Our Cherkes Ancestors, by Yale Wolf Richmond

From Berezna and Krupa to Boston: The Beggelman and Karas Families and Their Roots

Washington, DC (October 2012)

Yale Wolf Richmond, who was a Cultural Attache at the US embassy in Moscow in late 1960s, author of many books. Chapter 19 and other chapters in the whole book are very moving stories about families from Kelmentsy, Brichany, Lipkany, Khotin uezd and other places. 

In that ethnically and linguistically diverse Bessarabia my father, Chaim (which means “life”) Dovid Cherkes, a son of Yoel Volf Cherkes and Sura (Sarah) Kaufman, was born in the village of Boben, a mile or so from Kelmentsy (Kelmenitz in Yiddish), on January 15, 1893 (February 19, Hebrew calendar), in Khotinsky Uyezd (Chotin District, in English, but pronounced with a throaty “kh”). Yoel Volf (Joel Wolf in English) was a steward (estate manager) and land surveyor who worked in Kelmentsy for a Jew named Israel Burshteyn (Burstein) [or Brunshteyn?]. Yoel Volf had been previously married, and from his first marriage to (fnu) Freifeld, he had five children – Leib (Leo), Lina (Lena), Polina (Polly), Ruby, and another son (name not known) who drowned as a young man in the Dniestr River. Chaim Dovid, the sole child of Yoel Volf's second marriage, grew up in a household with five siblings and was the youngest in the family.

Chaim Dovid's mother, Sura (Sarah), was a daughter of Aba and Miriam Kaufman, and granddaughter of Hersh Kaufman. The Kaufman family, also known as B'nai Hershkes (Sons of Hersh) before Jews took family names, were prosperous grain traders, general store owners, and lessees of farmland. Most of the Jews in Kelmentsy were Cherkeses, Hershkes, or Kaufmans.

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Source: www.jewishgen.org