Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Proud Tradition

Last Sunday at the cemetery I spoke to synagogue "elder" Max Negrin. Max asked me whether I knew that my father had a cousin named Belil. I didn't. I didn't know of any cousins that my father had through my grandfather other than "the relatives." The relatives (I think there were 3, a man and wife and the wife's brother) had survived the holcaust and went by the name Velelis. There was a son who was my age. I hadn't seen or heard of them since my bar mitzvah. Max emailed me the address of an Eli Beli. I couldn't locate a phone number to call him, although there was an online reference to him as a former Deputy Mayor of a New Jersey town and as a decorated Korean War flier. There was, however, an extensive genealogical site
created by his brother, a Colonel Harry (Ari) Belil. The picture above comes from that site. I tried calling Harry (he's in Nanuet) without success. I was able to contact his son and I am anxiously awaiting any news from him, transmitted via his father, about a family link. Go know that I could be related to some "tough Jew" types.

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