Our visitors are what make the Tenement Museum the thriving and growing place that it is today. Since we appreciate our visitors very much, every month, we’ll give a shout out to a special visitor (or visitors) to the Tenement Museum! It’s our Visitor of the Month. If you’d like to be one of our Visitors of the Month, just ask your friendly Tenement Museum Staff Member.
June’s visitor of the month are actually two visitors: Mr. and Mrs. Zev Lazar.
The Lazars were actually visiting us shortly before June, on Memorial Day, Monday 5/26/14.
Their story is a wonderful example the strong community of the Lower East Side and how you can find yourself in the past just by stepping into The Tenement Museum.
While in the gift shop they picked up Rebecca Lepkoff’s book, Life on the Lower East Side, and randomly flipped through. To their surprise, they came upon a picture of Mr. Lazar’s father, the Rabbi Dr. Meyer Lazar. Rebecca Lepkoff also grew up on the Lower East Side where she lived at 60 Hester Street. The Tenement Museum held an exhibition of her remarkable photographs of life in the neighborhood and her book includes more of these dynamic shots, including it seems, a familiar photograph of Rabbi Dr. Meyer Lazar.
The picture is on page 122 and captures the senior Lazar (in the center back under the sign) along with the Rabbi Moses Feinstein (the bearded man in the foreground), who was the dean of the Lower East Side’s Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem and was “regarded by many as the de facto supreme halakhic authority for Orthodox Jewry of North America” and was a prominent member of the community.
Mr. Lazar’s father was in the very first ordination class in America offered by the venerated Rabbi Moses Feinstein, clearly a source of much pride for the Lazar family.
The picture depicts rabbinical figures preparing to celebrate Sukkot. They have it framed on their wall at home, but were surprised to find it published in a book here.
To take a peek at Lepkoff’s book or to see what you can find out about your past, come visit !
Thanks to the Lazars for visiting and for sharing their coincidence with us!
– Posted by Julia Berick