This is a story about my Grandparents - Israel and Jenny Magalnick. Israel was to be drafted into the Russian Army not a great thing for Jewish boys.They lived in Odessa.He and his siblings were orphans and wanted to immigrate. He knew he had to take care of his siblings. He went to the shadkhen and made a proposal. He would marry anyone whose would pay for passage to America for all of them.
Jenny Lachacman was older. Her father agreed to the terms. the day after they met, they were wed and left for America.They landed at Ellis Island in the year 1899. My grandparents were detained at Ellis Island.My grandfather befriended at Italian Catholic immigrant, Phillip Sfragga from Sicily. We never understood how they communicated, but they did!
Mr. Sfragga was a chef and my grandfather a carpenter.
They came to Brooklyn where they bought a 2 family house the Sfragga family.
They raised 6 children in that house I was born in that house in November of 1947- the youngest of 18 grandchildren. We lived with Grandpa until he passed away,
Judaism was very important to our family. We were observant Jews and very proud Americans.
On Jewish holidays, the Sfragga Family served our holiday meal. We did the same for them on Christmas and Easter
All of the 18 grandchildren have fantastic stories of celebrating in that house and growing up with our "Gramps"
– Joan Hersch