Chapter 16 Heche Mitsfies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


[One daughter] married a man by the name of Avram Ezra; he was a great Hebraic scholar, or what is known as a sage or a Talmudist, and he became the Ruve [Rabbi] of Amdur, and remained in this position until he died. They had one son and one daughter. His daughter married Baruch Margolis, who became the Ruve after his father-in-law's death. The other two daughters of Motte Tsinnas also married in Amdur, but we don't know much about their families. [GEN029-SD]


To expand on what Sam Effron wrote, above, it should be noted that the family of Rabbi Avrom Ezra consisted of at least six children, as set forth in the following pages.


According to Sam Effron, the husband of the daughter of Avram Ezra was Baruch Margolis, and he was the “Ruve [rabbi] of Amdur after his father-in-law” – this appears to be incorrect. [GEN029-SD] [Verify: There was a Baruch Margolis, who was the rabbi of Amdur after Avram Ezra]


Heche (Etka) (alternate spelling could be “Etche”) Katz or Mitsifes (Miziefas; Mitsifies), b. abt. 1818, Amdur, married Rabbi Avrom Ezra Mitsifies (or Katz), b. abt. 1810 or 1814, d. abt. 1882. [RS096]


She may have been his second wife, although some very early marriages have been known to happen, but it is unlikely that she was the mother of Avigdor Mordecai, and perhaps the next two oldest children as well, because she would have been too young. She appears to be the Etka who is enumerated in the 1858 census, with young children, though all other reports are that her name was Etche – a plausible nickname for Etka, I suppose. In sum, Avrom Ezra was born in 1810, Etche in 1818, and the children in years 1830, 1836, 1840, 1853, 1855 and sometime after 1858. A 28 year span of child bearing is possible, though uncommon. If she were the second wife – perhaps the second wife of more than two wives – this would explain Sam Effron’s declaration that they had only one son and one daughter.


He was the Rabbi of Amdur for many years. [MISC019] He was the son of Shmuel of Amdur. [Yehudot Lida, p. 58; RS096]. His last name was Mitsfies, according to the 1858 revision list and an entry for him in Volume 2 of Lita:  Historical Comments on the Spiritual Life of the Jewish Communities of  Lithuania. The small book, published in Israel in 1977, is devoted to the community of Amdur and acknowledges the the writings of Yedidia Efron.

Avram Ezra’s father was Shmuel Yosef, not simply Shmuel, based on the 1858 Amdur revision list entry of an Avigdor Yehoshua (Vigdor Ovsey) Mitsifes, who is the son of Shmuelo Yosel. Vigdor Ovsey and Avram Ezra are presumed brothers because they have the same unusual last name. [RS094]. Shmuel wrote a book called Invey Hagefen.


Rabbi Avrom Ezra was related to the famous preacher of Grodno, Nachum k’ Horodna. Nachum k’Horodna (Nachum of Grodno) was a famous tsadik (highly gifted and kind Jew) in the mid-19th century and he died around 1880. He was very famous. He was not Reb Avrom Ezra's father, but probably a relationship through marriage.[INT011] A bit of internet research: Menachem Mendel ben Uziel Kaplan (Nachum k’Horodna or Nachumka Horodna) was not originally from Grodno. A daughter was Esther, b. abt. 1859, and married to rabbi Gabriel Wolf Margolis. They arrived in the US in 1907, and “George” and Esther can be found in the 1910 census in Boston, and the 1915 and 1930 census in NY (he typically uses the name Wolf). If Sam Effron is correct that one daughter married to rabbi Baruch Margolis, perhaps then the relation is that both Avrom Ezra and Nachum of Horodna had sons-in-law who were Margolis rabbis, perhaps brothers.


They had the following known children:


Avigdor Mordecai



Dina Sara Mishcovsky


Sheindel (Jaffa) Bialablotsky


Many members of the Effron family, when a son was born, named him Avrom Ezra, and most of the people when his name was mentioned, would always say "his memory shall be blessed." [GEN029-SD]


Some known Avram Ezras are::

Avrom Ezra Effron, son of Arye Leib “Matsul’s”

Avrom Ezra Effron, son of Mashe “Ephraim’s” and Etka Alta ‘Matsul’s”

Avrom Ezra Effron, father of Reuben and Irving

Abraham Ezra Efron, son of Motte Efron from the Israel and Odess branch

Avrom Ezra Efron, son of Tanchum, also from the Israel and Odess branch

Abraham (Avrom Ezra) Moscow, a direct descendant of the rabbi

Avrom Ezra Glembotzki, husband of Sarah Heffron (he was born prior to when the rabbi died)

Abraham Ezra (need Adin) Goldin (he was born prior to when the rabbi died)



Avrom Ezra was related, possibly through marriage, to the great talmudic scholar Reb Nachum Ka Horodna [Nachum of Hrodna] (P. Weiner). A few pages of an unidentified booklet sent to me by Pincus Weiner (later determined to be Pinkus Amdur [BIO024-SD]) are about the HaGaon and Tzadik Rav [The genius and holy rabbi] Avraham Ezra HaCohen. It says that his son was the Rabbi and Gaon Avigdor Mordecai, ABD of Grajeivo, Ostryn and Wolpe, and that his son-in-laws were Baruch BenZion Mishkovsky and Arye Leib Bialablotsky. It also says that Baruch BenZion was the son of the Rabbi and Gaon Noach Chaim, ABD of Stutsyn, where Baruch was born. Most other basic information about the family is also from this source. [BIO024-SD, pp. 47-51]


There was a Bialastocki (note: not a Bialoblotcky) who was married to the sister of Rabbi Avram Ezra and lived in Jedwabne. See Jedwabne Yizkor book.


Acknowledgements: Gloria Hyatt; David Terret; Leslie Terret; Carlos Stortz; Ethel Grodzins Romm; Lee Grodzins


Avigdor Mordecai Mitsifies (Katz), son of Heche, daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


Avigdor Mordecai Katz, b. 1830, d. 1870. [RS096; RS097]. He was a rabbi in Ostryn, Grajevo and Wolpe, and author of several books. [Yehuda Lida, p. 58]. He died young, prior to Avrom Ezra (i.e., prior to1882). [BIO024-SD]. Avigdor Mordecai Mitsfies died a martyred death, according to oral history.

Based on the 1858 revision list, his mother would have been 12 years old when he was born, so he is probably a son from a prior marriage of Avrom Ezra, or some of the data is mistaken.


On, his books are:


Cohen, Avigdor Mordecai b’r Avraham Ezra, Anvy HaGofen (1863), # 34459

Avigdor Mordecai b’r Avraham Ezra K’Ts, Anfei Teeina Hagada, (1864, Leipzig) #4984

Katz, Avigdor Mordecai b’r Avraham Ezra, Prei Had (Vilna, 1868) #34617

Avigdor Mordecai b’r Avraham Ezra K’Ts, Torat Avigdor (Vilna, 1871) #8005

Korban Todah, #7414


There is not much in the way of family history in R’ Avigdor Mordechai’s books. He mentions in the intro to one of them that he is not well and suffers from heart illness. He says that the merit of his holy father and grandfather who were learned and pious gave him the strength and ability to publish this book (Hebrewbooks #7414 - Korban Todah) . He also mentions that his son-in-law is learned and devotes all his time to Torah-learning. He does not say his son-in-law’s name. There are 2 other books that R’ Avigdor Mordechai wrote that are not on the Hebrewbooks site; Invey Hagefen and Pri Hadar. These are mentioned in the title page of Toras Avigdor (8005). Another fact is that R’ Avraham Ezra’s father was named Shmuel and he also wrote a book called Invey Hagefen. (Courtesy Jonathan Lewis)


Pesia Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Heche Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


Pesia Mitsifies (Katz), b. 1836. She is listed in the 1858 Amdur Revision list [RS096]. She is 22 and lives with her family. Nothing else is known about her.


Eliezer Miziefas (Katz), son of Heche Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


Eliezer Miziefas, b. abt. 1840, married Pesha, b. abt. 1840 [RS095]. He was known as “Eliezer the Rabbi’s” and is described in the chapter on teachers in Yedidia Efron’s book about Amdur. He was divorced from his first wife and separated from his second wife. He is mentioned in various places in the book. [MISC019] In the 1858, he is already married and living separate from his parents. At 18 years old, Pesha is probably his first wife.


Dina Sara Mishcovsky, daughter of Heche Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s

Dina Sara Mishcovsky, b. abt. 1853, d. after 1914, married Baruch Benzion Mishcovsky, b. Stutsyn (Stuschin), d. before 1914 [RS096; MISC030]. He was born in Amdur, according to the Terret genealogy. There is a photo of Dina in “Amdur, Mayn Geboryn Shtetl,” and that is how her name is known. They had several daughters, and one of them settled in Israel (not indicated in Terret genealogy). The marriage notice for her son Abraham refers to her not as “late” and calls her “Frau.” Abraham’s father is referred to as “late.” [MISC--]


The brother of Baruch Ben-zion was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Ostrinski. In the book “Zemach Menachem,” Rabbi Ostrinski writes about his family at the end of the introduction. He mentions his father, Noach Chaim, and his brothers Shalom Dov-Ber and Baruch Ben-Zion, and that the latter’s father-in-law, Rabbi Avraham Ezra of Amdur. Rabbi Ostrinski’s father was Rabbi Noach Chaim Eizenshtadt of Shtuchin. Rabbi Ostrinski, aka Astrinsky, was leader of the Leeds, England congregation. [Adi Katz]


According to Pinchus Weiner, one daughter of Avrom Ezra was named Sara, who was the source for his grandmother’s name. According to him, this Sarah died young, before 1880. This does not appear to be the same as Dina Sara, who died well after Sarah Effron Weiner was born.


Details of this family started to come to light on 5/28/2008 when I was able to retrieve articles from The Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish newspaper of Great Britain which is available online (subscription required) and is searchable. The next day, not being able to find a phone number for any of the descendants mentioned in the newspaper, I emailed the rabbi of the orthodox shul in Cardiff, Wales, asking if he knew of the family that was referenced in an article as living in Cardiff. He said he would contact a member of the Hyatt family. A little bit later, I received an email from a family member that included a family tree [GEN015-SD].


The Bashe Shneider branch of Efrons has a large Mishkovsky family, but no connection has been established. The first name of the father of that family was “Israel,” born about 1890, and he was the son of Meyer Leib who in turn was the son of Moshe. Meyer Leib’s origins are unknown, but his wife, Dora, was from Molchad in Grodno Gubernia. See page --.


>          Libke [GEN015-SD]


>          >          Bessie


Nothing else is known of Libke. There was a Libbie Mishkovsky with a daughter Bertha, but that was Libbie (Schneider) Mishkovsky, not a Mishkovsky by birth, and her husband and his paternal ancestry does not match up with the Scotland family. See page --.


>          Hyman (Noah Chaim) Miscovsky, d. 1950, Cathcart [Kaplan database], married Rachel Freedman. Burials in Cathcart suggest that his wife was Rebecca Miscovsky, who died in 1958. He was ABD of Glasgow and Rebbe of the Queen’s Park Synagogue, a post he held in 1940 [MISC039]. They were first cousins, according to one relative, though another relative recalled that Rachel was a cousin of Avraham’s wife, Annie (Goldstone) Moscow. They had six children, of whom Israel was the youngest [MISC041]. They arrived in the early 1900s with his brother Abe [~ARR], who changed his name to Moscow, married Annie and had one son, Bert.


>          Sulamit “Sulke” Bachrach Gurwicz, d. 1953, Argentina [verify] [~ARR] married 1. Yehuda Bachrach, d. 1906. Yehuda came from Amdur and was the son of Aizik (Aizche Mendel) Bachrach and Chaia Stein. The details of this branch came from a great-grandson.


Description: sulamit.jpg


Before I was contacted by this descendant, I was told by the family that stayed in Scotland that there was another daughter, and all that was known of her was her name, “Soolke” [see GEN015]. However, soon after I posted the family tree for this branch on the internet, Sulke’s great-grandson found my web site and contacted me with the entire family tree for that part of the family.


The Bachrach family emigrated to Argentina and is profiled in Yedia Efron’s book. Aizche Mendel Bachrach owned of the liquor factory and was a rabbi (see ---). Aizche Mendel was the son of Henoch (or Eliezer Hanoch), a rabbi in Suwalk (CS).


>          Married 2. in 1912 to Chaim Gurwicz [~ARR]


>          Avigdor Mishcovsky. Fani Rems completed a page of testimony for him. [YAD---], and had a letter about him (CS).


>          >          Gittel. Israel Miscovsky talked of her and she was recalled by Israel’s wife, Halina. She was a poet in Palestine, having arrived there in the 1930s, and lived on Kibbutz Ailon. She was never married or had children.


>          >          Son, name unknown [cite?]


>          Rebecca (nee Miscovsky) Unknown, married 1892 to Benjamin Unknown (Kaplan database of Scottish Jewish History). She is presumed to be part of this family because of her name and she lived in Scotland. More information is needed.


>          Avram Ezra MOSCOW, b. 1890, married abt. 1914 to Annie Goldstone . He was the youngest son. He emigrated with Noah Chaim in the early 1900s. He was a cousin to Rabbi J. Astrensky of Leeds [MISC030]. He went to Glasgow. His age is based on an Abram Mischkowski, b. 1890, from Amdur, who emigrated from the port of Hamburg [ARR221], who is presumably the same person. She was the third daughter of Jacob and Leah Goldstone of Galsgow. [MISC030; MISC038]


>          >          Bert


>          Sara Gleboski (or Glembocki or Glebocki, etc.), married Israel Glebocki. She had two daughters. Fani Rems completed Yad Vashem pages of testimony for the Glebosk family [YAD--], and they had written a letter to her. (CS)


Nekhama Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Heche Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


Nekhama Mitsifies (Katz), b. abt. 1855.  She is listed in the 1858 Amdur Revision list [RS096], so she was probably born in Amdur. Nothing else is known about her.


Sheindel (Yaffa) Bialablotsky or Bialoblotcky, daughter of Heche Mitsifies (Katz), daughter of Motte Tsinne’s


Sheindel (Yaffa) Bialablotsky or Bialoblotcky, b. after 1858, d. abt. 1943, married at age 15 to Arye Leib Bialoblotcky of Pilvishok (Pilviskiai). Her name was Sheindel (also: Yaffa), according to information obtained by Ruth Marcus. In 1937, Ruth’s father visited his paternal aunt, Malka (Eliashberg) Bialoblocky and her family. Malka was married to Avigdor Bialoblocky and lived in Lunna. According to Eliezer Eisenschmidt, a Holocaust survivor from Lunna, Sheindel was murdered in the Holocaust. Here is a ca. 1937 photo of Sheindel and her family. [MISC159-SD] Based on her date of death, and the known birth dates of her children, she was likely born after 1858, the date of the revision list of this family, where she does not appear


In a book written by Arye Leib Bialablotcky, ( he acknowledges the support of the uncle of his wife, the famous Gvir (very wealthy person) Rabbi Yaakov, son of Matitya from the town of Volkovisk. [MISC138]. If a paternal uncle, then this Yankel would be a brother of Rabbi Avram Ezra, but no such brother is known (thought there very well could be one). If a maternal uncle, this would be Yankel, Motte Tsinne’s (see page --). There is no indication that Yankel, Motte Tsinne’s lived in Volkovysk, but it is possible and further evidence would be needed to verify that the Yankel referred to by Arye Leib was in fact Yankel Motte Tsinne’s.


On the ShtetlLinks page for Pilvishok in JewishGen is an article by Joseph Rosen [cite] about that town. In personal correspondence, Mr. Rosen informed me that Rabbi Aryeh Leib was rabbi from 1851-1881 and was in Derechin. He also informed me that Leib’s son was Shmuel Bialoblutzky, the head of the Talmud Department of Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.


>          Golda Gurewicz, d. 1914, Bialystok, married Rabbi Yosef Gurewicz. They lived in Bialystok. Leibel and Henie were raised in Lunna by their grandmother, Sheindel, after their mother died.


>          >          Marcus. He was a communist and moved to interior Russia.


>          >          Leibel. He was a teacher in Derechin and then in Ozery. His family was killed in the Holocaust.


>          >          Henie Borovik, b. 1909, Bialystok, married Moshe Borovik. He came from Ozery. She immigrated to Palestine, probably before she married. Henie recorded her memoirs and her daughter, Zahava, related information about the family to Ruth Marcus [GEN--]


>     Shmuel Shraga, b. Pilvishok, b. 1888, d. Tel Aviv, 1960. He was head of the Talmud Department of Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv. He worked with the well-known writer Agnon. He did not get married.


>     Avigdor, married Malka Eliashberg. Malka is part of the Eliashberg family of Lunna. No connection has been made between that family and the Eliashberg family of Ivenets and Vilna. See Efron Genealogy Volume II entries. Malka Eliashberg was a paternal aunt of Israeli genealogy enthusiast Ruth Marcus, who has done extensive research of the shtetl Lunna. From Ruth I received biographical information on various Lunna connections to the Efron family history, including a write-up about the Bialostotcky family [GEN--].


>     >     Aviva, d. in Holocaust.


>     >     Arie (Lolek), d. in Holocaust.


>     Tauba Grodzins, b. 1897, d. 1959, Middletown, NY, married abt. June 1924 to David Grodzins (Grodzinsky), b. abt. 1893, Miroslaw, Suwalk, Lithuania, d. 1941, Manchester, NH. A 1924 ship arrival shows a 27 years-old Tauba Bialoblocka from Lunna arriving in NY. She indicates that she is going to her employer, Izadore Meizel in NYC. An Isadore Meisel, b. 1893 in Lunna (son of Joseph), lived in the Bronx with his wife Clara (born in Romania) and two children. A search for information about the Bialoblotcky family led me to a certificate of arrival for Tauba Bialoblocka, which led to her naturalization papers in Boston and her married name. This in turn led to a connection with the Grodzins family.


>     Rochel. Nothing else is known about her. She may be the sister who moved to the interior of Russia, described by Tauba’s daughter, Ethel, as cutting off communications due to fear of the communist regime.


Aryeh Leib Bialablotcky’s father was Shmuel Shraga [MISC138]. A brother of Shmuel Shraga was Baruch Ruben Bialablotcky. Several children of Baruch Rubein immigrated from Pilvishok in the late 19th century to Des Moines, IA. They changed their name to Blotcky. Other family members settled in Omaha, NE. Some of the Blotcky families of Nebraska may be descendants of Shmuel Shraga. Another branch of the family went to South Carolina.


Baruch Ruben had a son named Leib, not to be confused with his nephew Leib who is the subject of this piece of the genealogy. Abraham Jacob Blotcki, the son of this other Leib, lived in Omaha, Nebraska.


A somewhat famous member of the Blotcky family was 1920s movie actress Sara Biala, a Blotcki from Des Moines (see Passport application on Ancestry). She arrived with her father in 1881 and lived in Des Moines before moving to NYC. All Bialoblotcky family members, including Leib whose family is presented here, have origins in the shtetl of Pilvishok, Lithuania.