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Abram Schlaume Feinstein

Abram was Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, born in 1808 in Palanga, on the Baltic Sea, in north-west Lithuania. At the time, Palanga was in Courland, and part of the Russian Empire. A description by Yudel Mark can be found in a yizkor [memorial] book about Lithuania:

“The name comes from the Lithuanian po langa, meaning “up to the windows,” that is, the sea reached as far as the windows.” People came to Palanga in the summer to bathe, and it was not a particularly pious place because the men were working with amber, rather than studying religious texts.


“Amber established the entire way of life in the shtetl. … People lived according to the clock. All of Palanga awakened at the same hour and ate the main meal at the same time. The midday meal was exactly at 12 noon. There was an “afternoon snack” exactly at 4. The time of work, eating and rest was not haphazard, as was characteristic of a shtetl where trade was the main source of income. And as long as the amber workers lived well, the storekeepers who had a “stall” (a shop), the butcher, the baker, the wagon driver and so forth, earned, too. The one-story wooden houses in which we lived were very spacious with good floors of painted boards. The houses often had a small garden near them. Jews also had large gardens with vegetables and there were several who had potato fields. A few rich Jews had large orchards with assorted fruits. I remember the surprise of the Jews who came from Drobian (Darbenai): “The Palanga Jews eat meat every day!” In truth, however, we also ate much fish, particularly during the summer months. Mencas [fish found in Latvia], flekshnes (flounders) and small herring dried on long strings on every Palanga farm.”

I recommend the full account, which can be read here.

I have no information about Abram apart from this: From the military records of 1845, we know that he was born in 1808, and that he was the father of Isaac Abram and the son of Schlaume Levin Feinstein. We also know that he had an older brother called Hirsch and a younger brother, Schmuel. I’m not sure if this Hirsch is the same one who was arrested on the evening of 30 August 1832, with twelve other men from Palanga. The thirteen Jews had hatched a plot against a meat tax and were sentenced to fourteen days in prison. They also had to pay 40 Roubles in silver coins to cover the arrears. The meat or slaughter tax was paid for each animal that was slaughtered. See the full story, with the original documents, on this page.

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