of course made me her favorite and she harbored a belief that I would
become a rabbi. I continued my Hebrew studies in a Yeshiva and advanced
in Hebrew school.
There were some Jews who lived and worked outside the ghetto. Cracow was
a beautiful city, and for the doctors, lawyers, scientists and
businessmen life was easy and enjoyable. The city boasted of its many
museums, parks, universities and theatres. They were, however,
restricted to the affluent. The poor Jews witnessed the pogroms that
were frequent and deadly. The Polish population was always ready to
blame the Jews for all their problems.
The desecration of synagogues was always excused. No one was ever
punished or even questioned. There were many houses of worship in the
ghetto, three on one block. Most of them were Orthodox, a few
Conservative and one Reform. The Reform temple was where non-Jewish
women were part of the choir (the singing group that assisted the
cantor.) Of course, we were not allowed to visit or even to stop and
listen. We treated that synagogue as we did the Christian churches.
As I understand from later stories, our family (before my father's
exodus) was successful financially. Dad and Mom ran a tailor shop. My
brother was cared for by a young woman who was learning the trade. Her
duties included all the household chores including the care of the
children. Conditions changed when my father left for the United States.
Mother was forced to close the tailor shop and had to find work at
another shop. The pay was barely enough for minimal existence. On many
days our meals consisted of cereal, potatoes or rice dishes. It must be
said that Jewish women made meals from nothing. No wonder they make such
good cooks. They certainly learned to improvise.
My father, after living nine years in the United States with his sister
and her family, saved enough money to send for my oldest sister and
brother. There were two reasons for his choosing my brother and
sister. One reason was that he had little money. Second, they were old
enough to work. They both found work immediately. They all lived in one
apartment, about twelve people.
Approximately three years after my brother and sister came to the United
States, my mother received the good news that the three of us were
finally going to the 'promised land.' We became instant celebrities. All
of our friends and neighbors envied our good fortune. We were going to
America where the streets were strewn with gold and everybody lived in
mansions with private baths in each room, there was a good job for every
person willing to work, and abundant food for every table. We knew
better, but we were certainly were not going to set them straight. We
were enjoying the attention too much."