A 1938 Family Film Uncovers a Lost Polish Jewish World

Posted on August 21st, 2017
BY AVISHAY ARTSY for Jewniverse


It’s rare that vacation photos elicit more than a yawn, and it’s certainly unusual to find anything as riveting as the 16mm reel Glenn Kurtz uncovered while sifting through a cardboard box at his parents’ house in Florida.

His grandfather’s home-movie footage included three minutes of Kodachrome color film shot in 1938 during a visit to the small Polish town of Nasielsk. Fewer than 100 of the town’s 3,000 inhabitants survived the Holocaust, and David Kurtz, a Jewish tourist from New York, captured the only surviving moving images of the town. Today, December 3, marks the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Nasielsk’s Jewish population.

Continue reading & watch videos.

Soon there will only be one Judaica store left in Manhattan

Posted on August 14th, 2017
By Ben Sales for JTA

 

 

Yaakov Seltzer remembers a different world, when he would sell his customers prayer books, then hand them an invitation to his daughter’s wedding.

 

When they would come in to Seltzer’s store to order a kippah for their new grandson, then ask him to attend the bris.

 

Or they would stop in on a Friday afternoon with nothing to buy, just to wish him a good Shabbat.

 

But though the Upper West Side of Manhattan is still heavily Jewish, the world Seltzer longs for has disappeared. And soon, so will his store, West Side Judaica, which Seltzer plans to close sometime next year.

 

Continue reading.

Lane Bryant Malsin: Fashion Revolutionary

Posted on August 7th, 2017
BY MICHAEL FELDBERG for myjewishlearning.com 


Lane Bryant Malsin started a small business and became a famous fashion designer who made millions, but she was always involved in Jewish philanthropic work.


In 1895, a 16-year-old immigrant named Lena Himmelstein arrived in New York, having traveled alone from her native Lithuania. Without family, she supported herself by working as a seamstress, earning a dollar a week. A gifted dressmaker, Lena quickly became skilled at her craft and within a year was earning the extraordinary wage of fifteen dollars per week. Before the age of 20, Lena married a Jewish immigrant jeweler from Russia named David Bryant. Soon after their son Raphael was born, David Bryant died suddenly. The widowed Lena Bryant, thrown back on her own devices, supported Raphael and herself by returning to dressmaking in their cramped apartment.

By 1904, Bryant’s business was so successful that she opened a shop with living quarters in the rear. A bank officer misspelled her name on a business account application, and Lena’s first name became Lane. Thus began the pioneering women’s clothing enterprise known as Lane Bryant.

Continue reading.

Haym Salomon: Revolutionary Broker

Posted on July 31st, 2017
BY MICHAEL FELDBERG for myjewishlearning.com 


Haym Salomon played a significant role in saving the newly established United States from financial ruin and was a prominent part of Jewish community affairs.


In the pantheon of American Jewish heroes, Haym Salomon (1740-1785) has attained legendary status. His life was brief and tumultuous, but his impact on the American imagination was great. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp hailing Salomon as a “Financial Hero of the American Revolution.” A monument to Salomon, George Washington, and Robert Morris graces East Wacker Drive in Chicago, and Beverly Hills, California, is home to an organization called the American Jewish Patriots and Friends of Haym Salomon.

Continue reading.

How Modern Hebrew Developed a Full-Blown Slang in Just a Hundred Years

Posted on July 24th, 2017
Philologos for Tablet Magazine  


In part, it borrowed extensively from the slangs and vernaculars of other languages. Consider the case of de la shmatte.


Adin Eichler writes:

My grandmother had a word takhlis. [Mr. Eichler spells the word in Hebrew/Yiddish characters as טאכלעס.] She’d use it in sentences like, “It’s time for takhlis,” which meant she was about to sit us down and give us a good talking-to. I never understood precisely what that meant. Do you happen to know?

Takhlis is Yiddish for practical matters or for the practical side of something, as in a sentence like lomir redn takhlis, “Let’s talk takhlis,” that is, “Let’s get down to business” or “Let’s get down to brass tacks.” Although, with the stress on its first syllable, it’s pronounced as Adin Eichler wrote it, following the rules of Yiddish spelling, you won’t find it spelled that way in a Yiddish dictionary. This is because it comes from the Hebrew word takhlit, spelled תכלית, with the stress on the last syllable. The rule in Yiddish is that all Hebrew-derived words retain their Hebrew spellings even if that is not how their sounds would ordinarily be represented in Yiddish. And yet in writing takhlis in Hebrew today, it is often Yiddishized as תכלעס (sometimes elided into תכל’ס).

Continue reading.

Pages

Blogs to Follow

IHC President: Creating Connections

Follow Patti Freeman Dorson, Board President as she blogs about IHC!