives in Monsey, N.Y.


III.E.2. Harold Freed

Harold Freed, married Pearl Goldstein, after serving in the Second World War. He become a High School teacher in the City of New York, from which he has since retired. The Harold Freeds reside in Teaneck, New Jersey, and they have three daughters: Deborah Getman, Susan Hollander and Beth Silverstein, and eight grandchildren. He obtained his name when a nurse anglicized the name, Arel which she heard from Anna during her confinement.


III.E.3. Joshua Freed

Joshua Freed married Harriet Mandelbaum, and after living in The Bronx, moved to New Jersey, where they settled in Hillsdale. Joshua Freed is an accountant, and is employed as the Controller for a fabric laminating company. They have three children: Jonathan, David, and Benjamin. David and Beth Freed have two children, Rebekah and Elliot.

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IV. The Family of Yehoshua Freidin

Yehoshua Freidin ranks as the pre-eminent religious scholar of our family. His marriage to Chaya Sarah produced five children, all of whom reached maturity and had children of their own. The five children of Yehoshua Freidin are:

1. Eliezer Freidin   2. Reuven Jonah Rubinowitz
3. Rachel Beileh Pomerantz   4. Hasia Fagel Futritzky
5. Esther Leah Mednick


Descendants of the families of all these children are known to exist, with the exception of the family of Eliezer Freidin. Reuven Jonah was given a different surname as a defense mechanism. The notoriously anti-Semitic Czar, Nicholas I, had issued his infamous ukase, in which he ordered that every third male child in Jewish households was to be forcibly conscripted into the Russian Army. It was a common practice, in those times, to give a second born son a different last name to confound the authorities. Even though no third son was born in this family, the name change remained.

Yehoshua Freidin was an ordained Rabbi of considerable scholarly reputation. He held a modest pulpit, in the tiny hamlet of Ozernitsa, ten miles east of Zelva. He was well-known in scholarly circles as the author of two collections of sermons. His first book was published in 1888 under the title, EVVEN YEHOSHUA (The Rock of Joshua). In 1905 and again in 1908, his second collection was published under the title, BEYT YEHOSHUA (The House of Joshua). Such was the esteem for this man, that the descendants of his brother Aharon's family proudly bear his name, not to mention the many who are in a direct line of descent from him. They generally bear the name, Irwin, or Irvin, and, of course, Joshua.


IV.A. The Family of Eliezer Freidin

Eliezer Freidin married Bella Sedletsky, and five children resulted from this union. Information about this family is fragmented, and all are believed to have perished either through Russian pogroms, Stalin's purges, or the Holocaust. We are told that “Leizer” himself was of genius caliber, having been ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 16. In the introduction to EVVEN YEHOSHUA, Rabbi Yehoshua gives considerable credit to his firstborn son for the content of that volume. He says that one of the reasons for choosing the book's name was that the Hebrew word for “rock” - EVVEN is an acronym for Eliezer Ben, making the title read: Eliezer Ben Yehoshua, the name of his son. Eliezer Freidin was also a gifted entrepreneur. He moved to a village called Krizi, near Minsk, where he established a factory for the manufacture of boxes which were medicinal containers. Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, who would be Chief Rabbi of Israel was a resident in his home for three years. All of his children were distinguished in their own right as well:

  1. Jacob Freidin, who was married to Rachel Kapilovich, the Zelver Rabbi's daughter, was a lawyer of some repute. His son was a gifted artist and his daughter a ballerina. All are believed to have perished in the Minsk ghetto.
  2. Max Freidin, was a distinguished doctor and microbiologist. His works were published


“Bubbeh” Laskeh -- the fire at the foundation of Zelva in the bosom of her family in the year 1934, prior to the aliyah of their son Yitzhak Freidin and his wife Malka. The children are: Aharon, Miriam, Yehoshua and Moshe

[Page 136]

    in Byelorussian medical journals. He and his son also perished in the Minsk ghetto.

  1. Jonah Freidin was an actor in Stanislavsky's Theater. He went on to become a lawyer after suffering a leg injury that curtailed his acting career.
  2. Tanya (Taibel) Freidin was a noted linguist, and worked as a curator in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad.
  3. Faygel Freidin was a dentist who resided in Moscow. She was exiled to Siberia, and her fate is unknown.

Eliezer had his property seized by the Bolsheviks. Although correspondence continued with relatives in the U.S. into the late thirties, even that stopped, apparently under duress from authorities. The last word received was that Eliezer Freidin was imprisoned, and in 1942 at age 81, he died in prison.


IV.B. The Family of Reuven Jonah Rubinowitz

The second son of Yehoshua Freidin took up residence in the town of Vasilishki, in the Lida Province of Byelorussia. He first married Nahama about 1895 by whom he had two sons, Karl and Isidor. Tragically, Nahama died, and Reuven Jonah married again, this time to Kahla Rachel Kopstein, Nahama's niece. There were five children born from this marriage:


1. Leah Rubin   2. Max Rubin
3. Nathan Rubin   4. Jack Rubin
5. Milton Rubin


Regrettably, tragedy overtook this family, again and again. Kahla Rachel died shortly after the birth of Milton, and the oldest daughter, Leah assumed her mother's responsibilities in the household. The burden on Leah proved too great, and within three years, she too succumbed, and passed away. It was in 1908 that both Karl and Isidor left for the U.S. to seek their fortune, and find a more hospitable place for the family to live. Because their uncle, Max Kopstein was in the mining town of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, Karl and Isidor chose to go beyond New York, to Pittsburgh. In 1914, Karl took his own life, having been overcome by a deep depression due to family problems and the difficulty of his own immediate circumstances. Isidor then came to his uncle Max in Vandergrift, and began his business in the garment trade as a back pack peddler.

Isidor Rubin persevered, and after he married, and began a family of his own, he was able to turn again to his objective of bringing his family to live with him. In 1921, through Isidor's efforts, the remaining brothers and his father were brought to the U.S. Reuven Jonah first moved into his son's home, and after spending some months with the Mednick family in Chicago, he returned to take the pulpit of the Eleventh Avenue Synagogue in Braddock, Pennsylvania. In 1947, after the birth of his first great-grandson, Jay Rubin, he left for Israel where he wished to live out his remaining years. He lived in Haifa with the family of his nephew, Eliezer (Lou) Ritz [Futritzky], and passed away in 1959 at the age of 96. His sons established themselves in and around the Pittsburgh area. They and their families represent the bulk of the surviving descendants of Rabbi Yehoshua Freidin:

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IV.B.1. Isidor Rubin

Isidor Rubin was the catalyst and focal point for bringing the entire Rubin family to the United States. After working as a back pack peddler, he met and married Lena Wasserman by whom he had three sons:

  1. Samuel Karl Rubin, was a publisher of a movie film magazine. Sam married Natalia Buchman (deceased) and had two children: Jo Anne Chodock, and Jay Yale Rubin. Sam has remarried, and he and his wife, Lois resided in Davenport, Iowa prior to retiring to Scottsdale, Arizona, where Lois recently passed away.
  2. Irvin (“Daidy”) Rubin (deceased). Trained as a mathematician, and managed a number of the the family businesses. He was the author of a family history of Yehoshua Freidin's descendants. Married Marcia Friedman, father of Marc Rubin and Maida Kay Rubin
  3. Norman Rubin, a business administration graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, who manages a number of the family business interests. Married to Rose Sara Altman, father of Steven and Nancy Rubin.

Isidor Rubin always wanted his family around him, and this accounted for an entire way of life for him. After he brought his father and brothers to the U.S., he acquired a half interest in his uncle Max's store. This became the basis for a family business in retail men and women's clothing, with stores in several towns of the Kiski Valley in Western Pennsylvania. It was in the late 1940s that the family officially shortened its name to Rubin. In 1950, “Izz” Rubin was honored as “Citizen of the Year” in Vandergrift. He passed away in 1965 at age 72.


IV.B.2. Nathan Rubin

Nathan Rubin, married Yetta Rubin (no relation), and had three children, Corrine Harris, Leah Rae Lambert, and Allen Rubin. He was incapacitated in mid-life after working in the family businesses. Leah Rae is Justice Policy Coordinator in the Province of Ontario, and Allen is a professor at the University of Texas.


IV.B.3. Max Rubin

Max Rubin, married Glaphy Egly, no children, worked his entire life in the family businesses. During retirement in later life he lived with his brother Milton and he passed away in 1990. There was no issue from this union.


IV.B.4. Jack Rubin

Jack Rubin, married Frances Silverman and has two sons, Kenneth and Lawrence. He recently retired after 53 years of working in the family businesses. Like his brother Isidor, whom he succeeded in carrying on family traditions, Jack is a pillar of his community, and continues residing in Pittsburgh during retirement. Both sons continue the family tradition of working in retailing.

[Page 138]

IV.B.5. Milton Rubin

Milton Rubin, married Esther Jane Rosenthal (deceased) by whom he had two sons, Jeffrey and Edward Karl (“Buddy”) Rubin. Currently active in managing the family businesses. “Buddy” Rubin died tragically in an auto accident at age 5. Jeffrey Rubin is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and is a practicing Electrical Engineer. He is married to the former Nancy Stone, and they have a daughter, Melissa Carol Rubin.

The descendants of Reuven Jonah Rubinowitz have spread over the Northeastern U.S., though most can be found in the Pittsburgh area. Many continue to be engaged in the retail clothing business, though they are well represented in many other lines of endeavor.


IV.C. The Family of Rachel Beileh Pomerantz

The third child, and oldest daughter of Yehoshua Freidin, married Barnett Pomerantz in the town of Breza, Russia about 1888. They had two daughters, Lottie and Lena, both born in Russia. The family emigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago. “Beryl” Pomerantz passed away in 1928 in Chicago. Rachel Beileh survived him and lived to the ripe old age of 91. She passed away in Chicago in 1956.


IV.C.1. Lena Erenstein

Lena married Sam Erenstein and their was no issue from this union. Both are deceased.


IV.C.2. Lottie Spector

Lottie married Max Spector, and there were three children from this marriage. Max Spector passed away in 1955, and Lottie in 1979. Their three children are:

  1. Bernice Rosen, married Daniel Rosen (deceased), and is the mother of Janet Ostro and Judy Podolsky.
  2. Irwin Spector, married to Barbara White, and had two children, Marla and Mark Spector.
  3. Richard Spector, married to Sondra Smith and had three children, Debra Spector, Mark Spector, and Susan Miller.


V.D. The Family of Hasia Fagel Futritzky

Hasia Fagel married David Futritzky, the son of Rabbi Jacob Futritzky, who was the Dayan of Zelva. There were five children born in this family:

1. Moshe Beryl Ritz   2. Max Ritz
3. Rivkah Frum   4. Izz Ritz
5. Eliezer “Lou” Ritz

[Page 139]

The family resided in Zelva for over a quarter of a century. The turning point in this family's history came during the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918. Within one month, the dread disease claimed the lives of Rabbi Jacob, David and Moshe Beryl Futritzky. The burden for family sustenance fell on the older brothers, Max and Izz, and Rivkah, barely thirteen. Moshe Beryl's wife Rebecca came from the Bernick family, which had already immigrated to Canada. Through the efforts of the Bernick family, a chain of immigration was set in motion that would bring this entire family to Canada. In time, Max Ritz would marry Rebecca's sister, Faye Bernick, further deepening the two family ties.

Moshe Beryl's widow Rebecca, and her infant twins were the first to go in the early 1920s, followed shortly by the older brothers, Max and Izz. In these years, it was Rivkah Ritz who became the mainstay of the family, enabling her younger brother, Lou, to complete his education at the Zelver Tarbut Schule. Lou, an ardent Zionist, emigrated to the Holy Land. In 1930, Rivkah met and married Saul Frum, and they took Hasia Fagel and also immigrated to Canada. The family officially shortened its name to Ritz, and settled in Toronto. Hasia Fagel lived the rest of her life with her daughter Rivkah. She is remembered for her warmth and selflessness as the “Great Bubbeh,” die Moomeh, and Tanteh Chashkeh. In Israel, her grandchildren recall that in her mid-eighties, she wrote to her brother, Ruveh Yoineh, telling him that she was finally going to get glasses because she was having difficulty reading his letters. Hasia Fagel lived to be 91 years of age. Her descendants live both in Canada and Israel. Descendants of David Futritzky's brother, Moshe, live in Israel, where they have adopted the Hebrew name, Uryon.


IV.D.1. Moshe Beryl Ritz

Moshe Beryl and Rebecca Ritz had the fraternal twins, Irwin and Eva. On her arrival to Canada, Rebecca Ritz devoted herself entirely to raising her children. They literally started with nothing, because all their possessions were stolen on arrival. Rebecca went to work as a seamstress and raised her children with courage and dignity. Though personal health problems would plague this family, Rebecca would live to see her children achieve high levels of professional achievement.

  1. Irwin Ritz would graduate as a pharmacist, and despite having to take radiation therapy to combat Hodgkin's Disease, returned to medical school and became one of the leading urologists in Canada. He married Susan Marie Trinnes, who died six years later of Multiple Sclerosis. There were no children. Throughout a distinguished medical career, Dr. Irwin Ritz fought for his life against ever deteriorating health. He succumbed to his many illnesses in December 1981, and passed away.
  2. Eva Ritz married Stanley Solomon who is today the first violist of the Toronto Symphony. Their two children, Maribeth Erbe and Leonard Solomon, would also manifest artistic talent and find careers in music. Eva Solomon succumbed to cancer at age 46.


IV.D.2. Max Ritz

Max Ritz was a furrier by trade. His marriage to Faye Bernick produced their only son David, who became a dentist. David Ritz married Lil Schiff and they have one son, Michael.

[Page 140]

IV.D.3. Rivkah Frum

Rivkah Ritz was a mainstay of her family. Denied the opportunity for formal education herself, she enabled her younger brother, Lou to obtain schooling. In 1930 she married Saul Frum from Lomza, and shortly thereafter, took her mother, and emigrated to Canada. They had one son, Murray Frum. Saul and Rivkah Frum established a fancy food store in Toronto which enjoyed a very high reputation in the community. Rivkah Frum passed away in 1973. Saul (“Sholom”) Frum resides in Toronto. Murray Frum went on to become a dentist, and a highly successful real estate entrepreneur. He married Barbara Rossberg [deceased], and they had three children: Matthew (adopted), David and Linda. David, and his wife Danielle, just had a baby girl named Miranda.


IV.D.4. Izz Ritz

Izz Ritz was a top professional upholsterer and married Lil Heit, by whom he had one daughter, Honey Ritz. Izz developed palsy in mid-life, which eventually ended his ability to work. This unfortunately led to a disintegration of his family, and the whereabouts of his daughter are unknown.


IV.D.5. Eliezer Ritz

Eliezer (“Lou”) Ritz was the first member of the Freidin family to come to the Holy Land, in 1926. In 1930 he came to Canada to study accountancy at LaSalle University, and lived with his family in Toronto. He returned to the Holy Land in 1934, and in 1936 married Manya Kaganovich. Lou Ritz rose to a senior position with the Israel Power Company in Haifa. He succumbed to cancer and died in 1970. He and Manya had two children:

  1. Maxima, married to Eli-Emil Neutra, living in Haifa. They have three children, Ronen, Osnat and Ilanit.
  2. Odded Ritz married to Jocheved Olevsky, and is a software engineer, living in Ra'anana with their three children, Ayelet, Ronit and Uri-Eliezer.


IV.E. The Family of Esther Leah Mednick

Esther Leah married Rabbi Chaim Mednick, who was ordained at the Slobodka Yeshivah, and took the pulpit in the Russian town of Shiverin. Their only daughter, Thelma (Hannah Taibel) was born there. The town was the scene of frequent anti-Semitic outbursts, and in one frenzy, Esther Leah, along with some twenty other Jews, were trapped in the main square, herded off, and buried alive by the rampaging peasants. After 24 hours, the grave was opened, and Esther Leah was one of the few who emerged alive, though her health was broken, and she would never be the same.

[Page 141]

Rabbi Chaim Mednick was impelled by this incident to go to Moscow to seek the assistance of Fagel Freidin, daughter of Leizer, who was able to obtain forged exit papers for this family. Rabbi Mednick did not even return home. He cabled his wife and instructed her to pack immediately and with Thelma, to meet him at the Latvian border. They succeeded in leaving Russia and reached Riga where they stayed for several months.

Rabbi Mednick's sister in Chicago then arranged to bring them to the U.S. With assistance from HIAS, the Mednick family came first to Quebec, and in 1930, to Chicago. Esther Leah passed away in 1946, and Rabbi Chaim Mednick in 1955, on the eve of a planned trip to Israel. He was buried in Israel in accordance with his wishes. Thelma, who was unmarried, moved to Tel Aviv where she was employed by Delek, the Israeli oil company. Thelma continued to live and work in Israel, and passed away in 1985.


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