Welcome to SEPLOWITZ.net

 If your name is Seplowitz, Cheplowitz, Zeplowitz, Czepliewicz, Seplo, Seplow, Cheplo, etc., you may find some very interesting information about your family background here.

 My name is Yerachmiel Seplowitz.  I am a rabbi and Mohel in Monsey, New York.  My grandfather, Rachmiel Seplowitz (Tzeplyevich?) came to America from Postov (Pastavi, Belarus) in 1904.  His father was Pinchas (“Pinya der Groisser — Pinya the Big”) son of Yossel (Yosef) son of Pinchas, who was born in Postav around 1800.

I have been doing research on my family tree, finding a few relatives (including a fourth cousin, once removed, whose son’s Bris I later had the honor of performing) and a lot of MAYBE relatives.  I have found that almost every Seplowitz, Cheplowitz, etc. that I have come across has roots in or around Postav.

My aunt heard from my grandfather that there was a street in Postov where everyone was a Seplowitz. (I suspect that the reason my great-grandfather was known is “Big Pinya” was that apparently Pinchas was a common name in the family [his grandfather’s name was also Pinchas] and he may have had that nickname to distinguish him from a younger cousin and neighbor, “Little Pinya.”)

THIS PAGE 

This page is a work in progress.  Over time, I hope to include family trees of various Seplowitz families.  (With the hope, of course, of figuring out how, if it all, the various families are linked.)  I encourage you to send me whatever information you have.  We will endeavor to process the information in an organized fashion.

Meanwhile, here are a few links that you may find to be of interest:

I have made some interesting discoveries on JewishGen.org. I am including some information about Seplowitzes in Postov as well as in Danilovich, a neighboring town.  I strongly recommend

http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/postavy/postavy.html  It has a wealth of links to pictures and articles.

http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/dunilovichi/dunilovichi.html has several Cepelowicz pictures)

For some interesting family tree information, be sure to check out http://home.earthlink.net/~cherlinfamily/Trees/sepl1.html and http://home.earthlink.net/~cherlinfamily/Ref/EI/seplow04.html


SPELLING (AND MEANING

Whether you are Seplowitz, Cheplowitz, Zeplowitz, Tzeplowitz, Czepliewicz, etc., or any shortened version thereof, it is clear that the original name is “Tsep____” with the Hebrew letter “Tsaddi” (צ).  “Lithuanian” Jews (“Litvaks”) sometimes pronounce a Tzaddi more like a “TSHaddi,” hence Cheplowitz.  Depending upon how “Litvish” your ancestor’s pronunciation at Ellis Island was may be the determining factor in how the Immigration official heard it, and spelled it.

One theory, based on word-of-mouth tradition, plus a little detective work and knowledge of Russian suggests that the name means “Son of a Heron.”  Heron in Russian is Tsaplya — цапля  (See this origin for the name Chaplin.) I later found in a Postov Yizkor book a Yiddish spelling (צעפליעוויטש) that suggests the pronunciation “Tzep-Lye-vich.”  Pretty close.          

LUBAVICH 

I come – or at least I THOUGHT I come – from a totally non-Chassidic background.  Litvaks have generally been known for being advocates of a non-Chassidic, sometimes even anti-Chassidic, approach to Orthodox Judaism.  I was surprised to learn, quoted from a memorial book, that until World War I, every Jew in Postov (including, therefore, my ancestors) was a Lubavicher Chossid.  This seemed to be confirmed when I was contacted by a fellow named Cepelewicz, who grew up  in Vilna, but was born in Danilovich, not far from Postov.  Mr. Cepelewicz (spelled, by the way, with a Tzaddi) told me that the ENTIRE Jewish population of Danilovich consisted of Lubavicher Chassidim.

HOWEVER:

Mr. Cepelewicz was apparently mistaken.  Mr. Cepelewicz, (who has, since I spoke with him, passed away) was certainly aware of his own family background, which was Lubavich.  But there seems to be an indication that he may have been mistaken about the total make-up of the town of his youth.  There is a translation of a Danilovich Yizkor book, “The Annihilation of Dunilovichi”  The book states that:

There were three synagogues in Dunilovichi. There was a “mitnagid” synagogue (A traditional orthodox synagogue, as opposed to Hasidic). As the oldest and largest synagogue in town, the synagogue supported its own rabbi. Most of the poor Jews prayed in the small shul, the most strictly observant synagogue in town. The wealthy and not-so-observant Jews prayed in the “aristocratic shul.”

 (By the way, a few pages later you can see a picture of the Cepelowics family)

As far as the Chassidic nature of Postov itself, the Postov Yizkor Book states, under the heading, “Postavy History until 1914” that:

There were 2 Rabbis In the shtetl one was Hassidic and one a “misnaged” (opposed to Hassidism). There were 3 shochets (ritual slaughterers).. There was a “Chevra Kadisha” (Jewish Burial Society), an “Hachnasat Orchim” and “Linas Ha’Tzedek” (Hospitality committee and a bed for the night establishment, all free of charge). People would volunteer to sit with the sick through the night, especially the ill that were alone and had no family in town. There was also a local doctor. The Jewish occupations in town were diverse. There were storekeepers and laborers. Some were loggers who sent products to the faraway cities. Many made a living from the market day. The peasants from the surrounding villages would bring grain cattle and other products to sell. Wagoneers made their living by carrying passengers and products to and from the station, which was 2 kilometers away.

This contradictory information illustrates how difficult a study like this is.  There was certainly a Chassidic presence, possibly even majority, in these two towns.  But the jury is still out on how, if at all, Chassidic the family actually was. (The above-mentioned Mr. Cepelewicz certainly came from a Lubavicher Chassidic background.)  The bottom line, fellow Postovers, is that we are NOT (necessarily) Chassidic!


SOME UNFORTUNATE SEPLOWITZ HISTORY

In the Postov book, it tells us under the Heading’ “The First Victims” that the Germans took Jews …

 “…to Zalman Cepelevitz’s house and there imprisoned in a dark cellar. They were kept there until the following evening. Afterwards, to the accompaniment of music, they were taken to the outskirts of Vilna Street, where they were all shot.”

Immediately following that quote, we read:   

For the Cepelevitz family 

Zalman Ceplovic was born in Postavy in 1894 to Moshe and Naomi. He was a grain merchant and married to Rakhel ( she survived).he perished in Postavy in 1942. The son of Zalman; Mendel, survived and lived in Tel Aviv Schmuel Ceplovic was born in Postavy in 1886 to Moshe and Naomi. He was a grocery owner and married He perished with his son Ljewa Ceplovic Elijau Ceplovic was born in Postavy in 1884 to Moshe and Naomi. He was a textile merchant and married Mosche Ceplovic was born in Postavy in 1874. He was a contractor and married. Prior to WWII he lived in Postavy Yekutiel Cepelevitz was born in Postavy in 1888 to Meir. He was a butcher and married to Khaia nee Katz. his son Haime survived and lived in Brazil. Khana Cheplovitz was born in Postavy in 1911 to Khaia and Yekutiel. She was a seamstress and single. Yeshayahu Cheplovitz was born in Postavy 1915 to Khaia and Yekutiel. He was a pupil and single Pesia Cepelowicz was born in Postavy 1913 to Khaia and yekutiel. She was a housewife and single They all perished. 

The Germans did not tell anyone that they were shot. They said that they were sent to Germany for forced labor. The Christians who dug the pit in which they were all buried, told the Jews that they were shot. Permission was obtained to give them a proper Jewish burial only 4 months later, after paying heavy bribes. 

A short time later the German forces took a few more Jews. They were Chaim-Elye Tzepelovitsh and Weiner’s two sons-in-law, Leibe Reichel (Yaakov Leibe Reikhel was married to Yokheved nee Khodosh. His granddaughter survived and lived in Kibbutz Naan but it could be another Reichel- there were many Reichels in Postavy) , the brick-maker, and Misha Zaslavsky {Moshe Zaslavski was born in Kiew, Ukraine in 1892. He was a metalworker and married to Sonia nee Shnitzer. During the war was in Postawy, Poland, his daughter survived }. They were all shot.     

 


On http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Hlybokaye/hly375.html it lists, among the survivors of the Postov Ghetto, “Fanye Tzepliovitsh and 3 children – In Postov”   Here is some Danilovich information:

Dunilowicze (Dunilovichi)
Jewish residents in 1939

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

Surname Head of household Number of
family
members
MEIROVITCH Yeshaia – Rabbi 5
MUSHKAT P. Leib 9
SHEREL Avraham Yosel 4
SHEREL Shmuel Zelig 3
KOPILOVITCH Yitzhak Natan 5
CHADASH Leib 2
CHADASH Rachel
ZAMIEVSKI 5
CHAIKIN Chaim Zalman 4
BADANES Leja 2
CHAIKIN Rivka 1
SHAPIRA Yosef 4
GUREVITCH Gershon 4
Leizer “the Dockshitzer” 3
FELSHER Chaia Sara 3
ZAIANTZ Nachum 2
ZAIANTZ Leib 4
MUSHKAT Raphael 3
BARKIN Hirsh Tevel 6
MUSHKAT Mordechai 3
AKS Chaim Zelig 8
Zerch the Shamash 3
KAPILOVITCH Zusman 5
ZAK Moshe 6
GUREVITCH Siontsh 4
SWERDLIN Michael 4
YAFFE Chaim 3
BRODNE Chaim 3
MUSHKAT Pesach Raphael 3
BRODNE Dr. Eliyahu 4
GOLDMAN Eishi Gershon 2
GOLDMAN Ytza Chone 4
GOLDMAN Sara Leja 1
Feygel nee Goldman 4
KLONSKI Zisman 2
ZUKERMAN Zalman 4
SARA? Basha 3
MINDER Ytzhak 2
MINDEL Yoel 2
MINDEL Yashke 3
LIVSHITZ Mordechai 6
LIVSHITZ Yshaya 2
GOLDMAN Avraham Chaim 3
SWIRSKI Yoel Pinia 3
GOLDMAN Nachum Eliyahu 3
Rubin 4
Mordechai – the shochet 4
FRIEDMAN Yeshaia – the shamash 8
LIGOMSKI Shmuel Yaakov 2
LIGOMSKI Aharon 5
Shmuel Ytzhak 3
SWERDLIN Israel Yankel 2
FORMAN Reuven 9
GUREVITCH Baruch 4
Sara Beila 1
Leybke, son of Sara Beila 3
The “Shteper” 5
GORDON Shmuel 1
TEPER Frumka 7
The “Prizerer” 4
ZIPILEVITZ Pinchas 4
GAZ Hirshel 2
GAZ Peretz 2
GAZ Beylka 3
GAZ Chaim Dan 3
GENDEL Leibka 6
CHADASH Leybke 3
SWERDLIN Leybke 4
GORDON Binia 4
TROZKY Aharon 2
TROZKY Gdalia 3
ZIPELEVITZ Pesia 3
ZIPELEVITZ Sara 3
ZIPELEVITZ Basha 2
SOLOVAY Chaia Sara 4
GORDON Zalman Leib 2
GORDON Avraham – the Shamash 3
FISHER Avraham 5
FISHER Ester 3
KATZOVITZ Feiga Simka 2
SKRANSKY Avraham Meir 4
KATZIN Ben Zion 4
ZIPELEVITZ Moshe 4
ULMAN Hinda 3
BENYA Zalman 3
MANPIL Shlomo 3
GAZ Avraham Hirsh 1
Disha Leja 4
CHADASH Chaim Leib 2
KAGAN Chaim Ytzhak 4
CHADASH Mendel 3
SHNIEDER Chaim Yashka 5
LINKOWSKI Yosef 5
TAITCH Aharon 2
SLAVIN Eirma 4
DAZKES Eizik 2
REYZEL Chaim 2
Reuven the “Shteper” 4
GORDON Yankel 2
KLINER Zusman 3
GENDEL Yankel 2
SHTEINGRAB Ytzhak 4
RAYCHEL Leib 7
SKRONSKY Leib 6
GENDEL Yudel 2
MINDEL Wolke 6
MINDEL Leib
ZAIANTZ Avraham
SHIMON Wolfovitz 5
BOROSOK Baruch 3
ZIPELEVITZ Leyzer 3
LURIA Leyka 3
FEYGEL Dan 7
ZIMCHAVITCH Moshe 6
ZIMCHAVITCH Binyamin 4
KLEINER Shimon 4
MENCHES Zadik 4
GRILICHER Israel 3
Chaim – the baker 2
ABILOVITCH Noach 3
ABILOVITCH Moshe 3
CHADASH Avraham 2
CHADASH Shimon 3
MINDEL Noach 2
ZAITLIN Meir Mordechai 2
ZAITLIN Berl 3
BASS Ester 3
PERLMAN Meir Hirsh 3
GENDEL Chana 2
FEIGEL Ytzhak 2
GORDON Israel Leyzer 1
ZIPELEVITZ Natan 4
DLUT Ruvke 5
GORDON Baruch 9
KAMINKOVITCH Berl 6
LEYKAS’S PARENTS Zipa 2
ZIPELEVITCH Shlomo 7
GAZ Gershon 3
BLIAT Israel 5
DRATWE Max 6
KATZOVITZ Abba Hirsh 2
DLUT Gita Chyena 4
CHADASH Chaim Yosef 6
CHADASH Natan 6
Chaia Rivka 3
Meir – “the Blecher” 3
KAGAN Zalman 5
GORDON Geshe 4
SWERDLIN Shepsel 2
KATZ Yuda 4
Pinile – the water carrier 1
RAZAVO Zalman 5
ZINGER Beinesh 2
SKRANSKY Shmuel Yehuda 3
GUREVITCH Shalom 3
CHADASH Yehuda (Yudel) 6
RUDERMAN Zalman 9
YASIN Breine Ruderman and Yudel 2
DRUTZ Aharon Zelig 3
MANPIL Yosef 4
RAICHEL Chaim Mordechai 3
Nachum – the “Blacher” 4
Chaim Gershon – the tailor 3
PEROVOSKIN Shmuel Hirsh 2
KAGAN Chaim 4
GORDON Yankel 4
Mota Zatzman – the “Beder” 4
PERMAN Feivel 3
GINSBURG Meir Bar 6
YAFFE Chaze 5
BEIRACH Yashka 3
GUREVITCH Yisrael Chaim 3
GUREVITCH Avraham 2
GUREVITCH Shalom 3
GUREVITCH Gershon 4
FISHER Chaim 6
GORDON Ytzka 2
GORDON Gdalia 2
GORDON Dinka 1
SHAPIRA Yosef 4
ZIPELEVITZ Myashka 4
IZIKSON Feiga 3
BERMAN Mota 4
ABEL Yankel 3
RAICHEL Leib 8
NARUTZKI Shalom 7
TODER David Meir 3
SHNEIDER Leib 4
GORDOL Ytzka 4
GUREVITCH Michel 4
GUREVITCH Ytka 3
KORITZKY Shlomo Meir 5
GENDEL Yudel the “ladiks” 2
Chaim the “ Zavorotker” 4
KLEINER Aharon Leib 4
WOLLICH Yosef 3
KLEINER Zishka 2
KLEINER Yzka 1
KLEINER Pyase 1
ARKA Aronovitch 4
GORDON Yosef 4
SKRANSKY Yisrael Eliyahu 3
MINDEL Ytzka 7
ZIPELEVITZ Hendel 4
DRUTZ Eisar 8
GUREVITCH Dvora 1
GORDON Simka Eisars 3
Leja Shmuel Ytzas 3
YANKOIF Mota 5
SCHNEIDER Miyashke 4
ZIPELEVITZ Pinchas Ore 3
David – the shoemaker 2
GUREVITCH Eliakim 4
GARBER Eliyahu Moshe 6
MINDER Yechiel 4
GENDEL Zire 2
YAFFE Chaim 3
BENSON Welwel 3
WEXLER Yishaya 4
FINKELSHTEIN Leja Draiza 6
The Dolhinover glass maker 4

900 souls perished in Dunilowicze on November 22nd, 1942


Jewish survivors who were in Dunilowicze during the war


Country where they resided when the list was made (c 1950)    

Immigrated to North America after the war 

Surname  Head of household  
ZIPELEVITZ   Myashka 

 


DNA RESEARCH   

Are we all related?  Maybe yes.  Maybe no.  Another Postov/Seplowitz descendent and I both submitted DNA samples to test for common paternal ancestors.  We didn’t match.  Another acquaintance of mine, also a Seplowitz of Postov origin, submitted his DNA and we are a match.  It turns out that we share a common paternal ancestor going back at least 6 or 7 generations.

Last names were often “borrowed” to keep children from larger families out of the army by claiming that the child was from another, smaller family.  There were, of course, adoptions, and since last names are relatively new, if a man without a last name married a woman with one, or if he married into a respected family, the man might take the woman’s name.

We are looking for Seplowitzes who are interested in participating in the DNA research.  In the near future, we plan to set up a Seplowitz surname project at FamilyTreeDNA.com. For more details on the research, and information on DNA testing at discounted rates, contact my relative Dr. Jeffrey Schweitzer (confirmed by DNA!)  at dentate@mac.com.

Be well,

Sincerely,
Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz
TorahTalk.org
BrisRabbi.com
brisrabbi@gmail.com

(800) 836-6435  (83MOHEL)

P.S. I have two articles of my own, “Exodus from Belarus” and “Sure, You’ve Got the Keys, But Who’s Really Driving?” , that you may find to be of interest.

 

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Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment