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transport the products in huge barrels to large cities in Russia and abroad. These Jewish businessmen were very wealthy and lived well. Other Jews were involved in managing the orchards of the landowners' manors (every estate had its own large orchard that produced alot of fruit). The Jewish orchard managers supplied the market with various precious fruit. The Jewish householders were able to have a supply of apples and pears for their fruit compote for the entire year. They were able to make jams and jellies, and used to say "We just shouldn't need it." It was eaten on the Sabbath following the afternoon nap, and offered to guests.

Gardening and Raising Cattle and Poultry

It should be mentioned that almost 90 percent of the Jews in Drohitchin tended their own, or someone else's, garden. Everything grew in those gardens: potatoes, cabbage, beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, onions, white radishes, red radishes, turnips, green beans, pumpkins, etc. Many Jewish families had enough vegetables for themselves and to sell to others.

        It's interesting that the peasants from the villages were the main buyers of the surplus of cucumbers sold by the Jews. This was the only agricultural product that the peasants didn't grow themselves, because it required alot of patience, work and time, which the peasants didn't have.

        The usual custom was to make pickles and sauerkraut, and store it in a barrel or two for the winter. When Jewish women used to get together to help their neighbors pickle cabbage, there was a holiday atmosphere. There was also the custom of filling up the cellar or yard with potatoes bought from the peasants at low prices. Potatoes were one of the main foods of every Jewish family.

        Almost every Jewish family also had a cow or two, and were therefore able to produce their own milk, butter and cheese, and some extra to sell. Others raised hens, and were thus able to have chicken for the Jewish festivals and fresh eggs for the children. After Sukkot, people would catch geese and fatten them with grain, and at Chanukah time they would slaughter the fattened geese, and for Passover would fry them up with fat. Fried goose skins were also enjoyed during Chanukah.

Home-baked bread and challah

        Most of the Jewish housewives used to bake black rye bread for the week, and white challah for the Sabbath in their own ovens. It was a form of art to create well-baked bread. First, the housewives would leaven flour and water in the leavening trough and let it get it warm and rise. Afterwards, the housewives would knead the dough until it became nice and thick. Then they took pieces of

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of dough and threw it up in the air and started punching it with their hands until it formed a shining smooth loaf of bread, which they then placed into the waiting hot oven to be baked. Two hours later they removed the freshly baked bread from the oven, and would fill the house with it aroma. The rye bread could stay good for weeks, and the older it got, the tastier and more delicious it became.

        Most Jewish families had a sack of white flour and three iceboxes that the deliveryman would bring to the house, and would offer credit terms for payment. Thus, it was possible to make bread dough. In addition to a challah for the Sabbath, the housewives used to bake milk and pareve cookies, twisted challah bread and fruit cakes for the festivals; rolls for Rosh Hashanah; ladders for Yom Kippur; hands for Hoshanah Rabba [last day of Sukkot]; Hamentashen for Purim, as well as noodles and farfel, etc.

        Once in a while, people used to go to the baker to buy a couple of fresh bagels for lunch, a buckwheat bun, a cracker or a pure white round bread roll.

[Photo:] Khomsk Alley, where the post office and the Mechayeh School were located.

         Earning money from savings

Nowadays, how much money do people make from what they save? If a ceramic or clay cooking pot (most people used clay or ceramic pots) was cracked, no one just threw it out. It was repaired and used over and over again, until the wire started to stick through it because of repeated heating. Those wire pots were very popular in the whole region.

        There was also the custom in the summer of preparing a cord of 12 loads of wood for warming the house during the winter. There were no housing problems. Almost every person had his own house, and if anyone had to rent an apartment, he could find it for a pittance.

        [Photo:] The new town – on the right: S. Feldman, B. Warshavsky, A. Zlotnick

        With the arrival of winter, when the roads were covered in snow, frost burned your eyes, and it was harder to earn a living, or livelihoods were non-existent, you were satisfied with preparing for summer. During the long winter evenings, Jewish fathers would spend a few more hours in the houses of study, while mothers would sit by oil lamps and pluck goose feathers to use to fill new cushions and featherbeds for their families. Sometimes they made them for dowries for their engaged children.

Baking Matzah and the workshops

A couple of weeks before Purim, Drohitchin housewives started getting busy with preparations for Passover. People used to start scraping beets, washing the large clay Passover pots or cupboards, and

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