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 Chaiken Family of Nezhin
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 Zavelsky Family of Glukhov
Chaiken descendants live in many different parts of the country today.
Alexandria, VA
Blue Bell, PA
Boulder, CO
Brooklyn, NY
Cheverly, MD
College Park, MD
Denver, CO
Jenkintown, PA
Key Biscayne, FL
London, England
Long Beach, CA
Miami, FL
Mountainview, CA
Narbeth, PA
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Richmond, VA
Santa Clara, CA
Washington, DC
Westport, CT


"When our ancestors first immigrated, they settled in downtown South Philadelphia. As time passed, they moved to various parts of Philadelphia."

In many ways, life in downtown Philadelphia was quite different from the villages in Russia, but in other ways much the same. It was a clustered life, divided into sections based upon nationality. Before the pogroms of April 1881, the Eastern European Jews who came to Philadelphia settled in the Port Richmond area. While there may have been as many as 15,000 Jews in Philadelphia by 1880, very few appeared in the 1880 census. The few who did appear were native- born. Ten years later, over 10,000 Russian Jews lived in the same South Philadelphia neighborhood that had seen so few Jews on the eve of the April 1881 pogrom.

From 1881 on, the area around 4th and South Streets became the center for Russian Jews. The Russian pogroms led directly to the re-peopling of South Philadelphia, especially east of Broad Street and South of Walnut Street.

Morris Chasanow's first address was 931 South 4th Street. Bernard Chazanoff lived at 4th and Monroe Streets. Mire Chaiken Chazanoff's store was in the 600 block of 4th Street. Sol and Manya Sovel's store was also in the 600 block of 4th Street. They all moved frequently, but their addresses were always in the same South Philadelphia area until around 1935 when they branched out to Wynfield and West Philadelphia.

In the early days of our family's life in Philadelphia, there were no family-owned stores. There were stands for those in business for themselves and jobs in factories for others. It took time to save enough money to rent, much less own, real estate.

The women worked hard right alongside the men and in many cases the women did all the work, while the men congregated at the synagogues. The living conditions were crowded and not always clean. Bathroom facilities were limited.

A cousin remembers, "We didn't have a bathtub in our house and when we wanted to bathe we went to the bathhouse and paid a nickel."

The area was far from beautiful. Streets were littered with debris. Families of five and six lived in one or two rooms in the early days. Later, there were very small houses for some. Heat was a luxury not enjoyed by all.

A cousin remembers ..."Mire had no heat in her building. In the winter she was so cold, she would wear three sweaters and a coat. We lived downtown, and she would come down and sleep with me, with all her sweaters and everything."

But, life was good to our family. As the years passed Hillel moved to Lebanon Avenue in what everyone seems to recall, "a beautiful home". The Sovels moved to Walnut Street and Louis Chaiken to 33rd Street.

Today, the South Philadelphia area where our ancestors settled has become the very in part of Philadelphia.

#1...South Philadelphia, 1910.
#2...The stands (pushcarts) on Fourth Street covered for the night. Mire Chaiken Chazanoff had one of these stands as well as her daughter Manya..
#3...The women selling at their stands in on 4th Street in Philadelphia.
#4...Manya Chazanoff Sovel's mens furnishing store was the Backstage Restaurant in 1995
#5...Mire Chaiken Chazanoff's wool and button store was a Tattoo Parlour in 1995.