THE SCROLL OF MY LIFE
CHAPTER 27. RABBI AVROM-MOYSHE BRENER [MOISES BRENER]
In those days there was a tide of new immigrants to Peru. The Jews disembarked in a confused state, wide-eyed, ignorant of what awaited them and what tomorrow would bring. This state did not persist. The new country received them in a friendly manner and after a short time they felt secure and hopeful. With that feeling came the awareness of what was lacking and that awareness grew. It mainly related to the sphere of Jewishness. The situation regarding the Jewish dietary laws ( kashres 'kashrut') was deplorable -- Lima lacked a ritual slaughterer ( shoykhet ) and there was no kosher meat. Among the newcomers, particularly from Poland, were to be found some strictly observant Jews who decided that the Jewish community in Lima need not lag behind other Latin American communities. They organized a fund-raising campaign to bring a slaughterer from Poland.
It did not take long for one to arrive from Tishevits, a Hasidic young man of thirty-five called Avrom-Moyshe Brener [Moises Brener]. He had married into a Tishevits family ( er iz geven a tishevitser eydem ) and before coming to Lima had already served for seven years as rabbi and slaughterer in two little towns in Volhynia, near Kovel. His arrival in Peru caused a revival among the Jews in the Lima community. A butcher shop for kosher meat was opened in the community building. This strengthened the position of the religious Jews further. The number of those who attended religious services in the besmedresh also grew. People quickly realized that the ritual slaughterer, who was also a circumciser ( moyel ), and a prayer-leader ( bal-tfile ) with a sweet voice, was also a scholar ( talmed-kho'khem ) and so he was also engaged as rabbi. Jews came to him with questions of ritual purity ( shayles ) and became more observant, stricter in matters of dietary laws ( kashres ). After the community officially appointed him, the rabbi held a weekly sermon in the synagogue on current affairs. He was outstanding in his ability to accomodate himself to the local conditions and to work well with individuals of varying social levels.
In the old home, Reb Avrom-Moyshe Brener was also a reader of Jewish journals. He used to tell that he especially liked Hatsefira , which Nakhum Sokolof edited. He recalled the articles of Dr. Yehoshua Thon, who had warned of threatening black clouds over the Jews of Poland. I make no attempt to give a full description of the personality of the late Rabbi Brener and of his rabbinical achievements in Lima. This would require a full biography, which he indeed merited. He was a person of character to whom the Jewish community of Peru owed much. He united in himself knowledge of traditional Jewish sources and insight into the needs of the secular Jew. Essentially, Rabbi Reb Avrom-Moyshe Brener was the spiritual leader of the religious Jews of Lima. In his sermons and behavior he stressed the religious approach to various communal problems and he knew how to clarify the ethical character of the practical commandments ( mitsvoys maasiyoys [ = Ashkenazic Hebrew pronunciation]). Rabbi Brener saw in the vision of "the end of days" [ akhares-hayomim ) the source of inspiration for the pioneers' readiness for self-sacrifice in the Land of Israel. In his sermons he used to discuss the problems of Exile and Redemption. His understanding of the concept of Redemption was not limited to the idea of national liberation, but contained a cosmic element as a result of the influence on him of the Lurianic Kabbala. His High Holiday sermons were especially rich in content and influenced his listeners, as in his insistence that the Days of Awe were also happy days ( yontefdike teg ). Rosh Hashana ( rosheshone ) was more than a day of judgement with mercy weighed against justice. He explained that the day was also one of hope, of belief in a new world, a just world, which must and would come.
Rabbi Brener knew how to explain in his sermons that the Jewish New Year holiday carried a great idea, that of self-examination and renewal. It was the holiday of the new year and a new world. As I have already explained, he was both erudite and well-read. While filling his rabbinical post in Lima, he followed in the newspapers what was happening in Poland, what sort of Hell the Germans had ignited in Europe, and he told of all this in his sermons. He called on the Jews to examine their hearts, to feel their bonds with the entire Jewish people and with the Jewish fate, to ponder our duties to the community, to the Jewish education of our children and the Jewish future of our people, to the continuity of the Jewish spirit. He educated his own three sons in this spirit. He was their father and teacher, resolute in bringing them up as devoted Jews and good persons.
His oldest son, Yankl, became a physician and discovered a treatment for cancer of the thymus gland, receiving a grant of fifty thousand dollars from the American government in Washington to continue his research, to which he was wholly dedicated. The second son became a rabbi as well as earning a doctorate in history. He served a pulpit in New York for seven years before assuming another rabbinical post in Los Angeles. The third son, Pinkhes [Hebrew = Pinkhas], also studied at Yeshiva University in New York, and completed a doctorate in mathematics and statistics at Columbia University. He filled a pulpit in Queens and taught in a university in Manhattan. All three sons were known and loved by both Jews and Gentiles, many of whom were their pupils and benefited from their learning and knowledge.
The rabbi's only daughter lives in New York, where she distinguishes herself in her communal activity, and in her reverence for traditional Judaism and understanding for the great human values in Jewish faith. "And this is my portion from all my toil" ( Veze khelki mekol amali ), the rabbi used to say, happy in his children's accomplishments. They had followed in his footsteps, and were close to him, their father and teacher; they clung to him and continued to study under him when he left Lima to assume a rabbinical position in New York.
CHAPTER 28. KNITWEAR
In 1935 a change took place in my life. I left peddling and started a small knit-wear factory. It was my friend Felipe Goldberg who helped me to bring this about; he knew the knit-wear trade from Warsaw, where he had worked on a hand-machine making sweaters. He had not forgotten the trade in the course of his wandering through Latin America. He understood machines and bought a few hand-machines, hired a few workers and taught them the trade. We threw all of our energy into the work and set the factory on sound foundations. The sweaters we manufactured were a success and we won a loyal clientele. We developed momentum, were bold and innovative, and released handsome models. Goldberg was active and energetic, but even more important, he was honest, both in his relationship to the partnership and to the product and the customer.
The soil was fertile, the country was young, hopeful and truly rich in possibilities. You didn't have to run in search of gold in some foreign land -- Peru itself was rich in many minerals. You didn't have to organize expeditions to discover mines to exploit natural riches in some inaccessible place ( hinter di harey khoyshekh [literally: 'behind the mountains of darkness']). You could do everything on the spot, right in Peru....
Everyone had an opportunity, if not of getting rich, at least of achieving a position, a respectable income. You didn't need any special traits. You just needed not to fall behind, but to stubbornly keep on despite all difficulties, old and new. In time we conceived the plan of establishing a large knit-wear plant. The two Brodsky brothers and Jaime Urman invested most of the capital; Goldberg and I became partners, each with a twenty-percent interest. I managed the administrative matters and Goldberg the technical ones. He planned the models and patterns. He was already qualified for this field, in which he showed exceptional talent. I was finally in a position where I could send papers to my older brother, Pinkhes, and my younger brother, Shimen. The latter arrived in Peru in 1936. My older brother remained in Poland, where he married and had two children. He dreamed of immigrating to the Land of Israel, was active in the Zionist movement, but did not realize his dream. The Nazi hangmen killed him and our entire family together with all the other Jews of Semyatitsh.
CHAPTER 29. SAVING RELATIVES
Every day brought bitter news of Nazi decrees and persecutions in Germany and of growing antisemitism in Poland. That is why I tried so hard to bring my dear ones to Peru as quickly as possible. At that time I received a letter from my uncle Moyshe informing me he had decided to leave Panama and had returned home to Semyatitsh. From there, with his entire family, he had quickly gone to the Land of Israel ( ertsisroel ). However, not being able to get established there, he had gone to Cuba by himself in search of work, but there too he was not allowed to settle. He had no legal status there and became distraught.
As soon as I received his letter explaining he wasn't being allowed to stay in Cuba, I began looking for ways to get him a permit to enter Peru. I encountered no special difficulties and after a reasonably short time sent him an entrance visa. You can well imagine how happy I was when I finally saw him in Lima. Our meeting was a moving one. I was able to help him get settled and in a short time he opened a small furniture store and became self-sufficient. He was soon able to bring over his wife and children from the Land of Israel. Only one daughter remained in the Land of Israel, where she married and lived with her family in Kfar Hasidim. (130)
The days stretched to weeks and the weeks to months and it was now 1936. It is of course not possible for me to tell my story chronologically. My intention from the start was not to write a diary-like account. I never kept a diary and never liked diary-keeping in others, if only because not all days are equally interesting. Once one falls into the habit of recording every small detail, the events of every day, then trifles and trivialities are elevated to significant events and the truly important ones lose ground. The latter get leveled with less important matters, meaningless ones, meaningless for me and for those who will read these memoirs and for whom they ought to have value -- the coming generation, which will want to know about its roots, to understand the character and quality of its forebears.
God is my witness that the purpose of my writing is that the generation of today and of tomorrow see me as I am, know me, understand and recognize the truth with which I have always tried to live. I doubt if everything that I tell will interest every reader, but it will give me moral satisfaction if even small dull matters help the reader get an inkling of how the Jewish settlement in Peru began to develop and arrived at its present situation.
Chapter 29 FOOTNOTES:
130) She died in the early 1980s. Return to text
CHAPTER 30. ADOLFO AND ISABEL BARRIOS
I already mentioned and emphasized earlier the friendly atmosphere which the immigrant Jews encountered upon arriving in Peru. In reviewing my life in Lima from those earliest years, there appears before me with exceptional clarity the figure of my good non-Jewish friend, Adolfo Barrios, a Peruvian whom I have been associated with for forty-five years, managing our factory together in true friendship. He was in his early twenties when I met him, a high-ranking employee in a bank where I had an account. He also worked as a bookkeeper in certain Jewish companies. We used to meet in a coffee house to talk about all sorts of things over a cup of coffee. I came to understand Peruvian problems better. I stress this since the solution to these problems were often present in the friendly remarks of this courteous person, in the fineness of his way of relating to others, in the rectitude of his bearing, his look, his attitude to people. I received a similar impression when I met his wife, Isabel, a good soul with a fine human connection to everyone she knew. She was a devoted mother to their two children. Her face always wore a gentle look; her smile was friendly.
These are people who are to this day loved and respected by Jew and Gentile alike. All who came in contact with them, socially or in business, saw in them the embodiment of human goodness and virtue. I will surely have occasion to write more about them in later chapters. I mention them now in connection with the friendly atmosphere which the newly-arrived Jewish immigrants found in Peru; they were exceptionally warmhearted persons.
CHAPTER 31. THE BAN ON PEDDLING
In 1936 something changed in Peru. A government decree banned peddling ( dem klopn-handl ). It was the result of pressure on the government from small retailers, owners of stores and shops, who saw the peddlers as competitors and a threat to their businesses. The peddlers came to the customers' homes, knew how to sell to them, carried a rich stock of goods which included all sorts of second-hand and third-hand articles, offered reasonable prices and flexible methods of payment. The first victims of the law were the Jewish immigrants for whom peddling was the basic source of livelihood. At the beginning it really did seem like an ominous decree. Jews went about distressed ( on kep ), dejected, asking themselves sadly, "Is this the end of our peddlers' dreams and hopes?" But it is interesting that notwithstanding the economic fears it initially aroused, the ban did not cause anyone to consider taking a wanderer's staff in hand and going in search of a livelihood in a new land. The ban was not seen as being directed against Jews as such. Everyone understood that this was a trade conflict, that new ways of adjustment must be sought, and that one must not lose hope.
We, the Jewish officers of the cooperative bank, were also enlisted in this battle, and we tried to keep people from giving up. We did all we could to help. After a short time we saw clearly that the ban had turned into a blessing. Jews started to open stores and workshops; they became storekeepers and craftsmen. Jews again demonstrated their ability to adjust to new conditions; a great feeling of unity prevailed, the great Jewish trait of mutual aid. The ban also affected our factory, since peddlers were our chief customers. For a while we suffered, but like the peddlers we did not give up. We really could not maintain the large factory and the partnership had to be dissolved. Each of the partners set up a small factory of his own and each of us with all his energy organized his work anew. We did so with the desire to lead an honest life without fear, hoping to overcome all difficulties. We continued in the same line, not giving up, nor did we give up helping others. The times were truly hard and the struggle for existence was bitter. The bread we ate was soaked in the sweat of our faces, but this did not take away our hope that the hardships would prove temporary, and that after a time we would get somewhere, work ourselves up, and be as good as anyone else ( zayn mit mentshn glaykh ).
There were certainly those who were not good at business, but most of the difficulties stemmed from shortage of credit. That is why our cooperative bank was so important. We extended credits and gave guarantees and loans until people improved their situations and stood on their own feet. They no longer had to walk for kilometers with packs on their backs, knocking on the doors of people's houses. They had businesses of their own, some of them with large stocks of varied kinds. We were satisfied to see that in time people repaid their loans. There was not a single instance of bankruptcy. The new merchants in their new businesses gradually improved their positions and became solidly based.
I was slowly drawn further and further into the problems of the Jewish sphere. The communal life of Peruvian Jewry was still weak, concentrating itself mainly around the kehile , the organized community, where there was a new president every year. Following Arn Lerner [Aron Lerner], Maks Heler [Max Heller] became president, and he in turn was followed by Arn Lerner [Aaron Lerner]. (131) Both were well-to-do, intelligent and settled persons who devoted much time and initiative for the good of the Jewish settlement. The community ( kehile ) payed a great deal of attention, first of all, to religious matters. When Maks Heler [Max Heller] was president, the various communal groupings united -- the Ashkenazim, the Sefardim and the German-speakers known as the "1870" after the date they had founded the Jewish cemetery. (132) In Spanish the unified group was called Asociacion de Sociedades Israelitas del Peru, and a new president was elected each year.
The greatest burden of maintaining the community fell upon the Ashkenazim, who assumed sixty percent of the expenses. The Sefardim and the German-speakers were each responsible for twenty percent. The Peruvian Jews were bona fide and upright. Even if they could barely afford it, they gave their share to the community. This is how the new besmedresh, which was called "Mandls besmedresh," was built. It was small, barely holding five or six prayer quorums ( minyonim ), but it had its own prayer leader ( bal-tfile ) and there were daily services there morning and afternoon and evening ( shakhres un minkhe un mayrev ). The chief donor was Mandel, a man with a large family, all of whom prayed in the besmedresh. (133) Soon after, Malvas besmedresh (named after a street), which was even smaller than Mandl's, was built. It, too, was meant for several prayer quorums, regular users, and a few scholars who studied Talmud there in the evenings.
The Jewish settlement also increased from within. Children were born. There were circumcision ceremonies and there was rejoicing, too, at the birth of daughters. Jewish children grew up bright and good-looking ( gerotene ), went to school with a will, and when it was necessary, even as children, helped their parents earn a living. The Jewish settlement was young, with flowing sap and fresh prospects. Young children of an ancient people on old-new soil, where hundreds of years earlier Jews had been persecuted and tortured during the cruel and bloody Inquisition which reigned there.
Chapter 31 FOOTNOTES:
131) For a full list of the community officers, see "Anexo VI" in Leon Trahtemberg Siederer. Los Judios De Lima Y Las Provincias Del Peru . Lima: Union Israelita Del Peru, 1989. Return to text
132) According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica ,the cemetery was founded in 1875 and the group's name is based on the date the community was founded. La Sociedad de Beneficiensa Israelita de 1870 still exists. Return to text
133) The following line is crossed out: "Also others who did not pray in this besmedresh gave money for it." Return to text
CHAPTER 32. YIDDISH THEATER
Gradually, the Jewish world, especially in the other Latin American countries, began to take an interest in Peru. The wonderful actors of the Yiddish theater, in particular, began coming to Peru to give concerts and performances. Yonas Turkov's visit was an event. He was famous and loved throughout the Jewish world, many already knowing his name from Poland. His appearance in Lima was a bright occasion for everyone. (134) With him came Ester Perlman, a soubrette, vivacious. The Goldbergs knew her from the years they had played with her in Chile. (135) Their performances in the new theater hall were a holiday for Peruvian lovers of Yiddish theater, all of whom came to see and hear them.
The name Yonas Turkov, a great artist, had a special resonance. He was one of four brothers who together represented a whole segment of modern Yiddish culture. The Jews of Lima gave him the most respectful welcome. Among the other players who visited Lima at that time, the young Ester Perlman stood out. She sang Yiddish folk songs soulfully, giving them new life. Long after she left, we were still singing "Start Buying Cigarettes" ( Koyft shoyn papirosn ), which she sang with such vigor and taste. (136) Even today her song echoes in my ears with longing for forgotten times.
Chapter 32 FOOTNOTES:
134) The Warsaw-born Yiddish actor, director and author Yonas Turkov (1898-1988) is one of the great figures of the world Yiddish theater. According to the Nayer leksikon fun der yidisher literatur (vol. 4, col. 59) he, together with his wife Diane Blumenfeld (1903-1961), played in South America sometime during the years 1954-1957. Regarding Diane Blumenfeld, see Zalmen Zibertsvayg [Zalman Zylbercweig], Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Mexico. 1969), vol. 1, col. 178. There is a Diane Blumenfeld Theatre Collection at Kibbutz Lokhamey Hagetaot and a Janos Turkov Collection at the Israel Gur Theater Museum at the Hebrew University. These include newspaper clippings connected with the Turkov-Blumenfeld appearances in Latin America. Return to text
135) Warsaw-born Ester Perlman (1897-1966) played in South America in the mid-twenties and in later years as well (e.g. together with Zigmunt Turkov in October 1935). She died in Brazil. She was more than a soubrette and played such roles as Mirele Efros in Yankev Gordin's famous play of that name. See Zalmen Zibertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Mexico. 1969), vol. 6, cols. 5671-5679. Return to text
136) "Papirosn" is often given as the name of this revue song made famous by Leo Fuks (private communication from Ezra Lahad, Haifa). Return to text
Michel Radzinski's The Scroll of My Life is, indeed, an "illumination of the author's inner life," as Leonard Prager writes in his preface to the English translation. Through the medium of Shimen Kants' expressive style, Michel Radzinski exposes a wide range of feelings and experiences which he seldom revealed to his children while he lived. A record of Michel Radzinski's emotional life and practical career from his early childhood in eastern Europe through his mid- and late-twenties in Latin America, The Scroll of My Life , is a rich gift to his wife, children, grandchildren and other relatives and friends. It is also valuable for its testimony on the life of Michel Radzinski's remarkable father, Avrom-Leyb Radzinski, and on the life of Jewish Semyatitsh (Polish: Siemiatycze) generally.
I knew my father well during his last years and I know that his memoirs, vivid as they may be for his early life, do not fully reflect who he was and what he achieved. The true scroll of his life was far broader than his memoirs bearing that title indicate. In the hope of redressing what is lacking in Michel Radzinski's self-portrait, I will try to provide additional information.
For one thing, it would be a mistake to conclude, as the memoirs might lead one to do, that the period from 1910 to 1935 was the only important one in Michel Radzinski's life. Such a notion does great injustice to his memory. His life from the mid-thirties until his death in 1989 was one of deep commitment to and involvement with his family, his businesses, the Lima Jewish community, and the State of Israel.
In addition to possessing a strong sense of values, Michel Radzinski had an acute mind, an incredible memory and a notable talent for analytic reasoning. He was self-taught in many areas, reading widely, keeping abreast of world and local news, thinking through problems and developing his own position on matters large and small. Together with Adolfo Barrios, his Peruvian business partner of half a century, he founded and managed "San Miguel," one of the most solid and successful textile enterprises in Lima. This success was also a financial one leading to substantial material comfort.
In 1946, Michel Radzinski married Leah Hilsenroth, the American-born niece of his good friend Adela Goldberg. Together they raised five children who until this day continue, together with their own respective families, to recall his kindness, to honor his values, and to revere his memory.
Michel Radzinski was intensely involved in the life of the Jewish community in Lima almost from his very arrival in Peru. As President of the Union Israelita (Lima's main Ashkenazi kehilla) during the second half of the 1950s and again in 1965, he initiated and oversaw the construction of the community's Great Synagogue. His leadership left its mark on the local Bikur Kholim/Khevra Kadisha, on the Home for the Aged, the social club, the sports club and the school. A staunch Zionist, he was always among the leaders of the Zionist Federation, the Keren Hayesod (UJA), Israel Bonds and Keren Kayemet. At a world level, he often served as a delegate to Jewish congresses, culminating in his being a member of the Jewish Agency's Actions Committee, a powerful and prestigious body in world Jewish politics. (1)
Michel Radzinski, together with his family, ultimately -- albeit in a number of steps -- made aliya to Israel. His main achievement in Israel was the construction of a large textile plant in Afula. Though now producing refrigerators and air-conditioners rather than textiles, this plant continues to provide jobs for hundreds of Jezreel Valley and Lower Galilee residents. My father is buried in Tel-Aviv's Nakhlat Yitskhak cemetery. His tombstone reads: "Michel Radzinski, 1909-1989, Semiatych -- Lima -- Tel-Aviv."
I would like to stress that Michel Radzinski was primarily a Jewish communal leader of a secular sort. Respectfully traditional, he was strongly committed to his Jewish roots and heritage. Fortunately, but not accidentally, he succeeded in transmitting this commitment to his children. Deploring all forms of fanaticism, he attempted to synthesize age-old and modern Jewish values. His Zionism was in complete harmony with his universalism. I would like to conclude this brief afterword with a quotation from the obituary for Michel Radzinski by the then President of the Union Israelita, Hozkel Vurnbrand. (2)
FAREWELL TO A FRIEND
Michel Radzinski is gone. The fighter of days gone by who in so many ways helped shape our kehilla died a few weeks ago in Israel. With his passing, we part from a beautiful page in the history of our community, that of the early days when all was yet to be done. We do not know whether future generations will have any idea who Michel was, but we believe it is our duty to remember him at every opportunity. For without such pioneers of our community as he, we would today have no Hebrew school, no Great Synagogue, no Hebraica country club. We, the Peruvian-born generation, drink from the pioneers' springs and follow in their footsteps. We are pained at the loss of Michel. He remained close to us despite his move to Israel and visited us often. We recall his genial smile of pleasure at seeing that the pioneers' efforts were being continued. We will miss Michel very much. For we do not bid farewell to the manager, the fighter, the leader. We bid farewell to the friend. (my translation -- D.R.)
1) For more on his activities within the Lima Jewish community, see Leon Trahtemberg, Los Judios de Lima y Las Provincias del Peru (Lima: Union Israelita del Peru, 1989), pp. 42 ff. and 74 ff. and Herman Zwilich, Vendedor de Chismes (Lima: Cuadernos Peruanos-Israelies, 1966), pp. 30-32. The author of this humorous account is mentioned several times by Michel Radzinski in his memoirs. See too Yaacov Hasson's videotaped interview with Michel Radzinski in the early 1980s. This interview casts light on his Lima activities as well as on his earlier years in Poland and Panama. It also provides some views of him missing in his memoirs. For example, in the matter of his attitude toward gentiles, his position in the interview is far more positive than in the memoirs. Also, some dates in the interview are not consistent with those in the written record. Shimen Kants' intervention as amanuensis and Michel Radzinski's advanced age coupled with his severe glaucoma and Parkinson's disease may help account for these discrepancies. On the other hand, great men have been known to contradict themselves on occasion. Return to text
2) These words appeared in the Spanish-language Carta al Socio (Boletin de la Union Israelita del Peru) vol. 1, no. 6 of August 1989. Return to text
Alcalay, Reuben. The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary , 4 vols., Tel-Aviv/Jerusalem: Massadah Publishing Co., 1964.
Bernstein, Ignaz. Juedische Sprichwoerter und Redensarten , Warsaw, 1908.
Furman, Yisroel. Yidishe shprikhverter un rednsartn , Tel-Aviv: Menora, 1968.
Gefen, Menashe. Mitakhat laarisa omedet gediya , Tel-Aviv: Sifriyat Hapoalim, 1986.
Hurvits, Sh., "In mayn mames kikh," Yidishe shprakh 12:117.
Harkavi, Aleksander. Yidish-english-hebreisher verterbukh , New York: Hebrew Publoishing Company, 1928 [third edition].
Mlotek, Eleanor Gordon. Mir trogn a gezang! , New York Workmen's Circle Education Department, 1987.
Perets, Y.-L. Ale verk , vol. 1 [Lider un poemen], New York: CYCO, 1947.
Shtern, Yekhiel Shtern. Kheyder un besmedresh , New York: YIVO, 1950.
T"sh [Tur-Shalom], Eliezer ed. Siemiatycze , Irgun yotsey semyatitsh beyisrael, tashk"a , pp. 13, 449.
Trahtemberg Siederer, Leon. La Inmigracion Judia al Peru, 1848-1948 . Lima: Asociacion Judia de Beneficencia y Culto de 1870, 1987. 322 pp. [reviewed by Anton Rosenthal in American Jewish Archives Spring/Summer 1990, pp. 95-8].
Trahtemberg Siederer, Leon. Los Judios De Lima Y Las Provincias Del Peru . Lima: Union Israelita Del Peru, 1989.
Stutshkov, Nokhem. Der oytser fun der yidisher sprakh , New York: YIVO, 1950.
Weinreich, Uriel. Modern Yiddish-English English-Yiddish Dictionary , New York: YIVO/McGraw Hill, 1968 [= MEYYED].
Yidishe shprakh (New York).
Yehoyesh [Solomon Bloomgarten] and Khayim Spivak. Idish verterbukh , New York: Farlag Veker, 1926 [1st ed. 1911].
Yehoyesh [Solomon Bloomgarten], translator. Toyre, neviim uksuvim , New York: Yehoyesh Farlag, 1941, 2 vols.
GLOSSARYa gmar khsime-toyve: 'a final good sealing for a happy new year'
bagern fun folk: 'the people's desires'
bakante: 'the entire circle of acquaintances'
bal-moyfes: 'a miracle worker'
bal-tekeye: 'blower of the ram's horn on Yom Kippur'
balegoles: 'wagon drivers; coachmen'
balemer: 'almemar, dais'
bar-mitsve: 'coming of age religiously'
batkhonim: 'jesters; entertainers'
batlonim: 'besmedresh "regulars" who study and pray all day'
bazunderkayt: 'apartness; separateness; particularity'
bedikes-khomets: 'search for the leaven'
beemuno shleymo: 'with complete faith'
bentshn: 'blessing; saying grace'
berene papekhe: 'bear-fur cap'
besalmen: 'Jewish cemetery'
besmedresh bokherim: 'religious students'
besmedresh: 'house of prayer and study'
beyzn moykhiekh: 'fierce exhorter'
bezundern mehu's: 'a particular nature'
bifne kol am voeyde: 'publicly'
biker-kho'ylim: 'Visitors of the Sick Society'
bikur-kholim [Hebrew]: 'Visitors of the Sick Society'
bime: 'almemar, dais'
blat g(e)more: 'page of the Talmud'
blits-lompn: 'bright lamps'
bote-tfile: 'houses of prayer'
botey-midroshim: 'prayer houses' [plural of besmedresh]
boydn: 'covered wagons'
boyre pri hoodomo [blessing over vegetables]
boyre-oylem: 'creator of the world'
dardeke-melamdim: 'teachers of the youngest children'
der natsyonaler mehu's fun yid: 'the Jewish national idea'
Der tilim-yid: 'title of a novel by Sholem Ash'
derleyzung fun folk: 'deliverance of the people'
di alte heym: 'the old home'
di reyne vesh: 'clean underwear'
di shkhine: 'Divine Presence'
diktn-fabrik: 'plywood factory'
din pruto kedin meyo... [Proverb]: 'take care of pennies...'
dor-haflogo: 'the generation scattered from Tower of Babel'
dorfsgeyer: 'village peddler'
dort vet ir vern a mentsh: 'there you will become somebody'
dos genem: 'Hell'
dreydlekh: 'tops; teetotums'
dvar-toyre: 'explanation of a Bible passage'
dveykes: 'religious ecstasy'
elyo'hu hano'vi: 'Elijah the Prophet'
emune un folk: 'religion and ethnic identity'
endekishe [Polish: endecki]: 'Nat'l Democratic Party'
epes a fintstern guf: 'a mere physical body'
erd arbeter: 'farm workers'
erlekh: 'honest; virtuous'
ertsisroel: 'the Land of Israel'
es hot mir geklempt baym hartsn: 'I felt awful'
esn khazer: 'eating pork'
esn teg: 'taking meals with townspeople while a student'
eydele: 'courteous; refined'
eydlkayt: 'courtesy; refinement'
eyshes-khayil: 'woman of valor'
ezres-noshim: 'women's section of synagogue'
filbarkayt: 'feeling' [Germanism]
firme, a: 'established; recognized'
folks-mentsh: 'man of the people'
forkhtikayt: 'reverential dread'
frumer yidishkayt: 'orthodox Judaism'
gabe: 'elder; deacon'
gartlen: 'belts worn during prayer'
gas, di: 'the public; the street'
gebeks: 'baked goods'
geboyrn in a zaydn haybl: 'born with silver spoon in the mouth'
gehat smikhes oyf rabones: 'was ordained as a rabbi'
geshlogn al-khet: 'repented for his sin'
geslekh: 'little streets'
gilgulim: 'transmigration of souls'
gmiles-khe'sed-kases: 'free loan societies'
gmiles-khesed: 'an interest-free loan'
godl betoyre in nigle un nister: 'a great scholar'
goen: 'a brilliant man'
goyle: 'one who is exiled'
goyle lemokem toyre: 'exiled from religious study'
greyt im tsu doyresn: 'ready to tear him to pieces'
groyse zakhn: 'great matters'
gute-yidn: 'Hasidic rabbis'
guter-yid: 'Hasidic rabbi'
hadres-po'nim bord: 'beard of a pious man'
hagode: 'the Passover Haggada'
hakhshore: 'training; training farm'
hakofes: 'processions around the dais'
henglomp: 'hanging lamp'
heseyv-bet: 'reclining couch'
heshayne-rabe: 'Hoshana Raba'
heymishe: 'homey; local'
heymishn shtetl: 'the homey town'[accusative case]
heyse beygl: 'hot rolls'
heyse bobes: 'hot beans'
hinter di harey khoyshekh "behind the mountains of darkness'
homen-tashn [Haman's ears]: 'stuffed poppy-cakes'
hot zey opgeforn: 'took them to task'
hoyf: 'court' or: 'courtyard'
hoyptshul: 'High School'
iber di shveln: 'over-the-doorstep trades (tailors, etc.)'
intim-mentshlekhe hartsikayt: 'human sincerity'
ir voem beyisroel: 'great Jewish center'
ivre: 'reading Hebrew; Hebrew'
kaboles-shabes: 'welcoming Sabbath, Friday evening service'
kaptsonim in zibn poles: 'terrible paupers'
kartofl-kukhn: 'potato cakes'
kashres: 'Jewish dietary laws'
kateyger: 'accusing angel'
kehile-binyen: 'community building'
kehile: 'organized Jewish community'
keren kayemes leyisroel: 'Jewish National Fund'
kestl-ovntn: 'question-and-answer evenings'
khadorim [plural of kheyder]
khales: 'Sabbath loaves'
khamisho'ser-bishvat: 'Tu beshvat'
khanike-gelt: 'Hanukka present'
Khaye-odem: 'Life of Man'[= compendium of religious laws]
Khaye-odem besmedresh: [after compendium of religious laws]
khayes roes: 'evil beasts'
khazal: 'our sages of blessed memory' [acronym]
khazoke: 'claim; lease'
khevra kadisha [Hebrew]: 'burial society'
khevres-tilim: 'Society for Reciting the Book of Psalms'
kheyder: 'Jewish traditional religious elementary school'
khezhbm-hanefesh: 'spiritual stock-taking'
khoges: 'Christmas and Easter; Christian holidays'
khosn-breyshis [literally: 'groom of Genesis']
khoyvevey-tsien: 'Lovers of Zion Movement'
khrifes: 'insight; acuity'
khtsos: 'midnight prayers'
khumesh mit rashi: 'the Pentateuch with Rashi's commentary'
khurbm: 'Shoa; destruction'
kitl: 'white linen robe'
kitlen: 'white linen robes'
klal-yisroel: 'the Jewish People',: 'ordinary Jews'
kloper: 'door-to-door peddler'
klopn-handl: 'door-to-door peddling'
kofkes: 'women's caps'
Kol nidre [Yom Kippur prayer]
kolu kol hakitsin: 'the end had come'
koysl-maaro'vi: 'Western Wall'
kries ya'msuf: 'Splitting of the Red Sea'
kule ru'khnies: 'all spirit'
kvitlekh: 'slips of paper (with petitions to hasidic rebe)'
lamed-vovnikes: 'the concealed Thirty-six Righteous Men'
legboymer: '33rd Day of the Counting of the Omer; Lag Beomer'
lernen lishma: 'learning for its own sake'
lernen toyre: 'studying the Tora'
lifney velifnim: 'in the innermost'
lines-tsedek: 'free lodging'
lomdim: 'learned men'
loshn-koydesh: 'Hebrew-Aramaic; sacred tongue'
lulev: 'palm branch'
madreyge: 'level of spiritual development; degree'
madrikhim: 'councelors, guides, leaders'
maharam : 'Meir of Rottenberg or Meir of Lublin' [acronym]
maharsho-kop: 'subtle mind'
maharsho: 'Samuel Edels' [acronym]
makher: 'broker, agent; fixer'
makhzer: 'prayer book for the High Holidays'
makhzoyrim: 'High Holiday prayer books'
malakhe-khabole: 'destructive angels'
malakhey-hashores: 'the ministering angels'
malkhes-shoma'im: 'kingdom of heaven'
malkhuyes: 'of the realm'
mark fun altvarg: 'flea-market'
mark-zitserins: 'women stall-keepers'
masmidim: 'those who studied Tora night and day'
mayim shelonu: 'water which has lain overnight, used for matza'
mayrev: 'evening prayers'
maysim to'yvim: 'good deeds'
Meayin yavoy ezri? [Hebrew]: 'Where will my help come from?'
mekha'yedik: 'delightful, enjoyable'
mekhalel-shabes zayn: 'desecrating the Sabbath'
melamed: 'male religious elementary school teacher'
melave-malke: 'the meal at the close of the Sabbath'
men hot zikh ibergebetn: 'they forgave one another'
mentsh: 'human being'
mentshlekhkayt: 'humanism; humaneness'
mesires-nefesh: 'great dedication'
mikve: 'ritual bath'
minkhe: 'afternoon prayers'
minyen: 'a quorum for prayer'
minyonim [plural of minyen]
mit elel-shtimungen: 'in an Elul mood'
mitsve: 'positive precept and practice of Judaism'
mitsvoys maasiyoys [Ashk. Heb. pron.]: 'practical duties'
mizrekhist: 'sympathizer with Mizrakhi Religious Zionism'
mokem toyre: 'place of learning'
motse-shabes: 'the close of the Sabbath'
moytse: 'slice of bread'; hamoytse: blessing over bread
musef: 'the Additional Prayers'
muser-reyd: 'ethical injunctions'
muser-sforim: 'ethical treatises'
nakhes: 'pleasure; pride'
natsyonal-ongeherike tsum yidishn folk: 'of Jewish nationality'
neshome-likht: 'memorial candles'
neshome-yeseyre: 'second soul'
neyrtomed: 'eternal light'
nisim un yeshues: 'miracles'
nitsets: 'a divine spark'
novella: 'khidesh; halakhic reinterpretation'
on kep: 'dejected'
ongenumene klolim: 'conventions'
opgerikht goles: 'do penance for the Exile'
orn-koydesh: 'Holy Ark'
oyfgekleyrte: 'enlightened; educated'
oymrey-tilim: 'reciters of Psalms'
oyneg-shabes: 'enjoyment of the Sabbath'
pamal'yo-shel-maalo: 'heavenly tribunal'
parneysim: 'elected heads of the Jewish community'
pidyen-haben: 'Redemption of the First-Born'
pidyen: 'redemption money; tribute'
pidyoynes [plural of pidyen]
pilpulim: 'crafty arguments'
pintele yid, dos: 'quintessential Jewishness'
Pinye [Pinkhes] (Phineas)
polivnikes: 'glazers of pottery'
poroykhes: 'curtain of the Holy Ark'
poshete yidn fun a gants yor: 'simple Jews'
poyle-tsien: 'Poalei-Zion [Labor Zionists]'
rakhmones: 'mercifulness; mercy'
ramakh eyvrim, literally: '248 organs'
rayze keyn varshe, der: 'the trip to Warsaw'
rebe in kheyder: 'kheyder teacher'
rebe: 'hasidic rabbi'
rebo'yne-sheloylem, der: 'the Almighty'
reyne vesh, di: 'clean underwear'
rishes: 'malice; evil'
Rivke-Sore (Rebecca Sarah)
rosh-khoydesh elel: 'first day of Elul'
rosheshone: 'Rosh Hashana/Jewish New Year's Day'
rov: 'a rabbi'
saneyger: 'defending angel'
seyfer-toyre: 'Scroll of the Law'
shabos nachamu: '"Comfort ye" Sabbath'
shakhres: 'morning prayer service'
shakhtlen: 'paper boxes'
shas-tish: 'Talmud study table'
sheva denekhemoso: 'seven Sabbaths of comfort...'
sheyne mides: 'beautiful character'
sheyne: 'fine; beautiful'
shfoykh khamosekho: "pour out your anger..."
shi'tes: 'systems and approaches to Talmud study'
shives-tsien: 'Return to Zion'
shkhine, di: 'Divine Presence'
shlikhim: 'messengers; delegates'
shloshesre-mides: '"Thirteen Virtues"'
shoyfer-blozn: 'blowing of the shofar'
shoyfer: 'ram's horn, shofar'
shoykhet: 'ritual slaughterer'
shoyshanas-yaakoyv: 'Rose of Jacob'
shtepers: 'quilters; stitchers'
shtetl: 'small town in Eastern Europe with Jewish quarter(s)'
shtibl: 'hasidic house of prayer'
shvartsarbet: 'unskilled work'
shvues: 'Feast of Weeks; Shevuot'
sider: 'prayerbook' [Hebrew sidur]
simkhes-toyre: 'Rejoicing of the Law'
skhakh: 'branches for the Sukkot booth'
slikhes-nakht: 'night of penitential prayers'
slikhes: 'penitential prayers'
slonimer khosid: 'Slonim hasid'
slonimer shtibl: 'Slonim house of prayer'
sokolover rebe: 'the Sokolover hasidic Rabbi'
solakhti [Hebrew]: "I have forgiven"
sugye: '[Talmudic] topic'
sukes: 'Feast of Tabernacles; Sukkot'
taymey-hamikro: 'cantillation marks'
tfiles haderekh: 'Prayer for the Road'
ti'shebov: 'Ninth of Ab' [memorial and fast day]
tif yidish gefil, a: 'a deep Jewish sensibility'
tilim-yid: 'unlearned Jew who recites Psalms'
tilim-zogers: 'poor who recite Psalms at funerals for alms'
tiliml: 'a volume of the Book of Psalms'
tish: 'hasidic rabbi's ritual meal with his followers'
tkhines: 'intimate Yiddish prayers'
toyre fun arbet, der: 'philosophy/doctrine of work'
toyre iz di beste skhoyre: "Tora is the best merchandise"
toyre un haskole: 'religion and secular culture'
toyre-shmuesn: 'informal homiletical talks'
toysfes: 'a commentary by the Tosephtists; additions'
treyst un guts: 'consolation and kindness'
trit ba trit: 'attentively; step by step'
tsadik: 'charismatic hasidic "saint"; saintly person'
tselem elokim: 'human image'
tsenerene: 'the Yiddish Pentateuch'
tsholnt: 'Sabbath baked dish'
tsikhtik: 'neat, clean'
tsoym-gedalye: 'Fast of Gedalia'
tsuayln dem kets: 'to force the end of days'
tsvishn minkhe un mayrev: 'dusk; late afternoon-early eve'
Turcos [Spanish]: ('Turks; Sefardic Jews from the Ottoman Empire')
Unesane toykef: [Yom Kippur prayer]
uvekhen ten pakhdecho: 'Be afraid!'
varenikes mit grivn: 'dumplings with roasted goose-skin bits'
veze khelki mekol amali: 'and this is my portion from my toil'
vi kries yam-suf: 'hard as splitting the Red Sea'
virde: dignity < German "Wuerde"
volekhl: 'tune without words'
vos vet zayn mayn takhlis: 'How will I end up?'
yeshive-bokherim: 'yeshiva students'
yeshive: 'yeshiva; seminary'
yeytser-hore: 'evil inclination'
yidishe minhogim: 'Jewish customs'
yidishkayt: 'Jewishness; Judaism'
yikhtevun: 'Let them be inscribed'
yires-shoma'im: 'fear of Heaven'
yisgadal veyiskadash: 'Kaddish prayer'
yishuv: 'pre-State of Israel Jewish community'
yom-hadi'n: 'Day of Judgement'
yomer-taln: 'valleys of lamentation'
yomim-nero'im-khazn: 'High Holidays cantor'
yonkiper: 'Day of Atonement'
yontefdike teg: 'holiday-like days'
yortsayt-likht: 'memorial candles'
yoysher un tsedek: 'justice and righteousness'
zay a yid: 'Be a Jew!; Observe your Jewishness!'
zayn mit mentshn glaykh: 'to be as good as anyone else'
zis un treystndik: 'sweet and consoling'
zitsn mesubin: 'reclining'
zmires: 'Sabbath hymns'
LIST OF PERSONS AND PLACESAmerica (USA)
Belkes, Reb Avrom-Hersh
Biletski, Reb Leyvi
Blumenfeld, Diane (1903-1961) [Yiddish actress]
Brener, Rabbi Avrom-Moyshe [Moises Brener]
Brodski, Bentsien [Bencion Brodsky]
Brodski, Yisroel [Israel Brodsky]
Chaye odom besmedresh
Erets Israel [Palestine/Israel]
Feldman, Roberto [Jewish Spanish-language journalist]
Goldfadn, Avrom (1840-1908)
Grabski, Wladyslaw (1874-1938) [Polish premier in 1929 and 1923-1925]
Heler, Maks (Max Heller)
Heller, General Jozef Heller (1873-1960)
Kahut, Yude (Judah/Yehuda Kahut)
Karl Gustav of Sweden
Keyles, Dovid-Noyekh (David Noah Keyles)
Kirmeyer, Khayim [Jaime Kirmayer]
Koseve [Polish Kosow]
Kuselevitsh, Rabbi Tsvi-Yude
La Paz, Bolivia
Les Falaises, a French port
Latin Quarter, Paris
Lerner, Arn (Aron Lerner)
Lerner, Pinkhas (Pinchas) [son of Rabbi Lerner]
Lerner, Yankl [physician, son of Rabbi Lerner]
Maharam, an acronym for Meir of Rottenberg or Meir of Lublin
Malinyak brothers [plywood factory]
Meir of Rottenberg (ca. 1215-1293)
Melnik (Polish: Mielnik)
Menakhem-Mendl (a Sholem-Aleykhem character)
Molokh [owned brick factory in the suburbs]
Moshe [author of prayer]
Napoleon the Third, the Emperor of France,
Orman, Khayim = Jaime Urman
Perets, Y.-L. (1852-1915)
Perlman, Ester Perlman (1897-1966) [Yiddish actress]
Pinkhesovitsh [Moises Pinchasovitch], Moyshe
Pizarro, Francisco (1470?-1541) [Spanish conqueror of Peru]
Pundik, Menakhem (Menachem Pundak) (1906-1930)
Radzinski, Avrom-Leyb (Abraham Leib)
Radzinski, Motele (Mordechai)
Radzinski, Pinkhes/Pinye [older brother of Mikhl]
Radzinski, Rivke-Sore (Rebecca Sarah)
Radzinski, Shimen (Simon) [younger brother of Mikhl]
Radzinski, Yisroel (Israel)
Semyatitsh (Polish: Siemiatycze)
Shoyshn, Arn-Dovid (Aharon David Shoshan)
Sokolov, Nakhum (1863-1936) [Hebrew journalist]
Tarnopol, eastern Galicia, Poland
Thon, Dr. Yehoshua [Polish Jewish journalist and communal leader]
Tishevits [Polish: Tyszowce]
Tsvilikh, Hershl [Herman Zwilich, Yiddish feuilletonist]
Turkov, Yonas [Jonas Turkow] (1898-1988)
Zelik (English: Zelig), Reb: the melamed
Ziglboym, Leybesh [Leon Zighelboim (from Bessarabia)]
Ziglboym, Velvl [Velvel Zighelboim (from Bessarabia]]
SUBJECT LIST"Akdomes" [Pentecostal hymn "Akdomut"]
Book of Jeremiah
Book of Job
Book of Lamentations
Chanuka, see Hanukka
Chasidism, see Hasidism
Circulo Israelita [Bolivia]
Days of Awe = High Holidays
Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot
halertshikes [antisemites named after General Heller = Pol. Hallerczycy]
Hatsefira [Hebrew periodical]
Hekholets Hatsoir [Hekhaluts Hatsair]
High Holiday sermons
In shpas un rikhtik ['In Jest and in Earnest' newspaper column]
Jewish National Fund
Jewish New Year's Day
"Kol mekadesh" [hymn sung at the end of the Sabbath]
"Kol nidre" [Yom Kippur prayer]
"Koyft shoyn papirosn": 'Start Buying Cigarettes' [revue song]
Mandls [Mandel's] besmedresh
Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler
"Moyde ani": 'I Thank' [prayer which opens with these words]
National Socialist Party
Nosotros [Peruvian Spanish-Jewish newspaper]
Orbita [ship to Panama]
poznantshikes [antisemites, named for Posnan pogromists]
Rosh Hashana/Jewish New Year's Day
"Rozhinkes un mandlen" ['Raisins and Almonds' (Yiddish song)]
Santa Clara [ship to Peru, USA flag]
Shevuot/Feast of Weeks
Sixteenth Zionist Congress
The International Jew
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [antisemitic tract]
Tshernevits conference [Yiddish language conference]
"Unesane toykef" [Yom kippur prayer]
"Untern kinds vigele" ['Under the Child's Cradle' (folk lullaby)]
Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement
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