In 1800s Galicia, our ancestors often had a proper rabbinic marriage without bothering to report it to the civil authorities. The children of such marriages were registered as illegitimate and were given the mother's surname, though usually the father would confirm his paternity in the "comments" column. But that was another place, another time, another mentality. Nothing like that happens anymore.Marriage
My daughter Merav met her intended, Aharon Zvi Brand, here in Israel, and it was here that they planned to make their home. Her mother was (still is) in Chicago, so that's where they made the wedding, the evening leading into Merav's twenty-first birthday. As required by law, they took out a local marriage license.
In order to benefit from the status of immigrant, they went to the Jewish Agency emissary in Chicago - a friend of mine since we were both teenagers - to do the paperwork. That included giving him whatever form the rabbi filled out at the wedding ceremony, to ensure that the Israeli authorities recorded the marriage. They didn't bother getting it back in order to report the actual marriage to Cook County within the required sixty days, but that really didn't matter because they planned to live in Israel.
Eleven and a half months later, their daughter Rachel Miriam Brand (called Miriam) was born in Jerusalem.
A few months later, the three of them set off on a two-year adventure in Amsterdam, where Aharon Zvi had been invited to participate in a small kollel, maintained by the local Jewish community, so that this former center of Torah study would continue to have a yeshiva-type presence.
The main feature of the second half of their first year in Amsterdam was the difficult pregnancy. The problem began Pesach when they were in Antwerp, staying with a cousin of Aharon Zvi's. Merav was taken care of then, but it was a few weeks before she was able to return to Amsterdam.
Then she was back in the hospital again and this time they said it would be for the duration - which turned out to be forty-five days. At least it was in Amsterdam. But I was not in a position to go see her - not that there would have been much point in that. Nor was her mother, in Chicago.
Ury Link, whom I knew from the JewishGen Discussion Group, went to visit her in the hospital. (Ury and I never actually met until several years later, but such was the camaraderie of JewishGen, especially back when the group was smaller.)
The baby was born Friday, the eighteenth of Tammuz.
He was very small and jaundiced, so the mohel put off the brit. It must have been a strange feeling, with alomost no family there - even Aharon Zvi's Antwerp family were away. The only family member in attendance was my second cousin Judy Jaffe, whom I hadn't seen in forty years and who was living in Holland at the time. (It was only last summer when we finally visited in suburban DC.) Ury Link was also there.
The baby was named Moshe, after Aharon Zvi's mother's paternal grandfather. They called him Moishie.
Then they went to register the birth with the city. The clerk wanted to see a marriage certificate. Oops. So the birth of Moshe Pickholtz to his unwed mother was duly registered.
A visit to a Justice of the Peace in Chicago a year or so later allowed them to get new documents, but the original birth certificate is still there - waiting perhaps to be discovered by a genealogist working for a matchmaker or a prospective father-in-law. Oy.
Now he is a man, sort of
They returned here after their two years and settled in a neighborhood of Upper Modiin called Ahuzzat Brachfeld. When Moishie was two, Merav survived a bout of cancer and they have since had three more boys.
|Moishie and Menahem|
with Cousin Ari
|Miriam and Shloimie|
|Merav on the women's side|
with Ari's fiance Bobbi
|Moishie with the microphone and|