111 Days Before I Was Born
This Shabbos, 2 Elul, is the yahrzeit of my great-grandmother Mindel bas Tzvi Hirsh. Mindel left the shtetl of Kosovo-Poleski (today Belarus) when she was 18 years-old and made her way to Bremen, Germany were she boarded the S.S. Stuttgart. On December 5, 1895 she arrived at the port of New York and later settled in Philadelphia. There she married a Jewish immigrant from Sudilkov, Ukraine in 1902 and later had a family of five children.
A 1959 shul bulletin provided this description of my great-grandmother:
"She runs he own home, works in her beautiful garden, does her own shopping, attends all the meetings of all her organizations and is a regular attendant of the Late Friday Night Services, as well as all the Holiday Services. All these things she does because she wants to and because she enjoys them. She also has a very lively sense of humor and an air of dignity and stylish, humility and awareness that enables her to mingle with people of all ages and from all walks of life."
Mindel passed away in 1972, 111 days before I was born.
33 years later, my youngest daughter was born and we gave her the "middle" name Mindel in my great-grandmother's memory.