vaysechvoos

In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Stranger’s Scroll
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

In Vaysechvoos, simchas didn’t happen every day. There were too few weddings and too many funerals. Yet the townspeople found ways to make up for this by celebrations. One such occasion was approaching quickly, the bar mitzvah of Nahum. This would certainly be a time for rejoicing. After all, who couldn’t rejoice in the achievements…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Pyoter’s Lunch
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Pyoter wasn’t very smart, even for a gentile. That is what the Jews of Vaysechvoos said. The goyim who lived 10 kilometers east of the village said worse about the boy. Even their Galach called Pyoter an idiot, dumbhead, stupid ox. However he didn’t play the cruel pranks on Pyoter which so many in his…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Mazel the Dog
Author: Susan Perlman

Reb Heshl shook his head and muttered, Shver Mazel.” Mazel was the family dog, so named in the hope that he would bring Reb Heshl’s family some luck. The dog wasn’t really so bad, but he had an annoying habit of burying things in Reb Heshl’s potato patch. Sometimes instead of a potato Reb Heshl…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Milkman
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Shimmon the Milkman was one of the beloved residents of the little shtetl of Vaysechvoos. He always had a smile, a word of comfort, a kind and pleasant countenance, so that when he delivered the milk of his cows to the villagers, it was more than a mere business transaction. From his milk deliveries, Shimmon…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Friends
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Rebecca and Miriam were the closest of friends from the time they were little girls. In fact, they were like sisters. The close bond was not even challenged when Rebecca married Mordkhe, son of Yitzak the Baker. Said Miriam to Rebecca, Though we are not related by blood, our bond is stronger than that of…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Storyteller
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Every shtetl has a storyteller and the one for Vaysechvoos was Simeon. If the tales he wove would be tapestries, they would be made with the yarn of a well-combed imagination and fit to hang in the palace of the Czar. But words cannot hang from walls and Simeon had better things to do with…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Strange Things
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Mysterious things always seemed to be happening in Vaysechvoos: a cow might stop giving milk or a bird might plummet from the sky for no apparent reason. Can you imagine, a seemingly healthy bird dropping dead in front of you. Stranger things yet were known to have happened–like the time the three thousand finely crafted…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Stranger
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

The stranger walked with the limp of Malkah the Widow and he saw the world through the clouded eyes of Nahum, whose cataracts had kept him from seeing much of anything these past twelve years. The stranger had a scar on his arm where Yitzhak had been slashed by a Cossack in a drunken rage….

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Hungarian Peddler
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

The people of Vaysechvoos could not be called ignorant; after all, the men studied the Law, Mishnah and Gemara for hours on end. Some could even quote rabbis who had lived in distant times and far away places. Yet the word simple” seemed to fit the people of Vaysechvoos. And they were always ready to…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Kid
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Gedalia was only a kid. He wasn’t a kid in the common sense of the word, meaning child” or “offspring.” On the other hand, I suppose one could say that Gedalia was the child of Malka the nanny goat, who provided milk for the largest family in Vaysechvoos, for Duvid the Tanner and his wife,…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Blessed Scarf
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

It was a little too big for a babushka and a little too small for a waist sash. The dark brown, ancient pattern against the lighter background seemed like something the Turks might have designed. The repeated lines and angular letters looked, at first glance, like the heathenish language. Yet upon closer inspection, the word…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Magic Suspenders
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Mama, look!! That man is wearing magic suspenders!” “Shah! You know it is forbidden to think such things! We’ll hear nothing of magic or sorcery, Leybush, or you’ll have to answer to your father.” Leah, the tailor’s wife, shifted the sack of flour under one arm and neatly encircled the boy’s shoulders with her other…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Holy Orator
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

The great, great, great grandson of the famous Maggid of Dubnow, Baruch, was making a trip to Vaysechvoos. It was said of this holy orator that what he had to say was so wise, so brilliant, that even the gentiles came to hear him and quoted him in their books. Why he was coming to…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Gentile who Saved the Shtetl
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Gittel, everyone in Vaysechvoos agreed, was a true beauty. Besides this she was bright, vivacious and as innocent as freshly fallen snow. Why, one glance from her deep, smiling brown eyes was enough to melt the heart of any yeshiva bocher. But that was not to be. One day Gittel disappeared. Her mother, Frumah-Ruchel, had…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The People of Nishtfetroggen
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

There was a little town just a half day’s journey from Vaysechvoos that was called Nishtfetroggen. One would think that the people of Vaysechvoos would have a lot in common with another village of Jews that was so close by, yet for as long as anyone could remember no one from Nishtfetroggen had ever spoken…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Chief Schnorrer
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Binkeleh-Bubkes was the chief schnorrer in the little shtetl of Vaysechvoos. Others would come and go, but most were seasonal schnorrers;” that is, they would schnor only when business was especially bad or if ill fortune blew more than the usual amount of tsuris their way. But Reb Binkel was a permanent schnorrer, and as…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Pauper
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Pelte the Pauper was not lazy or stupid, nor did he suffer any physical ailment which would prevent him from earning a living. It was just that Pelte had no luck with business. People of Vaysechvoos used to say, Ach, poor Pelte. If he could scrape together the kopeks to buy a few chickens, all…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Letter
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Lebye Bialok squinted at the envelope for the hundredth time since it had arrived in Vaysechvoos. He squinted till his eyes watered, but he still could not make out who had sent the mysterious letter. Indeed, the letter was a mystery, even to Lebye the Sage. The ink on the envelope seemed oddly faded. And…

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Autumn in the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Autumn in Vaysechvoos was a very comfortable time of year. It was cool enough to wear a warm woolen scarf and an extra sweater under one’s coat. But it wasn’t so cold that one had to wear the big heavy boots and look like a Cossack to keep one’s toes from freezing. The crisp air…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Brilliant Young Man
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Rabbi Asa Yitzhak was the cause of much consternation in the little shtetl of Vaysechvoos. Not that he was a fool, nor was he unjust in his treatment of the little congregation. No, he was known to be quite loving and compassionate–a fine young man. It was his brilliance that confused the townspeople. They remembered…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Old Woman
Topics: vaysechvoos

The tiny, one-room house was dark and musty. Narrow sunbeams poked through the cracks around a small draped window, and near the bed a solitary wick flickered in a little bowl of oil. Nachamah-Leah lay in her bed. She had lain there for some 10 years now, barely able to move or sit up, much…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Fair
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

All of Vaysechvoos was bustling with excitement. The people could hardly believe the news. From the rabbi’s door to the farthest sheep meadows the word traveled. Their own very little shtetl of Vaysechvoos had been chosen to host the annual fair! Why, it was the greatest honor ever bestowed on the humble village and its…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Shtetl’s Daugher
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

The only light in the little shtetl of Vaysechvoos that night was a soft, filtered glow from stars almost hidden by a translucent fog. The dark figure placed a basket carefully at the entrance to the shul, leaned tenderly over the blanketed bundle inside and gave it a gentle kiss. The figure then straightened up…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Farmer
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Not far from the outskirts of Vaysechvoos, surrounded by fields, lived the well-to-do farmer Menachem. At least, that’s what his parents had named him. To the rest of the shtetl he was known as Menachem the Miser. Menachem had done very well for himself, renting out little plots of land to the villagers as his…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Bookbinder
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

Reb Nahum, the bookbinder, was enraged. Master of the Universe!” he cried as he stormed through the forest. “Is it right that Your people should suffer so? Is it?!” The only answer was the sound of Reb Nahum’s pacing footsteps crackling the heather and fern on the forest floor. “Authorities,” Nahum muttered to himself as…

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In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Peddler
Topics: vaysechvoos
Author: Susan Perlman

The ladies of Vaysechvoos, like women in the shtetlach throughout the Czar’s land, had little education. They were, of course, taught those things necessary to make a home for their husbands: clothes making, cooking, cleaning and so on. They were taught to obey the precepts of the rabbis: the taking out of a small portion…

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