Isaac was born to a religious Jewish family in the Ukrainian village of Vachnovka. In 1912 he married Machla Sandler. Isaac had worked as a cattle driver, driving herds from markets as far away as Warsaw, but in 1929, hoping to find new employment, Isaac moved the family to the nearby city of Vinnitsa, which by then was part of the Soviet Union. Isaac and Machla raised six children.
1933-39: In the early 1930s a severe famine swept the Ukraine. Isaac's family survived, but times were hard. Isaac found work as a teamster, transporting stone and brick by wagon, but by the mid-1930s he was forced to find other employment. Isaac managed to get a job as a night watchman, and also collected taxes from merchants displaying their wares in Vinnitsa's market square.
1940-41: In June 1941 Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The people of Vinnitsa panicked: Many thought the city was doomed. Isaac and Machla were sure that the Germans would be stopped at the border. Still, to be safe, they tried to get their children onto a train to the east. But train passes were only being issued to relatives of Red Army officers and communists. One of these people offered their oldest daughter, Frida, a pass. As her train departed, Isaac threw his son, Moishe, on board.
The Germans took Vinnitsa in July 1941. Machla was murdered that September in a mass killing. Isaac and his daughter Yeva were murdered in a mass killing on April 16, 1942.