A Jewish Life on Three Continents: The Memoir of Menachem Mendel Frieden (Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C)
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Frieden's story provides a window onto Jewish life in an era that saw the encroachment of modern ideas into a traditional society, great streams of migration, and the project of Jewish nation building in Palestine. The memoir follows Frieden's student life in the yeshivas of Eastern Europe, the practices of peddlers in the American South, and the complexities of British policy in Palestine between the two World Wars. This first-hand account calls attention to some often ignored aspects of the modern Jewish experience and provides invaluable insight into the history of the time.
Tanach (Nehemiah 13:20)16 and mentioned in several places in the Talmud, where peddlers are called gossip mongers because they would go from house to house and hear what was doing in the area and tell one person what he heard from another.17 The Hebrew word for peddler is related to the concept of gossip mongering, and the first items carried by peddlers were spices. Our sages concerned themselves with the women of Israel and saw to it that they would be able to beautify and adorn themselves
irresponsible young man. He has not a drop of Jewish propriety about him, and I’m sure he’s not even a good goy. Most mixed marriages do not succeed. Even if those who get married are good people and most understanding, they end up being divorced. There is reason to object to intermarriage, and not only from a religious perspective, with us Jews being commanded explicitly: “You shall not intermarry with them.” Incorrect is the explanation offered by “reformers” who say that mixed marriages were
town such as ours. He is embarrassed at being a wagon driver, which, according to him, involves simply competence and not craft at all. He turned to driving a wagon out of necessity, to compensate for the lack of income from glazing. He claims that glazing does not compare at all to other trades, such as tailoring or shoemaking: “Clothing, by its nature, wears out quickly, and shoes, too, are worn down by mud and snow in the winter and by heat in the summer. But it’s not so with glass. A pane of
Alim Litrufah (Medicinal Leaves). For more on the Gaon’s views on Torah education, see Immanuel Etkes, 129 130 On My Way through Yeshivot And so Passover was approaching, the end of the first term in the life of yeshiva students, and we were asked to make preparations to return home to celebrate the holiday. I very much anticipated this day, the day I would return home. I so missed my parents, my brothers, my old friends, the river, and the forest beyond the river which belonged to a rich
concerned with recording for future generations as much as possible about his early life, in this chapter he recalls the holiday celebrations of his youth. In doing so, he interweaves a general description of the way various holidays were observed with recollections about his own family’s customs, thus reminding us that although many of the beliefs and practices associated with the Jewish holidays are common to Jews all over the world, some were peculiar to individual Jewish communities, such as