This week's Yizkor book excerpt (Ozarow) on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #poland #JewishGenUpdates

Bruce Drake

At the end of each week, we have been featuring excerpts from Yizkor books in JewishGen’s archive. You can find the archive of past Yizkor book excerpts here: If you are not familiar with the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, please click on this link:
One of the prominent players in the life of the shtetl was the marriage broker, given the challenges of finding appropriate matches agreeable to the parents and the complex negotiations over the terms of the union.
Marriage brokers have popped up in previous excerpts I’ve posted about weddings but I enjoyed “Yankele Gotlib the Marriage Broker and His Family,” from the Yizkor book of Ozárow (Poland), because, in this chapter, he is the star and the reader follows him as he plies his trade.
Ever on the lookout to make a match, he strolls up and down the town’s Main Street inspecting the crop of marriageable boys and girls.
“Yankele had an infallible talent for nosing out those whose destinies could be harmoniously joined” and a keen intelligence for strategizing how to make the matches happen, whatever the family’s station in life. If a marriage failed to take place, he knew it would harm his precious credibility.
But the “canny marriage broker lacked neither wiles nor solutions equal to any challenge,” and this excerpt describes one of his successes and how he did it.
As a bonus, I’ve added the happy story of Yankel of Lasocin, the next chapter in the book. This Yankel needed no marriage broker. On a trip to Ozárow to market his eggs, cheese and chickens, he made one more sale — convincing his friend Itche-Nissim over a cup of tea to have their children marry. And the preparations began.

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel