Zareby Koscliene


By Wolf, David Moyshe Khayim's,
Buenos Aires, Argentina

My first "rebbe" (teacher) was Mayer Fayvl, an old, thin, hunched man with a pointed white beard, long white "peyes" and a large "yarmulke."  His face was dry and he always looked angry.  He had a sharp eagle nose.  The first time I saw him I was not yet 4 years old.  He was wearing a long "Tzitzekanfus" (fringed garment worn by orthodox Jews) and held a "Kahtchik" (whip) in his hand.  That is how he always walked around the room and that is how he remains in my memory to this day.

He taught me the alphabet and to read the basic prayers.  I was terribly afraid of him.  There was one day when he was a changed man.  On Simkhas Torah, he was so happy that he did somersaults in the street.  This was his claim to fame and everyone in Zaromb knew not to try to compete with him.

My second rebbe, Abraham Shlomo, was more easy going.  Under his tutelage, I began learning the Old Testament and I went to Kheder more eagerly.  But my third rebbe, the wine maker, frightened me terribly.  He was a tall, thin Jew with a small black beard and a nasty disposition.  He had the face of a crow - so cold and sharp that whenever he came close to me, I became tongue-tied with fear.  With this rebbe, I began studying in the evenings.  It was wintertime and the walk home from the wine maker's house to my grandfather, Moyshe-Khayim's house took me past the old well, the red brick school, the synagogue, the old cemetery, which was painfully scary for me.  I couldn't imagine that there could ever be anything more frightening.

I had a happier time with my fourth rebbe, Eliohy-Mayer, the hunchback.  I studied with him during the summer and began learning Gemorrah but I did not complete the semester because my father, David-oyshe Khayin's, the gold spinner, left for Stutchin to try to make a better living, and we moved away from Zaromb.