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"Just like my Zeide"

Friday, 16 March, 2012 - 12:54 pm

A member of the Jewish community, who is a social worker, informed me of a current patient in the Jubilee hospital who speaks only Yiddish and Russian. Being that I speak Yiddish, she asked if I can visit. 

Yesterday I made it over. I sat next to Vladimir and began speaking to him in Yiddish. His eyes lit up when he heard those Yiddish words - "Mame Loshon". Speaking his childhood tongue made him travel back in time, and without me asking, he started sharing his memories of growing up in Chernovcy, Ukraine. He spoke of the beautiful Synagogue, the lively community, the town that was once a "Jewish Shtetel" and lost its identity with the rise of communism. There was a combination of joyous recollections and sad memories.

It was clear to me that although he was sitting right next to me; he was far away on another plane of existence. It was just that every few minutes, he would pause and say "dos vos gedeinkt zach mir", this is what I remember...

As he spoke about his grandfather, who was his main educator after his father died in the war, I asked him if he remembers him putting on Tefilin. "What do you mean if I remember?! It was every single day, even after the Shul closed down he did this at home, every morning".

"But there was no Cheder at the time so I never learned how to put them on myself, and I never did" he ended with a gloomy face.

"It's not too late” I said "I will bring Tefillin tomorrow and I'll show you and help you put them on".

For the first time since I came Vladimir smiled broadly "Azoy vee der zeide” – “just like my grandfather" he said.

Comments on: "Just like my Zeide"

seyna gellman wrote...

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