Judybeth Green and Zoe Fagnani
This panel is in honor of my great grandparents Ben & Sarah Chomento, who immigrated to the US from a Jewish shtetl in Ciechanow, Poland, in the early 1900s. Ben & Sarah married in 1904 and had a baby soon after. During this time there were a number of Cossack raids, and cholera was prevalent. Treatment of Jewish people in the area was very bad. (My mom emphasized to me many times that Ben and Sarah were not "Polish" because Jews in Poland were not given citizenship.) When Ben got an order to join the Russian military, he left Poland for the United States because he felt that as a Jew he would be killed in the military.
Ben's last name was changed during intake at Ellis Island to "Menter" from "Chomento." In the US, Ben worked as a tailor for his uncle Harris Harris (another Ellis Island glitch) and sent money back to Poland so that Sarah and their young child could come to the States. Ben's brother Jake came with Sarah and pretended to be her husband in order to protect her on the boat. Ben and Sarah moved to Syracuse, NY, and had a total of 7 children, including my grandfather Abraham Menter and great-aunt Evelyn for whom my daughter was named.
This work was drawn by Zoe Evelyn Fagnani (age 13), and I tried to paint within the lines.