Thursday, December 11, 2008

Moldova -- Bob Cohen Goes "Home" (and Takes Us Along)

I know I have Bob Cohen's blog Dumneazu listed on my blog link list, to the right of these posts, but I must draw attention to his wonderful description of going back to his grandmother's ancestral turf in Moldova.

He begins:
My Grandmother, Bunye "Betty" Tsarevcan, was born in Teleneşti, in the Republic of Moldova in 1893. In my family's history, of course, we always knew the place as Bessarabia. My Grandfather was born in Criuleni, which he knew as Krivilyany in Yiddish. On Di Naye Kapelye's last CD "A Mazeldiker Yid" I included a track of her telling the story - in Yiddish - of how her grandfather, a rich textile merchant, had to send all the way to Iasi to hire the Lemesh family of Klezmer musicians for my great-Grandmother's wedding festivities. She began her tale with the words "We're from Telenesti... we're not from Orgeyev." And so, I had to see Teleneşti, not so much for myself, since I have seen more small muddy Moldavian towns over the last fifteen years than I care to count, but to, somehow, close a cirlce. My Father and my Uncle Eli are the last of their generation, those that were raised on their parents' stories of the Old Country, told in a rich Bessarabian Yiddish dialect with absolutely no nostalgia and no desire to ever return, stories of unfortunate arranged marriages and poverty and broken marriages and pogroms and World War One and Bolsheviks and finally the epic of escape. But as Bessarabians, my father's generation always maintained a natural curiosity - "What is it like in the place our parents came from?"
Read on

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