Isaacs Intercontinental Reunion 2010:
The Isaacs Intercontinental Reunion 2010 was a return
to our roots: the family of Myer Samuel Isaacs and Rebecca Samuels lived in
The family had lived at Kleine Kerkstraat 32, a house still standing. For many, the highlight of the weekend was to be welcomed into that home by the present owners – Maaike Van Gils and Peter De Boer firstname.lastname@example.org – who were delighted to host us and plied us with coffee, juice and snacks. The rather large home that housed 10 children plus their parents was constructed in 1595 is in terrific shape notwithstanding 200 years and many wars after the family left.
There were 19 Isaacs family
members in attendance from the
We learned from John David Isaacs (United States) how one of four Isaacs sons of Myer Samuel Isaacs and Rebecca Samuels became a rabbi who emigrated to New York City, a second rabbi traveled to Sydney, Australia, a third became a prominent rabbi in England and a fourth black sheep in the family became a lawyer.
We learned from Jen Southwood (South Africa) (with assistance from Clare Lee, who could not make the reunion) how a grandson of Lewis Isaacs and son of Annie Isaacs named Edmund Levi left England in the 1880’s at age of 27 to head for one of South Africa’s diamond centers, although the company went bankrupt by the time he arrived,
We learned from Mary Watson (
That still leaves many Isaacs family mysteries,
incuding what happened to the other six children who emigrated from
The Vice Mayor of Leeuwarden welcomed us to his city and described the host city.
We were told about the history of
Evelyn van Pinxteren-Nagler, a
Peter de Haan, a resident of
Evelyn Ritz Weyl, a relative of Colin Harbury, told a moving story of her suvival in a concentration camp in Holland run by the Germans called Kamp Westerbork where she lived with her parents from age 6 ½ to 10. There were 105,000 Jews placed in the camp during the war beginning in 1942, and only about 3,000 survived, including Eva and her parents. The camp was liberated by Canadian forces in 1945.
Other activities at the reunion included a boat ride
on the canals of
Proposals were discussed to install a Myer Samuel
Isaacs plaque on the house left behind in 1814, an idea welcomed by the current
inhabitants, at the cost of about 160 euros. There was also discussion of a
poetry stone installed on a sidewalk of
It was a wonderful weekend where we learned much about each other and about our roots.
P.S. Many of us arrived in Leeuwarden just in time for a World Cup football match between Netherlands and Brazil, won by Netherlands 2 – 1 in an upset and occasioning great joy in the local bars and on the streets..
Leni Isaacs Boorstin of US
Elizabeth (Liz) Cotton ( Foord) & Nick Cotton of
Anthony & Judy Gilbert of
Carol Isaacs & Jerrold Berman of US
Edward Isaacs of
John David Isaacs & Amy Isaacs of US
Naomi Isaacs of
Stanley Isaacs & Karen Kalinsky of US
Timothy & Elaine Lever of
Jen Southwood (Helen Jennifer) of
Jill & Richard Young of
Jonathan Young of
Via skype for a portion
Kathryn Berman of
Mary Watson of
Peter de Haan of Leeuwarden
Evelyn van Pinxteren-Nagler of Leeuwarden
Eva Ritz Weyl of
Two articles in
the Leeuwarder Courant of
Back to the place where it all started
Isaacs born in 1804 in
explored the centre of his birth place.
By Ger Bosklopper
Photo caption: The reunion participants enjoy refreshments in the building where Samuel Isaacs lived during seven years. To the left, the family historian John Isaacs. (Photo: LC/Siep van Lingen)
In the United States Isaacs grew into a prominent Jewish leader who inaugurated dozens of synagogues, rubbed elbows with presidents, founded hospitals and schools.
Samuel Isaacs’ [[Myer Samuel Isaacs and Rebecca Samuels]]
ago was the first reunion in the English Cambridge. The family is
internationally oriented. Descendants travelled
to the Frisian capital from
Peter De Boer, who in 2010 is the resident of the home where the small Samuel Isaacs lived two centuries ago, welcomes the visitors in Hebrew. It is just a single sentence but the visitors appreciate it audibly. “Just looked it up yesterday on the internet”, the host tones it down.
The visitors ‘inspects’ the dwelling carefully. “The house is large and light”, opines Leni Isaac[s]. “Completely different than I would have expected. You think: such an old house will be small and dark”. The visit to the home is the conclusion of the stroll whereby De Haan acts as host.
At the start of the morning, at the Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL) / Historic Center Leeuwarden (HCL), Klaas Zandberg and De Haan have informed the visitors about the history of the Frisian capital and the history of the Jewish residents in particular. After this the stroll takes them through the streets where Samuel Isaacs spent his youth.
The many photo cameras click regularly. The street name sign Bollemanssteeg (Round man’s alley) where their forefather’s crib stood is a highlight.
At the monument of the Jacobijnerkerkhof (Cemetery of the Jacobins), which memorializes Jewish victims from World War II, the visitors stand still for a long while.
to the former synagogue in the Slotmakersstraat (Locksmith’s
street), where presently the Saco Velt dance school
is established, provides food for conversation. Dancing in a synagogue?
“Weird”, establishes Judy [Gilbert?]
Isaac. “The visitors to this
synagogue, mainly orthodox Jews did not love dancing at all”.
Stan Isaac[s], John’s brother, the organizer of the family reunion, says lightly: “In religious circles you have such discussions continually. I think that you cannot dance often enough. Always and everywhere”.
historic buildings make an impression. John Isaac[s], at the conclusion of the
stroll: “Buildings which are at least three hundred years old and look this
good and are still in use today. We do not have this at all in
descendants of the nineteenth century
“So here walked the father of the father of my father”
By Wouter Smilde
the home where your ancestor lived”. Peter de Boer opens the door to his home
at the Kleine Kerkstraat 32
Some of the
eighteen visitors cannot suppress a muted cry. So this is the home where their
ancestor, rabbi Samuel Isaacs (1804), closed the door
behind him to eventually depart to
descendants return, from
The tour to
return to the roots of the Isaacs’ is Peter de Haan’s
idea, high official with the
[Great great grandson]
Grand-grand-grand nephew John came
to thank him for that. The conversation turned to the family relationship and
the reunion which the Isaacs’ started organizing since a short time ago. And how nice it was. Before he knew it, De Haan said: “Then, the next time you come to
was there, in
goes for everyone. There you have half a circle of Isaacs’ in the back yard of
the historic home. While the hostess, Maaike van Gils
explains about the old gable and the newly built kitchen added to the house,
the Isaacs’ from
“All of us
have something to do with mathematics”, explains one of them. Cousin Stanley
for instance, did not like it that this reunion did not take place two years
earlier. Then he would have been able to go to the Escher exposition. He says
that he thinks that the mathematical and misleading play with lines is
wonderful. “But after this, I am flying to
From Leeuwarden dispersed over all continents – except Antarctica
also into computers and science. And they have a teasing sense of humor,
says the Isaacs from
With sparkling eyes: “And I do not mean that everyone wears glasses and that they have a gray beard. That is just a matter of age!”
think about that