Bintel Blog

A Living Lens: File Under Fate?

By Alana Newhouse

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I just received the following note from Julian Voloj, a wonderful photographer who—in addition to being the husband of former Forward staffer Lisa Keys—also contributed many of the contemporary photos found in the last chapter of “A Living Lens.” He wrote:

“A few days ago, I received an e-mail in Spanish from a distant relative in Israel. Since my father got into genealogy, we are now in touch with relatives all over the world. David Lederman, who wrote me the e-mail, lived for a long time in Latin America, and since my Hebrew is hardly existent, we communicate in Spanish.

For years now, David, who is retired, documents our family history. He has a collection of rare photos, and among these images was a picture of his maternal grandfather, Nachum Levi Nussbaum, published in the Forward (see picture). He did not know the exact date, but only that it was taken at a Rally at Madison Square Garden some time before 1946, the year Nachum died in New York.

When the book “A Living Lens” came out, David decided to buy it – not that easy if you live in Israel – and to see if the photo was reprinted in the book. Unfortunately, the book did not include this photo, but on page 15 he found a photo of the Forward archives. One of the folders on this picture had the label ‘Rally at Mad. Sq. Garden — 1938.’

Maybe the original of the photo was in this folder, David thought, and in order to find out about it, he wanted to see if he could contact maybe the photographer who took it — and saw my name. Coincidence? Fate? I don’t know, but a nice story to share.

For those of you who read German, see Julian’s blog post here.


Alana Newhouse, the Forward’s Arts & Culture editor, is touring the country, speaking about her new book “A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life From the Pages of the Forward.”


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