Reply To: Pilgrim Jews

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My great grandfather came in 1905 to northern NJ and set up shop as a rav, shochet and mohel. He was a chabadnik of some yichus, and functioned as an outreach professional at the turn of the century. They had been wealthy until his daughter, my bubby needed a halizta . They were held up for all they had, so perhaps they were economic migrants, but the virulent anti semitism of the last czar could also have been a factor. Zeidi, came in 1907. The yorzeit for the people of his shtetl is Lag Bomer. They were murder en mass by the nazis and others y”s.

On the other side of my ancestry, around the same time, my grandfather came and worked on a farm in Connecticut for eight years before he could pay the passage for grandma. They came from a place close enough to be called “near Warsaw” but far enough that they were rural folk, and that farming was the natural fit for him, but the poverty must have been severe. They settled in Brownsville Brooklyn and were members of Adas Israel of Brownsville and New York. I have led a futile search of those early years, but some of my past runs through Connecticut and Brooklyn. That I am a shomer torah umitzvos is a statistical fluke.

There is a book “Chachmei Israel of New England” that collects the stories of many like my great grandfather, that settled in nidach outbacks (sorry CTL) and had functional single generation frum kehilos