At the event in Cherry Hill, I ran into Vicki Zell, who had a story about the subjects of one of my favorite photographs in the book: a very serious-looking couple named the Sutins, pictured “celebrating” their wedding anniversary. As it turns out, they are the ancestors of — stay with me — Vicki’s father’s significant other, Carol Meiselman of Boynton Beach, Fla. “These are my great-grandparents,” said Meiselman, in a recent interview with the Forward’s Aaron Greenblatt. Meiselman explained that they came from a shtetl called Smilovitchi, in present-day Lithuania, and immigrated to America around 1906, settling in Albany with their seven children. This family photo hung on Meiselman’s walls for years, without her ever realizing it had been published in our newspaper.
Meiselman told the Forward that a cousin gave her “A Living Lens” as a gift and, as they leafed through the book, she immediately recognized the picture. “We found it purely by accident,” she said. “It did some good, though, because we bought umpteen copies of it.”
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.”