Quite a while ago, some relative told me to check Fischel Lapin, my great grandfather (Mother’s side) in the Encyclopedia Judaica. I checked and sure enough, there was such an individual.
Born in Grodno (then Russiaqn Poland), Lapin was a contractor for the building of the Grodno railway and thus became wealthy. In 1862 he settled with his family in Jerusalem, where he contributed to the foundation and maintenance of various health and educational institutions. Lapin was a founder of Kol Yisrael Haverim for land settlement in Eretz Israel and was
elected its vice-president, but resigned under pressure from Jewish community leaders. In 1872, he joined a group of Jerusalemites who sought to buy land for Jewish settlement in Jericho, but later purchased lands near Jaffa and Moza.
During World War I Lapin organized an aid campaign for Jewish soldiers in the Turkish Army.
Maybe I should have become a contractor like my Great Zade for the building of a railway and become wealthy.
My mother’s brother, Uncle Label Lapin was engaged in another “profession”. Uncle Label traveled to different American cities, and collected charitable contributions for a
Yeshiva, (place of religious study) in Israel.He collected the funds by installing “PUSKAS” (metal containers with slots in their homes where folks could leisurly drop their coins for their charitable donations, and Uncle Label would collect the funds and send the money to Israel.
I remember him staying at our home, when he visited Washington,D.C.. My brother would take some of his rolled coins to the bank,to exhange the cash for paper dollars.
Uncle Label was very religious, and his favorite dish was soft boiled eggs, with bread and butter which he himself churned.
Uncle Label, I recalled even traveled to Canadian cities–his profession was known and called a “MISHULACH”.
Lately, I have not seen any “MISHULACHIM” around any Maryland neighborhoods, where I have lived.