At the end of a working day, my ancestors, dwellers of a one big courtyard, would gather under the huge mulberry tree to drink boiling tea from a Samovar. In this rare picture they celebrate two weddings in Ness-Ziona, 1924.
Beehives, their trade, are on the right, a bucket under the table was used to milk the cows Shoshana and Leah.
From left to right; standing, unknown guest, Yeshayahu Naiman the baker, seated in front of him his wife. Two guests, Efraim Feldman and Haya Patchornik- bride and groom, Yehoshua Patchornik, Baila Kraimer- bride and groom, Feige Feinstein Lehrer, widow of Reuben Lehrer dyed at the age of 116 with clear mind. Next to her Pnina her daughter, my father’s grandmother. Pretty Bat-Sheva Patchornik Dorfman. Behind her Baruch Moishe Patchornik, son of Abraham, brother of Ruben Lehrer, father of Yehosua Patchornick. Unknown couple. Seated- beautiful Rachel Rabinovich, baby Rivka on her lap, and next to her Sara Zalzman.
My grandmother Bela Kreimer, immigrated from Odessa to Palestine at the 20es. her Passion was to study. She ran away from home, trying to get approval from her uncle Ahad Haam, who told her to return straight home.
He did not believe in actual Zionism.
She was a hat-maker.
After a few weeks of walking back and forth an unpaved street in Ness Ziona, Joshua Patchornik, the grandson of Reuben Lehrer, wrote a letter to her father in Russia asking his permission to marry his daughter.
They got married in the family courtyard under the mulberry tree, with another couple from the extended family.
I am looking at my grandmother’s face, thinking that her choice to come here meant she will never see her parents and sisters again. She joined a large family, but none of her immediate family attended her wedding day, nor the birth of her three children. The connections with them were letters that brought tears to her eyes. There were long answers written in beautiful handwriting. There were also parcels with mended used clothes, perfectly ironed .
Assertively she did all she could to help my father study against all odds, especially the family who needed working hands in the orange orchard and the beehives.
As an expert, my father was invited to an international chemistry conference in Moscow in the 70es. Politically, it was a surprise, and we were a bit anxious about him traveling to an “enemy zone”, especially with his character to speak his mind openly.
My grandmother made him swear he will not make any contact with her beloved sisters. It was much too dangerous for them, even though he was an important guest.
As he assumed many Jews are among the scientists, instead of starting straight ahead with chemistry slides – he began his talk on Shabat, by a visual trip in Israel: Images from Jerusalem, the entrance to the Weizmann Institute at Rehovot and laboratories and Chaim Weizmann’s office.
He invited them all to visit.
It was Saturday as he was striding back toward the hotel, wearing his big white Yarmulke.
Many people passed him quickly whispering: “Shabbat Shalom!”
Was anyone of them an off spring of Reuben Lehrer too?
This post is warmly dedicated to the Patchornick/Paciornik/Shulman family in Brazil and around the globe. We all might have been speaking Russian, Polish and living there unless history took its own agenda.
Where do I begin 1 : here
Cytrus grower: here