This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page

Bruce Drake

“My Mother’s Reminiscences of her Shtetl,” from the Yizkor book of Yedwabne (Poland), is a remembrance by noted scholar William W. Brickman who was born on New York’s Lower East Side in 1913. This excerpt is animated by the mother, Chayeh Soreh, whose “unparalleled sense of humor expressed itself in rhymes, bilingual puns, and stories” which Brickwell recounts in Yiddish along with the English translation. A priceless one is the comment she would make after going to a wedding or Bar Mitzvah meal that was wanting: "Fish un flaysh ayin lo roassa, tish un benk azay vi holtz," or “No one ever saw fish and meat, but tables and benches were as abundant as wood.” Immigrants on the Lower East Side whose practice of Jewish law in America did not match their standard in the Old Country would be characterized as follows : "In der haym, az er hot gehaysen Mendel, hot men gemegt essen fun zyn fendel; in Amerikeh, az men ruft em Max, meg men by em nor essen lox," or, “In Europe, where he was known by the Jewish name of Mendel, one could eat everything at his home; in America, with the non-Jewish name of Max, one can eat only smoked salmon.”  

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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