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


Bruce Drake
 

In this chapter from the Yizkor book of book of Zloczew, Poland, Israel Katz relates this scene from a wedding: the bride among her women friends while in the next room, there were only men, speaking of Torah. “None of the men even cast an eye towards the women, who – as appropriate for women – were busy with 'silly matters.'”
“Women of Zloczew” is a portrait of the woman’s place in the Jewish shtetl, playing a role that was subservient to men but, at the same time, the very foundation of family life. A man went to Cheder and studied the Torah and became the head of his household. “The woman had to be a loyal servant for him, and run his household, bear his children, and was a help for him, or many times she herself was the one who worked for a living. For all that, her entire reward was the pleasure she had that her husband earned respect or that he was given a prominent Aliyah.” For the morning till night household chores, “the day was too short.” And, she would often help earn the family’s living. When she gave birth to a child, the father was the recipient of pats on the back and mazel tovs, with friends “winking with their eyes as to what an accomplishment he had achieved.”
Katz tells of a young woman on her wedding throne as an entertainer sang a melody that started with the line “Cry, dear bride, cry”… and the bride actually was able to cry, because at that moment when her throne was dismantled after the wedding, her relative freedom was ended.”


--
Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Researching: DRACH, EBERT, KIMMEL, ZLOTNICK
Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel