BY PHIL CANTOR
AUGUST 23, 2013
In July 1913, eight days after my father Herb Cantor was born, the extended family gathered together in the Lower East Side of Manhattan to celebrate. And, from that party, the Israel Cantor Family Society was born.
Five Score years and one month later, we are gathered in the Connecticut countryside to commemorate the long life of one American family, whose roots are firmly in the immigrant experience.
It’s my observation that immigrants are a self-selected group of strong-willed people who are self-starters and go-getters , who got up and left for a better life.
From the Lower East Side, we spread across the continent — and as the generations continue, we became artists, homemakers, students, doctors, teachers, writers, engineers, lawyers, businesspeople, leaders, social workers, camp counselors, editors, planners, IT experts, dental hygienists, bankers, and even photographers.
And, now we begin another celebration, our 100th Anniversary. We have so much planned for this weekend. But, from time to time, take a look around you. Look at this well-known portrait of our founder and look to see how this family has advanced. This weekend is the story of our family, and it is the story of Jews from the shtetl who came to America and prospered, changing themselves and the country itself.
When I was putting together the invitation for the weekend, I came up with the idea of bringing my great-grandfather into the 21st Century by adding a hipster look, since he already had a hipster hat.
Technically, I needed a way to photograph the glasses on somebody’s face, that would then allow me to Photoshop the two images together. I needed a face with a somewhat similar structure. I spent a day trying to figure out who I would photograph with the sunglasses. Finally, I looked in the mirror, and then I knew. I saw my father’s face and his father’s face. And now, tonight, as I look around this room, at my sons, nieces, nephews, cousins….if I look closely… I see many of those same eyes and those same cheekbones.