A Shtetl and other Yiddish novellas by Ruth R. Wisse (ed.)

By Ruth R. Wisse (ed.)

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Additional resources for A Shtetl and other Yiddish novellas

Example text

Someone had pinned Zelig Shinder against the table, and lay on top of him forcing his neck back until his head fell over the edge. A body in a prayer shawl was being YIDDISH NOVELLAS kicked around the floor. The mass of heads locked together by teeth and clutching fingers was like a single clumsy massive beast with a thousand moving limbs, heaving and stumbling from one side of the room to the other. Those who fell were dragged along until they clawed their way back into the human mass by clutching at someone in the tangle.

But no one cared. The crowd at the teashop grew steadily, and by evening the back room was A SHTETL 39 invariably packed. Every worker or artisan in the shtetl eventually found his way to Motl's and after an hour or two joined the gang. Yekl was in charge, even to the point of keeping the normally high spirits in check: no jumping on the tables and benches. He maintained a steady correspondence with Warsaw, and his regular public reading of the letters he received in reply helped to swell attendance.

No matter, their homecoming would be welcome all the same. Snatching up the parcels and baskets they had brought with them, they started for home at a run, looking ahead eagerly toward the little houses where more than one mother dropped the board or bowl she had been scrubbing and ran inside with the glad tidings. And so the holiday arrived. The first day of Passover. It was still early. The sun had just appeared in the blue sky, and its fresh rosy face looked down at the quiet streets below. The windows dozed in blissful stillness.

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