An American Family
by Natalie Rothstein
, 192 pages, soft cover with black & white photographs.
This is the inspiring story of a Jewish family whose roots are traced from Eastern Europe to Boston. Massachusetts author Natalie Rothstein brings history to life as she describes the struggles her ancestors faced in Russia, then crossing over to the New World and settling in Boston. The historical events of the 20th century come alive, put in the perspective of the Franklin (Frumkin) and Manson (Movshovitz) families as they emotionally leave their homeland and become established in Boston. Along the way, they must cope with inhumane working conditions, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, prejudice, and ultimately prosperity.
Wolf Frumkin left the terrorizing Cossacks behind in 1889 to come to America, probably through New York's Castle Garden. Harris and Annie Movshovitz likely arrived through Ellis Island. Wolf and his wife Jenny ended up in Boston's West End, an immigrant neighborhood of working-class Jews. Their name had become Franklin. Years later, their newlywed granddaughter Natalie Rothstein would again live in the West End, but under very different circumstances. In between, the author herself came of age in Brookline, where she attended Brookline High with classmate and fellow Student Council member Michael Dukakis.
In a review, Judith Klein of The Jewish Journal
characterizes An American Family
as being "like a Shalom Aleichem tale and history book rolled into one… The truth of the lives of eastern Europe and Russian Jews in the 19th century finds voice in Rothstein's work…" Michael Dukakis describes the book as "beautifully written and impressively researched. It tells the story of America and its immigrants as well as anything I have ever read."