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Jennifer Dispatch

Meet Jennifer

Jennifer Archive



Riding on a Slow Boat to Israel


Me at school in Israel
When U.S. Trek asked me to write about my heritage, I decided to learn more about how my grandparents met each other. Because they both have passed away, I called my dad to get the whole scoop. What is the real story about Sabta and Saba (the Yiddish way to say Grandma and Grandpa)? Here's what I found out.

My grandmother, Hannah, lived in Poland, and she fell in love with her second cousin. That might sound weird, but back then it wasn't so strange to marry someone in your own family. She decided to travel to Israel, where he lived in a town called Hyfa. She was about as old as me when she set out alone for Israel. Now I know where I get my adventurous side!

My grandfather, Abe, was also traveling on this ship. When Hannah and Abe met, it was love at first sight. He courted her until she agreed to marry him. She never did see her cousin. Instead, she married my grandfather in Palestine before that land became Israel.

So cute at seven
That's where my dad was born. His birth certificate has both Hebrew and Arabic writing on it. Israel and Palestine have fought many battles over this land, and they're still fighting over it today.

In 1955, my grandfather decided to come to America. His two brothers David and Joe lived in Los Angeles, California. He left his family and came to see if California was where he wanted his family to live. My dad was only seven years old, and his father left them for a whole year. When Abe decided that L.A. was the place to be, he sent for my grandmother, my dad, and my aunt. He sold his barbershop in Tel Aviv, and the family set out for America.

Here's the family!
My dad says he remembers the boat ride. The water was rough, and he was very seasick. When he and his family arrived in America, they didn't have much money. My dad changed his name from Ami (rhymes with Tommy), his Hebrew name, to Ted. I asked him why he picked that name, and he said he doesn't remember! I guess he must have thought it sounded very American.

America is my home, but I would like very much to visit the places of my heritage: Poland, Israel, and parts of Eastern Europe where my mom's family lived. I wonder whom I might meet on a boat! It is strange to think that if my grandmother hadn't gotten on that ship, or if my grandfather hadn't courted her, my family wouldn't be what it is today.


Please email me at: Jennifer1@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Daphne - We've got borax. We've got rat poop. We've got America's meat factories
Stephanie - Triangle Shirt Factory #9 going up in flames!
Stephen - All that and more. Say hello to Trekker Stephen!
Rebecca - One heroic woman that no one will honor