Monday, August 11, 2014

To Enter the Gates of Peace

Headstones in Hebrew..transcribed and accessible at this site.
When the sun rose that day, the body of a badly beaten man lay sprawled on the banks of the Mississippi near the small town of Ritfield, Missouri.  Although the only thing of value that remained was his suit and that his face had been battered beyond recognition, every Ritfield resident knew this man and liked him.

Since the site was by the barge landing, most assumed that some rough men crept in and took Levi, expecting a great fortune. That was enough effort given for finding the guilty.

Levi Rosenfeld (this name was chosen randomly and does not relate to anyone, living or dead)  was an upstanding member of the community, dedicated to helping others, and supporting and caring for any who needed help.  “A good man, God Bless ‘em!”

Levi Rosenfeld was a Jewish man in a small Christian town, and presumed to be wealthy, since he was a jeweler who traveled the River to St. Louis to trade.  His wife, Ruth, was the opposite of her Levi; she was vicious and flaunted her own wealth.  When people spoke her name, they crossed themselves.

The rest of the Jewish community continued quietly to work, pay bills, worship in a distant synagogue some sixty miles away.  That they were Jewish was known by all and accepted.  “Stay in their own place, I’ll give ‘em that."

Levi Rosenfeld was buried in a Jewish Cemetery some distance from town, in a partially hidden copse of oak trees.


It was a quiet closing for a good man.

Is this a true story?  Yes and no.

Please go to this site.

This is a Jewish Cemetery in Missouri, across the Mississippi River from our farm land in Illinois.  We had driven by it for years before realizing what it was.  

18 comments:

  1. Some women, and men, like her you just need to stay away from. probably a true story about someone somewhere

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    1. It is a true story, elements changes.

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  2. They say opposites attract don't they...whoever 'they' are.

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    1. Ruth was probably vivacious at one point, before turning vicious.

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  3. Could easily be true. He sounds much nicer than her.

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    1. She had high expectations that were never met.

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  4. You write such good stories, Susan, but with all the violence that goes on in this country, I would think it was true. Perhaps it was robbers or possibly the husband of a lover of the deceased. After all, he was married to a disagreeable women and also must have made many female acquaintances in his trade. That he was beaten so badly tells me that it was a crime of passion.

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  5. Old cemeteries, weather beaten old stones, all resting in peace.

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    1. So many untold stories to discover in a cemetery, aren't there.

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  6. Love old cemeteries. And am often appalled at so many deaths in the one family, in a short space of time. And at the children, taken before they have had time to grow.
    Poor Levi - and poor Ruth. Something happened to sour her...

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    1. Bitterness and disappointment can change what the "could have been".

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  7. Dear Susan, it's so good to return to blogging and find one of your stories--which may not be true in fact but gives us great truth about the world in which we live. That's what novels do for me. The characters and the situations/plot may be fictitious by the larger truth they live teaches me so much about how I want to be and live. Your imagination is stunning. I do so hope you will continue your writing of your family history and also a fictitious story for you've introduced all of us to so many story starters that could become novellas or novels. You have a gift for developing characters with only a few words. Peace.

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    1. thank you, Dee! Fewer words can say much more.

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  8. I suspect Levi's soul has found salvation but I'm not too sure about his wife, Ruth!

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    1. Ruth must have made Levi's life misery. God repays.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!