Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Teachers, Same Students, And Bottles of Norvasc & Lisinopril


"I Kill Them With Kindness"

Deveira:  I can't get these kids to do their work.  Not in the classroom and nothing at home.  They won't listen to me. I've been taking blood pressure pills for years.  The kids, they are killing me.  How do you do it?

Hinda:  Well, Deveira, when I was their age I was a prisoner... treated worse than cattle, worse than farm animals.  Nazi guards, may their souls be erased from the universe, had some very effective means to make us obey them.  Those techniques are not allowed here at our school.  In any case, I did not survive the impossible to emulate my captors.  I remembered a better way from before the madness.

Deveira:  Hinda, they do anything and everything for you, not so for me.  Why?  How?  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Good Man

A Match made...

B"H, Uncle Yosef was a good man.  Uncle Yosef was the son of Bubbe Raisel's best friend.  She did not have many friends in the family nor out of the family, but, Uncle Yosef's mother, Irena, was very sisterly to her.  And I would imagine that in Bubbe Raisel's loneliness and loss that she was sisterly in return.  When Uncle Yosef was a young man he fell in love with the only child of a  survivor.  Sonia survived some dreadful pogroms, massacres.  Her only child came to her from a brutal rape.  So brutal that Sonia had been left for dead.  A peasant woman found her still breathing and nursed her back to life and health.  Polina was born nine months later.  The peasant lady, Bogdana, may G-d elevate her soul again and again, loved Sonia and baby Lina.  They made a wonderful family.  But, the world they knew continued to convulse.  Bogdana -- the healer, caregiver, home-maker, savior -- decided that she, Sonia, and Lina should leave all they knew and should walk, no run, far away from the madness.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I met my son twenty years before he was born


Bubbe Raisel Goes Shopping:
On a mission

 The conversation...

Bubbe Raisel - You have to get married for the sake of your son.  ...  Here hold this.  (She passes a blue shirt-dress to her granddaughter.)

Anna - Wait, Bubbe, what son?  (hanging the dress back on the rack)

B.R. - Your son.  Here hold this.  (a beautiful paisley silk scarf that would have matched that dress)

A. - (putting the scarf down)  My son!  What son!  There has to be a guy!

B.R. - That's what I'm talking about.  Here hold this.  (a beautiful blue lace camisole that would have matched the dress AND the scarf)

A. - (placing the camisole back on the display counter)  Oy, Bubbe, I'm busy.  I'm studying, I'm teaching. 

B.R. -  Why do you think we are shopping today?  You need to get married for the sake of your son!  (They are walking around as the older lady re-gathers the dress, the scarf, and the camisole.)  Here, don't put these down again.  Hold them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank you to my readers in Germany. Etwas auf Deutsch


Der groesste Konzertsaal und das Zimmer der Katze 

Charakteristisch fuer eine alte Zeit war das Zimmer, wo ich zehn Jahre lang Klavierspielen lernte.  Einmal in der Woche ging ich zu der Wohnung meiner Musiklehrerin (sie war nicht nur die beste Klavierlehrerin, sondern auch die beste Lehrerin fuer Musikgeschichte und -Theorie).  Ihr Reiz, und der Reiz des Zimmers, bezauberten mich immer.  Es gab zwei Klaviere, die aus Wien (City-of-Music) kamen, woher meine Lehrerin auch kam, und die Klaviere(Boesendorfer) fuegten sich wie ein Zusammensetzspiel aneinander.  Alles andere in diesem Zimmer hatte auch mit Musik zu tun, und kam auch aus Wien.  

Vergilbte Seiten der schoenen Musik, die ich liebte, eingerahmt an den Waenden, und auf den Stellagen gab es Miniaturportraets der beruehmten Komponisten.  Naechst den Miniaturportraets standen kleine Glasfiguren -- musizierende Kinder.  Ich brauchte den Raum nur anzusehen, so konnte ich in der Stille Musik fuehlen.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Memory of L.K.G., a tender soul gone from this world too soon... too soon


Baruch Dayan HaEmet* 

Bubbe Cilpa, a koch-lechel* in her prime, was in hospice, asleep for two weeks, no food, no water, I don't know what else.  Tante* Rena, her middle child was there every day.  After two weeks with nothing happening Tante and the nurse were wondering if they should change their plan of action.  What's going on?  Was Cilpa comfortable?  Was she bored?  At ninety-seven years old was she staying in this world because she considered her daughters incompetents?  

In Memory of L.K.G.: Therefore Choose Life!


Relive the Creation of the World*


Dina:  Moshe, wake up my love.  The telephone...

Reb Moshe Abramovitsch*:  Dina, thank you.  I am waking up.  Please remember, it is not the telephone, it is a person in distress.

D to RMA:  Yes, yes, yes.

D to Anna (person on the phone):  Hello, my dear.  The rabbi will be here in a moment.  

A:  Oh, I shouldn't be calling.  She's not dead ...

D:  Where are you?

A:  Weiss Memorial Hospital, the I.C.U.

D:  It's good that you called.  Here, the rabbi is ready for you.  

A to D:  Thank you. 

RMA:  Rabbi Moshe Abramovitsch speaking.  How may I help you?

A:  I'm sorry, sorry.  I shouldn't... She's not dead... I can't...  I made a mistake.  I'm so sorry that I woke you and your wife.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday evening, the corset, and a "bissel* schnaps"


The Corset

My Bubbe* Pheema would stay with us every Saturday night.  Mom and Dad would go out.  Sometimes Cousin Dalyah would join my sister Rina and me.  I remember a moment in the evening while we were getting ready for bed.  I was already in my nightgown.  Bubbe Pheema was changing for the evening, too.  She had taken off her dress.  We were standing near the closet because she was placing the garment carefully on a sculpted wooden hanger.  In the next few seconds she would have the whole thing, hanger and dress, nicely situated in the closet for the night.  Then the most amazing transformation occurred.  Bubbe Pheema began to undo her corset (see Short history of Corsets).  It was a magnificent garment made by her very hands.