Books of Belarus

Interior Cover
Interior Cover

I love my grandmother for her wit, her wisdom and her intelligence. But little does she ever mention the material objects that she connects her heritage to. So I was surprised when, in the attic of my grandparent’s suburban house, we found a worn, brown leather-bound Holy Torah that belonged to my great-great-great grandfather Matthew “Max” Margolish, of Minsk, in present-day Belarus. I was shocked by the physical condition of our Torah. Not only were its contents dating from 1894, its pages tanned and crisp, but there were pages covered with penciled-in Russian characters-nobody had ever told me! 
Max was the son of a respected rabbi in Minsk. Sometime in the 1890s, he, his siblings and mother embarked on a journey to America in search of opportunity, perhaps. I know, from my grandma, that Max was a peddler in the streets, selling garters for suspenders and various items else. He worked himself up, and invested in real estate with other Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side. 

Finding this book reminded me that, despite how the Torah is a small part of my life in 2017, in 1894 to Max Margolish, this book was likely one of few possessions that reminded him of memories of his home, and I am proud to be connected to this tale of immigration.

Year: 1894

– Sophie Adelman

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more