The journey of the Jewish diaspora has had an immense impact on the development of modern world politics, economics and culture. Many modern Jews can trace their roots back to distant lands far from their current home. These journeys permeate generations, passed down through treasured stories, objects and photographs. Where did your family's journey begin? What is your diaspora story? Share your journey below and include a family photograph, home video or image of a special heirloom that represents your own Story of the Jews.

Anne Rosenberg

Twinsburg, OH, United States

My 3rd great grandfather Harris Elias (Tzvi Akiva ben Eliyahu) came to NYC from Poland in 1859 and remained in the Lower East Side until his murder at age 65 in 1905. He worked as a tailor and became a successful merchant of men’s clothing, described in the Washington Post at the time of his death as “the wealthy Hebrew”. He was also a trustee of Beth Israel Hospital. Tragically, he was killed on an early Shabbat morning in February by a man who was performing work as a stove lighter and demanded payment for his services. He and his first wife Esther had ten children and after she died at age 50, he married Celia and had two more children. I am the great great granddaughter of his and Esther’s first child, Mina, who was born in 1860. She died tragically at age 29 during her 7th month of pregnancy from kidney disease, leaving five young children—including my great grandmother Nettie. I am told that Harris forced Mina’s 18 year old sister, Lena, to marry Mina’s husband, Simon Fine, six months later so that she could care for the children, a common practice of the time. I never knew that Grandma Lena (who witnessed the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge and lived to 101 and whom I met when I was a child) was really my great great Aunt. Harris and Esther’s second oldest daughter, Gussie, married Pincus Harris, who owned Harris and Brothers Clothing which was located in the Asch Building, directly beneath the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. I am told that on the day of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (Saturday, March 25, 1911), the Harris brothers walked from East 122nd street down to the Asch Building near Washington Park, because it was Shabbat. I am also told that Pincus Harris was not related to Isaac Harris, one of the co-owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist company—though I do find it odd that two families named Harris owned clothing factories located on consecutive floors in the same building.

My Journey
Poland Twinsburg, OH, United States