living jewish history

on the Upper West Side

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Documenting History

building the future...

  • June 12, 2017

Tell your story

We Want To Hear Your Story.

As congregants, The Jewish Center is our second home. It’s the safe haven where we make sense of a complex, ever changing world. This is where we pray and worship, laugh and cry, celebrate and mourn.

Would you be willing to share a particular memory from The Jewish Center’s first 100 years on this page?
Tell us your story

This past year my usual “shul partner” Hanno Mott went to Israel for Shavuot. His seat next to mine was vacant. Aaron Weitz, who reads the Torah for the holidays (wonderfully I might add) sat down next to me to say hello. He showed me a business card he had, handed to him by a gentlemen who had an aliyah. The card read, Ricardo Pacifici, Vice President of the Jewish Community of Rome. I recognized the family name, Pacifici. During...
This past year my usual “shul partner” Hanno Mott went to Israel for Shavuot. His seat next to mine was vacant. Aaron Weitz, who reads the Torah for the holidays (wonderfully I might add) sat down next to me to say hello. He showed me a business card he had, handed to him by a gentlemen who had an aliyah. The card read, Ricardo Pacifici, Vice President of the Jewish Community of Rome. I recognized the family name, Pacifici.During the war years my wife Fran was sheltered in a monastery outside of Florence with her five brothers. Her oldest brother, Alter’s, best friend at the monastery was Emanuel Pacifici, the son of the Rabbi from Genoa. And yes, Ricardo is his son!The friends were reconnected some ten years ago. Alter was in his shul in Brooklyn for Rosh Hashana. He arrived early and was very pensive. His “shul partner” asked why he was so deep in thought. Alter relayed the story of how the family, on the run from the Nazis, left Belgium, went to Florence and eventually wound up in Florence At the synagogue, their father found Rabbi Cassuto, the Chief Rabbi of Florence, who managed to get his five sons into the monastery with their baby sister Francine (and yes, that’s why her nickname is Frankie), and his other three girls into a convent in Florence. Alter’s “shul partner” said his cousin was married to a Cassuto who was vice mayor in Jerusalem. After the holidays, calls were made and the Jerusalemite called Alter. He had never known his father, the Rabbi, and was so touched to hear how he was involved in saving this family of eleven. Through this connection, Alter connected with his childhood buddy and they had a reunion in Italy at the monastery and at Ricardo Pacifici’s home.
- Jesse Salsberg
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