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Fall 2014 Issue Also Tells the Story of Twin Brothers During WWI

Writer David Laskin’s Great-Aunt Itel was a Jewish immigrant from Belarus without a college education. Her story, featured in the fall issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, is that of a rebellious, headstrong and fiercely intelligent woman who arrived in the United States nearly penniless and started the wildly successful Maidenform Bra Company.

Laskin chronicles his great-aunt’s remarkable life and the company’s rise under her stewardship. Itel’s company revolutionized the women’s apparel industry and created a highly-visible brand during the 1940s and 1950s.

In a similar vein, we follow the story of B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin’s immigrant parents who arrived in the United States with very little to their name. After years of working and raising a family in the New York area, they moved to a small town in New Hampshire and operated a women’s clothing store.

The fall issue then takes a look at ancestry through a different lens. In the spirit of L’Dor V’Dor (from generation to generation), B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs relays the story of the honeymooning grandson of former B’nai B’rith President Frank Goldman, connecting the trip to his grandfather’s role in the founding of Israel.

A century ago, France entered World War I. Writer Gerard Leval, an American Jew of French descent, recalls his family’s sacrifices during what was first known as the Great War. Leval’s grandfather suffered serious injuries and the loss of his twin brother André in the fighting.

Elsewhere in the magazine, George Johnson details his journey to Israel—discovering the story of his ancestor Reuven Lehrer, who founded the town of Ness Ziona in the late 19th century. The investigation led Johnson to a treasure trove of family history connecting him with his Israeli roots.

Beryl Benderly tells the story of Copenhagen’s Danish Jewish Museum, which recounts the country’s long history of tolerant relations with its Jewish citizens. Designed by famed architect Daniel Libeskind, it depicts, among other things, the daring rescue of 7,220 Jewish Danes by their fellow citizens who organized a nighttime boatlift to Sweden—saving them from deportation to the Nazi death camps.