Wednesday, March 21, 2007

3 Dozen Bal Toyreh in Przemysl

I received this email while lounging on a beach in St. Lucia. Pardes does wonderful Jewish education work and Heritage rounds it out with trips to Israel via Poland.

36 bright, young Jews tromping around Poland and Przemysl - how great is that? And we get pictures!
My name is Chaim. I'm 22 years old from Toronto, Canada. Since July I have been studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

On Monday night I will departing to Poland with 35 of my classmates on a trip run by Heritage Seminars.

The leader of our trip mentioned to us a few weeks ago that if we had family members who were from Poland and knew the name of their city or town, that we should tell him and that perhaps we could stop off there.

I told him a few days later that my late grandfather, Jack (Yankel) Shiner was born in Przemsyl. (In truth, some family members think that he was born and grew up in Horodek, which is south of Przemysl, but he always told us that he was from Przemysl...).

[DRS Note: Lukasz B. thinks Horodek is probably Grodek Jagiellonski n. Lwow where his GGF worked. It is more East of Przemysl than South.]

Anyway, our trip leader told me that he looked at our schedule and he allocated an hour's worth of time to explore Przemysl. The catch was, that I had to help guide the tour!

That is when I frantically started researching on Przemysl and I was so glad to happen upon the blog that you started.

I'm writing you for a few reasons:

- I thought you would want to know that a group of over 35 (mostly) young Jews will be visiting Przemysl this coming Wednesday.
- I wanted to thank you for setting up and maintaining the blog. It has been very helpful to me.
- I noticed that you visited Przemysl yourself. Do you have any advice? We have about an hour there, what do you think we should try to see?
- Finally, I wanted to know if you could provide me with the contact information for Michal from the "Rent due in Shekels" post. I'd be interested to get a bit more information from her so that I can tell her story when we're there.

Thanks so much. I look forward to being in touch with you.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures when I'm there and pass them along to you to post at your whim.

All the best,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Przemysler's Masked Ball

(Update to the Przemyslers Ball post)

My cousin Bruce Rauch saw the "Ball" post and shared with me a wonderful story about an annual masquerade ball in Przemysl, held at least into the 20s.

He wrote:

I don't know where the picture on the web site was taken, but there was an annual ball in Przemysl sponsored by some Jewish social club. Mendel ( Silberman, David's GF) and my father (Marcus Rauch) were both members and were also close personal friends.

Mendel was on the host committee circa 1920. My father wanted to meet my mother (Salka/Sally Silberman, Mendel's sister) so he made a deal with his friend.

The ball was a masked ball and each guest had to unmask before a member of the committee to verify that they were invited. The deal was that Mendel would know who my mother was and would tip off my father so he could fill out her dance card.

Judging by Salka Silberman & Marcus Rauch's wedding photo, above, taken three years later, apparently it worked!

While I still think the Ball photo is from a New York event, it is possible that the English caption was written later and it is Przemysl. The more likely case is that whatever group sponsored the Ball had members move to New York who wanted to continue the tradition.