Monday, March 15, 2010

Dough by Mort Zachter 2007

 Dough won the 2006 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction

Mort Zachter is the only son of a mother whose two immigrant parents had owned the Ninth Street Bakery on the Lower East Side in New York City at 350 E Ninth St. since 1926. His mother Helen and her two single brothers Joe and Harry continued running the bakery until the 1980’s. This is the story of a workaholic family that amassed millions of dollars but lived like paupers. It’s an extreme version of an immigrant family story. Besides revealing interesting details about the retail bakery business and about how the family ran it, there are evocative descriptions of how they lived, as well as some discussion about the family’s involvement in the Romanian-American Congregation on Rivington St. on the Lower East Side.

The Marketing Director at the U. of Georgia Press which published the hardcover version of this memoir conducted an interesting interview with the author which you can access by clicking here.

Author’s family on his mother’s side
Max and Lena Wolkirmerski – emigrated to US in 1913 from Zetel in Belarus; changed their name to Wolk.
    Joe and Harry Wolk - their sons born in Europe
    Helen Wolk Zachter - their daughter, mother of author

    Other family members
    Philip Zachter – husband of Helen Wolk, author’s father; his father’s name Jacob
.         Mort Zachter – their son, the author
        Nurit Roshin – author’s wife
    Ellen and Daniel Roshin– Nurit’s parents
        Cherie Roshin-  Nurit’s sister; married to Charlie
            Eli – their son
    Lou Sweedler – author’s first cousin on father’s side
Mordechai Meyer, rabbi of the Roumanian-American Congregation on Rivington St.

The Lower East Side of NYC
30 Clinton St. in East New York, Brooklyn – where the first generation of Wolks lived
Hegemann Avenue in Brooklyn – where family lived after Clinton St.
40 First Avenue on the Lower East Side– where Harry and Joe lived
The corner of Allen and Stanton – site of first family bakery
350 E. 9th St. named Ninth Street Bakery. (still there under different ownership)

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