Share Your Story: Stories of Immigration

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A 'Real' American

After the birth of my three great-grandchildren within the past two years, my family and I are proud to be four generations of Americans. My Dad would have been the fifth. He came to America in the early 1900's from Russia/Poland. I'd like to share one of his many wonderful stories.

He was about to be inducted into the Russian army and shipped to Siberia for a very lengthy period. His Father got word to him that the entrance guard had been bribed and that my Dad should run and keep running when the guard turned his back. With only his black fur hat and a long black coat and boots, he did as he was directed. He went from town to town, finding work to support himself along the way until he got to a seaport where he boarded a ship with his meager savings and came to the land of his dreams. He spoke no English, but somehow managed to find distant relatives and friends who gave him temporary shelter. He eventually started a feather-fancy factory, discovered my Mom, who was giving piano lessons to a friend's daughter, married, served in the army, moved to the Bronx, built buildings there and became a "real" American. Before his children were born, he brought his parents, sister and brothers to "his" country and they too became "real" Americans--realizing their goals, but never forgetting their roots --all of them doing all that they could throughout their lives to help their fellow-Jews.

This is just one of the many stories told to me by a very, very special Father.

Sylvia, Bellair Beach, Florida


My Great Grandmother's Journey to America

My Great Grandmother came to America through Ellis Island. When they had reached their destination they would not get off the boat and eat, since it was the high holiday of Yom Kippur. They had come from a long journey from the Holy Land without proper food or water, yet my Great Bubby would not eat. This shows true strength and devotion to the Torah (law).

Shlomo, New York, NY


My parents were born & raised in newark nj. They lived from 1929-2002.

They lived in very different cultures. My father from a conservative jewish family from russia and my mother from italian immigrants met in 1950 and fell in love and decided to marry. Their families disapproved of the marriage and had disowned them.

Me and my 3 siblings were raised in the jewish faith. my mother converted to judaism which was at the time a brave and courageous move. To defy the church and her family took great strength. both families eventually came around and came to know my parents as the wonderful people they always were.

We moved from newark to ocean county in nj in 1960. we were fish out of water. Jews were a small community in ocean county nj at the time. our family met the usual stereotypes of the time.

My parents, believers in the time honored tradition of giving to the less fortunate and offered our home to the inner city children via the fresh air fund of ny.

We laughed and embraced all the good in life and loved each other stayed close and lived lives of joy and peace.

My sister was killed in 1971. Me and my 2 brothers under our parents guidance were required to do well in school and to go to college. We married italian women. Our jewish culture remains in our homes and we pay special attenton to helping others everyday as our parents would expect.

Robert, Manahawkin, nj


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