Chapter seven: On the boat, Freedom Flight. The Jew

English: The Statue of Liberty, seen from Elli...

English: The Statue of Liberty, seen from Ellis Island. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The captain of the boat Joseph Trumpeldor had everyone aboard. It was time to leave but one passenger was not present. His cousin the Baron was no where in sight. Seymour had apprized him of the delicate position they were in and he was anxious to leave port. He wanted to stay out of the fray for he feared the Holy Synod and their henchmen. Finally after waiting an extra four hours he gave the okay to go to sea. Even Seymour agreed something was amiss and the longer they delayed the more dangerous the situation.

Frieda was amazed but some of her people from the village, Vyborg. None of the whores were on the ship but there were some of her neighbors forced out in a pogram six days prior. There was a prior client with his wife and two children on board. Boris Donovitch and his wife Dela were in steerage. Dela was terribly quiet. During the pogram her son Adam had been trampled to death by the cossacks on horseback. She went into a comatose state when she saw his crushed body before they buried him. She did not speak any words just cried continually even when her eyes could not produce any more tears. Two days out of port, she turned to her husband and said she was going to speak to Frieda. Boris was amazed, he took this as a good sign, a sign of recovery and looked forward to her returning back. Fifteen minutes later his happiness changed to grief as Dela threw herself off the boat into the Atlantic Ocean. She was under the surface in seconds. By the time they stopped the boat and let down a life boat all knew she was gone. Boris huddled with his two children and they cried for now they had suffered two loses and felt lost.

The Baron was indeed in a bad situation. Upon leaving St. Petersburg and heading for the boat his carriage passed a road where he saw in the distance a small troop of calvary in pursuit of him. He made the driver turn a bend and when out of sight departed the carriage and went on foot to avoid capture. He was a man possessed with the knowledge that his death would be wanted by the Synod and he decided to do everything in his power to avoid this.

He would not see his son, in name only, get his Bat Mitzvah on the ship. Barouch was attended to by a Rabii he did not know, the words were said, kisses and hugs, just before the boat docked near Ellis Island.

Ellis Island was not the first sight of the new world. Just as the celebration was over all the passengers on the ship moved over to the starboard side to view the Statue of Liberty. It was an impressive sight even to those who had lived in castle in Russia. A castle serves a function. A place to live. But this was for a greeting card welcoming people who were coming to a new place. There was excitement on the boat as she traveled past the Statue and headed to Ellis Island. Will America welcome these Jews or find cause to send them back?

Barouch looked at the statue with awe. He had never even heard of such a beautiful piece of work. Sure they had monuments in Russia but this was a welcome piece and that made it unique. He did not know the background of the monument, that it had been designed by a Frenchman named Bartholdi and was a gift from France. No monument in Russia was a gift from a foreign country. He saw it was a female form but did not know it was the female goddess named Libertas, a goddess of freedom, he could see a torch and what looked like a tablet, but he did not know that it had inscribed on it the date July 4, 1776. He certainly did not know enough American history to equate this date to the birth of the nation he now was entering.

The Freedom Flight moored near Ellis Island. A tug boat came to the port side and members of entry personnel came aboard. The passengers were  arranged into two categories. The first and second class passengers would be processed right on The Freedom Flight. Only the steerage passengers would have to go to Ellis Island by ferry.

Seymour Yakovlevich was of the first class. In his party was his wife, Lior, and his three daughters. Aviv, Dalia and Eliana all born with two years between them. The oldest now sixteen, the youngest ten. There was a boy but he had died in childbirth. He had died even before they had time to name him. But in the Jewish tradition he was named for Seymour’s dead grandfather, Abraham. Jews do not name their children after a living person. Therefore juniors and seniors are not in their vocabulary. They had brought two servants with them who were also allowed to join them on the privileged list.

Also in this group of privileged people was Frieda and her ward, Barouch. Barouch was concerned about his father, but the Baron was a resourceful man as his brother kept reminding him and would show up later.

Forty or so privileged travelers got off the boat and started to make their way into their new home land. The rest went to the giant hall on Ellis Island to be processed. Even in America money talked.  The elite system was in force.


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