A Newtownabbey man’s family history has featured as the subject of a compelling new book, which was launched recently in the Belfast Synagogue.
‘More Than a Suitcase of Memories’ traces the roots of Elliot Matthews, who has lived on Thorburn Road for over 25 years.
The book gives an insight into how the Matthews family left Zhager in Lithuania in 1890 fleeing the tyranny of Tsarist Russia and settled in the Ulster market town of Lurgan in County Armagh and how they integrated into the Lurgan community, developed their Jewish identity and ran a successful business which provided a service for the town.
Elliot 86, and his 92-year-old brother Sammy are the only surviving sons from that dynasty.
Linda Fullerton the author, who hails from Lurgan, spoke of her memories as a little girl growing up in Lurgan and retained a fascination and affection of the family which inspired her to research and write the book.
“It is a very heart warming story of a family who knew tragedy and happiness, gain and loss and made the best of things”, said Linda.
“It makes light reading and I know it will have a wide appeal; it’s wonderful to reflect on the Matthews’ story and all the Jewish people that came over.
“They merged their own culture with ours. The Matthews family are as Jewish as a bagel and as Ulster as a soda farl.”
Elliot said: “Linda has written this book in a very warm and sometimes very touching manner; neither she has forgotten to include some of the lighter, even humorous moments amongst the hard times.”
The book is available for £7.95 plus postage by contacting email@example.com