At the meeting a couple of weeks ago at Adath Israel, many of you introduced and/or re-introduced yourselves to me and there were a number of people who brought their pictures and stories with them.
Today, I want to share some amazingly personal documents that Phyllis Stern brought to “the Adath” (Can someone please tell me why it's The Adath?). Phyllis’ father was Maxwell Stern, who taught for 35 years in the Trenton Public Schools. Her grandfather was Morris Stern, who was one of the Kosher Butchers who had a store at 54 Union Street. In December, I found these pictures in the businesses section of the Trentonia collection at the Trenton Public Library.
I had them in my slide show for the meeting at Adath, but didn’t get a chance to show them. Phyllis wrote a family history, which I have reprinted, with her permission, here. The actual documents can be seen by double-clicking on the image. Digital copies of the documents follow:
TANKLE AND STERN, PERFECT TOGETHER
THIS IS THE STORY OF A LOVELY LADY AND A DAPPER YOUNG MAN...
ROSE AND SAMUEL TANKLE, OWNER OF A TAVERN AND LIQUOR STORE ON PENNINGTON AVE., HAD THREE CHILDREN: LILLIAN, BEATRICE. AND RoBERT.
CELIA AND MORRIS STERN, A KOSHER BUTCHER ON UNION ST., HAD EIGHT CHILDREN: HARRY, BEN, HERB, JACK, LILLIAN, MAX, WILLIAM AND CLARA.
AFTER GRADUATING FROM TRENTON HIGH, LILLIAN TANKLE
MET AND FELL IN LOVE WITH MAXWELL STERN. THEY WERE MARRIED ON DECEMBER 25, 1938 AT THE HOTEL JERSEY. THE CEREMONY
WAS OFFICIATED BY RABBI ISSACHAR LEVIN.
LILLIAN WAS A CARING MOTHER WHO INSTILLED IN HER CHILDREN QUALITIES OF HONESTY AND HARD WORK. LILLIAN WAS PRESIDENT OF THE AHAVATH ISRAEL SISTERHOOD AND A LONG-TIME WORKER AT THE SHUL'S BINGO.
MAXWELL WAS A TEACHER IN THE TRENTON PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR THIRTY-FIVE YEARS. HIS INNOVATIVE TEACHING STYLE IS STILL REMEMBERED BY HIS DEVOTED STUDENTS.
MAXWELL, BESIDES BEING AN EXEMPLARY TEACHER OF MATHEMATICS, WAS THE DIRECTOR OF OPERETTAS AT JUNIOR FOUR, DIRECTOR OF SHOWS AT JUNIOR THREE AND A FEATURED PERFORMER IN TRENTON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION PRODUCTIONS. HE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE MEN'S CLUB AT AHAVATH ISRAEL AND WORKED AT THEIR BINGO.
LILLIAN AND MAXWELL HAD TWO CHILDREN: CHARLES AND PHYLLIS. CHARLES WAS A SYSTEMS ANALYST. PHYLLIS IS A RETIRED MATHEMATICS TEACHER AND VOLUNTEERS AS "THE MATH LADY AT THE BURLINGTON COUNTY LIBRARY. PHYLLIS LIVES IN EDGEWATER PARK, NJ.
MAXWELL STERN DIED ON AUGUST 16,1981.
LILLIAN STERN DIED ON DECEMBER 18,1994.
CHARLES STERN DIED ON APRIL 5, 2007.
MAY THEY REST ETERNALLY IN DIGNITY AND PEACE.
In addition to her family story, Phyllis brought another treasure with her. This was a hand-typed letter that her father had left for her mother.
To My Survivors,
After death the deceased has no chance to tell his family all that is on his mind. I have written this let ter for that purpose.
I know you will be sad a.t my passing just as I have grieved for the loved ones who have gone before me.But do not be disheartened -- with all its trials and tribulations, I have had·a full, rich life.
Three areas have fulfilled my life. My work, which I enjoyed; my synagogue, which helped me through crises; and my family, whom I love.
Teaching to me has been a rewarding experience. The young people whose lives I have touched have always given me a small part of themselves to treasure. My fellow workers have been kind and considerate. The reciprocity of learning between us elevated me to a zenith of intellect
ion in my field of endeavor.
My synagogue has given me lifelong friends without whom the many crises of life could not have been met. I have found solace and comfort within its walls. Any small part I have contributed has been returned to me a thousand fold. I am not setting down instances or names because, invariably,I would omit someone.
To my family I leave memories. Lillian, my wife, has been good, faithful and understanding. Our relationship was something to be admired. My son, Charles, and my daughter, Phyllis, have both inherited or developed qualities of love, charity, character and friendliness. My brothers and sisters, both living and dead, I thank for a happy childhood. Neither wealth nor power will last forever, only
intangible memories. This is what I leave you.
Forever in Peace,
At the moment, I really don’t have a safe place to keep any items that you might want to send me. As the project moves forward, there might come a time when items could be donated to a collection that can be displayed somewhere. In the meantime, if you have anything you want to share, I would ask that you either scan it or have it scanned and e-mail it to me. Keep those stories coming.