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

Bruce Drake

At the end of each week, we have been featuring excerpts from Yizkor books in JewishGen's archive. You can find the archive of past Yizkor book excerpts here: If you are not familiar with the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, please click on this link:
When the dread time arrived in Jewish towns when boys turning 21 had to enroll in the military, fathers would groan and mothers wring their hands, but the youths were less dispirited: there were two ways that they dealt with it. One was to spend the next few weeks following regimens that might get them rejected, like not eating and drinking enough. The other way of passing time during the weeks of “self-torture” was conjuring up pranks to play. As “An Event in the Shtetl” from the Yizkor book of Mlyniv & Muravytsi (Ukraine) says: “When one is young, one can make a comedy out of a tragedy.”
In this case, the youths wanted to play a special prank that the shtetl would remember and consulted Shmuel, the town joker.
“I have a plan for you,” Shmuel the joker said.
“Today is Thursday night and tomorrow is Friday before Shabbes. And Jews have to go Friday to the bath to steam their bones and to wash in honor of Shabbes. I want you to heat up the community bath, and to let all the craftsmen and the poor to come in for free, without money.”
This predictably did not delight the more well-to-do. The chapter recounts how it all played out.

The full Mlyniv & Muravytsi book in translation is now available in print. You can find details on how to order it here:

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel