Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Religious Life II

And what did you do on uh, Shabbos day?

Shabbos day was with--everybody had to go to shul. And after shul--so everybody had to go to shul. Only we...

The women too?

Naturally women, the men, the children, everybody. Uh, you didn't see not a one child on the street. If you saw a child on the street and some passed by or a relative or a neighbor, he was wondering, "Hey, what are you doing on the street?" So everybody know who you are, he knew who your father is and who your grandfather was. So, so it was no other place only to go to shul on Shabbos. Only when lately we like to go play football Saturday morning. So if the father didn't see us--saw everybody together in the shul, he came after us. And I can imagine, when he came up to us there was--if he be, if he be--we run away or we were hiding. Or when he returned to shul we were already there because there was a, a style in Europe that every uh, every family had a, a seat like a ??? we call a ???. And this seat went over from generation to generation. So we had to be on this seat. We had uh, we had two seats or three seats or four seats. The family had to be on this seat. Or sometime we changed those seats--not everybody could sit around. The seat was already from great, great grandfather. It was going over from generation to generation. So if somebody missed or he was sick or he was out of town or you went to play soccerball, or--we had a river Vistula--you want to ice skating on the frozen river, there was a--it was very, very unpleasant thing. And then, then if you went to cheder Saturday afternoon I had to go to the rabbi back to--in bet ha midrash and he heard, he--what I, what I learned the whole week, the Sidra and, I mean, the life was very interesting. There was another thing more interesting, that we had cholent. There was a, a delicacy uh, for Shabbos. So when the baker when he baked the challas, when he baked the bread and the challas and everything, the oven was hot. So everybody took the cholent. So I was already selected to this job to carry the pot to the, to the baker. Was no name written--everybody had the same paper on top of this cracked pot and everybody had the same rope, a rope around on the cracked pot and we--and he put in maybe about a hundred pots in the oven. And after we went back--after davening when we returned home, every boy or girl who stopped in to this bakery to pick up the cholent, everybody recognized his pot. If somebody--sometimes we exchange, you know, we could make a mistake too. Only that was--the cholent was a tradition. Or it was potatoes or it was groats and kashe with bones, with meat, or potatoes with meat. It was a very interesting; the, the cholent was a tradition, a Jewish, a Jewish meal that uh, and uh, interesting is, it was not numbered--was, was no initialed and everybody recognized their pot. And the all pots almost looked alike.

Let me ask a religious question. Was it okay to carry the cholent from the bakery home on Shabbos?

Yes, on Shabbos, yes, yes.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn