Tablecloth from Aleppo

A section of the lace tablecloth
A section of the lace tablecloth

The lace from this tablecloth is one of the few items my family was able to bring over to America after immigrating from our homeland in Aleppo, Syria. It brings me back to my family’s history as merchants selling goods like linens, oriental rugs, and clothing along the Silk Road in the 19th century. However, as English trade increased and the Suez Canal opened to the South in 1869, many Sephardic Jews and other Silk Road merchants saw their business decrease and were forced to move to places like Beirut, Cairo, and the United States. So in the late 1920s, my great-grandfather boarded a boat to America with his family. They brought little more than the clothes on their backs and a hope that they could make it on their own and be a part of the American dream.

Once my great-grandfather arrived, he opened textile stores called the Linen Bar in Buffalo and Scranton, near many emerging industrial coal towns. When he died, this tablecloth was divided into five sections so each of his children could have one. Now that Aleppo has been virtually destroyed, the lace serves as a keepsake from a very different time in its history - one when it was peaceful and prosperous. It is a unique reminder of my family’s history, how lucky we are to have left Aleppo, and how far we’ve come. 

Place(s): Aleppo, Buffalo, Scranton, Syria
Year: 1928

– Teddy

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