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.

Thomas Bean

Vashon Island, WA

The Bean (Bun) family fled the shtetl of Ponamuk, Lithuania at the turn of the last century due to escalating violence against Jews in the region. My Great Grandfather Jacob (Zalman Bun) left in 1904 for America to meet up with his brother Eli Bean (Bun) in Bellingham, Washington. He left his parents and other relatives in the small village near Rokiskis. His wife Roche Molla followed the next year, and then three of his four children. My grandfather Earl (Isaac) was left in Liverpool, England with relatives as he had conjunctivitis. He worked there as a tailor from the age of 13 until he booked passage with 2 of his sisters in 1907, and traveled to Halifax. They took CP Rail across Canada to Bellingham, Washington. They joined their father who was peddling junk along with his brother Eli, who later opened many businesses in both Canada and Washington State. The Jacob Beans ultimately settled in Olympia, Washington and took over a relatives Junk business. My Grandfather Earl helped build the first Synagogue in the Capitol City, aided in purchasing the property for the Jewish Cemetery, as well as other philanthropist activities. He is listed in prominent people in a State History published in 1937. The Junk business became The Olympia Supply Company, which is now in it’s third generation ownership operating as an Industrial and Retail Hardware Supply. I am a second generation Washingtonian and Jew in America.

My Journey
Rokiškis, Lithuania Vashon Island, WA