A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
Arieh Rabani (Lova Rabinovitch)
At the same time, my father began getting interested in all kinds of studies, and in science. When he already had two children in the house, he earned his matriculation certificate. Which wasn’t such an easy thing for a Jew, in the times of the Russian Tsar Nikolai.
His business was going well, and he left Lithuania to move to Saratov, a large city on the banks of the Volga. In those days, only rich Jews were allowed to live in Russia, beyond the Pale of Jewish Settlement. He opened another candy and chocolate factory there and got rich. And even though he absorbed a lot of foreign culture, he remained a pious Jew and a strong Zionist.
Lova: My grandfather on my mother’s side, Shmuel Mevzos, was one of the richest men in the town of Mariampol, in Lithuania. Apart from an ambition to get rich, he had an even greater weakness with respect to Torah and to lineage. He had seven children. Two boys and five girls. So whenever the time came to marry off one of his daughters, he would drive to famous yeshives and choose talented yeshive-boys with a good lineage.
That’s how he married off my mother. My father was an excellent student at a yeshive and already had his rabbi’s certificate. What’s more, he was one of the descendants of the great genius rabbi Mordekhai Jaffe, may he rest in peace, also known as “ba’al ha levoushim”1. After my parents got married, grandpa wanted my father to become a rabbi in Marijampole. He was very disappointed when my father decided to become a businessman instead. Grandpa opened a candy and chocolate factory for him in Vilkovishk, a small town in Lithuania. That’s where I was born in 1905, on the evening of Tish'ah b'Av2.