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

Bruce Drake

The Sabbath was such a central part of Jewish life in the shtetls that it is hardly surprising that so many Yizkor books have chapters about how it was celebrated in their towns. Preparation began days in advance: the shopping for the staples of the Sabbath meals, housewives bringing their cholent to the baker to keep it warm for the next morning, or buying a newspaper to have something to read on Saturday. Then there were the rituals of the holy day and the merriness that followed.
One thing that stands out in all these accounts, in addition to the sanctity of the day, is how much the Sabbath was a respite from the rigors of life. Such is the case in “Sabbath in Mezritsh” from the Yizkor book of Mezritsh (Miedzyrzec Podalsky) in Poland:
“One could already notice, in the early evening on Lubliner Street, that the Sabbath was slipping away. Young and old strolled along the street, saying to each other, ‘Tomorrow, Sunday, the toil of the week begins again.’”

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel