Part 1: About the name

I grew up with stories about my family’s homeland. “Kibrick” is my family’s real last name. Upon arrival at Ellis Island in 1917, my grandfather William Kibrick (born in 1901) and his family added the name Bernstein like the family members that had arrived before him had done. They did so to rid themselves of their slavic sounding last name, and at the same time emphasize their Jewish heritage with a well known “American style” Jewish name. In an effort to quickly “forget” the social, economic and religious oppression that they had suffered under for generations, they immediately repressed/displaced everything Ukrainian. The entire family stopped speaking (and reading and writing) Ukrainian immediately, and the next generation were told that they were not Ukrainians.

The only thing they kept were their Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish cultural traditions. The music of this culture includes- Klezmer (instrumental folk music), Jewish liturgical music (religious vocal music) and folk songs and other music sung in Yiddish. William loved all of this music and he often sang and played records for me.