Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Shabbos II

Your mother didn't go to daven did she?

No, most of the time...

Women didn't go.

...you know, the women did their davening in the home, you know. In our house, uh, even though in shul they had some women that were what they called the Viber shul, you know, the upstairs, you know, they were the older ladies, while the services went on in the big shul.

In the shul.

Yes. But, my, my mother never...

So would you sing Zemirot throughout?

Oh, yes, Friday night, I mean, we had to--brother and I, my father, my mother all sitting at the big table, and my grandfather, he was the patriarch, you know, he gave the orders. Nobody made a move until he made Kiddush, but then we all made Kiddush, and when he sat down, everybody sat down, and it was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. Unbelievable. And nobody talked out of turn. There was no such thing as democracy there. You didn't, you didn't talk when the elders were speaking, and you only answered questions when you were asked and, you know, stuff like that.

Were they late nights?

Well, Friday nights, you know, could end about maybe about ten o'clock, ten-thirty.

Do you remember the song? I won't ask you to sing but do you remember any songs? Can you hear the melodies?

Oh, yes. Hasidic, Hasidic nigunim and those were different. See, we would misnagdim, you know, and the shul didn't have that, Hasidic nigunim because were passed down from city to city, you know, like let's we have a guest who came from Mława or Pultusk, would come to Nasielsk to visit, and he would be brought by one of our Hasidic to our shtiebl. The first thing they will do, they ask the man, ??? the moment that they heard that he does--he knows a little bit. The first thing they pushed him to the uh, to conduct the service, so, it was a great honor. And I remember I could watch it right there. I can see it now. They would always ??? you know, the ??? which is the evening service, you know. It starts with ??? In Hebrew means, ah, "Let's sing," you know, with the--receive the Shabbos, and he would say, "No, no, no, my throat doesn't work," this but he really wanted to do it, and they would push and push him. Finally, they pushed him up. He started, and the type that he would, you know, use certain nigunim, which were like melodies, you know, that he would fit the prayers to. And it's like uh, you know, in ah, Rogers and Hammerstein. The words were there, and somebody wrote the music, and the moment my, my uncle and father--they were--they fancied themselves to ??? They wouldn't let him out of town until we sat down with him on Sunday--all of us. My brother had a pretty good voice, and we captured a song from him, and then he would just leave. I mean it used to--like you would think, "What do these people have to worry about?" These were things that were very, very important.

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