In Honor of Lilke Majzner
by Hershl Hartman
As the shloyshim (marking the 30th day after her death) approaches, the website of the Museum of Family History has posted a video of Lilke Majzner's inimitable oratory upon receiving the highest award from the International Association of Yiddish Clubs in 2008. The English translation of her thoughtful and fiery remarks appears below the video screen.
Lilke was long-time president of the LA Yiddish Culture Club, a member of the Workmen's Circle/ Arbeter Ring in Europe and here and a teacher in its shuln, a survivor of the Bundist (General Jewish Workers' Alliance of Russia, Lithuania and Poland) underground in Lodz and several concentration and death camps, including Auschwitz. She was the initiator and moving force behind the coalition of L.A. Secular Jewish organizations, which, for the past decade, has sponsored annual commemorations of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and of the executed Soviet Yiddish writers.
She wrote beautifully in Yiddish for several publications and it was my honor to translate many of her works.
Editor’s note: Through the efforts of Hershl Hartman and Dr. Steven Lasky, the memory and acceptance speech of Lilke is now on the Internet for all to see and be inspired.
Through the unselfish efforts of two men, 3,000 miles apart, we now have earmarked a niche in our Yiddish history. Her legacy stretches over continents and generations.
An Old Fashioned Tepl-Mazl
by Frank Krasnowsky - firstname.lastname@example.org
The announcement of Tepl-Mazls (Pot-Lucks) in Milwaukeeillustrated how literal translations can be both confusing and amusing.
When I grew up a tepl generally referred to a round chamber pot for small children. Hence, tepl-mazl could only mean that it was successfully used. Thereby hangs a tale -- a true one.
My mother's friend, Anna, came into the playroom to find that her three-year-old Itzik had put a tepl on his head. At first she laughed; but when she tried to remove it, it was solidly stuck. No matter how gently she pushed and pulled the tepl to avoid hurting the child's head, it would not come off. There was no such thing as 9-1-1 in those days, so she called her doctor, who made several recommendations that did no good. He was too busy to make a house call and told her to bring the boy into his office.
Anna had to take the streetcar into town. But who can ride in a streetcar with a child with a tepl on his head? She tried to solve the problem by covering it with a paper bag so it would look like he was wearing a funny hat. But Itzik was restless and kept pushing the bag aside to the amusement of passengers and the embarrassment of Anna. Indeed, the more the passengers were amused by her attempts to put the bag back on, and the more she was embarrassed, the more Itzik realized he was the center of attention and kept pushing the bag back and forth.
Their arrival at the doctor's office added some joy to the waiting room. The doctor, too, was amused, but tried not to show it. He took Itzik into his office and returned after several minutes with the boy and the tepl separate and intact.
"I have good news,” he said. ”It was empty."
That was a real Tepl-Mazl.
A Father-Daughter Memoir of
Love, War & Resurrection
by Naava Pilat - 201-945-4524 www.naava.com
I have terminal cancer and am now confined to my bed at home, under hospice care. The publication of my book is particularly meaningful because as I say my farewells to friends, family, I leave a lasting legacy that honors my Holocaust survivor parents' past, something I have been committed to for the last decade, as I traveled the world performing my one-woman musical show, "Better Don't Talk!" about my mother's life as star of the Vilna Ghetto.
I was able to push past the mounting pain of my horrid cancer and work like crazy to complete the book, design the cover and get it published.
NO GOODBYES recounts the fascinating true stories of my charismatic Holocaust survivor father, Xavier Piat, in a stirring testament to the endurance of love, the art of survival, the influence of family and the lasting impact of war. Written from two perspectives, it explores our unique and complex relationship, revealing that through the sharing of stories, we were able to come to terms with the past, finding understanding, forgiveness and renewed connection.Website: www.nogoodbyes.info