Perhaps it was a sunny morning, when my great-grandfather David left his shtetl for the last time. Perhaps the wind swept in from the nearby lake. Perhaps that morning his mind drifted over the things he was leaving behind in Central Ukraine, the intimate world of the shtetl, his family, true love and the graves of his ancestors. Perhaps he was able to shake off these dreary thoughts by focusing on his promise to bring his family over with him when he had saved enough to do so. Perhaps instead he worried where the boat would carry him and how he would survive the first few days in the “new world”. Perhaps thoughts such as these accompanied my great-grandfather David Chertow as he left the shtetl of Sokolivka for good in 1902, choosing emigration over a future without prospects in Tsarist Russia.
Christopher Lash recalls a personal trip to Ukraine.
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