Updated: Mar 19
Henry Jackson (originally: Yakov Glickman) and Irene Jackson (originally: Ida Glickman)
They are the couple Lev and Raisa talk to while waiting in line to enter the United States. Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Henry and Irene choose to change their names to fit better into the American mainstream. They believe that natural-born Americans did not want to hire people with "foreign"-sounding names, so they encourage Lev and Raisa to Anglicize their names.
This suggestion, of course, is shot down by Lev, who does not believe in changing aspects of himself to fit into society, as he and Raisa came to America to be "free."
The Abramovs' neighbour when Sam was a toddler, Mrs. Katz is a retired piano teacher who looks after Sam when his parents are at work. She had immigrated from Galicia, Poland, in the early 1890s, a few years before Sam's parents immigrated to America in 1898.
She is a kindly old lady who lets Sam do whatever he wants when he is at her place. She makes delicious food and is known particularly for her knishes.
Born in 1876, Pinchas is Joel's father. A peddler by trade, Pinchas had grown up in Lemberg, Galicia (then a part of Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine), before immigrating to New York City's Lower East Side.
A laid-back man, Pinchas tries to avoid confrontation as much as possible. He is rather passive and would prefer not to get involved in politics or anything "too extreme."
He met his wife, Rachel, back in Warsaw. In her youth, she was a striking beauty, though proud and distant.
Read more about him here.
Rachel (Rokhl) Farber
Born in 1878, Rachel is Joel's mother. She had grown up in Lemberg, Galicia (then a part of Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine) and immigrated to America in her early twenties with her husband, Pinchas.
Proud and cold, she was very proud of her good looks in her youth. She is ambitious (although she doesn't have a good work ethic) and longs for a better life. This is why she (along with Raisa and Lev, who are her friends) pushes Joel to get good marks so he can get into an elite university.
Joel probably got his hot-headed personality from her. She is much more temperamental than Pinchas and often speaks without thinking. As such, she has a tendency to hurt her husband and son with her sharp words...
Read more about her here.
Sam's classmate. Tim is a friendly, outgoing young boy who is interested in trains, baseball, and exploring the Lower East Side.
Doris is the Dean (Benajmin Cox)'s wife.
Doris met the Dean at 29 and married him when she was 30 and he was 25.
At that time, the Dean was working on his PhD thesis in theology, which centered on how the Old Testament differed from the New Testament and how the Old Testament informs New Testament ethics.
Doris is the daughter of an influential Evangelical Protestant pastor, who knew the Dean from their trips to the museum and Bible studies. Both Doris' father and the Dean are particularly interested in Old Testament prophecies (particularly about the Second Coming), which lays the groundwork for the Dean's later friendship with Joel.
Doris is a tall, lanky woman who has no real passions or sense of self. She has always felt self-conscious about her height (she towers over most men at 177 cm) and never felt she was interesting or beautiful enough.
She is not a self-aware person and mostly married the Dean because he checked off all the right boxes and because she was "getting old." Although the Dean is a respectful, considerate, and righteous man who always remembers their anniversaries and gives her lavish gifts for her birthday, she never comes to love him (and vice versa). On the surface, they appear to be a great couple, but they never experience any kind of satisfying emotional, sexual, or even spiritual (despite both of them having Bible Studies at least twice a week) intimacy with one another.
This is why Doris has an affair with Ardalion in 1921, when she is 60 and Ardalion is in his late 40s. At this point of her life, she knows better than to expect love - but with Ardalion, at least she can experience some exciting moments.
Sam in New York Anthology
Dr. Glickman is one of the psychotherapists on the Lower East Side.
He acts as Sam’s therapist in the alternative timeline short story, “Farewell, My Father’s Son,” (which is the first story of the “Sam in New York” anthology) and is canonically Joel and his mother Rachel’s therapist.
Born and raised in Odessa, he immigrated to the Lower East Side in the early 1900s. Like Ardalion, he has a deep understanding of human nature and is privy to a lot of the problems and private drama of many people living on the Lower East Side, due to the nature of his work.
In contrast to Ardalion, whose purpose is to provoke and challenge people’s sense of self and societal norms, Glickman seeks to help people work through their complexes.