Letters from Levi Yitzkhak, 23 April 1914 – The Global Tofay

Letters from Levi Yitzkhak, 23 April 1914 - The Global Tofay Global Today

is the last post of translated letters and postcards originally in Yiddish (and,
sometimes, Hebrew and a little bit of Russian) sent
to Morris Lederman, who immigrated to the United States in 1910. Most of
the correspondence, such as this one, were sent by Morris’ father Levi
Yitzkhak. F
or further background, see the first post in this series. 

I plan at least one additional post after this one to summarize the series.

For links to other posts in this series, please scroll to the bottom.



Letters from Levi Yitzkhak, 23 April 1914 - The Global Tofay Global Today


Translation by Esther Chanie Dushinsky.

[Notes in blue as well as those at the end of the post are
mine. For ease of reading, I have
added paragraph breaks in the translation.]


Baranovka, Vol. [Volhynia Gubernia], 23 April 1914 [Russian date; the equivalent date in the United States was 6 May 1914]

Addressed to:

Вг.Амирику [in America]
Morris Lederman

127 So. Upper St. 

in Lexington Ky [1]


[side 1]

April 21 / May 4  1914

My dear and beloved son who sweetens my soul, Mr. Moshe Shalom, should live. You should have peace, my dear son.

My dear and beloved son, since I received your letter and _____ Sh”b Uri should live, I did not manage to find time to respond.[2] I was very busy to _____ [finish?] _____ to be done with the balances because the _____ [franzpalin?] decreed and said that we must finish the books and leave Zhary because _____ job here.[in previous letters Levi Yitzkhak said he was finishing work in the forest near Zhary and expected to be seeking another job.]

Understandably, I am a bit stressed now. As you understand, I must look for a different position with honor and abundance. And God will probably help.

I have a _____ promise from the rich people _____ Eisenberg’s that Aba [?] Zacku [?] will stop and they will take me to a different forest that thy purchased two years ago. Not far from

Турискуь. [3] 

Now I still have some work here in Zhary for a short while. I don’t know exactly how long. Bottom line, my dear son, God should have mercy and guide me well. 

And that is why I haven’t written the entire time, but happens to be, a thought entered my mind that it isn’t right that I am not writing letters to you. So now, Monday night, Parshas Acharei Kedoshim, the 21st April here, 4 May for you _____ _____, and I told myself that I should respond to your letter and expand a bit on what your wrote.[4]

_____ _____ that you wrote the truth to me about everything. I am very pleased and thank and praise God for your pure thoughts and your words. They are holy and pure to me and I believe in you and my hope _____ that you are walking on the right path and in the future you will continue to walk on the right and good path with God. And I am blessing you from the depths of my heart and will that you should always find grace in the eyes of people and God. And may God give you success in all your endeavors and ways. 

I don’t have any special news to write. They write from home to you almost every week because I told them again and again that they should not refrain from writing to you. And, indeed, they write to you from home because they know better than me what to write to you from here. 

Sarah probably wrote to you from Zaida’n that he didn’t even come for Pesakh.[5] He wrote that he couldn’t leave, he is very busy there. And he doesn’t write much about how things are for him. You know him, he doesn’t like to write long letters, and when he does write, he writes only shortly.

From Faiga’n, thank God for their health. Babekel is a fine child.[6] He studies very well. In Baranowka he is known as a child, a mensch. He is indeed bli ayin horah, a fine child.[7] Studies very well, learns Ivrit.[8] He nearly finished “high” and remembers well, does well. Raika is, bli ayin horah, also a fine child.[9] _____ was here for Pesakh and traveled back after Pesakh.[10]

[side 2]

To _____ honorable Mr. Uri, should live, and your entire family, send them our greetings and tell them we thank him very much for his kindness towards you.[11]

And from here, my son, I will _____ letters from time to time. Write details, let me know about everything in detail. The _____ [frustug or prustug] came to Grafiri’n and wanted to place an arrest for my dawdling over their request [?]. They told him that I am not in Zhary anymore. God should help in everything.

Your father that loves you and is blessing you.

_____ _____


1. In his letter of 8 July 1913, Levi Yitzkhak wrote that he understood that his son Morris was thinking about moving from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Detroit, Michigan. We know that Morris did move to Detroit. But, apparently, before moving there, he stopped for a visit in Kentucky with Harry Greenfield. The 1910 census shows that Harry Greenfield and his family lived at 127 South Upper Street, Lexington, Kentucky. Harry was Morris’ sister, Feiga Grinfeld’s, brother-in-law (her husband, Shalom Shakhna’s brother). 1910 U.S. Census, Fayette Co., KY, pop. sched., Lexington, e.d. 34, sheet 16B, dwelling 211, family 378, Harry and Sophia Greenfield family; images, Ancestry.com (accessed 2 July 2023); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 474.

2. Harry Greenfield’s gravestone confirms his Hebrew name as Arye ben Yitzkhak. Uri appears to have been his Yiddish nickname. His gravestone inscription has been photographed and is online. Harry Greenfield, grave, 11 March 1941, Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky; index and images, Billion Graves (accessed 2 July 2023: https://billiongraves.com/grave/Harry-Greenfield/687941).

3. This community may have been Turiysk, southeast of Kovel. Turiysk is bout 280 km WNW of Baranivka. The JewishGen community database page for the town is at https://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/community.php?usbgn=-1056891 

4. For information on Parshas Acharei Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27), see https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2894/jewish/Acharei-Kedoshim-in-a-Nutshell.htm

5. Sarah was one of Morris’/Moshe’s sisters and Zaida’n (sometimes referred to as Zanvel) was his older brother.

6. Babekel Was the only son of Feiga and Shakhna. He immigrated to the United States on 12 October 1921 and settled with his mother and sister, Raya, in Cincinnati. He was known in the United States as Robert Greenfield. Passenger manifest, S.S. Polonia, Danzig to New York, arrived 12 October 1921, list 5, entry 20, Wolf Grinfeld, age 16; images, Ancestry.com (accessed 2 July 2023).

7. Bli ayin hora: Yiddish saying used with a positive statement. The concept was to ward off the evil eye.

8. Ivrit: the Hebrew language.

9. Raika, also known as Raya, immigrated to the United States with her sister Leah on 2 December 1921. She married Harry Young in Cincinnati on 19 August 1934. Passenger manifest, S.S. George Washington, Bremen to New York, arrived 2 December 1921 1921, list 8, entries 16 & 17, Raya Grinfeld (age 14) and Leja Grinfeld (age 15); images, Ancestry.com (accessed 2 July 2023).

10. This likely refers to Leah, the eldest child of Feiga and Shakhna. We know that she attended gymnasium (secondary school) in Russia. We do not the years in which she attended. After immigration, she and Joseph Saltzman, who she knew from Baranovka and Koretz, married on 17 April 1922 in the Bronx, NY (certificate no. 1494). They settled in Louisville, Kentucky.

11. Harry [Uri] Greenfield, married Sophia Gindy (daughter of Isaac Gindy and Rose Saphir) in Cincinnati on 28 June 1903. They had four children between 1904 and 1915: Isadore, Esther, Martin and Lucille.


#Letters #Levi #Yitzkhak #April

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