A Assortment of Jewish Brief Tales

Shut to 1 Hundred gripping actual life tales which painting Jewish immigrant life in America.

Pleasant reminiscences for the outdated and an interesting revelation for the youthful generations.

Full of Jewish humor, satire and human curiosity.

THESE brief tales appeared over an extended interval in lots of Anglo-Jewish weeklies and within the “Chicago Sentinel.” I’ve been urged by numerous associates to have them revealed in e book type. The best encouragement got here from my good friend, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof, who wrote to me:

“In no matter language you write, you handle to offer the sensation of Jewish immigrant life in America. Some day books akin to yours shall be of worth to the historian. Assume how priceless it might be if we had such intimate sketches of the lifetime of the Jews in Spain or in Babylon.”

This e book seems at an ideal second in Jewish historical past, at a time after we are thrilled by the institution of the State of Israel. It’s clear to everybody that the very nice majority of American Jews will stay to stay as Americans on this era and in generations to come back. These tales are glimpses into the minds and lives of those that are “Right here To Keep.”

I’m very grateful to Rabbi Abraham Burstein for his splendid cooperation in arranging the order of the tales, to Miss Anna Fisch of the Bloch Publishing Co., for her priceless solutions, and final however not least, to my daughter, Pearl, for studying the proofs.


LEO, the 13 yr outdated son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Simon, sits on the altar in entrance of the Aron Kodesh, the ark of the Legislation. On his proper is his father; on the left sits Reuben Financial institution, president of the congregation.

That is the nice day in Leo’s younger life. In the present day he celebrates his Bar Mitzvah. For weeks, for months he has labored with nice zeal and devotion to good his speech and his half within the ceremony. And now the day of all days has arrived.

Shortly he shall be known as upon to face earlier than the con-gregation and ship his tackle. He notes the restless-ness of his father and mom; he sees the beaming faces of his outdated grandparents. He anticipates the second when, having completed the declaration of religion, Rabbi Feingold will give him the benediction. Then finally, he’ll turn into a full fledged member of the Home of Israel.


MY FRIEND and I have been introduced up collectively in the identical little city in Europe. Each Friday, earlier than the strategy of the Sabbath, our fathers used to take us to a Russian Turkish tub. In these days the Turkish tub was the “group bathtub.”

However in fact, earlier than die excessive holidays, the Yamim Tovim, the pilgrimage to the bathtub home was extra vital than ever. For no good Jew might elevate his Yom Tov soul to a Yom Tov spirit until his physique had been Russian-Turkishized.

And in all these years throughout which my buddy loved the house comforts of “the American method” he nonetheless visited Turkish tub in his previous neighborhood.

With him it was a practice.

However a day earlier than Succoth, once I advised that we would each take a Turkish tub, he grew to become enraged and mentioned, “What? Go along with you to have a Turkish tub? Nothing doing! I’ve sweated enoughno extra!”

I used to be astonished to seek out he had immediately grown chilly to this warmest, this most pleasant, earthly paradise.

He hemmed and hawed some time earlier than I succeeded in figuring out of him the rationale for his new angle. And right here is the entire story in his personal phrases:

At some point my spouse advised that I make a journey to her relations in Boston. Enterprise right here isn’t so In plain phrases, it s on the bum. It is likely to be, she advised, that her household, most of whom are rich, would discover a busi-ness for me or a job.

I come to her uncle a wealthy lawyer. He’s higly happy to see me. He tells me that on the “ very busy; however he insists that I return at two o clock m th^afternoon; then it is going to be a pleasure for him to enter arrive precisely on the minute-two r. M. ^ uncle the lawyer, explains to me that he has huge circumstances pending in court docket which have made him nervous; and subsequently he goes each afternoon at two o dock for an Hectrk therapeutic massage, a sweat tub, and an alcohol rub-down. And on today he takes me with him in order that I, too, mav get the kinks labored out of my pores and skin.

And, say what you’ll, the sweat and the therapeutic massage gave

“”‘I ex pec ted my’ uncle to ask me to have supper with him the alcohol rub had aroused my appetite-but as an alternative lie identified the place .zero catch the cat which might take me to my lodge: and a. the parting second he beed me to name on him once more earlier than I left the c y.


Promised him I might make him Jewish spouse

“Once I married Jack, I promised him I might make him Jewish spouse. I used to be a lot impressed with the rabbi who instructed me within the Jewish faith. I happy him all these years with gefilte fish, that I discovered to make to perfection; kreplach; and even Russian borsht, the sort you at all times made for him.

“All these years I pleaded and begged him that in return he ought to turn into extra Jewish. As a matter of reality, I’m not sincere with myself once I say extra Jewish. I really feel typically that he isn’t a Jew in any respect. Please inform me, Mom Shapiro, did you ever train him to say his evening prayer earlier than going to mattress? Did he ever pray within the morning? Has he ever finished something whereas a boy to indicate that he was Jewish? I used to be introduced up in a non secular house and for the love of him I turned Jewish. However my home is empty of faith and I can’t make him even go to the synagogue as soon as every week. Once I ask him to take me to providers, one time he’ll inform me he’s drained. The second time he’ll inform me that we may be good Jews with out

going to shul. Nicely, I don’t perceive it. All I can inform you, Mom Shapiro, is that my life is monotonous, and I got here right here to ask you to assist me. I wish to be Jewish mom for my anticipated youngster. . . .”

This sudden info introduced colour to the face of Gussie Shapiro. She lifted her eyes and seemed steadily into the face of her pleading daughter-in-law, the one about to make her a grandmother. With a way of guilt she mentioned, “What can I do? That is America and kids have their very own method.’’

“Nicely,” got here the reply from Mary, “I, too, was born in America and I used to be non secular all my life.”

At this second Gussie Shapiro felt spiritually bank-rupt. She may discover no reply. As a substitute she rushed over to the phone and known as up her son.

“Jack, I’m going this morning to the cemetery to go to your father and I’m not going to tug alongside on street-cars. You higher come over together with your vehicle and take me over there. What do you say you’re busy? I used to be not too busy to purchase this vehicle for you. In any case, it’s my automotive. In addition to, while you come you should have an actual shock.”

When Jack got here he was greater than stunned. His face expressed irritation.


White beard grew to become a spectacular determine

The Jew with the white beard grew to become a spectacular determine within the neighborhood. Whereas it was admired by a few of the older technology, it was a goal for ridicule stones in the summertime and snow balls within the winter for the youths of that group.

One night after dinner previous Aaron Bloom was lastly persuaded by his son and daughter-in-law to shorten his cherished beard.

As he adopted his son to the barber store, the daddy lamented.

“I can’t perceive. Don’t these faculty youngsters know that Abraham Lincoln had a beard; Basic Grant was not ashamed to be bearded; to everybody the poet, Longfellow, is so beloved—he, too, had a beard. Someway I can’t perceive it, and alternatively I can hardly blame the youngsters on the streets. Even after I come to the synagogue, I’m the one one with a beard and everybody seems to be at me with curiosity.”

“You stated it, Pa,” answered his son, indifferently.

Nervous and frightened, Aaron Bloom sat down within the barber chair. The partitions had been lined with mirrors, and wherever he turned he noticed one other Aaron Bloom.

Within the homeland one didn’t see such contraptions.

The barber spoke to Oscar in a form of mysterious language. The barber smiled and the son winked. The scissors clicked over Bloom’s head and pitilessly reduce his hair, grown in a far land. Bloom felt a shudder over his total physique and his coronary heart beat closely.

“Don’t reduce my beard so brief,” cried the previous man in dismay.      .              ,

“Pa,” interposed the son, “you may’t exit into the road with such a protracted beard. You’ll be stoned. We’re in an American neighborhood. Simply let it’s touched up a bit. Simply permit the lengthy edges to be trimmed off—no extra.

“My son,” pleaded the previous man, “in my previous age, woe is me—I’ve by no means achieved it—woe is me!”

“Simply contact it up a bit, the lengthy ends solely,” the son directed the barber.

Patches of gray-white hair fell to the ground, and had been moistened with sizzling, crystal tears from the previous man’s eyes.


DUE to the innovation launched into sure congrega-tions of getting Bar Mitzvahs on Friday evening, Temple Gates of Heaven was overcrowded.

Kin, associates, enterprise associates, prospects each worthwhile and unprofitable-had all come to witness the Bar Mitzvah of Sammy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Beniamin Brooks.


“Sure,” answered Barkan with a sigh, “however the rabbi, could he dwell lengthy, won’t give me the pleasure to see the way it seems to be on him.”

The rebbetzin was silent. … She knew her husband, the rabbi. . . . She additionally knew her personal state of affairs. She too was ready for that examine which was to have arrived right now. The wants have been nice. Whereas the grocery store and the butcher have been type to her she felt that she couldn’t impose upon them…

“Rebbetzin,” known as Barkan with pleasure, “you too are towards me. Received’t you assist me to see that the rabbi tries on his new coat?”

The phone rang and the rebbetzin picked up the receiver. From the expression on her face the rabbi and Barkan knew that she had excellent news. She defined.

“It is a phone name from the monetary secretary of our synagogue. He advised me that he was out of city for just a few days and he forgot to mail our examine earlier than he left, however he’s on the way in which now with it. Might God bless him.”

Because the rabbi rose from his chair with dignity and satisfaction Barkan approached him with the brand new garment.

“AH, HAH!” exclaimed Hyman Skoopinsky as he entered the road automobile, noticing Mrs. Abe Abramson, the spouse of a wholesaler.

As a matter of truth, Hyman Skoopinsky did enterprise with Abramson, however he wished to see Mrs. Abramson, who was additionally energetic in her husband’s enterprise, about one thing that had nothing to do with merchandise.

Thankfully, there was an empty seat close to her. Skoop-insky approached Mrs. Abramson in a fairly indignant method.

“Mrs. Abramson, I used to be greater than shocked to not see you and your husband final Friday evening in our con-gregation when the plaque was devoted in honor of the boys of our members who are actually within the service.”

She replied in an detached approach.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t be there, however we have been taking stock on Friday evening.”

“Stock on Friday evening! Within the identify of God, you’ve gotten dedicated two crimes; you desecrated the Sabbath and also you disregarded such a solemn obligation to take part in an affair the place your personal son was honored.”

“Nicely,” she started to clarify, “thank God we obtain good letters from him. He’s, baruch ha-Shem, alive, and we hope he’ll come again. We thought that they have been honoring solely those that have been killed within the service.” “However,” argued Skoopinsky, “why didn’t you are taking stock on Saturday evening?”


A wise actual property man they might say.

His clients noticed him not often. He threw his load into the field and disappeared like a spirit.

There was a time when he was recognized to be a wealthy man and proprietor of a number of properties. He had been an influence within the constructing commerce. Architects, plumbing and lumber contractors, would search his acquaintance. On the Membership they might make it their enterprise to discover a vacant chair on the desk the place he was sitting. In dialog, he all the time raised his voice. When just a few intimate buddies referred to as his consideration to this unhealthy behavior and reminded him that it was unbecoming to shout, his reply was, “After I signed my utility, I used to be informed that this could be my downtown dwelling—and at dwelling, I do as I please.

He had belonged to many organizations, “simply to assist out.” His contributions had been no bigger than these of the common donor, however but when he often appeared at a gathering, he acquired recognition due to his wealth and prominence within the constructing commerce.

“A wise actual property man,” they might say.

He now delivered ice to the identical tenants from whom he used to gather hire in these days.

As a landlord, he had developed valuable few friend-ships amongst his tenants. But now they patronized him with nice sympathy. Pitying their former landlord, they tried to get new clients for him.

Many of the tenants agreed with Mrs. Krupnick: “In any case, as a landlord Agursky was not worse than the remainder of them. It’s an previous story—if you’ve bought ‘gelt,’ your coronary heart will get exhausting like gold and silver. However we must always heat our hearts and purchase ice from him.”

He was grateful to them. However he could be extra grate-ful to Mrs. Levit, the redhead, if she would purchase no extra ice from him and advocate no new clients. For every time she inquired of him whether or not he nonetheless had the summer time dwelling in Michigan; if his spouse nonetheless took the automobile over to Maxwell St. to purchase meals for Shabbas; and different inquiries to convey again reminiscences that weakened his ft underneath his heavy load.

“Mr. Agursky, I’ve one other good buyer for you . . . sure, Mr. Agursky, although you didn’t earn it of me that I ought to get you new clients. I keep in mind how imply you had been to me after I requested you to color my kitchen, when with tears in my eyes I begged of you to furnish me with a brand new retailer. In any case, my hire was all the time paid on time, und vi noch! However as it’s mentioned within the Bible, when your enemy is down, don’t rejoice. You might be down and out, so one feels certain that can assist you. Go into Mrs. Berzof throughout the road; she needs to purchase ice.”


In the meantime the wolf had discovered a good friend

In the meantime the wolf had discovered a good friend within the woods within the particular person of a charcoal-burner. At any time when he got here earlier than the wolf he started to wag his tail and have become, as mild as a iamb. The charcoal-burner had slightly hut m the woods the place he slept. In time the wolf took up his quarters exterior the door of the hut. The person gave him food and drinks, and all went effectively with each of them.

The individuals, nevertheless, complained of the harm carried out to their flocks by the ferocious wolf. Finally the nobles of the dominion consulted the king as to what was to be carried out. The king listened very attentively to all that they needed to inform in regards to the wolf and his doings. After due consideration he issued a royal proclamation, through which it was said that ‘‘whosoever ought to deliver the wolf, lifeless or alive, earlier than the king ought to obtain the hand of the one daughter of the king in marriage, and on the loss of life of the king he ought to succeed to the throne.”

One of many king’s knights heard of this splendid alternative of successful fame and a kingdom. He knowledgeable the king that he was prepared to attempt to seize the wolf. Directly he set out and got here to the woods. He met the charcoal-burner, and requested him if he might direct him to the wolf’s observe.

“ That, certainly, can I do,” mentioned he; “ but when I could make daring to advise so noble and courageous a knight, to whom I’ve the excessive privilege and honour of talking, I might most earnestly beseech you to retrace your steps and to depart the ferocious wolf alone. He’s certain to kill you. In case you worth your life you’ll do effectively to keep away from this horrible beast.”

“ However,” asks the knight. “ are you able to inform me how is it that you just handle to stay right here within the woods the place the fierce wolf hides itself I”

“ I can reply that,” replies the charcoal- burner ; “ I don’t attempt to kill him. and he’s a really understanding wolf. It is going to shock you to listen to that we’re, in actual fact, quick associates.”

“ That is actually very shocking,’’ says the knight.

“ Sure,” solutions the charcoal-burner, “ I actually consider that the wolf is a bewitched man.”



At this level their rabbis entered the restaurant collectively.

To Barsky their look was not a shock. He knew that, being students and having a lot in frequent, they had been very pleasant. Tarsky, nonetheless, checked out them in opened-eyed amazement.

When Barsky invited the rabbis to hitch them at their desk, one defined that they had been simply coming back from a “good will” assembly, and since they’d a couple of issues to debate, they want to be excused.

It have to be stated that Tarsky didn’t take pleasure in the remainder of his dinner. He was disturbed. To him it was a shock to see his rabbi hobnobbing with the rabbi of a reform temple. Barsky seen this, and so as to distract his buddy reminded him to not overlook the gefilte kishkes, which style greatest when scorching.

Each left the restaurant in silence. Two blocks away they departed.

When Tarsky was a half block away, Barsky referred to as him again.

“I see you’re a little disturbed and I need to offer you some meals for thought. You could really feel higher whenever you get residence. Just a few days in the past, whereas on the West Aspect, as traditional, I visited my previous pious rebbe. He is aware of that I’m a member of a temple. But he by no means reproached me for that. He was glad to study that I’m energetic in Jewish life. He jogged my memory of the prayer: ‘Our Father, merciful Father, ever compassionate, have mercy upon us. O put it into our hearts to grasp and to discern, to mark, study, and educate.’ You see, buddy Tarsky, even my oldtime orthodox rebbe tells us to grasp. We should have understanding.”

When Tarsky woke within the morning, his spouse was nonetheless asleep, so he began for the nook restaurant for break-fast.

As he closed the bed room door his spouse awoke. She reminded him sleepily to select up a couple of payments on the dresser. One in all these was a invoice for the annual dues to his congregation.

He murmured, “My cash has to go for a man who hobnobs with a reformer. Let him wait.”

IT WAS 9 o’clock within the morning.

Louis Zar, counselor-at-law, was at his desk, and together with his traditional promptness and care was sorting his morning mail.

Zar was energetic in a variety of Jewish organizations, and he backed up his actions with beneficiant donations.

The treasurer of a fraternal group typically re-marked, If Zar needs to do some speaking, he at the least offers a greenback. However I’m sick and bored with these legal professionals who al-ways need to make speeches and between you and me whose arms stay of their pockets.”