It is truly amazing to me how the Keidaner circles remain unbroken. Your
introduction immediately reminded me of part of a memoir which my
grandfather wrote in 1940, describing in great detail how Simchas Torah was
celebrated back in Keidan. The account -- which appeared in Yiddish in 1940,
in a booklet published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Keidaner
Association of New York -- contains a number of mini-portraits of memorable
figures >from the old town. One lovely section in particular describes the
annual holiday banquet of the Khevra Kadisha, the burial society. Here is
part of that:
Gershon Pimshtein, the bookbinder, was a cheerful pauper. But besides being
the Torah-reader in the shul and a fine musician, he was also a stutterer.
Remarkably, however, he stuttered only in Yiddish. When it came to Hebrew,
such as in reading the Torah or praying, he spoke smoothly, without a hint
of a stammer. His Torah recitations were actually quite melodious, and it
was very pleasant to hear him lead the congregation.
After Gershon had had a few drinks, he offered up his favorite chant:
"Oy, v'kol ma'aminim! [And all believe]
"G-G-od m-m-must b-b-be s-s-served,
"M-m-must b-b-e s-s-served sh-sh-should be s-s-served.
"And w-w-why sh-sh-shouldn't he b-b-be s-s-served?
"And w-w-when we s-s-serve him w-we m-must h-h-have a l-l-lit-tle v-v-odka!"
"Hatseyfe laroshe v'khofeytz behitsodka." [And the wicked are turned toward
And so forth, rhyming in stammered Yiddish the verses of "V'kol ma'aminim,"
which sounds very melodic when sung, although not when stammered.
This is easily my favorite of all the Keidan memoirs I've come across, and
one day I'd like to see it published somewhere commercially. (Which is why
it's not on the web site.) But I'll be happy to email you the full text if
Meanwhile, welcome to the Keidan group, and thanks for sharing your family
All the best,