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


Bruce Drake
 

“Woronow Jews observed ancient religious traditions that had been handed down from father to son… Without this religious base and these customs our lives were meaningless… God was the foundation of the Jew's dreary, indigent life.”

So begins this account of “Jewish types, their character traits, fanatic; customs and religious mysticism; religious and folk songs” from the Yizkor book of Woronow (Voronova) in Belarus. But along with traditional Jewish worship, there were strands of “mystical belief in dreams, remedies, signs, destiny, astrology and magic.” When a woman was in labor she was led seven times around three Jews who were praying, in prayer shawls and phylacteries,” reciting psalms and the Prayer for the Sick.When a person had a toothache, he was "talked out of it," the "evil eye" was driven away. To keep the evil eye away, mothers would attach an onion with salt to the child's underwear, or tie a red cotton string around its wrist. Mitzvahs included wearing four tassels on undergarments; not mixing meat and dairy dishes; not wearing clothing made of cloth that mixed linen and wool; a mezuzah in every Jewish home.

This excerpt is filled with wonderful detail and anecdotes and personalities revolving around life in Woronow and the ways it was interwoven with religious faith.

URL: https://www.facebook.com/JewishGen.org/posts/3279201698768629?__tn__=K-R

Bruce Drake

Silver Spring MD

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