This Month's Spotlight

The Story As It Is Best Remembered

(Adopted from Jay Epstein's original)

The Story starts in about 1825, the Lubovitzer Rabbi was granted a parcel of land from the Czar to establish a Jewish Stetle in which a Lubovitzer was to be established.

This was located in Minsker Giberna - about 1 mile from the Denieper River and about 30 miles from Bobroisk (the nearest town on a Russian map). The streets were cobble stoned - trains came through; it had all types of shops, commerce - doctors - police - and government offices. It was an active city established in 1841 and called Schedrin. From Schedrin to go anywhere, one had to go to Bobroisk. In order to get there, one had to go to Paritz, which was on the opposite shore of the Denieper River from Bobroisk. So one walked from Schedrin to Horkes which was � way to Paritz.

The Henach Horvitz family had a large farm in Horkes, a flour mill and a lust for company. Usually, one always stopped to exchange the news, have refreshments and very often spend the night.

On reaching the river there was a ferry to cross. This was pulled by means of a rope. Paritz was a larger Stetle with about 1/3 the population being Jewish. Perla Horelick came from here to marry Boruch. Her family, the Horelicks, ran the freight and passenger service from Paritz to Bobroisk. Once across the river, were rough unpaved roads. Most traffic used the River by large paddle wheel boats to and from Bobroisk. This was the way to go from Schedrin to Paritz and eventually to go to America.

Schedrin itself was created by a family called "Golodetz." They were in the lumber and rope business. They moved in and setup housing with their children - married and single and brought every craft needed as carpenters - tailors - shoemakers - blacksmiths and workers to cut forests and flax to make rope. They separated their homes from the workers. Even most of their domestic help that were married had homes built in the Stetle. Their homes were built in what was referred to as the "Haif." In 1897, there were about 4,000 Jews in Schedrin (and very few non-Jews).

The Haif of the Golodetz family was separated from the Stetle by a buffer zone of large trees which was used as a park - one remembers that it was filled with birds such as Cranes and had a creek running through it that was also one of the boundaries of the Haif. The far end was all apple orchards.

The Golodetz's built large homes with porches and stained glass windows. Every home had a built-in Succah. The center of the Haif had a large circle with a Shul, a public Turkish bath house and homes. To go from the Stetle to the Haif, they had guards who checked you on entering and leaving.

The first house on the road to the Stetle was owned by their tailor, Yosef Chiam Weiner. Across the street was a Russian family who used to do the Sabbath lighting and other chores. This family spoke Yiddish very well. The road led into a circle where Yoseph Chiam's Shul was and various other craftsmen had homesteads. The Gordon family were the shoemakers. This road continued to what was known as the "Lange Gasse." To the right were shops of yard goods owned by Skorman and Aptek (who was the only medical advisor, but not a doctor). To the left it followed into the thickest populated areas where many shops and public baths were located.

The Stetle depended on the Haif when they brought in a Doctor. He usually remained in town for consultations and treatment. Babies were delivered by ones friend helping another. The same was true of the professional teachers or musicians.

As Dr. Chiam Berlin and his sister ran away during the revolution and went to Tel Aviv, Israel. He has a small book with the history of Schedrin and he names most of the people like Motil Horelick who were the postmaster and many others.

Schedrin had many public bathhouses. It was the only all-Jewish town in all of Russia. The streets were not paved. As you went further down the Lange Gasse, they had trenches on both sides of the street that drained off the water and all the dirt after a rain and which had a foul odor.

People in any trade hired themselves out for a bed and board. They often had to pay a stipend for the apprenticeship. The tradesmen were not well to do. However, they put up a front of being the leaders in the community. There were many who began to migrate because of their underground work prior to the revolution. It was known as Socialism. Many followed other illegal trades. To end up with a tale told about Tevya Horvitz. He did some moonshining and one Saturday night as Shul was leaving out, Tevya was approached by some government men on horseback who stopped to ash him where Tevya Horvitz lived. He was wearing his Talus around his neck, he looked up and pointed to his home saying "there." They went one way and he ran the other way - all the way to America. He tells of the hardships that he had to endure to get to America. His family never saw him again until he earned enough to send for them. The only ones he knew were the Friedman's in Pittsburgh. Somehow he reached there. He was the first from the Weiner Mishpoteh to settle in Pittsburgh.

The Friedman's were located on 5th Avenue, near Brady Street. They had a small department store. Most of their income was from lodgers acting as their counselor and taking care of their money while they worked in the steel mills. He spoke several tongues.

At the turn of the 20th century the western world, particularly the United States of America, attracted the ambitious workers in the Stetle to migrate to America. Motil Horelick did not deliver the mail but late in the afternoon. The field in front of his house became crowded with all the families that expected mail from America. Vicariously even those that did not receive mail were listening to the wonders written to their relations and friends. Now the whole Stetle was in the throes of a social upheaval. In the early 1900's the desire to migrate accelerated and the very pattern of living changed. For those who could not read, Motil read the wonders of America outloud.

To migrate was very difficult. Money was the enormous handicap to cope with. However, they became aware of its impact of acceptance by the authorities. Practically everyone left illegally - conniving and bribing all the way.

Boruch Weiner being the eldest son of Yoseph Chiam, and hearing of all the opportunities, accelerated his desire for a change in his pattern of living. After Tevya Horovitz sent for his family, which to Boruch seemed such a short time, it strengthened his attitude for a rapid winding up of his affairs. He sold his house and tailor shop. His family moved into his father's home which was already crowded with Tevya's family. However, Boruch was also worried that his oldest daughter Mary would be taken by the Czarist police for being active in a revolutionary cell from Bobroisk.

The details are full of reasons to leave. In Russia every male had to serve in the army and one way or another you bribed to stay out or get out. However to leave the country legally was impossible. One had to get to Bobroisk to find the Travel agents who smuggled you out of Russia by way of Lubov. Boruch was determined to have his family settle in America. He took Mary with him as he sought to establish a new home for his family.

After a tortuous rough course they reached Pittsburgh. By that time Tevya had a hardware store on Robert Street. His family was settled and Boruch and sixteen year old Mary came to live with them. Being a good tailor, Boruch had no difficulty to get work with Lewin Neiman, a department store on 5th Avenue. He worked long hours, except on Sabbath. He managed to save enough and was dedicated to the obligation to send for his wife and other children. This became a Herculean task. The ability to save enough money, his minimal involvement in the new life style, new values made it difficult to find new ways of becoming adaptable and face a constant continuing change in his feelings. He missed his wife and family. His emotional problems began to multiply and in order to cope with every day life situations he began to vision "why be a little fish in a big pond, he would go home and open a large tailor shop and earn more than here." At least he would be with his wife and children.

Mary refused to go back. She told her father that he must bring their family to the freedom and opportunities in the United States of America. Boruch returned alone to Schedrin. He could not open a shop in the Haif so he rented a house and moved in with the family and shop. His father and mother were the last to migrate to Pittsburgh. He was the only member of the Weiners who remained in Schedrin.

After awhile it gradually became clear to him that the behavior of individual freedom, of interpersonal relationship and the experiences of the sense and the very patterns of Russian living were greatly altered from what he had envisioned. He loved being with his family but he began to doubt the wisdom of his return. Sam, the oldest son, was age 12 and the other 4 were each 2 years younger and his wife Pearl was with child. The chance for education, the particular impact of their lifestyle evolving society they would live in, made him long to be in Pittsburgh with his family. More and more he kept trying to figure out ways to save enough to migrate to Pittsburgh.

He developed an attitude of wait and see. He had made a choice, and he made up his mind to "grin and bear it." He learned to cope effectively with the slow processes of saving otherwise the stresses of life would destroy him.

In less than a year a crisis developed. The same night his wife went into labor, the Stetle literally went into a convulsion. There was screaming - dogs barking, knocking on doors and confusion everywhere. A group of drunk Russians broke into the home of his best friend and butchered his wife, 2 children, 2 visitors, and 3 domestics. The husband had left that morning to take his son to school.

Schedrin had no police but some sort of magistrate or tax collector. The men all got lanterns and clubs after a long search caught two of them. All kinds of rumors spread. The next day, the police came from Bobroisk. The town watchmen every night would knock on every shuttered home to see that all was well. People lived in anxiety and fear and encouraged neighbors to utilize their personal strengths. Males of Schedrin formed a militia to protect Jews in the surrounding area from the pogroms which became more common place.

This incident was a precipitating factor. Responding to this situation and to the foreseeable future problems, Boruch fast managed to cope with his difficulties. It became imperative to get into shape. Boruch had developed a hernia that needed medical attention. Bobroisk could not handle this so he went to a larger city. Perle's mother raised enough money and went with Boruch. Son William had trouble with his eyes which was difficult to cure and which also added to the worries. Perle was nursing the baby.

As soon as arrangements could me made the family started their trek to Pittsburgh. They had to go from Lebov to Liverpool, England, on a small boat in a rough sea. Everyone was deathly sea-sick and Boruch ruptured his incision and developed an incarcerated hernia.

On reaching Liverpool, England, the family was taken to a relay station where people were lodged until they could get a boat to America. Boruch was rushed to the hospital. The house was run by a man named Wolfe and he took the Weiners under his wing. The 3 boys worked in the kitchen. Perle and the 3 girls moved in with a shoemaker family across the alley. The limited funds they had were soon exhausted. For 6 months the family in Pittsburgh was anxious but too poor to be of much help. Mary was frantic.

Somehow things were managed and the family arrived through Ellis Island to Philadelphia to be shuttled to a train for Pittsburgh. They arrived on Halloween night 1908. With their belongings they crossed the bridge on Washington Street and walked to Robert Street where a house was rented at 57 Robert Street and the front room was converted into a tailor shop.

A Town No More:

All the Schedriners of Pittsburgh remained a close knit community. They were social and business friends. Once a year they gathered for a summer picnic get together, organized by Harry Katz. In 1975, a young Russian man arrived to address the picnicking group. His story confirmed their deepest fear. His words follow:

"I am here because my mother wants me to tell you about your town. One afternoon in 1941, the Germans came to Schedrin and told everyone to remain inside. The next morning they assembled them in the street and marched them to the edge of town. My mother pregnant with me, and two other men had hidden from the Germans. They watched in hiding as their families and friends were told to dig a ditch, line up on the edge, and hold hands. They were machine gunned, falling into, and pushed into, the ditch which was then covered over with dirt."

Records indicate that in 1941, there were 380 Jewish families (about 1,400 inhabitants) in Schedrin - all of whom were killed by the special German killing squad on that fateful day.

From 1841 to 1941 there existed in Buelo, Russia, the town of Schedrin. For 100 years it remained a Jewish community only to perish at the hands of Jewish exterminators in a Holocaust of terror and killing.

Today, Schedrin lives in the memory and hearts of those whose backgrounds and heritage has meaning - hopefully, future genereations will keep alive the story of family courage and determination - and they can find pride from whence they came - the Shtetel of Schedrin.

Lubovitzer Shul:

Yosef Chiam Weiner had earlier arrived and brought a Torah with him from Schedrin. The first Minyun was started above a grocery store on Center Avenue, near Miller Street. From there they took a home on Robert Street, near Linton Avenue and the Shamis lived at the Shul, named Anshe Lubovitz.

They remodeled the store on Overhill Stret between Center and Linton Street. Beryl Baer also used the premises for a Chader. They were there for many years.

Boruch Weiner moved to 2101 Wylie Avenue and there was a double house in the back. They bought this house and converted it into a lovely little Shul with a balcony for women. This was in existence for a very long time - most of the members later moved to East End - Oakland - Squirrel Hill.

The next move was to Kenneth Square. A garage in front of a home was converted into a Shul with living quarters upstairs. The Shul existed here until about 1965, when it was closed.


Yosef Chiam was president of the Shul when they felt the need of a burial place of their own. They got busy and found the present location. One year after the purchase, the first burial in 1911 was Yosef Chaim Weiner. The Anshe Lubovitz cemetery is located in the Millvale section of Pittsburgh.