The Museum of Family History





 Second Floor

 The Jake and Zlate Cohen Room


30 October 1948

Empire Mansion

Brooklyn, New York

Jake Cohen, ne Chuna (Yakov Elchanan) Skora/Skura, was a cousin of my grandfather, though the exact connection is unknown. It is said that he came from a village called Dlugosiodlo, located thirty-five miles from the city of Lomza. There he met Zlate Dinah Polakiewicz and they married. While Zlate was with child, Jake traveled to the United States, and like so many other folks, paved the way for the eventual immigration of his wife and child.


Before Zlate and daughter Bejla (Rose) were able to emigrate and join Jake in the U.S., war broke out in Europe, making their emigration impossible. Eventually, a landsman who himself had immigrated to the States, told Jake some bad news. It seemed that Jake's wife and child had perished in Europe. However, to Jake's surprise, his wife and daughter showed up in New York in 1920!


The three of them lived in Cleveland, Ohio for a time before returning to New York. There they resided in Brooklyn and had three more children: Sylvia, Harry and Pearl. Jake and his family lived on Riverdale Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn, a few blocks from the apartment in which my grandparents and their family lived.


Rose's daughter Rhoda remembers the times my grandparents Flora and Harry would come to her grandparents' place for a visit:

"Flora and Harry Ness were cousins of my grandparents Zlate and Chuna Cohen….I lived with my parents in Brownsville in a two-story house.  My grandparents lived downstairs and we lived on the top floor.  Every Saturday night after Shabbos, Flora and Harry would come to my grandparents' home.  My father Louis Morgenstern, my grandfather Chuna and Harry would sit down to a game of either poker or gin rummy.

The women, consisting of my mother Rose Morgenstern, my grandmother Zlate and Flora, would sit down to a game of rummy.  Although I was only a young child of about eight or nine, they would allow me to sit and watch them play.  I would also be allowed to listen to all the grown-up conversations that were so interesting.  The three women were always loving towards me and treated me as an adult.  They never scolded me for asking questions and were quite humored by them.

After rummy, my grandmother would serve coffee and cake.  I always enjoyed having that bit of coffee with the women.  But most of all I enjoyed taking Hershey kisses and putting it on my spoon as I dunked it into the coffee and watched it melt.  What a marvelous flavor. Flora would make sure when she came over that she always brought me the Hershey kisses….I remember both Flora and Harry being a sweet gentle couple."


I remember Jake from my bar mitzvah where he honored me by saying
the blessing over the Challah. In the last two years, through the use of the
Internet and a bit of ingenuity, I found Jake and Zlate's middle daughter, my
wonderful cousin Sylvia Cohen, and she, my mother and I, have found 
numerous opportunities to meet and reminisce about the past.





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