Herschel, born June 9, 1881, was the first member of the Ajzenberg family to leave Telechan and the first to immigrate to the United States. His sponsor was M. Scheresiwky (Moses Shereshevsky) of Hartford[1], Connecticut, his fiancées uncle.

Herschel made the trans Atlantic trip alone, in steerage, on the SS Vaderland of the Red Star Line.  He sailed from Antwerp, Belgium on July 14, 1906, and arrived at New York on or about the 25th of July, ending an 11-day Atlantic crossing.  Herschel was one of 154,500 Jews who immigrated to the United States that year.

The ship's manifest lists him as age 24, occupation tailor, and as having paid his own passage.  Additionally a hand written memo states “Favus Recovered.”  Favus is a skin disease, usually of the scalp, due to fungus.  It was very common among immigrants.  Favus is precisely the kind of disease that could keep someone out of the country.  However, Herschel was young, obviously able to work, and that made the difference.  His mother was not as fortunate, as we shall soon see.

Although Herschel’s final destination is listed as Hartford, he lived in Waterbury[2], Connecticut the first few years in the United States.  He worked there as a peddler.

Two years later, in 1908, when he applied for citizenship he was still a Waterbury resident who now listed his occupation as ‘shop hand.’ His application describes him as having a dark complexion, 5’8¼” tall, 155 pounds with black thin hair and brown eyes.

By October 1911, the time of his petition for naturalization, Herschel, now Harry, he lived in Hartford[3].  His occupation is recorded as ‘confectioner.’

Over the years Herschel had many different business ventures, many of which were not successful.  His daughter Libby described him as having bad luck, not a good businessman and someone who  others took advantage of.

Herschel’s wife, Fannie (nee Nirenstein) committed suicide in 1931 at age 44.  At the time Libby was 22 years old and her brother Sam was 18.  They did not know the cause of death until the funeral.

Herschel later remarried.  Libby described his second wife, Rachel, as someone who expected a gentlemanly person and that her father was not ‘of that orientation’.  As a life long Zionist Herschel wanted to settle in Israel, Rachel did not want to go, so they separated.  She moved in with her sister and Herschel entered an old persons home in Israel.  Herschel lived in Israel for two years and returned to the United States because he missed his family.  He moved to California to be near his son, Sam.


                                 EISENBERG, Harry

Merchant and Hebrew scholar. Born in Telechan, Russia, in 1881, son of Berel and Elka Eisenberg, he came to Hartford in 1905 where he resided until 1951. He conducted wholesale men’s neckwear businesses under the names of Eisenberg Neckwear Co. and Beacon Neckwear Co.

He was an early Zionist and was the first American to purchase a municipal bond for Tel Aviv in 1923. He lived in Tel Aviv in 1963 and 1964.

Harry Eisenberg was a scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature. He was a contributor of word origins for The Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language. His poems have been published in the Jewish Day and in Israeli newspapers and magazines. He donated memorabilia to Jewish libraries in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Tel Aviv.

Died Sept. 22, 1968. Survivors: son Samuel (Los Angeles); daughter, Mrs. Libby Medrich (Larchmont, N.Y.); brother, S.C. (Hadera, Israel); sister, Mrs. Abraham Shub (Springfield).

[1] At 170 Copen Street

[2] At 177 Maple Street

[3] At 155 Sheldon Street

[4] Excerpt from Hartford Jews 1659-1970, Who Was Who, page 150-151