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ViewMate Posting VM 31891

Submitted by Eve Moscoe Rothfarb

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Information Picture Question
Category: Translation - Yiddish
Approval Date: 2/2/2014 4:27 PM
Family Surname: Davidson
Country: Poland
Town: Warsaw
Date of Image: 1949
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My great uncle, Chaim Davidson wrote an autobiography in 1949. I am chosing random pages for LOOSE translation so I can get a taste of what he wrote since I cannot afford to have the entire book translated.

He writes in phonetic yiddish, spelling words they way they sound when spoken, rather than adhering to the proper grammatical spelling.

Chaim is the eldest son who survived beyond infancy in his family. He is followed by a brother, Abraham (who was named differently but had his name changed, probably for some superstitious reason), David, a sister, Tillie, and the baby brother, my grandfather, Samuel. I mention their names in case they are mentioned by name in the book.

Thank you, in advance. I know it is a lot of time and work to translate a full page of typed words.

Evie Rothfarb

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On  Response 
2/6/2014 11:44 PM For a loose translation...

This page begins speaking about his father. He remembers sometimes waking up early and seeing his father praying by the window, wrapped in tallis and tefillin.

His father worked for someone named Itcha Gutman making soap. The neighbors in the town loved him because of his simplicity, and people would give him honor. They also used to get him to help whenever people were in need of money, or when poor orphans would be married off. He was attractive, with a black beard, and conducted himself with a great deal of class and common decency.

His mother, on the other hand, seems to have been quite different. He had a nice face, black eyes, and had a way about her glances that could instill fear into the children. She had a nicely carved nose, full lips, and a wonderful smile that showed white teeth. However, she rarely smiled. She was always burdened, seeming to hold the entirety of the Jewish exile on her shoulders. She was very pious, and when she had a minute to spare, she would either pray or read the Torah. She would explain with some pride that she was the daughter of a very learned man, almost a Rav.

She would explain that her father had no luck in becoming a Rav, and became a teacher of Gemara who dealt with children.

Because of this, his mother knew Hebrew well, even knew the weekly Torah portion with the commentary from Rashi and pieces of Gemara. She knew davening (prayer) well also. Never once did his father fight with his mother, except because she would pray three times a day. "A woman," he would say, "is exempt from all mitzvos!"

His mother would reply, "Exempt shmexempt, but my doing it isn't a sin. What's your problem with me? That I do mitzvos?!"

On one thing were the parents in agreement with one another. That was that he, their first son, should become "something".
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