Feb 8, 2013

A Personal Journey

I was at a party where the host recently acquired a lawn sculpture. Unknown to him, a section of it was comprised of an old Jewish tombstone, of a wife and mother who died at the age of 25 in 1918. It's a beautiful carving of a branch less tree trunk, symbolizing a life ended prematurely. I became concerned as to where this stone had come from. Who would know if their great-grandmother's stone was taken?
I had no idea where my great-grandmother was buried. I searched for this young woman's grave. Finally, Rabbi Juda directed me to the old Agudath Achim Cemetery in Fountain Hill. There I found the woman, M. Azrilian, with a new grave marker. Next to her lies Jeannie Molovinsky, my great-grandmother. 
My thanks to Rabbi Juda and M. Azrilian (1893-1918)

I wrote the above piece on July 18, 1997. In my search for M. Azrilian, I discovered Mt. Sinai Cemetery inside Fairview Cemetery on Lehigh St., subject of one my early posts. The photograph above is the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem.                                                                           reprinted from 2008                                                                                                                     UPDATE:   My grandfather came to Allentown as a young man in 1893. After working and saving for a number of years, he brought his parents over from the Old Country. The former synagogue on 2nd. Street had just acquired their cemetery off Fullerton Avenue when his mother died. Jewish tradition dictated that a man was the first burial in a new cemetery, so she was buried in an old Jewish Cemetery on Fountain Hill. Several years later her husband, my great grandfather, was hit in the head with a pipe and killed while being robbed on Basin Street. He is buried on Fullerton Avenue.

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