Sarah Lederman Caplan

Sarah Lederman Caplan, 1947

Sarah Lederman Caplan, 1947

Sarah Lederman Caplan had moved in with her husband’s family when they were married.  When Aaron left for America, Sarah was left behind with the baby Sam.  Sarah may have also had twins who died.

But Sarah and the baby remained with Aaron’s family during those years that Aaron was gone.  She did not return to her family, because the tradition was that she was now part of Aaron’s family.  When the Caplans left for America, Sarah of course went with them.  Her family was left behind.

When Sarah finally joined her husband Aaron in America, the baby Sam was now eight years old.  By the next year they had another son, Isadore, then a daughter Minnie, and the youngest son, Abe.

Sarah, who had come from a family of scholars, never found her place in this country.  She sought the cultural life that eluded her here because she never adapted well to the English language.  The synagogue that her husband joined was not as liberal as the synagogue a few blocks away, where there were a concert series and a lecture series.  Sarah went whenever she could to these by herself, or sometimes dragging one of the children along with her.

No doubt she missed her family also.  Her husband’s family was so large and active, and Sarah, without her own family, quietly tried to fit in.  Sarah was usually quiet, because she had no confidence in her use of the new language.  The children would tease her when she called an ambulance an envelope, or a Catholic a Caddilac.  One reason Sarah did not learn the language well is because in the early years Aaron and Sarah spoke Yiddish at home, or Russian when they did not want the children to understand.  Abe, his brothers and sister, like other children whose parents were immigrants, spoke Yiddish until they started school.  These children did not know any English until they picked it up at school.

Sarah held great respect for all professional people, teachers included.  In Europe the teacher was a Rabbi, or if not a Rabbi, he was called Professor.  If Abe got in trouble at school, he would get a lickin’ from Sarah when he got home, because the teacher was a professional, and was always right.


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