Brian Cynamon

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I was born In London, England, where I lived until age 8. I was the result of a marri
age of 2 Polish Jews, who had ended up in England due to Hitler and Nazi Germany. My first language was Yiddish rather than English. My parents both worked in the clothing industry. Interestingly enough, my father avoided teaching me anything about tailoring, in which he was extremely skilled, due to his desire that I become something more than a tailor. We owned a house In the West Hampstead area of London which was also a rooming house. (I actually managed to visit this house, which I hadn’t seen since we left it in 1956, in 2014, when my wife and I visited London.) The house was seriously changed, but did have some characteristics which I remembered from 58 years earlier. We moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1956 and lived there for 3 years, until the U.S. government approved us for entry into the U.S.A.

We came to the Pittsburgh area at the end of 1959 and finally moved into Squirrel Hill in early 1960.

I had my bar mitzvah at Shaare Torah Congregation at the end of 1960, when I was a student at Hillel Academy. I graduated from Hillel Academy in 1966 and then went to Yeshiva University in New York for the next two years. Unfortunately, although I liked being in New York, I wasn’t doing well at Y.U. and was seriously ill while there. After this, I returned to Pittsburgh, and completed my college education, with dual majors of Psychology and Political Science, at the University of Pittsburgh.

Prior to graduating from Pitt, I became engaged and married to my lovely wife, Barbara. We have 2 adult sons, David and Chad, of whom we are both very proud. David is married to his wife of 12 years, Sora Mindy, and lives and works on the Ner Israel Yeshiva campus in Baltimore. We are now in our 46th year of marriage, so it looks like it was “a keeper.” I have been taking my wife to/from work since I retired and am responsible for the finances, food shopping, cooking, and the laundry for our household.

Around this time, I was a taxi driver and dispatcher for Yellow Cab.

Shortly afterwards, I began work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, as a caseworker. I remained at this employment for over 35 years until 2009. My last 9 years at this job were spent doing employment and training support for numerous needy clients.

Since I retired, I have remained busy doing real estate, notary public, supervising SATs and ACT exams, being a district elections judge, driving people around, shomering at various funeral homes (until 2 ½ years ago), volunteering for boy scouts, Shaare Torah Congregation (gabbai), and Beth Hamedrash HaGadol ( baal tefillah and treasurer). I have been making regular (at least monthly) visits to SCI Somerset for over 7 years and added on SCI Laurel Highlands about 2 years ago. I have also on occasion provided other appropriate services to inmates in some other Pennsylvania correctional institutions.

I truly enjoy my existence, including my being very busy most of the time, and my service to others, most particularly in our Jewish community.