I have experienced several miracles in my life—first surviving the Holocaust and then achieving great financial success. But my most lasting contribution and meaningful blessing is that my dear wife Florence and I were successful in raising and nurturing a family that will carry forward our genetic and cultural legacy far into the future. Each of our three children, 12 grandchildren and (so far) two great grandchildren is a unique and wonderful person, and is also a part of the collective fabric of American and worldwide Jewry...
Quotes from this chapter
This Jewish-American mishpocha is our miracle of Jewish renewal. It is our most precious legacy and bright hope for the future.
These tellings and retellings meant a lot to the children, as they gained explanations for the dread they had lived with all of those years.
Each year, the children got a new pair of shoes from the Stride-Rite at Georgetown Shopping Center.
Counting my Engelbach, Epstein and Melamed relations and Florence’s Storch family from Zamósc, more than 50 members of our combined family perished in the Holocaust.
And when it was over, many of us felt driven to find and marry fellow survivors, following the word of the Torah to be fruitful and multiply.
Just as I had learned tinsmithing from watching my father, I now had the satisfaction of teaching my own sons the basics of the roofing trade.
Whatever the job, up I went on those bitter mornings to the icy rooftops, taking extra care not to misstep. I was always careful but never fearful.
Ultra-fashionable Fifth Avenue is a long way from Skala-Podolsk, or for that matter East Flatbush.
As a father, you want to protect your children from harmful words and actions but you also want them to know the ugly reality of the world they live in.
There is a thread connecting the shtetl way of life practiced by my ancestors in Skala to my grandchildren’s “up to the minute” American lifestyle. The thread is Florence and me and the lives that we led.
Florence was also my indispensable partner in the business, which never in a million years would have succeeded without her active involvement.
Florence and I agreed that it was important to leave each child not just with an inheritance but with the ability to make a living. Otherwise, you just spend your wealth.
The colony we returned to regularly was run by the Kasimoff family. Just like at home, our bungalow unit was on the second floor.
It wasn’t like we stuck out our hands and the dollars fell from the sky. Ours was an overnight success that took decades of blood, sweat and tears to achieve.
Book excerpts about the people, places and events mentioned in the book
Son of the author who followed him in the roofing and property management trades
The author's daughter also entered the family business
The author's first-born child followed him in business
Two-family house on East 57th Street where the children were reared
The family took summer vacations at Kasimoff's bungalow colony in the Catskills
Site of first vacation home
A long way from Skala-Podolsk—or East Flatbush
Seaside refuge for the extended family