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Subject: descendancy from R' Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821)
From: "L Reich"
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 14:30:12 +0100
X-Message-Number: 15

The Progeny of R' Chaim of Volozhin

A long-standing mystery about one line of descendancy from
R' Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821) has been partially resolved
in a recent Hebrew article (source below).

R' Chaim, founder of the famous Yeshiva, was probably the most
outstanding pupil of the Gaon Eliyohu of Vilna. He was succeeded
as head of the Yeshivah by his son Yitzchok (1780-1849). R' Chaim
like his teacher was a Mithnaged (if less censorious)- an opponent
of the burgeoning Chassidic movement. The descendants of Yitzchok
are well known and include the Soloveichik and Berlin rabbinical

However, mystery has always surrounded the life and family of
Yitzchok's brother Yosef. The biographers of the Volozhin dynasties
profess ignorance. It was known that he married into a wealthy family
from Shereshovo and died young. There were also rumours that he joined
the Chassidim - hence, it was suggested, silence about him from his
Mithnagdik cousins.

The article reveals that Yosef was not a Chassid, but that one of his
two sons, Eliyohu (Shlomo), did join the Chassidim. Eliyohu became
friendly with R' Zvi Aryeh Katz, whose father Yitzchok had been a
Chassid of the Chozeh of Lublin (d 1815).

Another son of Yosef (& grandson of R' Chaim) was Simcha (Naftoli)
who came to a mysterious end. According to an advertisment published
in the Hamaggid in 1869 by his son Shlomo Zalman, Simcha, after living in
Semiatic, went to Amsterdam in 1847 after his wife (d. 1869) went to
Eretz Yisroel, where he was befriended by the munificent Lehren family
and subsequently went missing. Shlomo Zalman with great pathos p
leads for news of his father's whereabouts.

Incidentally, Shlomo Zalman had a sister, a daughter of Simcha, who
was married to a Yosef Halevi. A daughter, Chana Rivka, of Yosef Halevi
and his wife, Simcha's daughter, was married to a well know Dayan in
Jerusalem, R' Yechiel Mechel Zev Horowitz, author of "Gedulay Zion".
There are probably many other descendants around.

Leslie Reich, Manchester

Source: Article in Yeshurun (A Torah Annual) Nissan 5768 by Eliezer
Katzman with additional material bu N.Y. genealogist, DovBerish Weber.

From: Olga Zabludoff
To: AllanDolgow@aol.com ; Eilat Gordin Levitan
Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2008 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Archivist
I am not sure I fully understand what you are asking, but I shall try to answer your questions as I see them.

First of all, I assume you are researching your ancestors in Volozhin in the Oshmiany District.

The records for Volozhin are housed in four archives, according to a search I did on the Routes to Roots Foundation http://www.rtrfoundation.org

The results are displayed below. I apologize for the mishmash in the formatting, but the copying and pasting did not work too well.

In the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, there are some 1929-1939 emigration records of residents who made aliyah to Palestine. I have had experience with these, and they are generally very sparse--perhaps five or six such records. But you can check with JHIW (the addresses and email addresses are below).

The National Archives of the Republic of Belarus seems to have some Holocaust data (1941-1943). I know nothing about these records, but again you can check if you are interested.

The State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow has some Holocaust data (1941-1943). I think they are the same records as above.

The Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius has all the census records and revision lists which LitvakSIG acquires and translates. We have already translated the 1858 Revision List and that is already online in the All Lithuania Database (ALD), www.litvaksig.org as Eilat has illustrated to you. There are earlier revision lists--1834, 1816, etc., but the 1858 was a very major census, so that was selected first. We generally start with a later list and work backwards. However, because the demand was high for the 1859-1908 additional revision lists, we have begun to acquire and translate those. Six Oshmiany District lists have already been done, and nine remain, including Volozhin. We are in need of funds to translate the remaining lists. If you are interested in making a contribution toward Volozhin, it will speed up the process to get that list translated.

I do not honestly believe that getting an archivist or professional researcher to do a search for you will be that helpful since the major data for Volozhin is in the Vilnius Archives, and LitvakSIG can access the lists and translate them for an entire group at a much lower per capita cost.

I hope you will consider joining the Oshmiany District Research Group and helping the project along.

Let me know if you have further questions.



The records for Volozhin
National Archives of the Republic of Belarus
43 Kirova Street
Minsk 220030, Republic of Belarus
Tel: 375/017/222-3229; Fax: 375/017/222-3285

Warsaw Jewish Historical Institute
ul. Tlomackie 3/5
Warszawa 00-090, Poland
Tel: 48/22/827-9221; Fax: 48/22/827-8372
e-mail: secretary@jewishinstitute.org.pl
Moscow State Archives of the Russian Federation
ul. Bol'shaia Pirogovskaia, 17
Moscow 119817 Russia
Tel: 7/095/245-8141; Fax: 7/095/245-1287
e-mail: garf@oline.ru
Also see: http://www.iisg.nl/~abb/abb_b1.html
Vilnius Lithuanian State Historical Archives
Gerosios Vilties 10
Vilnius LT-03134, Lithuania
Tel: 370/2/23-74-32; Fax: 370/2/23-76-12
e-mail: istorijos.archyvas@centras.lt

----- Original Message -----
From: AllanDolgow@aol.com
Dear Eilat,
Thank you for your information. I know it was Russia and not Lithuania, I have a copy of my grandmother's passport when my grandmother brought my father to America. I was concerned as where the records could be found and if a local archivist is available.
I have trace my grandmother's brother, Abraham Gordon, to England where he met and married. Then a gap but found them in Canada where their first son was born and the to Los Angeles. I found their grand-daughter's son in Beverly Hills and we spoke. He had no information to add. My paternal great grand father and mother came to America and are buried here. I am trying to trace those roots where I have found roadblocks.
Maybe Olga can give me some guidance.
Best wishes,

In a message dated 6/14/2008 6:17:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, eilat.gordinlevitan@gmail.com writes:
You should get in touch with Olga Zabludoff <ozabludoff@verizon.net>, they are working on additional Volozhin records.
There was no such country as Lithuania when your ancestors were there. It was all part of "Russia" -in the Vilna region. After 1920 most of the Vilna region became part of Poland. Now Vilna ( Vilnius) is in Lithuania, but most of the region is in Belarus. When you father said that he was "a Litvak" he was talking about "the Jewish sense of being a Litvak". Moshe Porat who grew up in Volozhin ( under Polish rule) wrote:" I had never seen a Lithuanian and never heard the Lithuanian language in my life, but we were called "Litvaks".
Some of the records could be found in Vilna.
Here is what Olga ( of Jewishgen) wrote about the records for Volozhin:
Dear Eilat,

We have not yet translated the additional revision list for Volozhin. When we do so, perhaps the full names of Malka's father and mother will be entered. Please explain to Moshe that everything that is in the original record is translated, but if a second name or a maiden name is not on the record, there is no way we would know this.

Many thanks,

> Eilat,
> Thank you, I have that information but see no connections. What I need is someone to search the archives over there. I recall my father referring to himself as a Litvak so I am not sure if some information is in Lithuania.
> Allan
> In a message dated 6/13/2008 10:24:26 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, eilat.gordinlevitan@gmail.com writes:
> allan,
> the year 1858 revision list for volozhin is online. you find it at http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/volozhin/vol_pages/vol_1858.html
> Volozhin REVISION list of 1858; DOLGOW family
> MELTSER Chaim son of Abram Head of Household age 45 in 1858
> MELTSER Dvora Meyer Wife age 43
> MELTSER Sora Rivka Daughter of Chaim age 9
> DOLGOVYI Leyb son of Sholom Cousin of Chaim Meltser age 25 missing
> DOLGOVYI Rivka Daughter of Wulf wife of Leyb son of Sholom DOLGOVYI age 24
> DOLGOVYI Soska Daughter of Leyb and Rivka age 6
> DOLGOVYI Sheyna Daughter of Leyb and Rivka age 1
> ;
> Surname Given Name Father Relationship Age in 1858
> DOLGOVYI Smuylo son of Pinkhas Head of Household 58
> DOLGOVYI Gruna daughter of Chaim Wife 40
> DOLGOVYI Abram son of Shmuylo age 24
> DOLGOVYI Mirka daughter of Nekhemia Daughter-in-law of of Shmuylo 23 Abram's wife
> DOLGOVYI Nakhama daughter of Abram Grandchild age 4
> DOLGOVYI Leah daughter of Abram Grandchild age 2
> On Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 5:54 AM, <AllanDolgow@aol.com> wrote:
>> Eilat,
>> I have almost completed (as far as I can go) on my maternal side. In August I am traveling to the Ukraine to finalize what can be done with my archivist. Also I will meet with a newly found second cousin, a retired doctor who is 87 years old. My archivist is limited to the Ukraine and is not a real professional, but rather a professor who does this work part time, but is very good in research and knowledge of archival records.
>> My question is on my paternal side of the family. Is there a an archivist you can recommend that can search for the Dolgow's? Is there someone in Volozhin?
>> Best regards,
>> Allan

Shaina Skolnik of Kurenets was the mother of Tzvi Hirsh Berkovich. He was born in Ilya
Information from his grandson Y. Lenefsky
Abraham Berkovich*
By Fruma Tzitreen (Rogovin)- Tel Aviv
Translated: by Matz Dany and Matz Rivka

– A. Berkovich's granddaughter

Abraham Berkovich

Abraham Berkovich was a notable and important person in Volozhyn. For that reason, I can still clearly recall his character traits. He was very handsome, of average build, smart and always in a humorous mood.

He came from Minsk. His parents were orthodox Jews and they wished to send him to study in the Volozhyn yeshivah. However, he preferred secular studies, and with his father's permission, he attended a high school in Minsk. After his father's sudden death, he was forced to leave his high school studies so he could help his mother with the household income. He continued with night lessons. He learned on his own and read many books. He was able to gain a great deal of knowledge.

He settled in our town when he married Keile from Volozhyn Her last name before Marriage was Shulman- Eilat). He opened a pharmacy in the most central location, in the market place, in the house of Mushka Persky (the baker). The pharmacy was decorated in very good taste. Two of its walls were covered with fitted polished shelves and on them were medicines in bright glass jars. The floor was polished with red varnish and covered with carpets, which were made by local farmers.

For a few years the pharmacy was the family's only source of income. When the children grew up and the parents decided to send them to a high school in Vilna, Keile opened a fabric store to supplement their income. The business succeeded and it enabled them to cover the large expenses they had acquired for their children's education in the big city.

Abraham Berkovich had his hands everywhere. There was not a trade that he was not proficient in. He truly had golden hands. He was familiar with various construction skills (although he never officially studied them). After the big fire burned the town in the twenties, he remodeled his shop in the Perelman's building, so he could still make a living. At a later time he bought from Yehuda Abraham Persky, the ritual slaughter, his burnt bricks building. He cleared the damage and the water and rebuilt it. His power of invention was revealed when he invented a round heating oven covered with tin-a real invention in Volozhyn of those days. He knew carpentry, and the furniture in his home, which had an original style, was all hand made.

Prior to every Passover, he would work diligently to beautify and to decorate his house with many colors and ornamentation. The sight was heart warming and cheerful. He also excelled in sign painting posters and announcements. He likewise applied make-up for the theater actors. Those deeds revealed his artistic talent and creative imagination. In addition, he would read the Torah and would blow the Shofar in the synagogue. Although in all these skills he was self-taught, all things he did turned to artwork.

"The Fire Brigade" was his main hobby. He founded it and chaired it until 1935. From that year on, the Polish government took away the management of the association from the Jews and gave it to the district governor. Berkovich remained as a consultant and an honorary member only.

Berkovich was always very active and restless (due to his good physical health). His hands were always occupied with toil. His brain was always engaged with ideas and plans. For instance he realized that the city needed an optician. He gained quick knowledge in this area, he brought an optical instrument and the problem was solved. A story was told about him: once someone came to him to order glasses. Berkovich checked his vision and found it quite normal, but the "patient" insisted he needed glasses. Berkovich gave him clear glasses and asked him to come for a check up after some time. The man came back and was very satisfied that the "glasses" saved his power of vision.

Many who knew Berkovich mentioned in many occasions his stories and fables, we'll present some of them.

1. Once a woman came to his pharmacy she was desperate and requested poison to end her life. Berkovich tried to dissuade her and encourage her to abandoned her plans but she persisted in her request. Finally he gave her a large amount of castor oil. She took the medicine and immediately rushed home, so she can end her life peacefully. When the medicine started working and she felt pain, she became aware that her dying day isn't better that her day of birth, and since there is such pain in dying, she decided to stay alive.
2. Here is a tale of two who disagreed and each of them stuck to his opinion. Once a drunk strolled in the street and made a lot of noise. A policeman approached him and demanded the drunk to stop yelling. The drunk said: "it's my business, policeman".
3. policeman said: "if you don't obey me I'll arrest you". "That's your business," replied the drunk.
4. A tale of a painter who painted the walls first and only than the
5. Ceiling. Berkovich remarked that it is logical to paint the ceiling first as to not soil the walls. The painter answered angrily: "I work in this profession over forty years the same way, I don't need any advice from a nonprofessional"…

Berkowicz Abram

Abram Berkowicz was born in Minsk in 1880 to Yaakov and Sara. He was a merchant and married to Keila nee Shulman. Prior to WWII he lived in Wolozyn, Poland. During the war he was in Wolozyn, Poland. Abram perished in 1942 in Wolozyn, Poland. This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 20-May-1956 by his daughter
Lea Rapoport nee Berkovitz was born in Darsuniskis in 1882 to Avraham and Sara. She was a housewife and married to Eliezer. Prior to WWII she lived in Wolozyn, Poland. During the war she was in Poland. Lea perished in Wolozyn, Poland at the age of 60. This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 24-Dec-1956 by her daughter Sara Sholomovitz.
Lea Rapoport nee Berkovitz was born in Darsuniskis in 1882 to Avraham and Sara. She was a housewife and married to Eliezer. Prior to WWII she lived in Wolozyn, Poland. During the war she was in Poland. Lea perished in Wolozyn, Poland at the age of 60. This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 24-Dec-1956 by her daughter

On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 12:40 PM, rootsfinder <rootsfinder@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello Eilat:
> I saw on your web site a listing and pictures of a Berkovich family from
> Kurenetz.
> Was this your family. Do you have any more information about this family.
> My grand father Tzvi Hirsh Berkovich was born in Ilya. His mother Shaina
> Skolnik was from Kurenetz.
> I don't know where his father, Shlomo was originally from.
> All the best,
> Yaakov Lenefsky

1. KANTOR and Reb Chaim of Volozhin


Subject: KANTOR and Reb Chaim of Volozhin
From: yoni and rivka benari <yrcdi@netvision.net.il>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 22:34:49 +0200
X-Message-Number: 1

There exist a persistent family tradition that we are somehow
descendants of Reb. Chaim of Volozhin or his extended family. My
gggrandfather, Shlomo KANTOR of Pinsk was married to a Sarah Hinde
daughter of Yosef (Chazan of Pinsk). According to our tradition,
either Sarah Hinde or mother was orphaned at a young age and Reb.
Itzaleh, Reb. Chaim's son was her unterfirer (accompanyment) to her
chupa a position usually carried out by the parents of the bride.

I read that Reb. Itzaleh's daughter and Son-in-law R' Shmuel LANDAU
both died at a young age leaving a small orphaned daughter. I've
tried to follow this thread but after some research think that its
not my line as similiar as the story sounds.

If the above details regarding Sarah Hinde and Yosef sound familiar
to anybody I'd be happy to hear. I heard several years ago that a
group of Reb. Chaim's descendants are researching R' Chaim's family.
I am not referring to a two vol. book put out by a Jerusalem Rabbi
(his name slips my mind now) some 8-10 years ago but something more
recent. Has anyone heard of this project?

Thank you
Yoni Ben-Ari

 Does anyone know what happened to a daughter (and possibly other children)
that a Daughter (don't know her name) of Reb' Itzaleh of Volozhin and her
husband Shmuel LANDAU had?

I haven't come across a family tree of Volozhin which names the daughter but
I did read somewhere (possibly in Zinovitz book on Volozhin) that they left
(at least) one small daughter when they both passed away at a young age.

I am trying to research the possibility that I am a descendant of that young
girl, according to family lore.

Thank you
Yoni Ben-Ari, Efrat, Israel
ITSKHAYKIN was the last name of the family
From the revision list of Volozhin;
ITSKHAYKIN Elia son of Itsko Head of Household Died in 1858 at age 57
ITSKHAYKIN Feyga daughter of Aron Widow of Elia age 58 ( born c 1800)
1. ITSKHAYKIN Chaim Son of Elia age 28 (born c 1830)
ITSKHAYKIN Rivka daughter of Chaim Grandchild of Elia age 5 ( born c 1853)
2. ITSKHAYKIN H/Gilel Son of Elia age 25 ( born c 1833)
ITSKHAYKIN Tuyba daughter of Chaim, Daughter-in-law of Elia 23 Gilel's wife (born c 1835)
ITSKHAYKIN Sora daughter of Gilel Grandchild of Elia 3 (born c 1855)
3. ITSKHAYKIN Gerts Son of Elia 23 ( born c 1835)
ITSKHAYKIN Perla daughter of Mordukh Daughter-in-law of Elia 21 Gerts' wife ( born c 1837)
ITSKHAYKIN Reyza daughter of Gerts Grandchild of Elia 2 (born c 1856)
LANDE Chaim Yankel son of Shmuyla Head of Household
24 in April
1858 17 in 1851


308 132 9/164

Revision List
LANDE Girsh son of Shmuyla Brother
19 in April
1858 12 in 1851

LANDE Ester daughter of Matys Wife of Chaim Yankel
25 in April

LANDE Basia Rochel Chaim Yankel Daughter
2 in April

 According to a scribbled note, not very reliable, written by a family member
my gggrandmother, Sarah Hinde (nee SCHATZ daughter of Yosef-name SCHATZ may
only be his profession and not his actual family name) KANTOR, was a
descendant of R' Chaim through a LANDA grandchild. According to the book
"Etz Chaim" by M. Zinovitz (1972) R' Yitzaleh, the son of R' Chaim had a
daughter Raichel, who married R' Shmuel LANDA. This couple died at a young
age leaving a daughter, who married Chaim Hillel FRIED, father of, among
others, the well known BEN-SASSON family and another son.
Our problem with this is that another daughter is not mentioned and we know
of no connection to the FRIED/BEN-SASSON family (who we know well).
Ofcourse its possible that the LANDA couple had other children not mentioned
in the book.

Two other clues are: According to a family rumour, R' Mordechai Gimple
YAFFE, who was a student in Volozhin and possibly distant relative of the
Volozhin family, and Rabbi of Yehud in Israel, told my gguncle that he (my
uncle) was a descendant of R' Chaim. It is noted in another family source
that this ancestress was brought up in the house of R' Mordechai of Ruzanoi
(R'Mordechai YAFFE ?) We also have a family tradition that R' Yitzaleh was
the "shushvin" ( accompying the bride down the aisle) at my gggrandmother's
wedding (due to the premature death of her parents?).

All the above seem to strengthen the theory of our connection with R'chaim
of Volozhin but I would be happy to hear from other sources who could
corraborate this theory. The reason that I mentioned above regarding the
reliability of the original note was that it mentioned also a possible
connection with the Gaon of Vilna and after some research it seems that this
link was put to rest.

Thank you for any suggestions on other books which you know contain details
on the Volozhin family or personal knowledge of the

Does anyone know what happened to a daughter (and possibly other children)
that a Daughter (don't know her name) of Reb' Itzaleh of Volozhin and her
husband Shmuel LANDAU had?

I haven't come across a family tree of Volozhin which names the daughter but
I did read somewhere (possibly in Zinovitz book on Volozhin) that they left
(at least) one small daughter when they both passed away at a young age.

I am trying to research the possibility that I am a descendant of that young
girl, according to family lore.

Thank you
Yoni Ben-Ari, Efrat, Israel
ITSKHAYKIN was the last name of the family
From the revision list of Volozhin;
ITSKHAYKIN Elia son of Itsko Head of Household Died in 1858 at age 57
ITSKHAYKIN Feyga daughter of Aron Widow of Elia age 58 ( born c 1800)
1. ITSKHAYKIN Chaim Son of Elia age 28 (born c 1830)
ITSKHAYKIN Rivka daughter of Chaim Grandchild of Elia age 5 ( born c 1853)
2. ITSKHAYKIN H/Gilel Son of Elia age 25 ( born c 1833)
ITSKHAYKIN Tuyba daughter of Chaim, Daughter-in-law of Elia 23 Gilel's wife (born c 1835)
ITSKHAYKIN Sora daughter of Gilel Grandchild of Elia 3 (born c 1855)
3. ITSKHAYKIN Gerts Son of Elia 23 ( born c 1835)
ITSKHAYKIN Perla daughter of Mordukh Daughter-in-law of Elia 21 Gerts' wife ( born c 1837)
ITSKHAYKIN Reyza daughter of Gerts Grandchild of Elia 2 (born c 1856)
LANDE Chaim Yankel son of Shmuyla Head of Household
24 in April
1858 17 in 1851


308 132 9/164

Revision List
LANDE Girsh son of Shmuyla Brother
19 in April
1858 12 in 1851

LANDE Ester daughter of Matys Wife of Chaim Yankel
25 in April

LANDE Basia Rochel Chaim Yankel Daughter
2 in April

R. Abraham BERGER of Haradok (born about 1843) was a descendant of Reb
Itzaleh, son of R. Chaim Volozhiner, according to an acrostic on his
tombstone. Abraham parents were Yitzkhak Levi SOLOVEICHIK and Esther.
He was not a kohen so his descent from Reb Itzaleh would have been on
his maternal side.

Could Abraham's mother, Esther, have been the daughter of R. Shmuel
LANDAU and Reb Itzaleh's daughter? One of Abraham's sons, my
grandfather, was named Shmuel as am I.

Charles Nydorf
New York


I think we may be
related. My family, (descendants of Lazar Perskie and Mindel Dithy Perskie),
are originally from Volozhin and came to the US in the mid-19th century. Check
my genealogical Website for more information. Also, please email me your email

address. THanks. Jana Perskie


Does anyone know of a Sarah Hinde (maiden name unknown) who may have
been a descendant of R' Chaim of Volozhin or one of his siblings.. She
was about 30 years old during the 3rd quarter of the 19th cent. so she
would have been a granddaughter or greatgranddaughter. According to
family lore, she was orphaned at a young age, before her marriage

Sarah Hinde was the daughter of Yosef SHAT"Z of Pinsk. I am not sure
if SHAT"Z was also his family name as professionally he was a chazan
(cantor) in Pinsk. She was married to R' Shlomo KANTOR, who may have
been a Rosh Yeshiva or a Rabbi in a Yeshiva in Pinsk. His father was a
R' Eliezer of Slonim. She seems to have grown up (being an orphan?) in
the house of a Rabbi Mordechai of Razinoi (I am not sure which of the
two similar town names this is) and a Rabbi Mordechai of Karlin was a
relative of hers.

Presumably these two Mordechais are the same and he, what ever his
family name, may have served in both cities. One possibility is that
this Mordechai was R' Mordechai ZACKHEIM who did serve in both cities
but I haven't been able to confirm that this Mordechai is him and if
we are related to the ZACKHEIM family. I have been in touch with
George ZACKHEIM, of Chicago who edited the "Scattered Seeds" ( I've
seen the book) but have not been able to make any connection to that

Two possibilities which I thought of are: Yosef , the lesser known son
of Reb' Chaim, who married someone from Shershev. I am not aware of
his having lived in Pinsk and/or Karlin. Second, because of the
orphaning, a connection with R' Itzaleh (Reb' Chaim's son)"s daughter
who married R' Shmuel LANDAU both having died at a relatively young
age. Except for one daughter of this LANDAU couple (who married a well
known Rabbi (scion of the Bem-Sason family in Israel) no other
children are mentioned in published sources, but this of course
doesn't prove that they didn't have other children.

Some of the above information is based on a diary of a greatuncle of
mine, Reb Chaim Dov (ben Shlomo) KANTOR of Zichron Yacov (in Israel)
who was the Mashgiach of the Yekev (winery) in Zichron and was a well
known figure during the late 19th beg.20th cent. in Eretz Yisrael
(Palestine). He was also the father-in-law of Nachum WEISFISH (who
was murdered by arabs in the 1920s) also a well known family name of
that period.

To anyone who is well acquainted with the Volozhin family tree, and
not just R' Chaim's direct descendants, if any of the above sounds
familiar I'd be happy to hear from you. I've perused most of the
published family tree of R' Chaim and haven't found mention of any
familiar names from my family.

Shabbat shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach

Yoni Ben-Ari, Efrat, Israel


From: Debbie Shulman <dshulman@aol.com>

I found this family tree on line. My great grandfather Simon Persky was from Volozhin. He came to the US and resided in New Haven, Ct. He is buried there. I have his obituary. He died in the 60s. I remember him( barely). His daughter Gertrude Persky Levin is now also deceased. His grandson and granddaughter are still alive.

I am would think we are related some how. I remember my grand mother telling me this is where he is from.

Debbie Shulman


Dear friends,
The year 2010 has been eventful and memorable year for me and my
family on past Chanukah the fifth candle that came out December fifth
2010 I turned 90. In August of the same year I took a trip accompanied
with my daughter and two grand children ages 23 & 20. We visited the
place of my birth Horodok. The the place of my mothers birth
wolozyn.We lived in Rakov temporarily before the town of Krasne from
were I escaped in 1942. Our base was the Capitol of Belarus Minsk we
also visited Vilna and Berlyn upon my return I described our trip in
the local jewish weekly the same year I was interviewed by The
Carnigie museum quarterly magazine. As part of a article describing
the immigration to western Pennsylvania after the war and what
memorabilia each immigrant brought from there own country. As
mentioned before I turned 90 on Chanukah but because of logistics and
time restraints the party was held on January 22, 2011. Over 200 guest
attended. The same day an interview with me appeared in the local
daily newspaper. My only regret is that my family in Israel could not
participate in this festive event. I hope to be in Israel from April
11 to May 11 with my sister MIna. To spend Passover with my family. I
fowarding you the links some of the links which i would like to share
with you.







I am researching my mother's family whose name was HaKohen or Kaganovich (various spellings). The family originated in Volozhin and was associated with the Volozhin yeshiva -- my male ancestors were torah scribes. I have spent some time on the website you maintain but have not found anything about Chaim HaKohen, my great great great grandfather, or Shimon Dov HaKohen, my great great grandfather. Can you help? I am planning a trip to Belarus in May and want to do as much research beforehand as I can. Many thanks.

By the way the Volozhin site is fantastic -- great job! It really brings the past alive. David Laskin


I am working on my mother's family whose name was HAKOHEN or
KAGANOVICH (various spellings) in Rakov and Volozhin (presentday
Belarus). I have traced my mother's grandfather -- Avram Akiva
(Abraham Cohen in the US) and all of his siblings (Arie, Leah Golda,
Herman, Shalom Tvi) except for ONE. The one I am searching for was
named Yasef Bear Kaganovich (various spellings) in Russia and Joseph
COHN (no "e") when he emigrated to Hoboken in 1901. On the 1910
census he is listed as living at 406 Newark Street in Hoboken with
his wife Ethel and children Herman 20, Sarah 17 and Rachel 14.
Profession is rabbi. I would love to hear from any of Joseph's
descendants -- I can put you in touch with many many family members!

David Laskin, Seattle, WA


I am researching the Nichamchin family of Druya, Disna, Vilna. Chaia
(1870-1937), daughter of Isaiah, married Yechezkel Meir Berman
(1870-1929), son of Baruch. I found his grave in Volozhin in the
jewishgen burial database and on your site under a forum discussing a
group who cleaned the graves. They had 8 children, Joseph, Shana,
Bertha, Hodda, Manya, Vera, Leah and David. I saw the photos of the
Berman family on your site. I can’t tell if this is the same family or
not. I am trying to find the link from Chaia to the rest of my family
which is all listed on the revisionist lists of Druya, but I can’t
find an Isaiah with a daughter Chaya. I have traced my family back to
Itsyk Nikhamchin, with sons Iosel (b 1802) and Zysko (b 1810). Any
info that you have would be helpful.

Thank you,

Lainey Melnick and Associates
Indepependent Vacation Specialist – Commisioner Travis County ESD 10
Toll-Free: (855) GR8-TRIP (855-478-8747)
Mobile T: (512) 799-0626

Many years ago, when I first came to Israel, I lived on the Rav Berlin Street in Jerusalem. I later learned that the name “Berlin” belonged to a great Torah sage, Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, known as the ‘Netziv.’ Years later I knew his great grandson, a Torah scholar with the same name, presently a Rabbi in Rechovot. Except that the last name, Berlin, had been Hebraized to Bar Ilan.  
The ‘Netziv’ was known to be a huge sage, whose published books are standard works amongst Torah students worldwide. He was also a great lover of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. When the Russians forcibly closed his Yeshiva in Volozhin in 1892, he planned to move to the holy land. Unfortunately, illness and his passing prevented this dream from becoming reality. But a number of his principal students did move to Israel and became Rabbinic giants: for example, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s first chief rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, later dean of the ‘Hebron Yeshiva,’ Rabbi Issur Zalman Meltzer and others.  
Rabbi Berlin was also a strong supporter of the ‘Chovevei Tzion – Lover’s of Zion’ movement, which furthered aliya and settlement of the Land of Israel.
Additionally, the Netziv’s son, Rabbi Meir Bar Ilan, a Torah scholar in his own right, was an outstanding leader within the ‘Mizrachi’ movement, who voted against Herzel’s Uganda plan at the seventh Zionist Congress, and worked strenuously for Jewish independence from the British in Israel. He moved to Jerusalem in 1923. He was also instrumental in founding the Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. According the American Mizrachi movement, "The name Bar-Ilan was chosen, in honor of Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin), a spiritual leader who led traditional Judaism from the ashes of Europe to rebirth and renaissance in the Land of Israel."

I am trying to confirm my family ties to Volozhin.  My ggf, Lazer
Shmuliov Sklut-MELZER (b1871) came to America in 1910.  His passport
referred to him as a Volozhin city dweller.  His brother, Aron MELZER
(b1874) came to America in 1904.  Their father's name was Shmuel
Yakov.  But I cannot seem to find any other information regarding
their marriages or births or existence in Volozhin.  I assume there is
a relation to the Sklut family as well, but I don't really understand
the hyphenated name as shown on his passport.  I would appreciate any
education, recommendations or suggestions that can help me identify
the relationship to the Sklut family or their birth or marriage or
parents records.

Thank you.
Eddie Meltzer, Kansas City



-Eliezer Mordechai ben Tzvi Persky and his wife, Minnie Disha, immigrated to the US in 1883, along with their son, Jacob, and three daughters, Yochaved, Fanny, and Sadie after experiencing anti-Semitic persecution in what was then their home, Volozhin, the Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. Here Jews were not permitted to own and farm land. With the assistance of the Alliance Israelite Universalle and the Baron Maurice de Hirsch Foundation they were able to come to this country, along with forty-three other families from similar backgrounds, all sharing the philosophy of the Am Olam Movement. These pioneers founded the first Jewish agricultural colony in the United States in Alliance/Norma/Brotmanville, NJ. Lazar's and Minnie's youngest son, Joseph B. Perskie, was their only child born in the United States, in 1885, on the farm in Alliance.-
Eliezer Mordechai ben Tzvi Persky was born November 1842 in Volozhin/Valozhyn, the Russian Pale of Settlement and died August 26, 1902 in Alliance, NJ. Eliezer's father, was named Tzvi. He was born in 1820 in Volozhin, the Jewish Pale of Settlement. I do not know his date of death nor whether he had a surname other than his Hebrew patronymic name.

Eliezer married Minnie, (Mindel), Disha bat Reb Eliyahu, born December 1844 in the Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. "Disha or Dithy" are probably not Mindel's surname, but a middle name, as it means "Dinah," (as in the biblical "Dinah," who was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelites, and Leah, his first wife). Minnie died in 1920 in Norma, NJ. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1883, (with 4 of their children - the 5th was born in the US), through Castle Garden, NY. They then moved to Alliance, Salem County, NJ, to become part of the original pioneering group in the Jewish agricultural settlement there. They begat five children - four were born either/or in Volozhin, or in Minsk, in what was then the govenment of Minsk, (Volozhin is situated 75 km away from Minsk, Russia). Their last child was born in Alliance, NJ. The 5 children are:

1) Yocheved Persky/Perskie - born December 1863 in Volozhin. She married Aaron Ruvinsky, born December, 1862, in the Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. He changed his name from Ruvinsky to Rovine after arriving in the US. They married circa 1883 in New Jersey. Yochaved died in 1906 in Norma, NJ. The couple had 8 children. (See 2nd generation on this Homepage). Aaron died in 1935 in Philadelphia, PA.

2) Jacob H Perskie - born circa 1865 in either Volozhin or Minsk, Russia. Jacob changed the spelling of his surname from "Persky" to "Perskie" when he arrived in the US, and his siblings followed suit. He also added the middle name "Harrison" for William Henry Harrison, a former president of the US. He married Lena Abramowitz in 1891 in Atlantic City, NJ. Lena was born 22 June, 1875, in Russia, or possibly Romania. She and her family were amongst the original pioneering families at Alliance, NJ. She died 27 January, 1921 in Atlantic City, NJ. The couple had 13 children, (See 2nd generation on the Jacob H. Perskie Branch - yet to be completed). Jacob died on June 26, 1941 in Atlantic City, NJ. He was the official photographer and portrait painter for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1932 and 1936 presidential campaigns. His eldest son, Leon Perskie, was the photographer for the 1940 campaign, as Jacob was too ill at that time to work. Leon Perskie went on to become the official photographer for Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Johnson.

3) Fannie Perskie - born circa 1870 in Volozhin, the Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. Her date of death is unknown at this time, but it probable that she died in the mid to late 1940s. She was alive when her father died in 1941. She married Joseph Jacobs, born in 1864 in Russia. They married in New Jersey and had 8 children. (See 2nd generation on the Fannie Perskie Branch - yet to be completed)). Joseph's date of death and place of death are unknown at this time.

4) Sadie Perskie - born circa 1875 in Volozhin, the Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. She married Jacob Kurtz, in New Jersey. His date of birth and place of birth are presently unknown. The couple had 6 children. (See 2nd generation on the Sadie Perskie Branch - yet to be completed). Sadie died in 1947 in Philadelphia, PA.

5) Joseph B. Perskie - born July 20, 1885 in Alliance, Salem County, NJ. He gave himself the middle name "Bruce" because "he thought it sounded more distinguished than just plain 'Joseph Perskie.'" He married Beatrice "Batya" Masliansky, the daughter of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Masliansky, a "Maggid," (a wandering Jewish preacher whose sermons contained religious and moral instruction and words of comfort and hope), from Slutsk, Russian Jewish Pale of Settlement. Beatrice was born 07 June, 1890, in Russia. The couple married on 27 Nov, 1910, in New York City, NY. They had 3 children. (See 2nd generation on the Joseph B. Perskie Branch - yet to be completed). Joseph died on May 29, 1957. Justice Joseph B. Perskie was a distinguished member of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1933 to 1947. Beatrice died in January 1976 in Atlantic City, NJ.

*** What follows is the Persky/Rovine branch of the family, because Yocheved Persky/Perskie, who married Aaron Ruvinsky ("Rovine"), was Eliezer's and Mindel's first child. I am in the process of creating a Jacob H. Persky/Abramowitz branch of our family tree. He was Eliezer's and Minnie's 2nd child.

For more information go to; http://www.jewishgen.org/family/perskyperskifamily.html


I have a copy of my great grandfather's Russian passport.  I have the
number, 2512.  He received a stamp to leave abroad in June 1910.  I
want to use this information and other information in his passport to
find out more about him and where he might be from and the rest of my
Meltzer relations.  His name is Laser Shmuliov Sklut-MELTZER and the
passport says he is a Volozhin city dweller.  His passport gives the
names of his wife and children and their birth dates.

The citations are from the "records about Jews born in Vilno City" and
there is also language stating that "This certificate is issued for
including into the family directory of Vilno City, March 22nd, 1906
and there is an official Rabbi of Vilno City's signature.  I would
appreciate any help whatsoever pointing me in the right direction to
obtain more information and or someone experienced enough to help me
find more information.

Thank you.

Edward Meltzer

Eilat Gordin Levitan

From: Roman Feldman <feldrom@gmail.com>

Hello Eilat,
I would like to find out if any members of my grandfather's family have survived the holocaust and maybe find some of my relatives (or at least know the names of those who have perished). My grandfather's second name was Rogovin and I only know the names and years of birth of his parents and their father's names and that they were from Volozhyn. I don't really know were to start. I tried to get some information from Yad Vashem and JewishJen sites, but with no success. Maybe you know of any local researcher who could help me search the archives ? Where exactly should I search? Any advice on how i can achieve my goal without significant waste of time (based on your experience) would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Victoria Feldman


From: LAUDET <annie.laudet@g.....com>

I am Annie Laudet from France and my family was from Volozhyn. Perhaps you can give me more information about my family. The only information I have been able to recap are the following:

The mother of my grandfather, Rouchia Rubinstein or Rubenstein was born in 1851 I dont know where.

The father of my grandfather Aba Chaim Aaron Melzer was born in 1851 at Volozhyn. His parents were Meyer and Anna Melzer.

My grandfather Chmouil Fishel Melzer was born the 19/07/1882 at Volozhyn his wife Esther Ekeltchik in 1889 at Minsk.They married in 1906 at Minsk.

My grandfather had 3 brothers and a sister :

Salomon was born in 1877 at Volozhyn
Meyer was born the 5th of january 1887 at Minsk
Abraham was born the 6th of july 1890 at Minsk 
I know nothing about the sister except she moved in USA

If you see other means to obtain information let me know.



In the past we corresponded regarding a photo on your site that features my grandfather Herzl Berger as a 17-year-old (1921) in Minsk. Now I see that you are interested also in the yeshiva of Volozhin, so you might be interested in some of the following.

Herzl Berger's father Yitzhak-Yosef and uncle Yehuda-Leib have studied there. Yehuda-Leib was born in 1867 and studied alongside the future Rabbi Kook. Yitzhak-Yosef arrived a few years later, after his elder brother already left. He was given a "sponsor", an elder pupil by the name of Yaakov-Simcha Ritov. They were relatives, and I am trying to figure out how.

Yaakov-Simcha Ritov later became the rabbi of a town called Osipovich. He had many children by two wives. One of them was called Yisrael Ritov. Yisrael was active in organizing the defense of Jews during the civil war of Russia that followed WWI. He made Aliya and headed the "Center of Cooperations" in Israel from 1934 until 1969(!). He also apparently wrote about the history that he participated in, but did not sign his name to at least some of his writing. My (and others') guess is that he wrote two chapters of a memorial book about the nearby city of Babruisk. These chapters deal with his own father, and with Osipovich during the Russian civil war.

He also wrote the historical part of a memorial book dedicated to my grandfather that was published in 1966. So everything that I know about the Ritovs, essentially comes from him. But only he knew what the family relation between us was, and he has been dead for over 30 years.

Yaakov-Simcha Ritov had several grandchildren by the name Yaakov Ritov. One of them is a renouned Statistics professor in the Hebrew U. Another one fought in Israel's Independence War and was awarded the highest commendation for valor.

The Ritovs are somehow connected to the family of Chaim Weizmann*, but I don't recall how. Aluf Ben**, the editor of "Haaretz", is a g-g-son  of Yaakov-Simcha Ritov's 2nd wife, and Ben is the one that entered profiles of a part of the Ritov family into Geni.com.
 Tselly Regev
*Chaim (Charles) Azriel Weizmann, 1st President of Israel is Yaacov Simcha Ritov's daughter's husband's uncle.


Sonia Bomstein (Sorkin) 
Vitsyebsk, Vitebsk province, Belarus
1981 (83) 
Givat Brenner, Israel
Place of Burial:
Tel Aviv, Israel
Immediate Family:
Daughter of Leib Sorkin and Frumah Leah Ritov 
Wife of Chaim Bomstein 
Mother of Aryeh Sivan; Avner Bomstein; <private> Rudner (Bomstein) and <private> Rudner


Dear Ruth,

You are welcome to use the picture. It is from the Yizkor book for Volozhin. Sadly all the volozhiners  who published the book have passed away. I am sure that they would have been very happy to give you permission.Since I am a relative of some of them and I assisted them with the webpage and the translations I feel that I have the right to let you use the picture.
All the best,

I am working on a book about the Mir Yeshiva that is for Jewish elementary school children in America.

We would like  permission to use a photo of Irving Bunim that appeared on your website. 
http://www.eilatgordinlevitan. com/volozhin/vol_images/20101_ 6_b.gif

Thank you. 
Ruth Zimberg


Dear Inessa,

Thank you so much for writing me. I would love to include your grandfather's Mikhail Sklyut pictures and story in a site which I created for Volozhin; http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/volozhin/volozhin.html 
Here is some information which I have on the Sklut family


From the album of my grandmother the picture was sent to her by her sisters Rivka ( second from the left top) and Rashka nee Shulman (siting on the left) it says that they are with the Sklut brothers from Horodok ( near Volozhim) c 1930
From a book;
-- "This was the secret baggage brought to America from the old country, and whether or not the theory is correct, the metaphorical implications are compelling. After increasingly anti-Semitic restrictions imposed by Alexander III, and an escalation of pogroms, four Sklut brothers left Volozhin in 1892. Two settled in South Africa,they changed their last name "
Stricken: Voices from the Hidden Epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Notes on ancestry; My grandfather was Alexander Sklut who emigrated to South Africa. Emigrated from Volozhin with three brothers. Two of them went to South Africa, two of them to U.S.A. My great grandfather was Chaim of Volozhin.

Aisik (Yitzchok) Sklut 

January 15, 1894
November 12, 1953 (59) 
Los Angeles
Immediate Family:
Son of Saul Sklut and Sarah Sklut 
Husband of Ida Sklut and Ethel (Ettie) Vinick 
Father of Betty Sklut and Leonard Stanley (Aryeh Lable Shleimie) Sklut 
Brother of Bertha Rogoff 
Chair (Ida) Rochel Sklut-Meltzer (Golovenchitz) ?

November 30, 1953 (77) 
Queens, NY, USA
Place of Burial:
Queens, NY, USA
Immediate Family:
Daughter of Nota Isaac Golovenchitz 
Wife of Lazer Shmuliov Sklut-Meltzer 
Mother of Alexander Meltzer and <private> Mandel (Meltzer) 
Sister of Giene Gringauz 

My grandmother Ida POTASHNICK and her family emigrated from Velozhin
to the US in the late 19th century.  I am planning a trip to Velozhin
in September 2019 and am interested in any information related to the
POTASHNICK family that might be of interest to me on my trip.  In
addition, short of that, is there any advise on does and don't on my
trip. I will be using a JHRG tour guide.

Thank you, 

Steve Diamond
New York