Welcome to the Autumn 2022 issue!
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
It’s only the end of September, but I can feel the end of the year bearing down on us at warp speed! In this issue, I introduce you to New York City’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum. If you love history, you’ll want to check this museum out.
Also, if you’re thinking of gifting a legacy video to yourself or a family member, don’t wait! We’re currently booking for the beginning of 2023.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Immigrant stories live on at New York City’s Tenement Museum.
In 1901, the population of a small city in the Russian Empire named Telsh decreased by four. Those four were the members of the Rogarshevsky family: Fannie, Abraham, and their four children, Ida (8 yrs.), Bessie (7 yrs.), Morris (6 yrs.), and Sam (3 yrs.). Seeking a new life in a place offering better opportunities, the family bundled up their few belongings and boarded a ship for the United States.
The Rogarshevskys landed in New York City, sought out neighborhoods where other Russian Jews lived, and found work in the garment industry.
By 1910, Abraham and Fannie had added two more children to their brood: Henry (7 yrs.) and Philip (3 yrs.). All eight members of the family shared a three-room tenement apartment at 97 Orchard Street, on Manhattan’s lower east side. The apartment featured a tiny bedroom, a kitchen dominated by a wood-burning stove, a small parlor with a window looking out onto Orchard Street, and no running water. Fannie and Abraham had dibs on the bedroom, daughters Ida and Bessie slept together on a bed tucked into the kitchen. Sons Morris, Sam, Henry, and Philip toughed it out in the parlor, sleeping with their heads on the sofa, while using chairs to support the rest of their bodies.
Not exactly the Ritz, but it was home.
So, why am I introducing you to the Rogarshevsky family?
In June of 2022, my wife Halina and I visited the family’s apartment, now part of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Furnished as it would have appeared in 1911, the apartment is a testament to the determination and resilience of the Rogarshevskys and other immigrants of their time. While our well-informed tour guide shared the details of family and neighborhood life in the early 1900s, my gaze wandered from the bedroom, through the tidy kitchen, and into the parlor. Imagine a summer’s day in New York City, with no air-conditioning, a wood-fired stove going full blast, and the aromas of cooking mingled with the body odor of eight people! Simply amazing. The experience left me with profound gratitude for the blessings in my life, and an increased appreciation for what immigrants like the Rogarshevskys, and my own ancestors, went through in order to pursue better lives for themselves and their descendants.
The Tenement Museum was founded in 1988. It encompasses two buildings. 97 Orchard Street houses most of the apartments, which have been restored to reflect various families and eras, spanning the 1860s to the 1960s. Down the street, 103 Orchard Street is a compilation of three former tenement buildings. It houses the book store, which is the starting point for tours. The museum offers guided tours of individual apartments and the lower east side neighborhood. If a trip to the Big Apple isn’t in your plans, you can find a wealth of information, including digital exhibits, on the museum’s website. By the way: 97 Orchard Street is currently undergoing repairs and is closed. But – most of the apartments have been re-staged elsewhere.
If you’re ever in New York City, be sure to include a visit to the Tenement Museum on your itinerary. You’ll be glad you did. Afterwards, pop over to Little Italy for some pasta!
– Steve Pender
On the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast: Talkin’ Legacy Videos
If you ever wanted to hear a legacy video pro dish about all aspects of personal history videos, from the benefits to the production process and everything in-between, you’re in luck! You’ll find just what you’re looking for in Episodes 22-25 of the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast’s Talkin’ Legacy Videos series. Each episode features a spirited discussion, during which Family Legacy Video’s president, Steve Pender, responds to legacy video-related questions from Tucson-based writer Elena Acoba. They’ll help you to better understand what legacy videos are all about – and help you get to know the guy who is the driving force behind Family Legacy Video®. You’ll want to listen to these podcasts!